Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Is there a way to mask parts of sky in planetarium software?

  • Please log in to reply
41 replies to this topic

#26 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 23 June 2021 - 08:41 PM

I forgot to mention (in post#11) that I used Stellarium to 'goto' each azimuth's (AZ) elevation (ALT) to find the actual clear view of the sky. (Up a little more? Racafratz pakalumer! I went the wrong way! lol.gif)

 

Even with comfortable familiarity with an EQ mount, it was quite frustrating point to the exact spot I needed to log for the zero_horizon.txt file. So I clicked on the spot (after pressing 'A' in Stellarium to give a night sky) and hit [Ctrl]+[1] and it easily found the new spot. No trees? Down a little bit. Got trees? Up until the view was full cleared of treetops. Mark it!

So you use Stellarium to control your mount as a click and go?  I was wondering how Stellarium is for controlling the scope.  I'm newly getting into some imaging (or maybe more EEA), hence trying to identify what can be seen around my obstructions.  So I haven't yet tried to control the scope via planetarium software.



#27 lphilpot

lphilpot

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,077
  • Joined: 15 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Central Lousiana, USA

Posted 23 June 2021 - 09:30 PM

I live in a town called Pineville - Any surprise? :D  That sweet gum is about the only non-pine tree within sight. It would do my heart good for 85% of the trees in a 30 mile radius to be gone. Would also help thousands of sinuses each spring!!


  • Nebulous1 likes this

#28 Dynan

Dynan

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,080
  • Joined: 11 Mar 2018
  • Loc: NOLA

Posted 23 June 2021 - 09:49 PM

I'm having trouble connecting my scope to Stellarium 0.21.0 so I've dropped back to 0.19.0 and use the (now obsolete) Stellarium Scope. (I'll nail down the problem on a non-imaging day sometime, but this older works.)

 

Yes, in Stellarium I choose a point on the Azimuthal grid corresponding to the azimuth degree I want to plot and press [Ctrl]+[1] and it slews there. No trees? Click lower on the azimuth line and [Ctrl]+[1]. Got wood? Click a bit higher on the azimuth line and [Ctrl]+[1].

 

I always have Equatorial grid and Azimuthal grid on so I can see where I'm at relative to zenith, cardinal direction, etc. 



#29 Dynan

Dynan

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,080
  • Joined: 11 Mar 2018
  • Loc: NOLA

Posted 23 June 2021 - 09:52 PM

Thanks Dynan, I did a roughing in of my obstacles, just using a compass and estimating the altitude from my back patio (the worst of my three spots).  And, wow.  I really need to think about removing a tree or two!

Wow! I though I had a limited sky! (But personally, I figure a tree should live rather than succumb to my egocentric quest for photons that few I know, other than myself, appreciate.)


  • Nebulous1 and bips3453 like this

#30 MattZ40

MattZ40

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 89
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Charlotte, NC, US

Posted 24 June 2021 - 06:43 AM

MattZ40, that looks a lot like the kind of major obstructions I have.  I watched the Martin's Astrophotography video DJL posted above, and the one thing I didn't see was how you get the altitude of the obstructions correctly reflected in Stellarium.  I like your solution with matching a pic of the moon at a reference point in your site and then matching with the same time in Stellarium! 

Actually you have to do a couple things to get the scale right. I noticed that with a single layer panorama what should be straight vertical lines were pretty warped, so I made a 3 'storey' panorama. First one with the camera as level as possible, second one above that but overlapping considerably, and the 3rd one below the first, also overlapping. MS Image Composite Editor stitched it together automatically. It's free but hard to find now, available on CNET I believe. I think the amount of warping depends on how close obstructions are. If they're not close it may not matter.

If you follow the video I linked the guy shows how to align the vertical center of the pic while working in photoshop. Once that's done and you resize to match your alignment reference picture (moon in my case), the scale will be correct. The red cardinal points in Stellarium should sit on what should be the true horizon, whether you can see it or not.


