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The Moon, with its colours enhanced...

moon refractor
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#1 Jon555

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:05 PM

So I decided to have a go at Astrophotography with my AP Stowaway. I don't have the field flattener, but did spend nearly 7 quid on a 2" to T2 adaptor and a T2 to Canon EOS Adaptor. I went out last night and took some lunar images and stacked 20 of them to give this, with the colours enhanced (as seems popular)... what do people think?
5DR27316_ISO1600_Stack-first_AS_P100_lapl4_ap22743_conv_RegistaxWavelets_0-4_0-29_3_ps_flipped_sm4fbsh_q75.jpg

I'm pleased with the result (in the full-res image the Moon is about 4900 pixels across, but I think that would look bad compressed to meet the forum size limit, I had to turn the quality down on this from 90 to 75 to fit this 2000-ish pixel across version in).

Canon 5Dsr
2019 Stowaway on a Photographic Tripod
f6.66 (without the Barlow, which will make it quite a bit darker)
ISO 1600
1/320th
20 Images Stacked

Scope-AP 2" Barlow-AP MaxBright 2" Diagonal-Televue 2"x2" Extension Tube-2" to T2 wide adaptor-T2 to EOS adaptor-Camera
(It's a 2x Barlow, but in this configuration it will be maybe 3.5x, hence ISO 1600 as all the light got spread out.)
(BTW I needed the diagonal to get enough back-focus, even with the Extension Tube. )

Cropped in PIPP-Stacked in Autostakkert3-Wavelet sharpening in Registax6-Saturation increase in Photoshop-Downsized in Irfanview

BTW I have a full step-by-step guide on how I did this, if anyone's interested... or if you hate it then I can recommend wine...

 


Edited by Jon555, 06 April 2020 - 04:16 PM.

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#2 Jon555

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:08 PM

Here's a section from the lower left at full-res (well if you're looking at it in its full 2048x2048 pixel size anyway).

Remember the colours, while real, are enhanced a lot... all I did was increase the colour saturation.

This does actually sharpen up quite nicely to show more detail, but I like the smooth look here... opinions?

5DR27316_ISO1600_Stack-first_AS_P100_lapl4_ap22743_conv_RegistaxWavelets_0-4_0-29_3_ps_crop4fb.jpg



 


Edited by Jon555, 06 April 2020 - 04:14 PM.

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#3 sunnyday

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:12 PM

very pretty, it is also very different but the result is successful.
thank you.


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#4 Keith_Beef

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:24 PM

BTW I have a full step-by-step guide on how I did this, if anyone's interested... or if you hate it then I can recommend wine...

 

 

Oh, yes! I'm trying to figure out a complete workflow for this kind of image using open source Linux software.



#5 wxcloud

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:31 PM

Very nice! Seems like we both had about the same idea. I wouldn't mind seeing a good Linux workflow for this type of stuff smile.gif

Edited by wxcloud, 06 April 2020 - 04:32 PM.


#6 Jon555

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:35 PM

Oh, yes! I'm trying to figure out a complete workflow for this kind of image using open source Linux software.

Alas (well for you, sorry) I'm on Windows, but other than using Photoshop for the colour enhancing all the rest is free software and might work in wine?

If you can not worry about open source too much:

PIPP specifically has a Wine package.
https://sites.google...linux-with-wine

Autostakkert3 says:
"AutoStakkert! is Windows only software. However, it does run fine using Wine under both Linux and macOS."

I'm not sure about Registax, but it is just one way to sharpen. I'd think it would be in with a good chance.

For Photoshop you're on your own... :-)


Edited by Jon555, 06 April 2020 - 04:40 PM.


#7 Jon555

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 04:46 PM

Here's my Windows guide...

This is just pretty much what I do when making a stacked Moon image, I'm not claiming to have any great insights, but I've tried to come up with a fairly simple (really!) and easy-to-follow guide on how you could try stacking if you're starting out. There are a squillion different ways to do it and if you've already got decent results some way or other this may not be of much use. That said here's a blow-by-blow workflow to make a stacked moon image...

 

Sorry but this is quite long, but doesn't take that long to do (the manual parts that is, with a slow computer some processing steps may take a little while). Also I take no responsibility for any unsteadiness caused by following the Coffee/Wine drinking steps extensively...

 

Oh and to start note that while the Full Moon looks amazing, but when the Moon isn't full the light coming in from an angle shows off the 3D nature of the Moon so much better (shadows being so important in Photography).

 

Notes:

* This only uses free software (except one optional extra step I've described doing in Photoshop).
* I use Windows, if you are on Mac I'm sorry but I can't help so much.
* Shoot a number of well-exposed images using a tripod, as none of the stacking software currently available handles image rotation all that well.
* Shoot in Raw (or Raw+JPEG if you prefer). Shoot at least 10 images, although more than 40 is better and more than a few hundred probably getting into diminishing returns.
* I would suggest a shutter speed of 1/60th or more (1/100th at focal lengths over 600mm) to avoid Moon movement issues (greater still if the Tripod isn't that stable). Try to keep the ISO down.

 

Okay, so here is my getting-started-with-stacking Guide:

 

I would suggest using PIPP followed by Autostakkert3 (both free). Start from Raw Images. I will do a run and write as I go, so this is going to take me a long time to write and you much less to read :-)

 

Workflow...

 

Install PIPP (ideally the 64-bit one) from:

https://sites.google...opipp/downloads
Download and unzip Autostakkert3 (ditto on 64-bit) to somewhere handy from here:
http://www.astrokraa...ware/latest.php
 

Start PIPP
Use "Add Image files" (bottom left) to add the Raw files
Choose raw images taken together on a tripod (to avoid image rotation, which stacking software doesn't handle that well)
Expect a message about join mode when you exit the dialogue.
Move the "Output Frame" Window that has appeared out of your way.
Select the optimise options for Planetary box (bottom right).
In the "Input Options" tab it will be okay leaving the Debayer Algorithm as Bilinear (on the left below the "Debayer" checkbox, which should already be checked) but I'd go with AHD.
In the "Processing Options" tab find "Centre Object in Frame" in mid-right and in the drop-down below it select the Moon's phase in the images. (If you don't see this did you forget to tick the "Planetary" option above?)
On the same Tab "Enable Cropping" should be ticked.
Pick X and Y sizes that cover the Moon plus as much as you'd like to see around it. Untick if it's very large in the image already... I just cropped what I wanted out of one of the JPEGs, saw teh resulting size and rounded up. Leave the offsets at 0. The maximum size seems to be 5000x5000.
Note at this point you can click "Test Options" in the top right to check it crops okay (then close the pop-up Window after checking).
In the "Quality Options" tab I like to enable this but set a number to keep all the frames (the default should do this).
In "the Output Options" tab choose TIF and tick "Include quality value in filename".
In the "Do Processing" tab click "Start Processing." Coffee or Wine is good at this point. I'm going with the latter...
You should now have a sub-directory in your original image directory and further a sub-directory of that containing a bunch of TIFF files with names like...
00_5DR27739_quality_100%.tif
01_5DR27742_quality_96.89%.tif
etc.
(Where 5DR27739, 5DR27742 are some of the original images.)
Check they have the Moon centred and are cropped okay, else go back and try again.
 

When happy close PIPP and open AutoStakkert3 (ideally the 64-bit version, if your system supports it). This doesn't install, so just run it from its location.
Click "1) Open", change "Files of Type" drop-down to "Image Files".
Find and select all the TIFFs you just made (so click first and shift-Click last, or Ctrl-A with one selected, unless some have low quality settings then ignore those) and click "Open". Another Window should appear, with a Moon image, move it out of the way for now.
Click "2) Analyse".
In the shiny new Window that recently appeared choose an AP size (e.g. 48) and click "Place AP Grid" on the left. If it looks like it covers the Moon well with reasonable sized boxes (it's to do image fine alignment, they are already very close from PIPP) then return to the main window, else try again.
Note - if the Moon gets cropped on one edge (and wasn't in the source images) try expanding the size in the viewer window (top left).
Click "3) Stack" on bottom right...
(Wine/Coffee time again ;-) )
Now you should have two TIFF files in the directory above the TIF files PIPP made. Either pick the "*_conv.tif" one or the other one and try sharpening it.
Close AS3.
You can stop here or look at notes 1 and 2 below...

