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Getting Jupiter to show color

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#1 Tom Austin

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:54 PM

I've just started planetary photography.  I want to know why my images of Jupiter are pretty much monochrome.  Is it because it's too low (37 degrees)? Poor seeing?  Wrong equipment? THANKS!

 

EQUIPMENT: 6" F8 Sky-watcher refractor, Tectron 2" focuser, Celestron 2.5X Barlow, 21.5 mm Edmund RKE eyepiece, Panasonic Lumix LX-5 mounted afocally, zoomed 2X.   1600 ISO shutter speeds from 1/60 - 1/250.

 

Processing: Thirteen stacked images (AutoStakkert 3.0.14)   Sharpened, contrast, cropped.

 

 

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  • jupiter20190807.jpg


#2 Jeffmar

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:11 PM

It might be that you are over exposed. It's just my guess. I have noticed I get more color at lower ISO's. Post processing is important also. After stacking my images I usually use Lightroom cc for tweaking. If my image is exposed anywhere close to where it should be I can usually make the colors work.



#3 Tom Austin

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:45 AM

Thanks! I don't have Lightroom, but I do have Gimp.  When I increase saturation, all it does is turn the whole thing yellow.  I suspect that in this group of exposures there's just no color to be brought out.  I would like to understand why color doesn't seem to have been captured.

 

How much difference would it make to capture RAW images?  I've not tried that.

 

I will next try lower ISOs, but at my focal ratio I'm afraid that means precariously long exposures.  I'd like to keep them faster than 1/200 to deal with seeing.

 

I did try stacking underexposed images and the result looks underexposed.  I've studied a lot of postings, but I've not found definitive examples of what pre-stacked individual images look like.  Can anyone point me to such examples so I can see what my exposures should look like?

 

Also, one posting recommended IR filter for Jupiter.  How much difference should that make?

 

Also, I've noticed a few who post their improvement when they employ dedicated planetary cameras.   Is there any hope for getting good images with my existing equipment?



#4 ebeygin

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:53 AM

My suggestions for your CURRENT setup, would be:

 

shoot RAW, shoot many more subs with a very fast shutter speed (even if they become more grainy, stacking will help)...make sure focus is dead on.

Also try shooting a video if your camera permits, for a minute or two...then extract the images using PIPP, stack that and see if it produces better results.

 

and a planetary camera will definitely help, since it will allow you to shoot a very high frame rate video.

 

Finally, after stacking, make sure you color balance.



#5 Tom Austin

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:18 AM

Excellent, thank you!  Here are examples of exposures I've tried.  Which is closest to what I should be shooting for, A, B, or C?

 

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  • a.jpg
  • b.jpg
  • C.jpg


#6 KiwiRay

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:50 AM

You need to capture high-speed video.  Stacking 13 individual frames of varying quality won't get you anything worthwhile.  If you really want to try planetary imaging, get the right type of camera - even a second-hand Celestron Neximage 5, which should go for much less than US$100, will give you more enjoyment starting out in planetary imaging than what you're trying to do.


Edited by KiwiRay, 14 August 2019 - 11:50 AM.

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#7 Jeffmar

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 02:01 PM

Jupiter, Europa, and Io

It is possible to get decent images with individually shot frames but the seeing has to be nearly perfect. If you have video on your camera then try that. I have done some planetary photography at 4K at 30 frames per second which gives me 1800 frames in a minute. Most folks who do photographs of Jupiter, Saturn and whatever else like to get 120 frames per second. Which gives 7200 frames in a minute. The whole point is the more photos you have the more likely it is you will get a small bunch of very good photos to stack and process. On a night when Jupiter looks like a bouncing water balloon it is probably better to do something other than photos of planets. The photo above is a result of about 100 stacked images out of about 2000 taken on a slightly better than average night for seeing. You can see much better images from people who spend more time and effort than I do to get it right. 


Edited by Jeffmar, 14 August 2019 - 05:07 PM.


#8 Tulloch

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:52 PM

Hi there, I use my Canon DSLR for planetary imaging which works pretty well if you follow the recommended procedure which is to stream the Liveview (screen) footage straight to your computer at 5x zoom. The advantage of this method is that the images are pretty much raw sensor data with minimal compression which I can stream at about 20 fps.  I take a minimum of 5000 frames and stack the best 25% or so. Some details of this method (for Canon cameras) are in the link below.

