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Test Driving StarTools - IC1805 in Hydrogen Alpha

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#1 DubbelDerp

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 11:04 AM

After a few fairly lively threads on StarTools, I thought I would give it a try on one of my own images. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan for how it stretches the data, but I've been interested in a few of the tools in the software for awhile, such as deconvolution and star repair. That's something that's missing in my APP + GIMP workflow, or rather I could never get deconvolution in GIMP working the way I wanted.

 

I shot 62 10-minute light frames of IC1805 this past weekend with my mono-converted Canon 60D, Roki 135mm lens, iExos-100, and Astronomik 6-nm H-a clip filter. All driven by astroberry server, which is working like a champ with my gear now that I've upgraded the RPi from a 2gb model to 8gb. No more crashes with scheduled activities! Stacked with 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 dark flats, and 30 bias frames to scale the darks in Astro Pixel Processor. I did a 2X drizzle to see how much resolution I could get with the little telephoto lens. Slight crop to remove stacking artifacts.

 

At this point I brought it into StarTools and did a gentle stretch with Filmdev, bin/crop, deconvolution, noise reduction, and star shrink/repair. Not sure of all the correct terms in this program as I've been using it for all of 5 minutes now...

 

Have to say, I'm pretty darn impressed with how it handled the narrowband data. Here's the cropped frame... still good resolution after binning, at 3300 x 3150 px.

Annotation 2021-10-19 114405-2.jpg

 

And just for a little sizzle, here's a 100% scale of the center of the nebula. Forum compression kind of kills it, but it still looks pretty sexy considering it was shot with a 135mm lens.

Annotation 2021-10-19 114405-3.jpg

 

I made a bit of a mess of the stars with some ringing artifacts, and wasn't sure if there was a way to improve the halos from the narrowband filter. To my taste, I'd like to bring this into a terrestrial editing program for some slight contrast tweaks via curves, but I'm pretty happy with this as-is. It's certainly not going to replace the other tools I use in post processing, but I'll be purchasing a license for this software, just to add to the overall toolbox.

 

It would be great to see what other more experienced users could do with the data set, or with any other software package just for the fun of it. The more the merrier!

 

Drizzled FITS file:

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing


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#2 AgilityGuy

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 11:56 AM

I ran it through my typical Ha Pixinsight routine.  No noise reduction, only background extraction, contrast enhancement and a tiny amount of sharpening.  Edit: looking at it after posting it doesn't seem I've done anything!lol.gif

 

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

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Edited by AgilityGuy, 19 October 2021 - 11:57 AM.

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#3 DubbelDerp

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 12:04 PM

I ran it through my typical Ha Pixinsight routine.  No noise reduction, only background extraction, contrast enhancement and a tiny amount of sharpening.  Edit: looking at it after posting it doesn't seem I've done anything!lol.gif

 

https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

Thanks Joe, that looks great! Looks like you were able to bring out a bit more of the subtle nebulosity to the left of the heart, although very similar overall. I haven't run it through my standard processing yet because, you know... more panels. grin.gif

 

I'm pretty happy with how the sharpening and deconvolution worked in ST, though. 



#4 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 12:29 PM

That is a great capture Todd!

 

Mindblowing Ha!

 

Even my Soul of about just over 3 hrs just showed much Ha. Allthough i did not get much 'likes' i just liked my picture, allthough it has some caveats. Noise patters so it seem, reason : dithering not aggresive enough...to investigate...

 

Me too i find ST great, at least for me. But i always tweak a bit the colors in GIMP.

 

If i were in your place now i would take some color...and combine the stacksgrin.gif


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#5 AgilityGuy

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 12:32 PM

In Pixinsight I like using the Dark structure enhancement script on the Ha images.  It helps increase contrast without blowing other things out.  A person gets to a point in image processing where it's like walking around the block, up-down, right-left ending up at the place you started.   It really looks like you've already done a great job with the processing already.  Anymore is going to be small incremental gains.


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#6 DubbelDerp

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Posted 19 October 2021 - 02:28 PM

That is a great capture Todd!

 

Mindblowing Ha!

 

Even my Soul of about just over 3 hrs just showed much Ha. Allthough i did not get much 'likes' i just liked my picture, allthough it has some caveats. Noise patters so it seem, reason : dithering not aggresive enough...to investigate...

 

Me too i find ST great, at least for me. But i always tweak a bit the colors in GIMP.

 

If i were in your place now i would take some color...and combine the stacksgrin.gif

Thanks Freddy! Keep in mind that I'm shooting at f/2.4, too... so it's not really a fair comparison, although mine is much lower resolution.

