Great topic... software.
Which capturing and processing software are you using? Does the software have to be compatible to each other or they are stand alone software?
What other software are required? auto guiding?
I use Adobe Lightroom for my Photography shots. Is this software adequate for AP?
There's a relatively recent, but fairly mature option that, in my opinion, is _far_ superior for beginners.
My history. I started with DSS and Paint Shop Pro. So firsthand how useless it is to spend time trying to warp a terrestrial editing program into doing astro. So I went to DSS and StarTools. _Much better_. But DSS, which is pretty much abandonware, was clearly the weak link. So I went to Pixinsight. A good, but difficult choice.
There's now Astro Pixel Processor. Like PI it calibrates, stacks and processes, there are _major_ advantages to doing all 3 in one program. Like PI, it has an excellent gradient reduction tool for reducing the effects of light pollution. So does StarTools, it's one reason why an asro specific program is better.
You can usefully think of APP as PI lite. If you later go to PI, time spent with APP is not wasted. Most of what you learn will carry over.
It's far easier to learn and use. It actually _teaches_ you how to process, there's a workflow (the order of the steps you do things in) embedded within it. In PI, if you mess up the workflow, it shrugs and says to itself "well, I guess he wanted to do that."
No surprise, it's not free. But, consider how much you spend on equipment. Which is only half the job. Spending $200 on the other half is really trivial. The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of time, frustration, and quality. APP is cost effective.
This is not a close call. The comment of one beginner I recommended it to.
"Bob! A lifesaver!"
Edited by bobzeq25, 17 January 2021 - 02:52 PM.