Up until a few days ago my image processing used only adaptive software to sharpen images or remove noise. Usually these are final steps after initial processing has already happened. Sometimes my finished product showed color noise, like someone dusted a little bit of colored baby powder onto the surface of my image. And then there are other types of noise.... what to do about eliminating these problems?
Recently my attention was called to software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to remove noise, sharpen images, and enlarge images without the expected detail loss. Many such programs are available and they come as plug-ins to other programs or as standalone programs in some cases. Some programs tackle one of these issues (denoise, sharpen, enlarge), enhance) and some tackle them all. They don't eliminate the need for a general image processing program like Siril or Gimp or whatever you use.
Users of PixInsight or Photoshop will probably like a plug-in like noiseXterminator. Personally, I haven't learned how to use PixInsight yet, although it is in my future I expect. I currently use Siril, Gimp, ImagesPlus, and Photoshop Elements. Recently I added the Topaz Labs suite of standalone programs for image noise reduction, sharpening, enhancement and enlargement. These all use artificial intelligence.
The results over adaptive software are striking and I think the difference is day and night. Go with artificial intelligence over adaptive software. So far I have not found AI software to shrink stars. Topaz Labs software does not do that. ImagesPlus will, and I expect PixInsight will although I have not used it, and Gimp can if you know the technique (which isn't obvious and involves selection of stars by color followed by erosion). Also, in my brief experience with it, AI noise removal in Topaz Labs does not remove "walking noise" well so you still have to dither unless you find an AI program that will do this Neither will these programs shrink star trails to a point or tackle this issue at all. I wish I could find a program that would (if anyone knows of one, let me in on the secret) These programs will not change mis-shapen stars to a point either. In fact, sometimes too heavy an application of noise reduction might create mis-shapen stars using them.
My experience with Topaz Labs products is that getting these AI image processing programs was worth the money and there is the advantage that they work with normal everyday daytime photos (which they were designed for in the first place). I've had to go back and reprocess many images in my library using the Topaz Labs products. There was a big improvement. But these programs don't work well with every single image. They have their limits. But overall my gamble getting this software was worth it.
Edited by revans, 02 December 2022 - 11:13 AM.