  • Nebulous1 likes this

#31 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 24 June 2021 - 03:32 PM

Actually you have to do a couple things to get the scale right. I noticed that with a single layer panorama what should be straight vertical lines were pretty warped, so I made a 3 'storey' panorama. First one with the camera as level as possible, second one above that but overlapping considerably, and the 3rd one below the first, also overlapping. MS Image Composite Editor stitched it together automatically. It's free but hard to find now, available on CNET I believe. I think the amount of warping depends on how close obstructions are. If they're not close it may not matter.

If you follow the video I linked the guy shows how to align the vertical center of the pic while working in photoshop. Once that's done and you resize to match your alignment reference picture (moon in my case), the scale will be correct. The red cardinal points in Stellarium should sit on what should be the true horizon, whether you can see it or not.

I spent part of the morning (off on vacation) looking for software to stitch together pics, but what I found was disappointing.  Then realized my camera can do a 360 degree panorama, so why not let the camera do the stitching?

 

So, I did 3 levels of a full 360 panorama, and found the Image Composite Editor you mentioned (yes, only found at CNET), and it quickly put the levels together.

 

But, for some reason, even though each 360 is ~15MB, and the total shows as 50 megapixels, it's really pixelated if you zoom in so seems rough when not zoomed in, while the pics on my phone are sharp when zoomed.  Maybe because it's old software (2008)?  But it should do the job!

 

Now I need to see how to do the other steps and clean up he showed in the video without photoshop.  I really don't want to do their subscription plan.



#32 lphilpot

lphilpot

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,077
  • Joined: 15 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Central Lousiana, USA

Posted 24 June 2021 - 05:03 PM

Hugin is free and can make good panoramas. It runs on Windows and Linux (and maybe Mac?). It's a graphical interface for the Panotools suite of command line programs. I've used it to make many panos


  • mikefulb and gzotti like this

#33 gmiller123456

gmiller123456

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 183
  • Joined: 25 Dec 2020

Posted 24 June 2021 - 06:16 PM

Actually you have to do a couple things to get the scale right. I noticed that with a single layer panorama what should be straight vertical lines were pretty warped

 

Keep in mind that the sky in Stellarium (and all other software) is also "warped".  There are lots of ways to "project" the 3d world on to a 2d screen, and if you really want to be accurate, you can try to get both the planetarium software and the stitching software to use the same projection algorithm.  If you go into the "Sky and Viewing Options" the first screen at the bottom will give you the choice of a dozen or so different projection algorithms.

 

Figuring out what algorithm your stitching software used might be a little tougher.  Trial and error might work.  Having to guess, I'd try them in this order: stereographic, cylindric, mercator, perspective, orthographic.



#34 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 24 June 2021 - 07:18 PM

Hugin is free and can make good panoramas. It runs on Windows and Linux (and maybe Mac?). It's a graphical interface for the Panotools suite of command line programs. I've used it to make many panos

 

Thx, I did already have Hugin installed and forgot about it.  But I went ahead and got Affinity Photo.  Looks like a good alternative to PhotoShop, but a one time purchase and on 50% off sale.  

 

Now I just need to figure out how to use it.  :)   

 

My samsung note 10 phone did a really good job of making a 360 degree panorama, and I did three different angles, so will be just stitching in those layers, cropping, resizing, cleaning up the sky part, and then applying (I hope!).



#35 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 24 June 2021 - 07:24 PM

Keep in mind that the sky in Stellarium (and all other software) is also "warped".  There are lots of ways to "project" the 3d world on to a 2d screen, and if you really want to be accurate, you can try to get both the planetarium software and the stitching software to use the same projection algorithm.  If you go into the "Sky and Viewing Options" the first screen at the bottom will give you the choice of a dozen or so different projection algorithms.

 

Figuring out what algorithm your stitching software used might be a little tougher.  Trial and error might work.  Having to guess, I'd try them in this order: stereographic, cylindric, mercator, perspective, orthographic.

Yes, I've seen all the algorithm options.  Could be why the free software I tried did some funky stuff, really warped each image. When I used MS ICE to stitch 6 photos to stitch, it stitched 4, then did the other two separate, and I couldn't see how to move any.  On another I tried it set up control points that connected two of the pics to where they shouldn't.

