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What would you do? Stacking/Processing Fork in the Road.

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#1 Tatonkadriver

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 11:55 AM

Sorry for another "what would you do" post, but software is changing very rapidly that i feel the need to be that guy. Just made the step up from my previous DSLR/Skuguider Pro setup to a EQ6-R/ASI2600MC-P/ASI120mm. I had been using Starry Sky Stacker and Photoshop running on an iMac. Work, home is setup to be mac so i want to stay in that lane if possible. Starry Sky Stacker doesnt recognize FITS files so its probably a chance to move software. If given the chance to start again at this point what would you all suggest/do differently? I had no experience/background in editing before diving into Photoshop to edit family pictures, so i feel I'm a somewhat trainable older dog. Just looking for some discussion. Thanks.



#2 the Elf

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 12:15 PM

PI user here. PI is available for all platforms, Windoze, Linux and Mac. Grab some popcorn and watch my epic video so that you have an idea how it works:

https://www.youtube....h?v=mvuMrHEWaS8

 

Nico Carver has got a bunch of videos about different programs. I don't know which one is availble for Mac. As soon as you know can check his channel as well:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NebulaPhotos

 

As you post in the Deep Sky forum I assume you want to do Deep Sky. Please note that PI is not made for planetary and solar. There is a different forum for this if you want to try that route as well.


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#3 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 01:17 PM

If you are looking to do astro image processing, but don't have the background and interest in the intricacies of pushing pixels around, I recommend taking a look at StarTools.  It can create very high quality images, but hides most of the details of the processing behind a small set of high-level modules.  There is a free and time-unlimited trial of the software, with the final purchase being very reasonable.  It's available on all platforms.

 

StarTools, unfortunately, does not do stacking of the sub images.  For that you will need a separate program.  I've mostly used Deep Sky Stacker, but it's not (yet) available for the Mac platform.  Another free alternative is ASTAP.  It has a pretty good stacking capability, likes FITS images, and is available cross-platform.  It also has a number of other utility functions (best known for its plate solving capability), and so is a good program to get to know regardless.



#4 unimatrix0

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 01:24 PM

I recommend APP.  It might feel a bit daunting first, but certainly not Pixinsight level. 

I started with AstroPixel Processor and I continue to have yearly suscription.  Works on all Mac/Linux/Windows. 

 

I also use Siril for single session integrations it's quick and easy and free, just 3 clicks upon loading it. 

 

 APP is great for multi night combination/multi sessions of subs taken with different cameras and/or different angles of the DSO- as long as you have your calibration subs/master frames  for them.  It also does well removing light pollution and doin background and star calibrations. 


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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 11:31 PM

Second the vote for APP.  Calibrates/stacks/processes in one program, a serious advantage.  Has an excellent gradient reduction tool to reduce the effects of light pollution.

 

Gives excellent results with much less effort than PixInsight.  A built in numbered workflow that actually teaches you processing,  Experience with APP will not be wasted if you later go to PI, much will transfer.

 

The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time, frustration level, and image quality.



#6 the Elf

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 12:35 AM


The "free" alternatives are not free in terms of your time, frustration level, and image quality.

True, true.



#7 Tatonkadriver

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 08:47 AM

Thanks for the replies.

#8 fewayne

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 09:53 AM

Concur with what these guys said. And congrats on the new rig -- sounds like a real winner!



#9 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 10:06 AM

As a Mac user, I have tried quite a few different applications. The winner? PI. It does both your pre- and post-processing tasks and it does them extremely well. It's also got quite a learning curve.

 

APP is a good piece of software as well. It takes a very process-oriented approach. Start on tab 0, go to tab 1, then to tab 2, etc... I found it to be tedious and didn't like it much, but don't take my experiences as gospel. Try it out for yourself to see if it works for you.

 

SiriL is nice, and I used it for a while. My biggest issues with it are that the UI is rather clunky and it starts to show its limitations (especially in MacOS) when you are trying to deal with data captured over multiple nights (i.e. you have to deal with different calibration frames).

 

All three of these do both pre- and post-processing. StarTools, which was suggested earlier, does not. It is a post-processing tool only. I haven't mastered it, usually making a mess of things when I try using it... but that's MY limitation, not the software's :). Ivo, the guy who wrote it, is typically quite active on the forums and he is constantly dropping into threads giving out excellent tips and tricks.




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