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GraXpert, a new, free, and open source tool for gradient removal in deep sky photos

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#51 Rick Evans

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Posted 06 February 2023 - 12:42 PM

Just by luck GraXpert came to my attention via this review when I opened Google on Android smartphone. Maybe I don't spend enough time on Cloudynights laugh.gif . Anyway, I downloaded it, tried it on several recent images and, impressed with the results, added it to my digital toolkit. I use Paintshop Pro and my workload with gradients will be greatly reduced. 



#52 chuck666

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Posted 06 February 2023 - 02:11 PM

Chuck - it's a hardware/software specific problem.

 

On an Apple 5k Studio Display used on an M1 Mac the resolution is fine. but as has been previously noted the response time to moving boxes, clicking on buttons etc is glacially slow. 

 

This is a great piece of software, and I hope the developers can fix these problems.

I hope so, too. I have a basic graphics card. nVidia GeForce 950. Sony TV 4K monitor.


Edited by chuck666, 07 February 2023 - 10:18 AM.


#53 blakesphere

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Posted 07 February 2023 - 09:44 AM

May I humbly make a feature request?

 

Would you be able to support RAW camera formats from DSLRs?

 

Say the CR2 format with Canon?

 

I forgot the format with Nikon, NEF?

 

Thank you for considering...



#54 chuck666

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Posted 17 February 2023 - 08:54 AM

Isn't the OP monitoring his own thread? Still can't use this SW?



#55 CltFlyboy

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Posted 17 February 2023 - 09:25 AM

My suggestion is to reach out to the vendor via their Github site. There are tools for asking them specific questions there, as well as filing bug and feature requests. Cloudy Nights makes the Vendors forum available so that they can showcase their products; it's not really intended for end user support.



#56 tommy2000

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Posted 23 February 2023 - 11:08 AM

Hi all,

 

for the MacOS users among us: please note that GraXpert is not signed by an Apple Developer Certificate. This means that MacOS won't execute GraXpert without explicit whitelisting by the user.

 

The following steps do this for me in a reproducible way:

  • (if installed previously) remove the old GraXpert installation from the applications folder (i.e., move it to the trash).
  • double click on the downloaded .dmg. MacOS 'mounts' the .dmg file and should open it in a new window in Finder.
  • copy 'GraXpert' from this window into the applications folder (e.g., via drag & drop)

From here it gets a little bit strange and I have to open GraXpert always two times until it starts:

  • Start GraXpert via double click from the programs folder. After a short time MacOS complains that it can't analyze the application.
  • Open GraXpert again, but this time via ctrl + right-click -> Open. A slightly different dialog should open, where you have to explicitly confirm the launch again. As I understand it, this step is equivalent to allow application startup via System Preferences/Security & Privacy/General (just a bit shorter). Unfortunately, this ctrl + right-click "workaround" won't work the first time you open it - for whatever reason.

Afterward you should be able to open GraXpert simply via double click. These steps have to be repeated for each new GraXpert release / download.

 

Please also note that GraXpert probably won't run on MacOS Mojave (10.14.) or older.

 

In the meantime we released GraXpert Dione RC-4 (v1.0.3). You can follow the release history and grab it from here:
https://github.com/S...aXpert/releases

 

CS
David

This was really helpful, much appreciated! I've a Mac Studio with M1, this cracked the code to get GraXpert up and running. Look forward to using it as I'm an expert an gathering gradients smile.gif , many thanks to the developer of this code!


  • jlg84 and rayman54 like this

#57 MickeyB4

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Posted 02 June 2023 - 11:08 AM

This is a reply to David, one of developers.  Your procedure for getting GraXpert to run on my M2Pro running OS 13.4 does not work.  It will not open file.  The header for GraXpert appears on screen assorted options, but the spinning beachball runs for several minutes and then it dies.  It says, GraXpert not responding.



#58 Mark Eby

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Posted 21 June 2023 - 04:38 PM

As a general response to the topic of GraXpert, I just tried it and found it works as well or better than any other gradient removal tool I've used, including PixInsight's ABE (AutomaticBackgroundExtractor) and DBE (DynamicBackgroundExtractor). Plus, it's quite easy to use.

 

The default settings work well, and any problem areas of an image are easily fixed by simply adding more samples.

 

Thank you "schmelly" and all of the GraXpert team. The price is certainly right ... wink.gif 



#59 JTSAN

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Posted 28 July 2023 - 08:40 AM

Dear community,

 

I am one of the developers of GraXpert, a free and open source (BSD-3-licensed) standalone tool that makes removal of gradients in deep-sky photos easy and free, and provides - as we believe - high quality results. We just released GraXpert (RC1) for the first time earlier this week. We provide both the source code as well as binary releases for Linux (tested on Ubuntu 20.04), Windows (>10), and MacOS (>10.15) on github.