 

And as long as you're happy with your image, then that's all that matters. 



#7 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:28 AM

Todd, i see you shot 10 minutes light frames with the mono.

Well so do i  but just because 'The Elf' told me to take loooong exposures.

 

But why is this actually?

 

What were the specs for the dark flats?



#8 DubbelDerp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 11:35 AM

Todd, i see you shot 10 minutes light frames with the mono.

Well so do i  but just because 'The Elf' told me to take loooong exposures.

 

But why is this actually?

 

What were the specs for the dark flats?

I go with 10-minute subs because the signal is so dim, it takes a long time to get it above the noise of the sensor. With IC1396 I went with 5 minute subs, but by the time I switched to OIII and SII there just wasn't anything in the 5-minute subs. It took 10 minute subs to begin to see anything in the stretched data. Probably could have stood for 20-minute subs... but now that I know I can do 10 minutes, there's just so much more signal in the H-a subs and the final integration is a lot cleaner.

 

I think my dark flats were 5 seconds, ISO 800. Same as the lights. Took 4 layers of cloth to get the exposure time that long through the filter.


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#9 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 12:29 PM

This kind of close-in detail comes from a 135?  Amazing.  waytogo.gif

 

An interestingly, FilmDev is designed for a more grainy and film-like appearance, but seems you got the most out of it.

 

I gave it a quick try, and I think came up with a starker look to things.  But there are many options here.  The detail is so deep, in module after module you can go for stronger or softer revealing of both the targets and the surrounding background.  The data is particularly amenable to HDR, and I even backed it way way off from defaults.

 

That said, I really have zero experience working with mono grayscale data, so pretty lost here and have no idea what I'm doing. tongue2.gif   There's some good zoom-in detail for sure, but the jpg probably washes a lot of that out.  I also binned to about 2600 x 2200 to go through it, which did start squaring off the stars.  Maybe another try maintaining 3300+ would help, as you note.  Thanks for linking it!

 

gallery_345094_15786_375228.jpg


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#10 DubbelDerp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 12:51 PM

This kind of close-in detail comes from a 135?  Amazing.  waytogo.gif

 

An interestingly, FilmDev is designed for a more grainy and film-like appearance, but seems you got the most out of it.

 

I gave it a quick try, and I think came up with a starker look to things.  But there are many options here.  The detail is so deep, in module after module you can go for stronger or softer revealing of both the targets and the surrounding background.  The data is particularly amenable to HDR, and I even backed it way way off from defaults.

 

That said, I really have zero experience working with mono grayscale data, so pretty lost here and have no idea what I'm doing. tongue2.gif   There's some good zoom-in detail for sure, but the jpg probably washes a lot of that out.  I also binned to about 2600 x 2200 to go through it, which did start squaring off the stars.  Maybe another try maintaining 3300+ would help, as you note.  Thanks for linking it!

 

gallery_345094_15786_375228.jpg

Thanks for running through the data, Mike! I'm sure you're a lot better at processing mono data than I am at using ST! lol.gif

 

That being said, I'm pretty impressed with how well a couple of the tools worked, particularly deconvolution and rounding out the oblong stars in the corners from the lens. Now I need to see if there's a way to bring the data into ST, do some corrections to the linear data, and get it back into APP for final stretching. Always something new to learn...



#11 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 01:36 PM

I go with 10-minute subs because the signal is so dim, it takes a long time to get it above the noise of the sensor. With IC1396 I went with 5 minute subs, but by the time I switched to OIII and SII there just wasn't anything in the 5-minute subs. It took 10 minute subs to begin to see anything in the stretched data. Probably could have stood for 20-minute subs... but now that I know I can do 10 minutes, there's just so much more signal in the H-a subs and the final integration is a lot cleaner.

 

I think my dark flats were 5 seconds, ISO 800. Same as the lights. Took 4 layers of cloth to get the exposure time that long through the filter.

Got it!



#12 kevinbreen

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 02:31 PM

After a few fairly lively threads on StarTools, I thought I would give it a try on one of my own images. I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan for how it stretches the data, but I've been interested in a few of the tools in the software for awhile, such as deconvolution and star repair. That's something that's missing in my APP + GIMP workflow, or rather I could never get deconvolution in GIMP working the way I wanted.