 

Extra notes:

 

(1) You can enhance the output image using Registax Wavelets. Here's a quick example:

* Download and install Registax from http://www.astronomi...x/download.html
(Currently install 6.1.0.0 first, then install 6.1.0.8 afterwards.)
* Run up Registax
* Click select and open the stacked image (Say Okay to the stretch intensity levels question)
* Click on the Wavelet tab
* Type something like 0.25 into the "Sharpen" box on Layer 1 on the left side.
* Slide the slider below it somewhat to the right. Note it will be previewed in a square box in the image display, click in there to move it around (you may want to select/deselect "Show Full Image" while doing this. Optionally play with the denoise box too. Choose sharpening/denoising levels you like.
* Click "Do All" (wait for it to get to 100%, it just leaves the progress bar full when done) then "Save Image", both at top left. Save as a 16-bit TIFF.

 

(2) If you want to bring out the colour (not visible to the human eye without processing work) you can do it in Photoshop:

* Load the final TIFF into Photoshop
* Click menu entry Image->Auto Color
* Optionally duplicate the image layer (just to have an unsmoothed one for comparison, can be ignored, just hit Ctrl-J.)
* Add a Hue/Saturation layer above the image layer(s)
* Double click the magnifying glass option to show the image at the pixel level and scroll to where one of the Seas is visible (may not be required for smaller images on higher-res displays).
* Crank the saturation up until all the sea areas look very noisy (but not so far the colours get extreme).
* Click to select the image layer (the copy if you have two)
* Do menu Filter -> Noise -> Reduce Noise
* Check Preview is ticked in the dialogue
* Mine started in the Basic mode with settings 6-60-45-25 and "Remove JPEG artifact" unticked. You might want something in-the-ballpark.
* Slide the Strength slider until the noise in the seas becomes acceptable. Optionally play with the other settings. Don't go too far and check the detail is still good. Click OK.
* Go back to the adjustment layer and tweak the Saturation
* If the Moon now has too much false colour at the edges you might want to make a Black brush and paint around just the edge of the Moon on the Saturation layer's Mask. Possibly also elsewhere on the face with a reduced opacity (50% say) to tone down anything that looks too much.

 

(3) You can't use the Drizzle option in AS3 as that needs frames that haven't been aligned by PIPP.

 

Rev 1.0 6th April 2020


Edited by Jon555, 06 April 2020 - 04:48 PM.


#8 wrnchhead

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 05:09 PM

A great image. I did one similar and loved it also. The last night I was out it was only lightly cloudy out and I could see this effect visually

#9 jerobe

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Posted 06 April 2020 - 05:44 PM

I really like the image, and the color enhancement is an interesting effect.



#10 Tom Glenn

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 12:01 AM

Jon, your image looks very nice.  Reading through your protocol, there are a few things you might want to be aware of.  The first is that whenever you use something like "Auto Color" in Photoshop, it has no real idea what your image is supposed to look like, and so it balances the colors in a way that may or may not be correct.  It also stretches the histogram and will clip to white in places because it has no idea what regions of your image are important (I wouldn't be surprised if the white clipping in your image came from Auto Color, rather than the exposure or sharpening steps).  I just tested "Auto Colors" on a few of my images, and it causes white clipping in images that don't have any, and also the color balance is altered in a way that looks nice, but isn't the best IMO.  But truth be told, there's not a great way to color calibrate amateur images, and there have been several posts on this recently.  

