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A good tutorial for beginning PixInsight

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#1 Jrpavlock

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 07:58 AM

I watched a few minutes of the official tutorial for PixInsight and found it incredibly difficult to follow as a beginner. The narrator uses so much jargon and technical terms that I lost interest in the first minutes.

Other YouTube videos I've tried assume a level of knowledge it seems.

Can anyone recommend a BASIC intro to PixInsight? I'm told that it's not that intuitive, but in the end it's tailored to fto astrophotography much more than PhotoShop.

#2 Becomart

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:10 AM

Check out my videos aimed at beginners in my signature. I’ll be making more in the coming week. 


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#3 Peregrinatum

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:22 AM

best thing I know to get one started, and its free:

 

https://www.cloudyni...low/?p=10227237


Edited by Peregrinatum, 11 July 2020 - 08:22 AM.


#4 Alex McConahay

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:27 AM

I wrote one for OSC, and another for LRGB......Just gives the basics, with a lot of hand holding. Some jargon, but I tried to accompany the jargon with practical language. After all, if you want to use PixInsight, you have to learn the jargon.

 

After you have done the routines once or twice, though, you will need to find more extensive help, and even change some of the things recommended in my tutorials. 

 

http://alexastro.com...iclesindex.html

 

Alex



#5 Jrpavlock

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:54 AM

Check out my videos aimed at beginners in my signature. I’ll be making more in the coming week.



Where can I find them? Can u provide a link or two?

#6 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:00 AM

Where can I find them? Can u provide a link or two?

The link is in his Signature at the bottom of his posts.



#7 Jrpavlock

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:16 AM

Thx to everyone. These look helpful.

One question-what is "stretching"?

#8 Becomart

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:22 AM

Thx to everyone. These look helpful.

One question-what is "stretching"?

When you have an image, it needs to be stretched to see the data. When you’re doing this, your are expanding the histogram to see the details. The data is full of black and white pixels in a mono image and you are essentially expanding this range so you can see the shades in between. When you first look at an image, the histogram is all the way to the left which is why you see a mainly black image with the odd star which would represent the brighter, larger stars once the image is stretched. That’s a very simplified explanation. 



#9 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 09:22 AM

This really did it for me: Full OSC workflow with PixInsight



#10 terry59

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 10:41 AM

Not sure where you want to go with learning PI but I recommend Adam Block

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#11 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 04:19 PM

Consider that there are alternatives to PixInsight.  Astro Pixel Processor is considered by some as "PI Lite"; easier to use, not as expensive, and still pretty capable.  Or, there is StarTools, which takes a very different approach to image processing, and is very easy to use as long as you don't want to do pixel math.

 

Don't force yourself down the PI path if it's not the right one for you.



#12 nimitz69

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 04:44 PM

I watched a few minutes of the official tutorial for PixInsight and found it incredibly difficult to follow as a beginner. The narrator uses so much jargon and technical terms that I lost interest in the first minutes.

Other YouTube videos I've tried assume a level of knowledge it seems.

Can anyone recommend a BASIC intro to PixInsight? I'm told that it's not that intuitive, but in the end it's tailored to fto astrophotography much more than PhotoShop.


They are not free but there’s a reason for that - Adam Block’s tutorials ...

#13 ngc1535

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 06:24 PM

Thx to everyone. These look helpful.

One question-what is "stretching"?

If I may, please check out this three-part series that I think will get you on the right footing with regards to your question and much more:

 

https://www.youtube....PnNokP_&index=3

 

Sincerely,

Adam Block



#14 Stelios

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 06:53 PM

I strongly suggest getting a *book*. I liked Warren Keller's "Inside Pixinsight." 

 

The LVA tutorials are the best free online tutorials I know.

 

Pixinsight is not for the impatient. You need to spend some time understanding the non-standard interface. But once you do, you can do magic. 