 

http://www.astropix....resolution.html

 

I don't know if your Pentax can do a similar thing to this, but that works for me.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Andrew


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#9 BQ Octantis

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 03:04 AM

Hi Tom,

 

Welcome to the fold!

 

Your image has very little contrast because you captured too few frames as 8-bit JPEGs to be able to tease out the luminosity and color contrast between the pixels you put on Jupiter. And I don't know what the 2x (digital?) zoom did, but I can't imagine that it helped.

 

+1 for LiveView (I did a comparison of LiveView to RAW captures last year and found it to be vastly superior), but I have no idea if the Lumix LX5 can do LiveView capture. Planetary capture isn't just about defeating poor seeing; it's also about stacking for SNR improvement (just like with super resolution for any photography). Stacking improves your SNR by the square root of the number of frames you stack; I get my best results by stacking 2032-4098 frames (so 45-64× over a single frame). The only way to get this is through streaming capture; LiveView capture tends to have less compression defects than on-camera video, so it produces better results.

 

If you can capture lots of RAW images, do it. The artifacts in single-frame on-camera JPEGs are difficult to overcome with a small number of images, and the color depth boost from RAW lets you tease out color contrast nuances with fewer frames. Use the lowest ISO that gives you a usable image, and make sure the exposue you pick doesn't clip Jupiter's histogram (I shoot 3-4 steps below saturation to maximize my blue histogram utilization). And use daylight white balance so your starting colors are closer to where you'll want them. Finally, you want your starting pile of frames to stack to be as large as possible…you get this by capturing as many frames as you can before Jupiter's rotation smudges your image. This is a window of about 3 minutes.

 

Cheers,

BQ


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#10 Tom Austin

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 12:31 PM

Hi Tom,

 

Welcome to the fold!

 

Your image has very little contrast because you captured too few frames as 8-bit JPEGs to be able to tease out the luminosity and color contrast between the pixels you put on Jupiter. And I don't know what the 2x (digital?) zoom did, but I can't imagine that it helped.

 

+1 for LiveView (I did a comparison of LiveView to RAW captures last year and found it to be vastly superior), but I have no idea if the Lumix LX5 can do LiveView capture. Planetary capture isn't just about defeating poor seeing; it's also about stacking for SNR improvement (just like with super resolution for any photography). Stacking improves your SNR by the square root of the number of frames you stack; I get my best results by stacking 2032-4098 frames (so 45-64× over a single frame). The only way to get this is through streaming capture; LiveView capture tends to have less compression defects than on-camera video, so it produces better results.

 

If you can capture lots of RAW images, do it. The artifacts in single-frame on-camera JPEGs are difficult to overcome with a small number of images, and the color depth boost from RAW lets you tease out color contrast nuances with fewer frames. Use the lowest ISO that gives you a usable image, and make sure the exposue you pick doesn't clip Jupiter's histogram (I shoot 3-4 steps below saturation to maximize my blue histogram utilization). And use daylight white balance so your starting colors are closer to where you'll want them. Finally, you want your starting pile of frames to stack to be as large as possible…you get this by capturing as many frames as you can before Jupiter's rotation smudges your image. This is a window of about 3 minutes.

 

Cheers,

BQ

Thank all of you. This is exactly the info I need.  A lot has changed during my 30 year hiatus from photographing the heavens.  I remember Tony Hallas's stunning images produced with film.  I see now that only the most basic rules apply to both film and digital.

 

For me, it's not about getting the best images per se, it's about optimizing inexpensive equipment to get the best images it can produce. I have budget equipment and if I can get to the point of awing someone, rather than showing Hallas-worthy images to my friends who say "Oh, WOW,"   I'd rather it be the astronomy community saying "You got THAT out of THAT?"   I see now how challenging that is.



#11 Tom Austin

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 01:32 PM

Question about Live View.  This term is new to me.. I've researched it here and elsewhere and don't really find a definition or tutorial. 

 

Is there dedicated Live View software, or is Live View simply a camera function that turns the camera into a simple video camera that connects to a computer where software captures the live video?