 

The second thing you may want to consider is that there are several different ways to render raw photographs for stacking.  I wasn't even aware that PIPP could do this (render raw files from a DSLR).  I just tested this, and the version you get from PIPP is a very "bare bones" rendering, with debayering and a slight gamma adjustment, and I assume some type of white balance.  The raw rendering plugin for Photoshop is Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and you can also convert the raw photographs to tiffs using that, either individually or in batch mode using the "Image Processor" option.  Interestingly, even if you use the default settings, the tiffs you get in ACR are very different from the tiffs that comes out of PIPP.  They are noticeably brighter, with slightly more contrast, and with a slightly different (and probably more accurate) color balance.  This is because ACR uses default settings that are very similar to the versions that are contained within your camera itself, and makes use of the appropriate color calibration matrices and lookup tables.  Although my DSLR is a Nikon, so I suppose it's possible the default settings in ACR for Canon don't do this.  You can also use the program RawTherapee for another set of tools to render the raw images.  My point here is that there are several ways to render the raw photographs, even when using default settings in raw processors, and because they give slightly different color balances, this will yield different results when you saturate the colors.  And, as I said before, I would be cautious about using the "Auto Color" feature in Photoshop.  

 

I offer this information only for perspective, and in no way to criticize the method you have used to achieve your result here, which is very good!  Overall, you have done a nice job without the colors looking bizarre.  I would agree with your decision not to add any more sharpening, as this version here still looks natural (which is a good thing!)


Edited by Tom Glenn, 07 April 2020 - 12:46 AM.


#11 Jon555

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 04:35 AM

Jon, your image looks very nice.  Reading through your protocol, there are a few things you might want to be aware of.  The first is that whenever you use something like "Auto Color" in Photoshop, it has no real idea what your image is supposed to look like, and so it balances the colors in a way that may or may not be correct.  It also stretches the histogram and will clip to white in places because it has no idea what regions of your image are important (I wouldn't be surprised if the white clipping in your image came from Auto Color, rather than the exposure or sharpening steps).  I just tested "Auto Colors" on a few of my images, and it causes white clipping in images that don't have any, and also the color balance is altered in a way that looks nice, but isn't the best IMO.  But truth be told, there's not a great way to color calibrate amateur images, and there have been several posts on this recently.  

 

The second thing you may want to consider is that there are several different ways to render raw photographs for stacking.  I wasn't even aware that PIPP could do this (render raw files from a DSLR).  I just tested this, and the version you get from PIPP is a very "bare bones" rendering, with debayering and a slight gamma adjustment, and I assume some type of white balance.  The raw rendering plugin for Photoshop is Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and you can also convert the raw photographs to tiffs using that, either individually or in batch mode using the "Image Processor" option.  Interestingly, even if you use the default settings, the tiffs you get in ACR are very different from the tiffs that comes out of PIPP.  They are noticeably brighter, with slightly more contrast, and with a slightly different (and probably more accurate) color balance.  This is because ACR uses default settings that are very similar to the versions that are contained within your camera itself, and makes use of the appropriate color calibration matrices and lookup tables.  Although my DSLR is a Nikon, so I suppose it's possible the default settings in ACR for Canon don't do this.  You can also use the program RawTherapee for another set of tools to render the raw images.  My point here is that there are several ways to render the raw photographs, even when using default settings in raw processors, and because they give slightly different color balances, this will yield different results when you saturate the colors.  And, as I said before, I would be cautious about using the "Auto Color" feature in Photoshop.  

 

I offer this information only for perspective, and in no way to criticize the method you have used to achieve your result here, which is very good!  Overall, you have done a nice job without the colors looking bizarre.  I would agree with your decision not to add any more sharpening, as this version here still looks natural (which is a good thing!)

Thanks for this, really the kind of comments I was hoping for. I'm happy for criticism as long as it's constructive.

I flipped and flopped over including Auto-Colour, right up to publishing (I was literally staring at the screen going back and forward in PS's History), but I was after a quick way to get to a result for people and it seemed worth it, and quickly zapped any brightness issues without me having to explain levels. (I actually borrowed it from a YouTube video I can't find any more, as I'd like to credit the author.) Also I quite liked the result I got when using it (visually if not scientifically, but I'm not a pro).