 

Seeing the video on using PhotoShop seemed easier to just drag it yourself, where the ones that do the panorama stitching for you seem to get it wrong, then not have much flexibility to move things yourself to correct. 

 

But, it may be that I'm too impatient to spend much time learning how to use them.

 

I think I'll like the Affinity Photo I just installed, but each has their own methods, so still learning. 



#36 airscottdenning

airscottdenning

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 24 June 2021 - 07:45 PM

There are FANTASTIC free phone apps that do almost ALL THE WORK of creating these panoramas (actually "photospheres"). They use the compass and accelerometer in the phone to collect and process spatially-registered images in every direction (in 3D, both azimuth and altitude).

 

For iPhone, use Google Street View. For Android, use Google Photos. [You DO NOT have to upload the photos to google]

 

The app prompts you with big red circles on the field of view and you point around until each circle turns green. You do this until you've covered the whole sphere of points of view. It takes maybe a minute and you get a nice progress bar that shows when you're done.

 

Then you hit "Process" and the app merges the whole thing into a photo on your phone that's twice as many pixels wide as it is tall (360 degrees by 180 degrees). No need for stitching your own panorama. As has been written in posts on this thread, most panorama software isn't good with 3D perspective, which is what you need here.

Finally, you import this 2D pic into a desktop app like Photoshop or GIMP or PixelMator or whatever. Select the empty sky and erase to a transparent background. 

 

Save the pic as a 4096 x 2048 .PNG and import into SkySafari or KSTars. Very easy and reliable! Also doesn't require the internet. I've done it twice at my dark site that has no cell service.

Example attached.  
 

Attached Thumbnails

  • backyard.kstars.jpg

Edited by airscottdenning, 24 June 2021 - 07:48 PM.

  • Nebulous1 likes this

#37 MattZ40

MattZ40

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 89
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Charlotte, NC, US

Posted 25 June 2021 - 01:57 PM

I spent part of the morning (off on vacation) looking for software to stitch together pics, but what I found was disappointing.  Then realized my camera can do a 360 degree panorama, so why not let the camera do the stitching?

 

So, I did 3 levels of a full 360 panorama, and found the Image Composite Editor you mentioned (yes, only found at CNET), and it quickly put the levels together.

 

But, for some reason, even though each 360 is ~15MB, and the total shows as 50 megapixels, it's really pixelated if you zoom in so seems rough when not zoomed in, while the pics on my phone are sharp when zoomed.  Maybe because it's old software (2008)?  But it should do the job!

 

Now I need to see how to do the other steps and clean up he showed in the video without photoshop.  I really don't want to do their subscription plan.

That ICE software is amazing, it's a shame MS stopped letting people get it directly from them.

So you made 3 panoramas with your camera and then stitched those together?  Mine does panoramas too but I just took pictures and let ICE stitch them together. Didn't change any settings, went with the defaults. Don't try to move images around, I spent a hour trying to figure out how to do that, got frustrated and hit the stitch button and it just figured it out.

My experience with camera stitched panoramas is that the finished panorama will only be as wide as a regular picture. So if your camera resolution is 2048 wide X 1024 high for example, you'll end up with a panorama that is 2048 wide X something much less than 1024 high. It's likely that's what's going on and why your image doesn't seem to be high resolution. See if you can check the pixel dimensions of one of the panorama layers (before stitching outside of your camera or phone) and compare to the dimensions of a regular snapshot. If the panorama is no wider than the snapshot, there's your problem.

I don't blame you for not wanting photoshop. They charge more than I'm willing to pay. If my wife didn't have it, I wouldn't either. It sounds like Affinity will do the trick. I'm sure it has a huge learning curve as they all do. Hopefully you can find instructional videos that show how to make things transparent, etc. instead of taking all the time to figure it out on your own.



#38 MattZ40

MattZ40

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 89
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Charlotte, NC, US

Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:17 PM

Keep in mind that the sky in Stellarium (and all other software) is also "warped".  There are lots of ways to "project" the 3d world on to a 2d screen, and if you really want to be accurate, you can try to get both the planetarium software and the stitching software to use the same projection algorithm.  If you go into the "Sky and Viewing Options" the first screen at the bottom will give you the choice of a dozen or so different projection algorithms.