 

The project: https://github.com/Steffenhir/GraXpert

Releases: https://github.com/S...aXpert/releases

The license: https://github.com/S...ob/main/LICENSE

 

The tool is from hobbyists for hobbyists and we do not make any money out of it.

 

--------------------------------------------------

A note to the moderatos of this forum: with this introduction, I hope I do meet the requirements on mentioning open source software here, following your "Software Developers Please Read" topic: https://www.cloudyni...rs-please-read/

If you think my topic is ill-placed I would be more than happy to get the vendor status flag (I assume it is free for open source software?) and that you move my topic to the vendor announcement forum.

--------------------------------------------------

 

Maybe a bit of background information on the tool: the idea for GraXpert was born by Frank Sackenheim in context of the Dark Matters Discord community about three months ago. The idea was to create a (very!) affordable tool for gradient removal, especially targeting beginners. Steffen, Christian, and me picked up the idea and we were able to produce a first release candidate for which we would love to hear your feedback and see your results!

 

Frank is a german astro photographer, a member of the Dark Matters community, and he was kind enough to setup a website, https://www.graxpert.com, that provides both a video introduction (in English and German), a written user manual, and also the possibility to download GraXpert from there.

 

Do you want to get in contact with us? Please feel free to join the Dark Matters community where we have dedicated channels for GraXpert. Maybe there is a lot of German going on right now. However, generally at Dark Matters we use both English and German so do not hesitate to start a discussion smile.gif

https://discord.gg/9gSq8QCH8g

 

Do you want to open bug reports, feature requests, or even want to contribute? Please have a look at our github project linked above.

 

I would like to thank my fellow developers for their huge time investments during the last two months making this possible in the first place, the Dark Matters community for great contributions (the manual, the logo, the beta testing, the feedback, ...) and Frank for bringing us together in the first place flowerred.gif

 

 

We hope you like it and we wish you a lot of fun getting rid of those shabby gradients (for free heart.png )!

David

Hi David:

I am a newbie to AP and I would like to try GraXpert.  I have a 2021 MacBook Pro M1 computer and i was able to download the app, bypass the security settings on my Mac and tried to open it.  I got the infamous rainbow turning ball  and the app did not open. The download version was for an X86-64-bit Mac, which is why it would not open, I assume.  Is there a version for Apple native silicon, M1?

Cheers,

John



#60 MLM

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Posted 29 July 2023 - 04:15 PM

Hi David:

I am a newbie to AP and I would like to try GraXpert.  I have a 2021 MacBook Pro M1 computer and i was able to download the app, bypass the security settings on my Mac and tried to open it.  I got the infamous rainbow turning ball  and the app did not open. The download version was for an X86-64-bit Mac, which is why it would not open, I assume.  Is there a version for Apple native silicon, M1?

Cheers,

John

I'm running OS 13.4.1 on an M1 Ultra and GraXpert runs fine. You do not need a native version. Rosetta takes care of it. Perhaps try reinstalling GraXpert?



#61 JTSAN

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Posted 29 July 2023 - 04:47 PM

Hello:

Thanks for your reply.  I  have tried to install a number of times with the same result.  I can get past the security issues because GraXpert is not a known Apple developer, but once installed the app will not open.  All I get is a rotating rainbow ball that does not stop for over 2 minutes.  I'm on the same OS and perhaps its a MacBook Pro issue as a friend of mine with an Apple M1 Studio is running it fine.

I'm running OS 13.4.1 on an M1 Ultra and GraXpert runs fine. You do not need a native version. Rosetta takes care of it. Perhaps try reinstalling GraXpert?



#62 rayman54

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Posted 29 July 2023 - 08:08 PM

I'm using GraXpert on a MacBook Pro M1 with no issues...

 

I did have some issues initially though, good luck.

Hello:

Thanks for your reply.  I  have tried to install a number of times with the same result.  I can get past the security issues because GraXpert is not a known Apple developer, but once installed the app will not open.  All I get is a rotating rainbow ball that does not stop for over 2 minutes.  I'm on the same OS and perhaps its a MacBook Pro issue as a friend of mine with an Apple M1 Studio is running it fine.

 



#63 nwcs

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Posted 30 July 2023 - 11:59 AM

I'm using GraXpert on a MacBook Pro M1 with no issues...

I did have some issues initially though, good luck.