I shot 62 10-minute light frames of IC1805 this past weekend with my mono-converted Canon 60D, Roki 135mm lens, iExos-100, and Astronomik 6-nm H-a clip filter. All driven by astroberry server, which is working like a champ with my gear now that I've upgraded the RPi from a 2gb model to 8gb. No more crashes with scheduled activities! Stacked with 30 darks, 30 flats, 30 dark flats, and 30 bias frames to scale the darks in Astro Pixel Processor. I did a 2X drizzle to see how much resolution I could get with the little telephoto lens. Slight crop to remove stacking artifacts.

At this point I brought it into StarTools and did a gentle stretch with Filmdev, bin/crop, deconvolution, noise reduction, and star shrink/repair. Not sure of all the correct terms in this program as I've been using it for all of 5 minutes now...

Have to say, I'm pretty darn impressed with how it handled the narrowband data. Here's the cropped frame... still good resolution after binning, at 3300 x 3150 px.
Annotation 2021-10-19 114405-2.jpg

And just for a little sizzle, here's a 100% scale of the center of the nebula. Forum compression kind of kills it, but it still looks pretty sexy considering it was shot with a 135mm lens.
Annotation 2021-10-19 114405-3.jpg

I made a bit of a mess of the stars with some ringing artifacts, and wasn't sure if there was a way to improve the halos from the narrowband filter. To my taste, I'd like to bring this into a terrestrial editing program for some slight contrast tweaks via curves, but I'm pretty happy with this as-is. It's certainly not going to replace the other tools I use in post processing, but I'll be purchasing a license for this software, just to add to the overall toolbox.

It would be great to see what other more experienced users could do with the data set, or with any other software package just for the fun of it. The more the merrier!

Drizzled FITS file:
https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

"After a few fairly lively threads on StarTools"

O no they weren't!!

In all seriosity, this kind of image blows me away. How can you say this stuff is easier than planetary imaging?!!

EDIT: As for Startools, I love the simplicity of it and I once again doff my hat to Ivo and whoever else might have helped him develop it. I spent a year prior faffing around on Photoshop with poxy results and ST was a breath of fresh air. I'm plagued however with a lack of data due to crap weather here and the effortless ability to always push the wrong buttons no matter what machine, or software in this case, I operate. I hear claims of better options than ST from others, but speaking as someone who has still to master the taking of a flat frame, ST is good for me.

Edited by kevinbreen, 20 October 2021 - 02:37 PM.

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#13 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for running through the data, Mike! I'm sure you're a lot better at processing mono data than I am at using ST! lol.gif

 

That being said, I'm pretty impressed with how well a couple of the tools worked, particularly deconvolution and rounding out the oblong stars in the corners from the lens. Now I need to see if there's a way to bring the data into ST, do some corrections to the linear data, and get it back into APP for final stretching. Always something new to learn...

Final stretching, or redoing an initial stretch from blackness?

 

There's probably a number of ways, and I'm sure Ivo knows some tricks, but would also counsel keeping it within ST to take advantage of tracking, etc.  I used to sometimes be able to go back into AutoDev after doing a few modules and then hit cancel, and the file would end up in its linear state again, albeit I think with those changes included, and you could save it.  I forget how that happened though, and it's not working for me now. lol.gif

 

For sure you can do a deconvolution, if not the other modules, in ST and then take that back to linear.  Just open it up, do your cropping and binning as you see fit or not, run Wipe which I think is always necessary (but for data like this you can hit the NB preset, which kind of zeroes out all the settings for no or minimal effect), do a quick AutoDev, maybe even no ROI, and then run deconvolution to your liking.  Which is much improved in the 1.8 beta, I must say, even if you use the synthetic parameters.  After hitting keep, then go up to restore and select something to the effect of linear, wiped, deconvolved.  You will then have your unstretched but deconvolved data, and can save the file.  Though I think ST saves in 16 bit tiff?  Or png also I believe.



#14 Readerp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:09 PM

Ok, here is a shot at it.

 

ST autodev, wipe, crop, HDR, Sharp, SVDecon, filmdev, Super Structure, Shrink (x2), and the evil DeNoise AI  !!!

 

here is the larger version, still crippled by forum rules, but...

https://www.cloudyni...16896_60250.jpg

 

 

Cheers

Pete

 

med_gallery_311343_16896_60250.jpg


Edited by Readerp, 20 October 2021 - 09:27 PM.


#15 DubbelDerp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 09:46 PM

Ok, here is a shot at it.

ST autodev, wipe, crop, HDR, Sharp, SVDecon, filmdev, Super Structure, Shrink (x2), and the evil DeNoise AI !!!

here is the larger version, still crippled by forum rules, but...
https://www.cloudyni...16896_60250.jpg


Cheers
Pete

med_gallery_311343_16896_60250.jpg


Pete, that looks awesome! Quick question - did you use autodev just as a screen stretch to see the data, and then follow it up by redoing the stretch with filmdev?