 

My Panasonic Lumix LX-5 has no optical viewfinder, only a LCD on the back.  When pointed at the night sky, it amplifies the brightness until the shutter button is half pressed, at which point it shows what the exposure will look like.  Pointed at Jupiter, for example, without the shutter button pressed, it shows an overexposed Jupiter with four overexposed moons.  As the scope is moved, thin trails are visible, revealing a dimmer Jupiter and pinpoint moons trailing around.  Is that Live View?

 

I can use a cable to connect the live image to a TV, and probably to a computer.  If I use a video capture program on my computer, is that what you mean by capturing with Live View?



#12 BQ Octantis

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 10:04 PM

Question about Live View.  This term is new to me.. I've researched it here and elsewhere and don't really find a definition or tutorial. 

 

Is there dedicated Live View software, or is Live View simply a camera function that turns the camera into a simple video camera that connects to a computer where software captures the live video?

 

My Panasonic Lumix LX-5 has no optical viewfinder, only a LCD on the back.  When pointed at the night sky, it amplifies the brightness until the shutter button is half pressed, at which point it shows what the exposure will look like.  Pointed at Jupiter, for example, without the shutter button pressed, it shows an overexposed Jupiter with four overexposed moons.  As the scope is moved, thin trails are visible, revealing a dimmer Jupiter and pinpoint moons trailing around.  Is that Live View?

 

I can use a cable to connect the live image to a TV, and probably to a computer.  If I use a video capture program on my computer, is that what you mean by capturing with Live View?

LiveView is what you describe—the ability to see what the camera's sensor is seeing in near realtime on the camera screen or on a separate screen. But in the context of planetary imaging, it refers to the ability to pump digital video over USB to a computer at 1:1 pixel resolution. With the right software (BackyardEOS/BackyardNIKON and AstroDSLR are the Windows and Mac standards) you can record the stream to a file, which you then feed into your stacker. I am most familiar with Canon's interface—at 5x "zoom" it outputs a ≤20 fps stream of 1024×680 frames at ~1:1 pixel resolution with minimal compression.

 

The only thing I could find regarding the LX-5 was a DPReview post indicating that its only Live View output was analog.

 

If the LX-5 lets you shoot a stream of RAW images, I'd recommend starting with whatever you can get it to shoot over 3 minutes.

 

BQ


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#13 Tom Austin

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 12:08 AM

By Jove, you guys are absolutely right.   I'm stunned at the difference video and PIPP make.   Here's the first image I got out of a three minute video, even at 3X zoom on my camera and the wind whipping my scope around.   I've done no additional processing beyond what AutoStakkert produced.  The small image was with my camera zoom at 2X, the larger at 3X.  Seems I need the additional magnification to get any detail.   I expect this is near the limit of this scope's resolving ability.

 

My camera does motion jpeg and AVCHD Lite.   Studying on this, I chose AVCHD, which is at 60 FPS.  I don't know about the compression, but it does work better than motion jpeg.

 

OK, it's yellow.  I know the next step is to color balance.  I've come a long way in a short time on the learning curve, and now I'm willing to take on color balance.  I read this tutorial,

 

https://www.planet.c...lor-correction/

 

but I could only get to the first step as it's about Photoshop and all I have is GIMP.  Can anyone point me to a color balance tutorial that uses GIMP to correct color balance?

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20190816JupiterPIPP.jpg
  • 20190816JupiterPIPP2X.png

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#14 Tulloch

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 01:48 AM

Hi there, the next piece of software you need is called Registax. It takes your stacked image and applies wavelet sharpening to it. It also had a good colour correction tool in it. 

 

Some tips on how to use it (and a lot more besides) are available at this link.

 

http://planetaryimag...com/processing/

 

Andrew.


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#15 BQ Octantis

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 05:57 AM

I expect this is near the limit of this scope's resolving ability.

Not even close, mate. See what this bloke did with his 6-in refractor, a 4× Barlow, and an ADC (albeit with a dedicated planetary camera):

 

https://www.cloudyni...less/?p=9484626

 

BQ


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#16 Tom Austin

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 01:30 PM

I've started with Registax. Tutorials are great, thanks!  Here's a where I am now, having had to use the best 25% of the video in AutoStakkert.  If I use 60%, three halo-ish rings start showing up around the planet and they are not aligned.