Same. Although I hope the python libraries come out with Mac silicon native versions as the emulation is very slow.

#64 schmelly

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 01:06 PM

Dear community,

 

we created a new BETA build of GraXpert including a fourth, one-click, AI-based gradient removal method that has been developed by Steffen recently. We hope gradient removal has never been easier flowerred.gif

 

Frank created both English and German videos on how to install and use the method:

English version: https://www.youtube....h?v=AzDDafSrZ7k

German version: https://www.youtube....h?v=GlDm3kQ2O6A

 

Here, I will focus on the English video and I would like to summarize some important points regarding this release:

  • Relevant Links: please mind the different (download) links in the video description
  • Download & Installation: beside installing GraXpert as usual, you need to download an AI model and put it into the correct location. Frank explains the installation process for both Windows, MacOS, and Linux:
    Download for both GraXpert and the AI model (and Windows installation): https://youtu.be/AzD...fAn78zYY9&t=178
    quick link for MacOS specifics: https://www.youtube....DafSrZ7k&t=305s
    quick link for Linux specifics: https://www.youtube....DafSrZ7k&t=352s
  • You can contribute: the AI model has been trained on images which were provided to us by community members under a non commercial, creative commons license (CC BY-NC-SA). If you have images where the AI results are not convincing (please remember it's a BETA) we would be happy to receive those for improving the AI model in the future (also licensed to us under CC BY-NC-SA). Fank explains how you can contribute at minute 10:33:
    https://youtu.be/AzD...TxkUEgKKj&t=633
  • Quirks: after correct installation, the AI-based method should not take longer than 30 seconds on a reasonable modern computer. If you wait for a results for much longer and it seems GraXpert might hang it is likely that the installation of the AI model was not correct - we will improve this process and the error messages in the future. If you need support it's probably best to ask in the "GraXpert & co > support" channel of the Discord community "Dark Matters":
    https://discord.com/...899291437916210
  • We now provide an arm64 build for MacOS (yay)
  • If you run the BETA build, GraXpert will tell you there is a new version available. Please ignore this message.

Happy gradient removal and CS

David


Edited by schmelly, 25 September 2023 - 01:10 PM.


#65 chuck666

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 02:33 PM

Thank you for the updated beta. And thanks for the menu enlarging capibilies. I can now use the software.

 

I've read all of the entries in the thread. What I am looking for is some documentation?

Specifically, on the save file menu and "what does saved stretched and processed mean"?

Background: I quit using GraXpert because I would get "ringed zones in the processed images". Like a topography map. Using Siril and selecting "dither" they would disappear. Today when trying the new Beta; I used the save stretched option and the all the "ringed zones" were gone. Hooray. Then, I asked myself what does "stretched" mean in your context. 

 

Thanks

Chuck



#66 frasax

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 03:28 PM

Thank you for the updated beta. And thanks for the menu enlarging capibilies. I can now use the software.

 

I've read all of the entries in the thread. What I am looking for is some documentation?

Specifically, on the save file menu and "what does saved stretched and processed mean"?

Background: I quit using GraXpert because I would get "ringed zones in the processed images". Like a topography map. Using Siril and selecting "dither" they would disappear. Today when trying the new Beta; I used the save stretched option and the all the "ringed zones" were gone. Hooray. Then, I asked myself what does "stretched" mean in your context. 

 

Thanks

Chuck

 

Hi Chuck,

 

if you open the image you can use one of the stretch options under menu 2. But this is only to display the image on the screen so you can see something and work with it. If you remove the gradient and save the result, the image is saved as a linear image again (which means you won´t see anything unless you stretch it). But with the option save stretched and processed, you save the image with the actual stretch, that you choosed to display the image. From now on your image is not linear anymore.
Hope this helps.

Cheers

Frank



#67 chuck666

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 05:54 PM

Hi Chuck,

 

if you open the image you can use one of the stretch options under menu 2. But this is only to display the image on the screen so you can see something and work with it. If you remove the gradient and save the result, the image is saved as a linear image again (which means you won´t see anything unless you stretch it). But with the option save stretched and processed, you save the image with the actual stretch, that you choosed to display the image. From now on your image is not linear anymore.
Hope this helps.

Cheers

Frank

Thanks for the response, Frank.

So, if my gradient removed processed image has all these "zones" in it; they are part of the linear image and there is NO setting that eliminates them as in the "dither" setting in Siril? Hasn't this anamoly shown up before or am I missing something. 

 

Chuck



#68 chuck666

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for the response, Frank.

So, if my gradient removed processed image has all these "zones" in it; they are part of the linear image and there is NO setting that eliminates them as in the "dither" setting in Siril? Hasn't this anamoly shown up before or am I missing something. 

 

Chuck

I reviewed the setting in Siril and it is used to prevent "color banding" in a processed image by artificially dithering the image.

Chuck



#69 chuck666

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Posted 25 September 2023 - 06:19 PM

I reviewed the setting in Siril and it is used to prevent "color banding" in a processed image by artificially dithering the image.

Chuck

To All,

 

Clearly, I don't understand the nuiances of this subject as a "rookie" after 3 years of AP. I just went back to this mornings image processing and could not produce the effect I mentioned above. 

I need to review my processing or lack of and look at the person in the mirror for less advice. LOL Sorry, for any confusion.

Chuck



#70 frasax

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 05:02 PM

Thanks for the response, Frank.

So, if my gradient removed processed image has all these "zones" in it; they are part of the linear image and there is NO setting that eliminates them as in the "dither" setting in Siril? Hasn't this anamoly shown up before or am I missing something. 

 

Chuck

Would be better if you provide a picture, cause I don´t know exactly what you are seeing there. What i can imagine is a kind of "steps" in brightness changes in those images (posterization). Could be, that this is just an effect of how the images are displayed on the screen. 
Banding is an issue that can appear in images with CMOS Cameras. But those are straight lines either horizontal or vertical throughout the whole image.

Anyway, I think thats all not an issue with the specific software, May it be GraXpert or Siril.

CS Frank



#71 chuck666

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 03:23 PM

2023-09-27T13.33.12.jpeg

Would be better if you provide a picture, cause I don´t know exactly what you are seeing there. What i can imagine is a kind of "steps" in brightness changes in those images (posterization). Could be, that this is just an effect of how the images are displayed on the screen. 
Banding is an issue that can appear in images with CMOS Cameras. But those are straight lines either horizontal or vertical throughout the whole image.

Anyway, I think thats all not an issue with the specific software, May it be GraXpert or Siril.

CS Frank

Here ya go.



#72 Steffenhir

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 10:48 AM

Hi Chuck, what software did you use to stack your image and did you save the stack as 16 bit or 32 bit? Such artifacts can occur with 16 bit images due to the lower bit depth and are already there before background removal. The background removal only makes them visible.

 

We have released a new version of GraXpert v1.0.6cAI https://github.com/S...s/tag/v1.0.6cAI which addresses the most common problems with the previous Beta version. In the new version, the directory of the 'bg_model' folder can be set manually in the advanced menu on the right. The default directory remains the same. Also, the starting message now takes into account Beta versions and when newer official releases are available, and we added more error messages for errors during calculation.

 

Also, we have released a new version of the AI https://drive.google...bpy?usp=sharing which was trained with all new images sent to us by the community.



#73 chuck666

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 11:46 AM

Hi Chuck, what software did you use to stack your image and did you save the stack as 16 bit or 32 bit? Such artifacts can occur with 16 bit images due to the lower bit depth and are already there before background removal. The background removal only makes them visible.

 

We have released a new version of GraXpert v1.0.6cAI https://github.com/S...s/tag/v1.0.6cAI which addresses the most common problems with the previous Beta version. In the new version, the directory of the 'bg_model' folder can be set manually in the advanced menu on the right. The default directory remains the same. Also, the starting message now takes into account Beta versions and when newer official releases are available, and we added more error messages for errors during calculation.

 

Also, we have released a new version of the AI https://drive.google...bpy?usp=sharing which was trained with all new images sent to us by the community.

Thanks Steffen....... I stack in Siril and it changes to 16b LUT? for autostrech viewing. I now suspect that's the answer.

 

Let's put this to bed for now and I'll try the new AI version.

Thank You.

Chuck



#74 rayman54

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 12:01 PM

I'd up graded to Sonoma 14.0 on my M1 Mac.  GraXpert no longer works.  Is anyone else in this same situation?



#75 chuck666

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Posted 01 October 2023 - 12:09 PM

I'd up graded to Sonoma 14.0 on my M1 Mac.  GraXpert no longer works.  Is anyone else in this same situation?

Using Win11 64b ; I get "saved model file does not exist" at ...................

 

That file name is NOT in the BG model folder. one similar is? the missing file is NOT in your DL directory, either..

 

 It wants a file named saved_model.pbtxt, that isn't in the the download.

So I added "txt" to the existing file saved_mode.pb; just for fun. It found that file and gives me a UT8 codec error.

I am now over my head.

Good luck


Edited by chuck666, 01 October 2023 - 12:46 PM.



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