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Astrophotography Macros for Affinity Photo

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#1 James Ritson

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Posted 04 February 2023 - 06:25 AM

Hi all,

 

For anyone familiar with Affinity Photo, I thought I'd introduce myself: I'm the Affinity Photo product expert and I work for Serif who are responsible for the Affinity range of software. I occasionally comb through astrophotography forums to try and answer any questions about the software where appropriate.

 

For users of the software, I wanted to make you aware of the free macros (like actions) I make available: they are designed to enhance a typical astrophotography retouching workflow, from initial tone stretching through to final tone tweaks and sharpening/detail enhancement. There are currently over 100 macros in the category, including a series of colour-mapping setup macros for false colour compositions (e.g. SHO, HSO, HaOIII, OSH, L-RGB, HaRGB and more).

 

I've just released version 15, which has some notable additions and improvements, particularly with tone stretching. As well as improving the previous methods (normalised, logarithmic, colour preserving), I've introduced mono data stretching which stretches the individual mono data layers, allowing users to extract more meaningful detail and better balance the colours. There's also now a macro to extract a OSC layer/image to individual mono channels, meaning they can be tone stretched individually. I've gone back to some of my old DSLR/mirrorless data and revitalised it using this method.

 

If you're interested, you can download them from my website (https://jamesritson..../resources.html) or directly from Gumroad (https://jamesritson....tography_macros) and just put '0' into the input field to get them for free.

 

The v15 update is relatively large compared to some of the previous updates, so I've also produced a video that covers some of the new functionality and walks through some best use cases: https://youtu.be/wpSX1j48Hdw

 

The macro download comes with a PDF readme which I would recommend giving a once over: it covers installation and also clarification about the 32-bit / 16-bit categories.

 

I'm also happy to answer any questions about Affinity Photo for astrophotography stacking and editing. The more technical, the better! In particular, I love discussions about linear colour space compositing (very much a nerd...) and other interesting topics...

 

 

Here's a full feature list of the macros:

 

Initial Tone Stretching and Data Enhancement

 

Normalised Tone Stretch
Logarithmic Tone Stretch
Colour Preserving Tone Stretch
Colour Preserving Tone Stretch (+)
Post Tone-Stretch Log Transform
Mono Stretch (RGB)
Mono Stretch (L-RGB)
Mono Stretch (SHO)
Mono Log Stretch (RGB)
Mono Log Stretch (L-RGB)
Mono Log Stretch (SHO)
Stretch Selected Layer
Log Stretch Selected Layer
Enhance R (Mono) Layer
Enhance G (Mono) Layer
Enhance B (Mono) Layer
Enhance SII (Mono) Layer
Enhance Ha (Mono) Layer
Enhance OIII (Mono) Layer
Boost R Layer
Boost SII Layer
Boost Ha Layer
Boost OIII Layer

 

Further Tone Stretching & Tone Manipulation

 

Darken Mono Stretched Result
Highlight Recovery
Masked Gamma Stretch
Masked Curves Stretch
Masked Contrast Boost
Highlight Preserving Tone Boost
Highlight Preserving Brightness Boost
Highlight Protected Tone Lift
Nonlinear Tone Boost
Edge Masked Contrast
Reduce Mid-Tone Contrast
Shadow Stretch
Weighted Luminosity Enhancement
Weighted Intensity Mixer
Weighted RGB Tonal Boost
RGB Live Luminosity
Min-Max Live Luminosity
Extract Inferred Ha Luminance


 

Star Detail Retouching

 

Star Size Reducer
Reduce Star Luminosity
Reduce Star Intensity

 

Background Detail Retouching

 

Remove Background Luminosity
Live Background Subtraction

 

Structure Retouching

 

Enhance Structure
Enhance Structure (Aggressive)
Enhance Nebula Structure
Local Contrast Structure
Hue Masked Structure
Enhance Depth & Contrast
Soften Structure
Soft Rendering

 

Effects

Diffuse Glow
Highlight Brilliance

 

Corrective

Average Neutralisation
Reduce Harsh Noise
Reduce Harsh Noise (+)
Reduce Salt and Pepper Noise
Remove Star Fringing
Remove Star Fringing (Selective)
Reduce Magenta Star Colour
Brighten Star Centres
Green Channel Noise Reduction
Green Channel Synthetic Substitution
SCNR Green Max/Additive
SCNR Green Neutral/Max Neutral
Nonlinear Compositing
Remove NaN Pixels