The stack from AS3+Rx has a maximum level of about 80% (except a couple of teeny dots get to 90%). Auto Colours stretches that to 100% with a small amount of clipping. However Auto Levels (which is probably the simplest alternative) doesn't seem anything like as visually pleasing. Do you have a suggestion?
(Although when saying "visually pleasing" note I have a colour calibrated monitor, so stuff leaps out a lot less than it would for a lot of people, and v.v. With my last monitor, which was software colour calibrated, I used to turn the calibration off for a quick check before sending anything that really Popped to Social media, in case it looked way too much on more "typical" monitors.)

I used to convert lunar images to 16-bit TIFs in Lightroom or DXO (I played with the Prime noise reduction a fair bit) and then cropped/stacked those. Then I discovered doing raw conversions in PIPP which saved a ton of time and potentially disk space (I've only used Canon and Panasonic cameras for that, so no idea how Nikon goes). I also have C1, which tends to make visually pleasing files and has some nice HDR sliders, but crap (as of V20) noise reduction, however that came after I moved to PIPP so hasn't had a look-in.

The Moon image is only 20 files at high ISO stacked, and I was really surprised how well it came out. I just found, a while back and pretty much by accident, that doing a Raw conversion in PIPP seems to result in nice smooth stacks in AS3 for some reason. I think my results are better than I've had with a lot of complex recipes in DXO or LR. You could work at more colour accurate renditions, but I couldn't do a simple explanation and I'm not sure I care all that much if the route I'm taking doesn't produce anything silly. I think I won't go back to Raw processing outside of PIPP unless I was trying to do something really tricky, although then more images might just be the answer (well, I have some ISS shots I'd like to try stacking, not sure PIPP would be the answer there, but I will try).

P.S. BTW I have a lot of different ACR profiles for my Canon camera, as the original one from Adobe was just awful on the blacks. I have free ones, paid ones and the eventual  "fixed" Adobe one I tend to use by default. Colour from ACR really is an essay question, alas...
 

(Edit) Okay, here's an Auto Colours replacement suggestion...

 

Select Menu->Adjustment->Curves (you can also do this in levels, note you need the image layer selected)

Click "Options" (below "Auto", as it sets what Auto does)
Select "Find Light and Dark Colours" (this is actually what Auto Colours does, except we get more control here)
Tick “Snap Neutral Midtones”
Change the two Clip values to 0.01 if you are okay with some clipping, or to 0 if not (0.01 is the minimum allowed value)
Optionally Select "Save as Defaults" and remember that Auto in Curves is now Auto Colour!!!
Select Okay
Click on the very top right of the graph, Output: and Input: boxes should show 255
Click "Show Clipping" and look at the image (you may need to move the dialog box) to see if you are okay with that much clipping, if not go change the settings
Select Okay
P.S. To see clipping in the main editing Window add a levels layer and drag the marker at the rightmost end with Alt held down.
P.P.S. The other Auto options you can select are:
  "Enhance Monochrome Contrast" = Auto Contrast
  "Enhance Per Channel Contrast" = Auto Levels


Edited by Jon555, 07 April 2020 - 08:08 AM.


#12 Tom Glenn

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 12:36 PM

Jon, an interesting discussion.  There are many ways to process these images, and most are equally valid.  I use Photoshop extensively, but tend to be wary of any of the options with "Auto" in the name.  I would balance colors separately from stretching the curves, but that's just me.  One very useful method for balancing colors, that is widely used by the planetary imagers here (and also works on the Moon), is to use Registax.  Since you are already using Registax for sharpening, this will be easy for you to try.  Click on the RGB Balance tab and then click "Auto Balance".  Click "Do All" before saving.  This will remove any color cast by adjusting each channel by a multiplier, but will not stretch the histogram. So I suppose it's like Photoshop's Auto Colors but without the levels stretch.  Like all methods to remove color cast, however, it has no scientific accuracy as to the "true" color of the Moon, but it does remove any color cast imparted by the atmosphere or imbalances in the raw image.  You may not like the results as much as what you are getting with other methods, but it's definitely something to take a look at.  


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#13 Jon555

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Posted 07 April 2020 - 02:56 PM

BTW if you set the clipping to 0 in the Photoshop options in my previous (edit) it stretches things a lot less. I'll have a play with Registax too. Thanks for the tip.




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