 

One of the biggest reasons to pay $180 for the Adam Block tutorials, is that just *watching him work* teaches you so many things. You get a ton of "you can do THAT???" moments.



#15 Jrpavlock

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 10:52 AM

I'm hearing that PixInsight, though made for astrophotography, is sadly not very intuitive. A friend who's into AP simply recommends Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop. Not sure PixInsight is worth all the aggravation and extra expense of cost of software, tutorials. Just don't know.

Thanks to all, though, for the links and advice. I still may get it but I have to be fairly convinced I can understand it, getting through all the jargon that presupposes a base of knowledge.

Edited by Jrpavlock, 12 July 2020 - 10:54 AM.


#16 terry59

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 11:08 AM

I'm hearing that PixInsight, though made for astrophotography, is sadly not very intuitive. A friend who's into AP simply recommends Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop. Not sure PixInsight is worth all the aggravation and extra expense of cost of software, tutorials. Just don't know.

Thanks to all, though, for the links and advice. I still may get it but I have to be fairly convinced I can understand it, getting through all the jargon that presupposes a base of knowledge.

There is no single processing tool that works for everyone. I use both PS and PI....each brings strengths to my processing approach. Some actions are best done with linear data (PI), layers are important to me (PS) and masks are much easier to make in PS, etc. 

 

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#17 Peregrinatum

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 12:20 PM

to use PI effectively you have to understand why each tool exists and how it works, once you learn this it is very intuitive and powerful



#18 Alex McConahay

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 12:41 PM

>>>>>to use PI effectively you have to understand why each tool exists and how it works, once you learn this it is very intuitive and powerful

 

Well, yes, and no. 

 

You can take the defaults in most tools and get a decent result.

 

You certainly do not have to understand "each" tool. You need to have a nodding familiarity with a few of the tools to get results. But certainly many tools go unused by most processors most of the time. You do not have to use them all, or know them all. 

 

And then there is the definition of "use ...effectively." To get the most out of it, you need to know a lot. But to get a good deal out of it, the basics and defaults will do. 

 

You are right, though, that what once was really opaque becomes intuitive after enough use.  

 

Alex



#19 Stelios

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 01:34 PM

I'm hearing that PixInsight, though made for astrophotography, is sadly not very intuitive. A friend who's into AP simply recommends Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop. Not sure PixInsight is worth all the aggravation and extra expense of cost of software, tutorials. Just don't know.

Thanks to all, though, for the links and advice. I still may get it but I have to be fairly convinced I can understand it, getting through all the jargon that presupposes a base of knowledge.

If you are a true Photoshop expert, and take the time to learn the various astro-plugins, you can do well with Photoshop. DSS will be OK for preprocessing if you don't have unusual cases requiring more sophisticated normalization or rejection control. 

 

But if you've just dabbled a bit in Photoshop, then there's an awful lot to learn there too, and you *will* have to put in the time if you want good results.

 

If you just want to get some quick results and don't want to put in much time, then DSS + Star Tools may be better for you.

 

Pixinsight is not intuitive in that it doesn't work the way most Windows applications work. It adds a lot of very powerful features of its own (the ability to clone the current process state by a mouse drag and save it is priceless, as is the ability to quickly match views, and its sophisticated use of previews to speed processing and choose between alternatives). And if you (likely) understood nothing of what I just said--that's the part that requires learning :).



#20 SilverLitz

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 02:44 PM

I went to PI after only about 6mos of trying AP.  My 1st 2-3 months was just get the very basic mechanical , such as getting my 1st scope (ED102CF) and mount (G11) to work with my DSLR.  Then it was getting acquistion s/w (APT ) to work and get it to platesolve (game changer).  I had to then get my calibration frames (bias, flats, darks).  Then I could start with the post production.

 

I first started with DSS (free, works) and Photoshop (already had Ps CS6 Extended, last Ps to buy not rent).  I was very much a Ps newbie, only having used it process my 2017 Solar Eclipse photo using Youtube recipes.  I watched a few videos, such as AstroBackYard, to get an idea on the Ps workflow and bought the Neil Carboni astro action pack.  I could get what I thought were decent results; though looking back only 1+ years ago, they were very bad.  I very much liked Ps Adjustment Layers, which would allow me to go back and play with tweaking my different earlier adjustments without having to start over, and the ability to toggle an layer on/off without permanently deleting it.

 

Then last fall I bought PI, as it seemed like the VAST majority of the experienced imagers use PI.  Before getting PI, I bought/read "Inside PixInsight", and I definitely recommend this book.  I watched several Youtube PI tutorials, of which there are many.  I did not find that learning PI is that difficult, BUT the possibilities are near infinite and PI seems to have counterintuitive conventions.  PI is also in a state of evolving throughout time as well, and I expect that I could use it for the rest of my life and not totally master it.  This is not a bad thing, because it just means my images should get better as times goes on.

 

Even in the 1st week or two, I found that my results were noticeably better than when I used Ps, especially when processing NB images.  There are few things that I find that Ps is better than PI at: 

1) I can stretch images in Ps without stars sizes increasing too much by applying star masks.  I have not found that masking prior to PI's HT works anywhere near as well.  I will generally use several rounds of MaskStretch for grayscale and ArcsinhStretch for color, but the stars grow much more than with Ps.

2) PI does not have anything similar to Ps Adjustment Layers to me to go back and adjust prior steps.  With PI, I have to step back and make another copy, and then go forward building the copy with new adjustments.

3) Likewise, PI does not have anything similar to Ps ability to toggle a layer on/off.

4) Ps much more adept at making very specific masks (such as using a Wacom tablet to draw the details) and then have highly customized cosmetic adjustments.  On one image of mine, I had to get it nearly finished in PI and save a TIF and then use Ps coverup/blur some corner stacking/overlap problems.

 

PI has a huge advantage of doing all its processing in 32-bit, while Ps can do only a very limited number of things in 32-bit, require conversion to 16-bit before doing the majority of the processing.  The downside is PI processing goes through terabytes of SSD space very fast.


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#21 pfile

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 05:23 PM

by the way, which tutorial is the "official" tutorial? are you talking about the ones on this page?: https://www.youtube....GgL_rPx2iGuv17w

 

rob



#22 Jrpavlock

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 06:57 AM

by the way, which tutorial is the "official" tutorial? are you talking about the ones on this page?: https://www.youtube....GgL_rPx2iGuv17w

rob

Yes, full of jargon and needless tech-speak. Useless to me.

Even the term "stretching" throws me. When I think of stretching, I think of elongating an entire image. But I sense this isn't correct.

Anyway, thanks for the tips. Not sure what I'll do. I don't wanna learn two different systems though, that's for sure!!

Edited by Jrpavlock, 13 July 2020 - 07:09 AM.


#23 WadeH237

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 10:42 AM

I would suggest that you try the video in post 13, above.

 

Also, based on your current level of knowledge, I would highly recommend Adam Block's PixInsight Fundamentals series.  It's not free, but for me it was worth every penny - and then some.  One of the things that Adam does better than anyone else (in my opinion), is that he fully explains the concepts behind what he's doing.  He does not use any jargon without first explaining it.



#24 Stelios

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 02:09 PM

Yes, full of jargon and needless tech-speak. Useless to me.

Even the term "stretching" throws me. When I think of stretching, I think of elongating an entire image. But I sense this isn't correct.

Anyway, thanks for the tips. Not sure what I'll do. I don't wanna learn two different systems though, that's for sure!!

When I started with this, I didn't know what a histogram was, much less stretching :)

 

But you DO have to be willing to learn basic terminology as part of your "entry fee" to AP, and stretching *is* basic terminology ("jargon" to you). The tutorials assume you know basic concepts, and just want to learn how Pixinsight does it (better). I strongly recommend a book such as Bracken's The Deep Sky Imaging Primer




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