 

Masking

Live Star Mask
Live Background Mask
Live Channel Mask
Live RGB Weighted Mask
Weighted Saturation Mask
Use Layer as Mask

 

Colour Manipulation

 

Deepen Colour Detail
Enhance DSO Luminosity
Luminosity Masked Saturation
Golden Boost
SII Ha Tone Enhancement
OIII Ha Tone Enhancement
Enhance Red Signal
Enhance Green Signal
Enhance Blue Signal
Enhance Cyan Signal
Enhance Magenta Signal
Enhance Yellow Signal
Boost Red/Yellow Detail
Boost Blue/Green Detail
Channel Masked White Balance
Warm Red Tones
Cool Blue Tones
Dual Band Colour Mixer

 

Sharpening

Bandpass Sharpening (Micro)
Bandpass Sharpening (Fine)
Bandpass Sharpening (Regular)
Bandpass Sharpening (Wide)
Bandpass Sharpening (Repetitive)
Background Sharpening
Gaussian Kernel Sharpening
Gaussian Subtractive Sharpening
Nonlinear Sharpening

 

 

Data Setup
Extract OSC Layer to Mono RGB
RGB Composition Setup
L-RGB Composition Setup
HaRGB (Red Mix) Composition Setup
Ha-RGB (Luminosity) Composition Setup
Ha-RGB-L Composition Setup
RGB-HaL Composition Setup
RGB-SHO Composition Setup
RGB-HSO Composition Setup
SHO Composition Setup
HSO Composition Setup
HOO Composition Setup
HaOIII Bi-Colour Composition Setup
OSH Composition Setup
OHS Composition Setup
HOS Composition Setup
HSS Composition Setup
HaSII Bi-colour Composition Setup
HORGB Composition Setup (R+B)
HORGB Composition Setup (G+B)
HORGB-L Composition Setup (R+B)
HORGB-L Composition Setup (G+B)
RGB-SHO Composition Setup (Mixed Luminance)
Ha Luminosity Setup
Monochrome Colour Mapping
Merge to 16-bit sRGB
Merge to 16-bit Wide Gamut

 

 

Thanks all, and hope you find the macros useful.

Attached Thumbnails

  • v15 new features 500kb.jpg

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#2 gfamily

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Posted 04 February 2023 - 06:54 AM

Hi James
Firstly, thanks very much this is really appreciated.
I have v1 of Affinity Photo and have the macros you released for that version in 2021. I attach an example image showing what the one touch colour preserving stretch can do.
Are these updated macros compatible with V1 of Affinity Photo or are they only for the updated version?image.png.3195abddade8eadd271bae163a2af371.png


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#3 James Ritson

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Posted 04 February 2023 - 07:20 AM

Hi James
Firstly, thanks very much this is really appreciated.
I have v1 of Affinity Photo and have the macros you released for that version in 2021. I attach an example image showing what the one touch colour preserving stretch can do.
Are these updated macros compatible with V1 of Affinity Photo or are they only for the updated version?attachicon.gifimage.png.3195abddade8eadd271bae163a2af371.png

Hi, thanks for replying, that's a nice result—it'd be interesting to see if the new colour preserving tone stretch retains smoother highlight detail (e.g. reduces the star bloat/overexposure).

 

I'm afraid V14 and onwards of the macros are only compatible with V2, as they use new functionality not present in V1. Some of the new macros don't use that functionality and so could technically be back ported, but this is a free time venture of mine and it would add an extra layer of complexity to maintaining the macros. If there's enough demand I could consider it, but because Photo is so cheap (and regularly goes on sale), it's probably worth grabbing V2 at some point because it does have some good improvements over V1—especially if you have a discrete GPU, the OpenCL acceleration stability is much better, so it makes the editing process more enjoyable and responsive. The new live masks are really useful as well (and are used abundantly with the macros!).

 

Thanks,

James


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#4 James Ritson

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Posted 05 February 2023 - 01:41 PM

Just a quick update: I've posted the first "quick tip" macros video. I intend to publish these every so often to give people some instructions on using certain macros in bite-size format.