 

Note the halo that shows up during wavelet processing.  In these great images that others have posted, does anyone use the circle selection tool to clean up the edge of planets?  That's what I had to do to get rid of the halo.  Also I've tried various histogram combinations, but the outer rim is still yellowish.  How does one compensate for that?

 

The second image shows it before manual color sliding.  The auto color correct only does so much.  Am I having to deal with so much yellow because the video was under exposed? THANKS!

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  • Image3.jpg
  • Image4.jpg

Edited by Tom Austin, 17 August 2019 - 01:32 PM.


#17 Tulloch

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 06:06 PM

Hi there, it looks like your blue channel is completely stuffed, I don't there's much you can do to repair it.

 

I've done a bit of digging on your specific camera, and came up with this website

https://www.camerala..._lumix_dmc_lx5/

 

It has a bit of information about AVCHD Lite and Motion JPEG formats. One thing that caught my eye was the comment "the LX5’s AVCHD Lite mode (even in its best quality SH setting) consumes almost half as much memory as Motion JPEG". 

 

One thing I do know is this - compression kills astrophotography. You want to be recording in the highest quality that you can, with as little compression as you can. I believe you should try capturing in "Motion jpeg" format and see if that improves your images. Try the top two resolution settings and record for about 2 minutes in each, then stack the frames and sharpen in Registax.

 

For comparison, my Canon DSLR records movies in virtually uncompressed jpg format, and I take this data and turn it into what you can see on my Gallery page here. These images are taken with a resolution of 1024 x 688 with software 5x zoom enabled. Jupiter is only 200 pixels in diameter on my screen - strange as it sounds, that's all you need!

 

Good luck!

 

Andrew


Edited by Tulloch, 17 August 2019 - 06:32 PM.


#18 Tom Austin

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 11:46 PM

Yes, I'm afraid my camera is damaged.  That's the only explanation I can think of that would cause things not to line up as in the image below, exaggerated to show the symptoms.The camera hit the pavement one day and works ok otherwise.  I guess it's fine for snapshots.  But the blue channel is offset somehow.  See exaggerated photo below.  There's a blue moon!

 

This may explain why I've had such a hard time getting good color balance.  I just reset the camera software and will try it again on the next windless night.  I've needed an excuse for a new camera and maybe this is it.

 

Thanks a bunch for educating me.  You folks are the best.

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  • Image8.jpg


#19 Tulloch

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 03:36 AM

Yes, I'm afraid my camera is damaged.  That's the only explanation I can think of that would cause things not to line up as in the image below, exaggerated to show the symptoms.The camera hit the pavement one day and works ok otherwise.  I guess it's fine for snapshots.  But the blue channel is offset somehow.  See exaggerated photo below.  There's a blue moon!

 

Well maybe, maybe not. If normal images look fine, then I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with the camera. The process of stacking and sharpening does strange things to images that are not completely aligned and compressed to start with. I still think it's worth a shot at Motion JPEG capture for a couple of minutes and trying again.

 

However, if a new camera is in your plans, you can't go past the ZWO ASI224MC for planetary imaging.

 

Andrew



#20 BQ Octantis

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 06:12 AM

I've needed an excuse for a new camera and maybe this is it.

Most definitely broken…at least that's what I would tell my wife! grin.gif


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#21 Tom Austin

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 01:17 AM

Thank you for the encouragement.  Tonight I used mpeg.  This got rid of that blue offset seen in the ACVHD lite image above.  Still there's this blue halo around the planet that really shows up when I apply wavelets.  If that's an artifact of my achromat, shouldn't I see a red halo in some situations?   

 

Also with mpeg,  the histogram still shows the blue not aligned with the red and green, just as in my previous posting above.  It's that a representation of the color of the planet as imaged by my camera?

 

Saturn was just sharpened with a little blue added.   Jupiter is how it came out of AutoStakkert.  I've not found how to make it look accurate in Registax. Still working on that.

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  • Image19.jpg
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#22 BQ Octantis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 02:49 AM

Thank you for the encouragement.  Tonight I used mpeg.  This got rid of that blue offset seen in the ACVHD lite image above.  Still there's this blue halo around the planet that really shows up when I apply wavelets.  If that's an artifact of my achromat, shouldn't I see a red halo in some situations?   

 

Also with mpeg,  the histogram still shows the blue not aligned with the red and green, just as in my previous posting above.  It's that a representation of the color of the planet as imaged by my camera?

 

Saturn was just sharpened with a little blue added.   Jupiter is how it came out of AutoStakkert.  I've not found how to make it look accurate in Registax. Still working on that.

Your image has a very different blue output than the green or red. You have sharpening blocks across the planet, plus a halo that looks like a sharpening artifact.

 

RGB.jpg

 

It could very well be the performance of the achromat; the LX-5 also may be applying a different sharpening algorithm to the blue channel. Or a combination of both. Or maybe you really did break your camera.

 

My experience with my large meniscus Mak plus DSLR is that the three color channels behave differently on the sensor; the difference is amplified at low elevation angles. To correct it, I presharpen the channels separately in Photoshop to get them all to roughly the same sharpness level before applying wavelets in Lynkeos. Green takes the most sharpening, followed by blue and then by red. I don't know if Registax will allow you to do this, but you could try it in Gimp. Or at the very least, you could simply paste the unsharpened blue channel into the sharpened image…and then maybe use that as a layer on the fully sharpened image and vary the layer transparency to find the sweet spot for the blue channel sharpness.

 

BQ

 

P.S. I'm reminded of my first megapixel digital camera, a Casio QV3000EX. If I zoomed way in on my images, my red channel always had block-like artifacts that limited that channel's quality.


Edited by BQ Octantis, 19 August 2019 - 03:02 AM.

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#23 BQ Octantis

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:11 AM

Actually, all your channels (on all your images) have block artifacts. The red and the green blocks appear to be 8px × 8px, but the blue seems to be 16×16.


Edited by BQ Octantis, 19 August 2019 - 03:12 AM.


#24 Tom Austin

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 11:27 PM

I suspect those block artifacts are in the jpeg I saved to.  I looked at the PNG and they are not there.  I'll make a note not to post jpegs, as I see it makes it hard to diagnose things. Thanks for pointing this out.

 

Tonight I used my wife's camera.  Below left is the cropped conv.png output from AutoStakkert. The ubiquitous blue halo and this time the offset blue halo are visible.  The others are a Registax screenshot showing what happens when applying wavelets.

 

What are the chances two cameras of different models would produce the same artifacts?    I suspect my achromat.  I guess I'll have to get out my 8" Dob and figure out how to acquire and track at high power.

Attached Thumbnails

  • P1130896.png
  • Image1.png


#25 BQ Octantis

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 01:47 AM

I suspect those block artifacts are in the jpeg I saved to.  I looked at the PNG and they are not there.  I'll make a note not to post jpegs, as I see it makes it hard to diagnose things. Thanks for pointing this out.

 

Tonight I used my wife's camera.  Below left is the cropped conv.png output from AutoStakkert. The ubiquitous blue halo and this time the offset blue halo are visible.  The others are a Registax screenshot showing what happens when applying wavelets.

 

What are the chances two cameras of different models would produce the same artifacts?    I suspect my achromat.  I guess I'll have to get out my 8" Dob and figure out how to acquire and track at high power.

It's quite likely the achromat gives you different performance between the channels. An achromat only optimizes the focus of two colors, whereas an apo optimizes all three. But it's typically red and blue that coincide, not red and green. Moreover, low elevations enhance chromatic dispersion by the atmosphere…it just seems odd to me that just your blue is offset; the offset of blue and red from green is usually quite symmetric through my Mak.

 

Are you using daylight white balance? Looking at your Post #5, only your A example has the right color balance; B and C already have a halo before sharpening. Here's what a single unscaled frame looks like out of my DSLR (from my most recent shot from 15 August):

 

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 4.10.19 PM.png

 

Can you post an unprocessed stack? A 16-bit/channel TIFF or PNG would be preferable.

 

Finally, there's nothing wrong with JPEGs for the final output…just use the minimum compression/maximum quality setting when saving.

 

BQ




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