I don’t like what autodev does to an image… at all. But TBH, I was trying to process my version to achieve the more “natural” look you get in your images without the fuzziness that sometimes creeps in with this program. Filmdev seemed to stretch the data more cleanly, more like how I prefer the stretches in APP.

Just trying to understand the various modules a little better, so I can integrate it better into my standard workflow.
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#16 Readerp

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Posted 20 October 2021 - 10:49 PM

So I used the autodev to do initial look see with ignore fine detail set to 6.0 pixels, then crop and wipe (I usually set wipe aggressiveness to 1 instead of 75%, unless there are real gradients to deal with.

Then re-do autodev, this time I play with region of interest to control the amount of stretch and also may use the shadow linearity slider to modify the stretch.

 

At the very end I may use filmdev to reduce the stretch (darken) using the gamma slider, or lighten, or this can be done in a photo editor along with fine color tweaks.

 

APP does have a very smooth stretch; filmdev can stretch nicely, or very poorly depending on the subject (IC1396 is an example where filmdev sucks).

But the grain you see in the dim areas after stretching and sharpening is easy to smooth over using Denoise AI or ST noise reduction (I actually skip ST noise reduction now for DeNoise AI almost always)

 

Hope some of this helps

 

Cheers

Pete


Edited by Readerp, 21 October 2021 - 07:16 AM.

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#17 DubbelDerp

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Posted 21 October 2021 - 09:09 AM

So I used the autodev to do initial look see with ignore fine detail set to 6.0 pixels, then crop and wipe (I usually set wipe aggressiveness to 1 instead of 75%, unless there are real gradients to deal with.

Then re-do autodev, this time I play with region of interest to control the amount of stretch and also may use the shadow linearity slider to modify the stretch.

 

At the very end I may use filmdev to reduce the stretch (darken) using the gamma slider, or lighten, or this can be done in a photo editor along with fine color tweaks.

 

APP does have a very smooth stretch; filmdev can stretch nicely, or very poorly depending on the subject (IC1396 is an example where filmdev sucks).

But the grain you see in the dim areas after stretching and sharpening is easy to smooth over using Denoise AI or ST noise reduction (I actually skip ST noise reduction now for DeNoise AI almost always)

 

Hope some of this helps

 

Cheers

Pete

Thanks Pete! Great info.



#18 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 01:29 PM

I seem to have missed a bit the goal of this thread.

 

So here my trial

Better use the link to png file for better resolution

 

https://www.cloudyni...911_1517874.png

 

No filmdev here, i never use it becasue it seems that it is ment for a sort of film emulation...

 

Nice stack, clean

 

Todd how do you get the stack so clean? More frames, more severe dithering?

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#19 DubbelDerp

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:34 PM

Very nice version, Freddy! Again, you controlled that stretch really nicely without bringing in the fuzziness that I keep running into with autodev... What did you do to get the stretch looking so clean?

 

As far as the stack goes, it was about 10 hours of data at f/2.4... The subs had a lot of signal in them as I did 10-minute exposures and dithered aggressively every other sub. The individual calibrated subs still had some horizontal banding in them, but dark scaling, dithering, and pixel rejection did a pretty good job of removing the fixed pattern noise. I'm planning on some SII subs in this area, and I don't expect the stack to look very good.. there's just very little signal in SII.



#20 Ivo Jager

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:30 PM

Final stretching, or redoing an initial stretch from blackness?

 

There's probably a number of ways, and I'm sure Ivo knows some tricks, but would also counsel keeping it within ST to take advantage of tracking, etc.  I used to sometimes be able to go back into AutoDev after doing a few modules and then hit cancel, and the file would end up in its linear state again, albeit I think with those changes included, and you could save it.  I forget how that happened though, and it's not working for me now. lol.gif

 

For sure you can do a deconvolution, if not the other modules, in ST and then take that back to linear.  Just open it up, do your cropping and binning as you see fit or not, run Wipe which I think is always necessary (but for data like this you can hit the NB preset, which kind of zeroes out all the settings for no or minimal effect), do a quick AutoDev, maybe even no ROI, and then run deconvolution to your liking.  Which is much improved in the 1.8 beta, I must say, even if you use the synthetic parameters.  After hitting keep, then go up to restore and select something to the effect of linear, wiped, deconvolved.  You will then have your unstretched but deconvolved data, and can save the file.  Though I think ST saves in 16 bit tiff?  Or png also I believe.

That's a very important point, and something many more veteran imagers miss on first acquaintance with StarTools.

 

In StarTools, deconvolution (as do many other modules!) actually takes into account how you processed - stretched, sharpened, locally optimized dynamic range, etc. - the image prior to launching the module.

 

In other words, the linear deconvolution result is tailored to how you processed the image. Decon in ST goes far beyond just using the linear input - it augments it with lots more data-mined statistics, so it can achieve much more accurate per-pixel regularization (e.g. suppression of artifact development due to noise), and hence, better detail recovery. All this stuff is then back-propagated to the linear result. E.g. "Signal evolution tracking" is not marketing fluff. To wield StarTools most effectively and understand what it is doing, it is highly recommended you familiarize yourself with its underpinnings.

 

In short; sure, you can use the linear result in another application, but you should then ideally make sure you replicate the stretched result you achieved in StarTools for it to be optimal.

 

Lastly, getting your head around AutoDev, is pretty much essential for getting good results from StarTools (most centers around getting a feel for what the RoI and 'Ignore Fine Detail <' parameters do - see docs). Much of the workflow hinges on progressive refinement of dynamic range from coarse to fine. AutoDev was designed to provide the optimal basis to build your image on (if you were a sculptor, AutoDev establishes the rough-hewn block of marble).

 

Hope that helps!


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#21 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 12:43 AM

Very nice version, Freddy! Again, you controlled that stretch really nicely without bringing in the fuzziness that I keep running into with autodev... What did you do to get the stretch looking so clean?

 

 

I will try to post the log tonight, maybe you can  pickup something in there.

 

Stretching is a bit tedious, in many cases i stretch a bit too far and that seems to have an influence on the background and the overall view...

 

This was my second attempt, the first was too far stretched i guess, cause it killed a bit the details...


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#22 DubbelDerp

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 07:39 AM

That's a very important point, and something many more veteran imagers miss on first acquaintance with StarTools.

 

In StarTools, deconvolution (as do many other modules!) actually takes into account how you processed - stretched, sharpened, locally optimized dynamic range, etc. - the image prior to launching the module.

 

In other words, the linear deconvolution result is tailored to how you processed the image. Decon in ST goes far beyond just using the linear input - it augments it with lots more data-mined statistics, so it can achieve much more accurate per-pixel regularization (e.g. suppression of artifact development due to noise), and hence, better detail recovery. All this stuff is then back-propagated to the linear result. E.g. "Signal evolution tracking" is not marketing fluff. To wield StarTools most effectively and understand what it is doing, it is highly recommended you familiarize yourself with its underpinnings.

 

In short; sure, you can use the linear result in another application, but you should then ideally make sure you replicate the stretched result you achieved in StarTools for it to be optimal.

 

Lastly, getting your head around AutoDev, is pretty much essential for getting good results from StarTools (most centers around getting a feel for what the RoI and 'Ignore Fine Detail <' parameters do - see docs). Much of the workflow hinges on progressive refinement of dynamic range from coarse to fine. AutoDev was designed to provide the optimal basis to build your image on (if you were a sculptor, AutoDev establishes the rough-hewn block of marble).

 

Hope that helps!

Thanks Ivo! Gives me some things to consider. Although I'm pretty happy with 90% of my post-processing workflow (for now), I'm trying to keep an open mind. I'll probably give it a go with both methods to see which one gives me better results, as it'll force me to learn how to do it in your software as well. But I was so happy with how decon worked that I was willing to buy a license just for that one feature. Compared with what I was getting with R-L decon in GIMP... well, there's no comparison!



#23 DubbelDerp

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 07:40 AM

I will try to post the log tonight, maybe you can  pickup something in there.

 

Stretching is a bit tedious, in many cases i stretch a bit too far and that seems to have an influence on the background and the overall view...

 

This was my second attempt, the first was too far stretched i guess, cause it killed a bit the details...

Thanks Freddy, that would be appreciated!



#24 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 11:37 AM

Here is the log. I left out the mask coding code.

 

One remark though, it autodevelop section after wiping i forgot to set the ignore fine detail parameter,giving it some value gets a bitter stretch.

AlsoOutside ROI i set to 0

 

I bluntly forgot this in this session.

 

Maybe it helps

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#25 F.Meiresonne

F.Meiresonne

    Cosmos

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 12:00 PM

I killed quite some stars too, in the superstructure module- isolate and 2x schrink module


Edited by F.Meiresonne, 26 October 2021 - 12:01 PM.



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