 

Figuring out what algorithm your stitching software used might be a little tougher.  Trial and error might work.  Having to guess, I'd try them in this order: stereographic, cylindric, mercator, perspective, orthographic.

That ICE program gives you a choice of several projections. I tried them all and some come out looking pretty bizarre. ICE and Stellarium are both set to stereographic, it looks pretty realistic and it's been accurate regarding the appearance and disappearance times of objects.

 

I was also looking for more detail when making a 3 layer panorama. I have obstructions almost overhead so 1 layer wouldn't show them, and memory's relatively cheap so I wasn't too concerned about file size.



#39 airscottdenning

airscottdenning

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 22 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 25 June 2021 - 03:36 PM

That ICE program gives you a choice of several projections. I tried them all and some come out looking pretty bizarre. ICE and Stellarium are both set to stereographic, it looks pretty realistic and it's been accurate regarding the appearance and disappearance times of objects.

 

I was also looking for more detail when making a 3 layer panorama. I have obstructions almost overhead so 1 layer wouldn't show them, and memory's relatively cheap so I wasn't too concerned about file size.

If you use photosphere software on your phone to capture and process the images, you can completely skip the ICE step, ignore the multiple layers, and get really excellent spherical geometry that's correctly geolocated to compass directions and altitude.

 

See my post above for details.


  • Nebulous1 likes this

#40 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 25 June 2021 - 07:06 PM

If you use photosphere software on your phone to capture and process the images, you can completely skip the ICE step, ignore the multiple layers, and get really excellent spherical geometry that's correctly geolocated to compass directions and altitude.

 

See my post above for details.

Thanks for the photo sphere instructions.  It worked very well.  But I get an error message on trying to use the new landscape in Stellarium (I followed the steps on a youtube by Martin’s Astrophotography), but get an error:

                             No landscape was installed. The selected file is not a ZIP archive or does not contain a Stellarium landscape.

I rechecked and think everything is correct.  His video is about 10 months old, so maybe Stellarium was changed.  Back to the drawing board for now.  



#41 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 25 June 2021 - 07:09 PM

That ICE software is amazing, it's a shame MS stopped letting people get it directly from them.

So you made 3 panoramas with your camera and then stitched those together?  Mine does panoramas too but I just took pictures and let ICE stitch them together. Didn't change any settings, went with the defaults. Don't try to move images around, I spent a hour trying to figure out how to do that, got frustrated and hit the stitch button and it just figured it out.

My experience with camera stitched panoramas is that the finished panorama will only be as wide as a regular picture. So if your camera resolution is 2048 wide X 1024 high for example, you'll end up with a panorama that is 2048 wide X something much less than 1024 high. It's likely that's what's going on and why your image doesn't seem to be high resolution. See if you can check the pixel dimensions of one of the panorama layers (before stitching outside of your camera or phone) and compare to the dimensions of a regular snapshot. If the panorama is no wider than the snapshot, there's your problem.

I don't blame you for not wanting photoshop. They charge more than I'm willing to pay. If my wife didn't have it, I wouldn't either. It sounds like Affinity will do the trick. I'm sure it has a huge learning curve as they all do. Hopefully you can find instructional videos that show how to make things transparent, etc. instead of taking all the time to figure it out on your own.

By the way, I spoke too soon about the picture being pixelated, after saving I checked and it was good.  But the multi tier always came out too distorted at the top...I tried the photo sphere method and it worked better.  But now get an error on opening in Stellarium.  I'll figure it out, and really appreciate all the help from the CN community!



#42 Nebulous1

Nebulous1

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2012

Posted 25 June 2021 - 08:38 PM

Success!  I worked through a file naming error and was able to load my custom horizon in Stellarium!  And my obstructions weren't as bad as I'd estimated when I used estimated the obstacles so I'm a happy guy.  This is the worst of my three locations, but is most convenient as I learn my new mount.

 

Thanks to all that assisted me thrMy landscape in Stellarium.png ough this!


  • Dynan likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics