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Topics - msmythers

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I've always wanted a large digital picture frame to display astro images along with standard. The Meural Canvas is the first frame I've seen in a size and price that seems makes since. I was just wondering if anyone here has seen or has one? Seems like a great way to enjoy your hard PI work.


General / Using the ColorMask script for non-astro images
« on: 2018 September 14 15:56:52 »
I'd like to first thank Rick for the ColorMask script. It was and is a huge tool for my processing of many images. I just want to give those who might not have thought about ways of using it for images other than astro related a little example. It's not a great example but it's enough to make you think, I think.

I had an image I wanted to insert another image into. It was a giraffe with varying light levels and shades. One of those where RangeSelection would not work well on. This is where ColorMask shines. Just define the hue range and make the mask. I did some added steps like Binarize and MorphologicalTransformation to clean up the mask a little but ColorMask made this possible and easy. Again not a great example but enough to see the result.


Bug Reports / PCC plate solving problem?
« on: 2018 June 06 02:58:11 »
Just wanted post here a problem that I can't understand. In this posting the image will solve in the ImageSolver script but using PCC the image will not solve when using the same settings.


General / Benchmark for a QuadCore Celeron
« on: 2018 January 16 18:59:11 »
I had to do this :P I just updated my fanless Mini-ITX computer that sits on my workbench to a 120GB SSD and Windows 10. I installed PI to view images and to use curves or other less taxing processes mostly for daytime photos when needed. I wasn't even sure if PI would even run on this little box. PI did run without any problems and here is the result of the benchmark.

And a link to the full report.

Off-topic / North American Eclipse
« on: 2017 August 21 11:14:10 »
I hope everyone who is able to be in a viewing area is having a good eclipse day. :)


General / For those missing Extract CIE L* icon
« on: 2017 August 05 11:27:05 »
While I have the extract CIE L* icon on my Windows 7 install of 1.8.5 I understand many don't. You can always use the Channel Extraction tool or the pull down menu but I have made a simple process icon you can load in to your workspace. Just unzip and load the icon. It should appear in the top section of Workspace 1.


General / PCC should excite those with a Modified DSLR
« on: 2017 August 03 18:27:41 »
I posted this earlier when the team was testing 1.8.5 but I thought I would repost it here for others to see. While this was a slightly earlier version of PCC the results is what you get today.

Real simple, here is a shot of the Pelican. Only 43-60 second exposures with my modified Nex-5. Flow goes like this after pre-processing- ABE, PCC, ColorSaturation tool with a linear saturation, AutoSTF to HistogramTransformation and then ExponentialTransformation. No tricky color stuff, no masking of stars while applying tools. I think this is how color calibration should work IMHO.


First let me say this is by no means something that should be done instead of calibration. This is an exercise in recovering an image with problems like you don't have flats for some bad reason. It happens!

So I have a single frame image that has many issues but the one that stands out is dust or internal reflections. I don't know which but they are there.  The image is still linear in this case. I make a clone of the image and renamed it 'a' for simplicity. I then use the rangeselect tool and make a range mask adjusting the parameters to where I see the issues. I do not smooth the mask at all. I then use the TGVInpaint tool with the range mask as the reference. Using pixel math I divide the original image by the new inpaint image.

The process I am showing is not a complete ready to go solution, just food for thought.


General / DSLR_Raw Noise Threshold for Daytime Images
« on: 2017 April 13 12:55:25 »
Not sure if this should be here or in Tips and Tricks or where ever.

I use PixInsight for all my photography processing. Even things like borders and so on. For daytime images I like the versatility and control.

So I just tried something new today. I was testing out a cheap IR/UV cut filter on my modified Sony Nex-5. I have a custom WB done with a 18% gray card but on the Nex-5 you can only make large incremental steps in the adjustment so it is never perfect. I have used with great success the normal Background Neutralization/ColorCalibration steps with my raw daytime images but I decided to try White Balance settings in DSLR_Raw preferences. To my great pleasure the Automatic white balance setting worked great.

So while I was in the DSLR_RAW preferences I looked at the Noise threshold parameter. The mouse hover quick document states that the Noise threshold uses wavelets based reduction. That was enough for me to decide to try. Again this is daytime images so I don't go crazy about perfect noise reduction as with astro images. Well with my camera I can't get perfect noise reduction, let's be honest. So here is what I tried.

The attached image is a progression of noise threshold settings, 0, 125, 187, 250. The images are linear, they have not been stretched. I did add a little linear color saturation. Included is my settings for Auto STF. Also the lens was not focused on the sign but the sign was in the depth of field. The image was shot with a 135MM lens/F16/ISO200/1/80sec. The sign was 165 ft away from the camera and the palm frown behind the sign are 235 ft away.

Overall I like the results. 250 is a bit much but 187 seems like a good compromise for this setup.

Tutorials and Processing Examples / Linear Image Star Mask
« on: 2017 March 17 20:33:05 »
This is a repost from

I made a little video about making a simple star mask from a linear image. This is not a mask made from a stretched clone but the actual linear image. This is a bit of a different approach as I make use of the readout cursor and Statistics to set the Mask Preprocessing parameters.

The video has several examples using different images. In the video I will use the star masks to lower the brightness of the stars in the linear image. This video does not have audio as I have problems with speech. I did annotate some of the video at the beginning.

As Chris mentioned trial and error is a big part with learning the Star Mask tool. Using a small representative preview is a great way of testing parameters. I have been using PI since 2012 and just now feel like I have a good grasp on this wonderful tool. 

One more thing if the video seems blurry just pause and restart the video. Please feel free to download the video.


General / Closing an image opens another
« on: 2016 December 22 00:40:15 »
I don't think this is a bug as much a global parameter maybe that I cannot find. I don't remember this happening before the last set of updates. If I have many images shaded and I close the last one in the sequence the previous image opens. Say image 1-4 and close 4, 3 will open. If in that sequence I close 1 then no other image opens. While I can see merits to this I would like to be able to turn that off.


Bug Reports / Error while saving a Project
« on: 2016 December 20 21:51:58 »
Had this error message while saving a project. 'StarAlignment: Unable to lock parameter data for read-only access:referenceStarX'  I've not seen this before. I left everything running as I'm hoping I get around this.


General / Format Hints
« on: 2016 October 19 10:25:34 »
Is there an updated listing of the format hints used in the different PI tools. I only found this very old posting.   If no new hints have been added then I think new users will find this posting very useful.


Gallery / Short focal length Cygnus Wide Field...again
« on: 2016 June 30 11:55:02 »
I think I have finally finished my Short focal length Cygnus wide field image. I've trying to capture and process this image for a few years now. This was captured from my light polluted front yard last October.

Minolta 45mm f4.5
Modified Sony Nex-5
CG-5 no guiding
23 exposures@120 seconds ISO800


With many very wide field images being captured lately I thought I'd share a video of a different set of processing steps then most would use. Yes there are the standard DBE, BN and ColorCal, even TGVDenoise along with ColorSaturation, SCNR and MorphologicalTransformation for star brightness reduction. I use DBE a little different because of the Milky Way running through a large portion of the image, more like what you might do with a large nebula.

What makes most of this different is I do all of the major work while linear. I only do a final tweak of cropping and lower the overall brightness with Pixelmath after stretching the image.

My goal is not to show that this is how you must process your image but to make you think about other possibilities with all the tools and scripts PI has to offer.

Here are the steps used in the image:
PixelMath    making a Gray mask
TGVDenoise   using the gray mask, local support and Statistics tool for setting.
StarMask   from linear image
MT   for star brigthness reduction using star mask
DarkStructureEnhance Script
HistogramTransformation    stretch to non-linear using STF as input
Crop   remove bad edges
Pixelmath   final brightness reduction

This is what I consider a somewhat simple processing. Certainly the image could be tweaked in many ways. I could do a better job maybe with the color cal or DBE?? I wanted to show the subtle changes in this region. I have 2 images in the folder, one is with the star reduction and one without, just to show the impact. The video has no audio and the encoding smoothed the image to the point where it's not easy to tell that it needed a little help with the noise. It did.

The image is from last October. It was 23 exposures of 120 seconds each at ISO800. The camera is a DIY modified Sony Nex-5 with a Minolta 45mm pancake lens at f4.5. The only filter was a IR/UV cut filter, no LP filter. This was taken from my red/white zone front yard in Florida.

If the video starts out blurry, pause and then play.


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