 

This one covers using a couple of macros, Soften Structure and Star Size Reducer, to tame star intensity so you can pull other object out without stars becoming overpowering: https://youtu.be/hKXS0I9DADc

 

Thanks,

James


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#5 Tim_1000

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Posted 26 February 2023 - 12:39 PM

hi James, thank you so much. If you could do a quick tip on the "live background subtraction" it would be great, as I am struggling to use it and to get results as good as I was getting with the (destructive) "remove background" filter. Many thanks!



#6 Sky King

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Posted 07 March 2023 - 02:57 AM

First, thank you for all the astronomy options you have included in Affinity Photo and all the videos explaining them! I am slowly still learning the basics of Version 1. I previously downloaded your macros and today I tried them. Wow! My post processing just got a boost! Your macros are doing the heavy lifting for me! I pick a macro, click on it and a bunch of steps unfold, followed by the result. If I don't like it I just undo it. Like magic! 

 

Post processing is a weakness for me. I posted an image of NGC1491 (SH2-206) yesterday and someone said it looked over processed.  I went over my starless NGC1491 today with the macros, and I could instantly see their potential!

 

I still have a lot to learn from Version 1. However I plan on getting Version 2 and look forward to the V15 macros. Thanks!

 

 

 

 starless4.jpg


Edited by Sky King, 07 March 2023 - 01:05 PM.


#7 irandar

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Posted 17 July 2023 - 03:48 AM

I do not want to praise myself by listing the YTs I have made with Affinity Photo and the macros from James Ritson. I am learning this hobby and find it useful to make YTs for myself as I go along. All of them, which also involve using telescopes, you will find on my YT Irandar Channel. Hope they might be useful. Regards, Irving

 

How to Find Hubble Telescope Astro Data for Processing with Affinity Photo
https://youtu.be/QY3QRHIJ3E4

 

Making Star Trails with Affinity Photo
https://youtu.be/7jfDtxcYZ-A

 

Astrophotography for Beginners: Affinity Photo for Stacking and Processing
https://youtu.be/YPW_FD5m3DQ

 

Learning Astrophotography with Affinity Photo and James Ritson
https://youtu.be/WQ13NOvlKFE

 

Astrophoto stack and edit with Affinity Photo
https://youtu.be/p-FDWZ2OzSo

 

Astrophotography: Processing Astropix files with Affinity Photo
https://youtu.be/rcotvDNosrE

 

Moon Panorama with Affinity Photo
https://youtu.be/CE6283Aj6q4


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#8 J.A.-I.D.

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Posted 17 October 2023 - 10:30 PM

All of this is so fantastic! Thank you so much! I can't seem to find Mono to RGB in V16. Where is it?

#9 johnpd

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Posted 18 October 2023 - 03:12 AM

As I mentioned in your other post, what is the exact name of the macro you consider is missing?

 

JohnD



#10 J.A.-I.D.

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Posted 25 October 2023 - 02:05 PM

As I mentioned in your other post, what is the exact name of the macro you consider is missing?

 

JohnD

I didn't have V2 of affinity photo.  That was the problem.  Thank you!



#11 James Ritson

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Posted 10 March 2024 - 05:43 AM

Hello all,

 

After a long period of being quite busy, I've finally put together some new features and released V17 of the astrophotography macros.  As usual, you can grab them for free here: https://jamesritson..../resources.html

 

Here is the full change list:

  • Live Tone Stretch for a non-destructive approach to tone stretching (no layer merging required), with configurable stretch and black point parameters, and additional shadow and mid-tone contrast layers to further control tones
  • Generate Weighted Luminosity Layer, which creates a merged top layer of your image so far that maintains the current luminosity (brightness). You can then add all manner of adjustments and filters beneath this layer to manipulate colour detail without affecting brightness. Great for images with tricky dynamic range (e.g. lots of stars, or bright nebula areas)
  • Live Denoise, which performs non-destructive moderate denoising (to be applied after tone stretching and general editing), and also blends in procedural soft noise to help reduce the loss of textural detail

 

  • Rename Stacked Layers, to speed up the layer renaming process which is required for the various composition setup macros to work (e.g. L-RGB, SHO, HSO). Please see video snippet and readme PDF for more information on these macros
  • Dynamic Narrowband Mix: An implementation of the idea to dynamically mix Ha, SII and OIII colour data (based on a blog post from The Coldest Nights). This option tends to work best with SHO mapped data
  • Post-Stretch Gamma Mixing: a simple live gamma transform filter that can be applied after tone stretching to further alter the balance of each colour channel. The blending is restricted to a specific tonal range, however, allowing you to raise the brightness of nebula detail without affecting dark or bright areas
  • Channel Swap: quick presets you can apply to completely swap channel data, allowing you to audition different narrowband colour combinations

 

  • Greyscale Solar to False Colour Setup, intended specifically for greyscale solar imagery of the sun. This macro will take a greyscale document, convert it to full colour (RGB 16-bit), and apply various operations including highlight recovery, colour mapping, brightness boost, yellow colour enhancement, contrast softening and structure enhancement
  • Moon Processing Workflow, designed for stacked imagery of the moon using Affinity Photo’s File>New Stack functionality, which lets you align, stack and average pixel content using Median and Mean operators. It performs a number of steps including colour and luminosity separation, HSL layers to saturate colour detail, non-destructive defringing for colour fringing around edge detail, structure and highlight detail enhancement, and final band-pass and fine detail sharpening

 

I've also put some new video snippets on the downloads page that show how some of the V17 features work. As always, I hope people find these macros useful!


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#12 Dark_knight_astro

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Posted 28 March 2024 - 03:59 PM

Does anyone have a OSC workflow tha they use that they have found to work well? I bought the tools, and I have them installed but Its pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what works best. I've just been randomly clicking certain things to see what works.



#13 johnpd

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Posted 29 March 2024 - 08:05 AM

Hello all,

 

After a long period of being quite busy, I've finally put together some new features and released V17 of the astrophotography macros.  As usual, you can grab them for free here: https://jamesritson..../resources.html

 

Here is the full change list:

  • Live Tone Stretch for a non-destructive approach to tone stretching (no layer merging required), with configurable stretch and black point parameters, and additional shadow and mid-tone contrast layers to further control tones
  • Generate Weighted Luminosity Layer, which creates a merged top layer of your image so far that maintains the current luminosity (brightness). You can then add all manner of adjustments and filters beneath this layer to manipulate colour detail without affecting brightness. Great for images with tricky dynamic range (e.g. lots of stars, or bright nebula areas)
  • Live Denoise, which performs non-destructive moderate denoising (to be applied after tone stretching and general editing), and also blends in procedural soft noise to help reduce the loss of textural detail

 

  • Rename Stacked Layers, to speed up the layer renaming process which is required for the various composition setup macros to work (e.g. L-RGB, SHO, HSO). Please see video snippet and readme PDF for more information on these macros
  • Dynamic Narrowband Mix: An implementation of the idea to dynamically mix Ha, SII and OIII colour data (based on a blog post from The Coldest Nights). This option tends to work best with SHO mapped data
  • Post-Stretch Gamma Mixing: a simple live gamma transform filter that can be applied after tone stretching to further alter the balance of each colour channel. The blending is restricted to a specific tonal range, however, allowing you to raise the brightness of nebula detail without affecting dark or bright areas
  • Channel Swap: quick presets you can apply to completely swap channel data, allowing you to audition different narrowband colour combinations

 

  • Greyscale Solar to False Colour Setup, intended specifically for greyscale solar imagery of the sun. This macro will take a greyscale document, convert it to full colour (RGB 16-bit), and apply various operations including highlight recovery, colour mapping, brightness boost, yellow colour enhancement, contrast softening and structure enhancement
  • Moon Processing Workflow, designed for stacked imagery of the moon using Affinity Photo’s File>New Stack functionality, which lets you align, stack and average pixel content using Median and Mean operators. It performs a number of steps including colour and luminosity separation, HSL layers to saturate colour detail, non-destructive defringing for colour fringing around edge detail, structure and highlight detail enhancement, and final band-pass and fine detail sharpening

 

I've also put some new video snippets on the downloads page that show how some of the V17 features work. As always, I hope people find these macros useful!

James,

 

Should we remove any previous macro versions?

 

JohnD




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