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Messages - marekc

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Gallery / Re: North American & Pelican HaLRGB
« on: 2013 August 23 20:29:23 »
I like that pink color in the nebulae! Haven't seen anything exactly like that recently, that I can recall. It's a nice palette.

- Marek

Gallery / Re: Cenital Color Moon
« on: 2013 August 18 20:26:37 »
Two comments:

First, very nice result, Ignacio! That's a great Moon image, and the color-enhancement worked quite nicely.

Second, I'm glad to see that PI can align images like this, for the purpose of making color-enhanced images of this type. I will be particularly interested to see the new features of the alignment tools, such as Juan described. I always wondered if PI could align non-star images, and now we know that it can (and will probably be able to do so even more capably, in the future.)

Neat stuff!

- Marek

New Scripts and Modules / Re: HaRGBCombination Script
« on: 2013 August 17 10:55:31 »
Thanks for the workflow tips, Ioannis! I used the script as you described, and it worked great! I didn't have a lot of Ha data to add to my RGB Trifid, and the script gave me a nice subtle `bumping up' of the red nebulosity. Just what I was looking for!

Doing Background Neutralization and Color Calibration on the RGB image, *prior* to running the NBRGB script, as you suggested, seemed to give a better result than my previous attempt.

- Marek

Gallery / Re: Bipolar nebula in Norma NGC 6164
« on: 2013 August 16 13:20:32 »
The faint outer shells look particularly nice!

New Scripts and Modules / Re: HaRGBCombination Script
« on: 2013 August 16 13:09:42 »
Thanks, Ioannis, that helps.

So, just to make sure I'm doing things correctly, here's how I'm using the script:

1) I make an RGB image with ColorCombination.

2) I select that RGB image as the RGB image in the NBRGB script.

3) I have the Ha image open, too, and I select it in the NBRGB script.

4) I make sure the filter bandwidths are correct. (I'm using Baader RGB filters, so I leave the RGB bandwidth at 100nm.)

5) I select previews in the Color Calibration portion of the script, but I leave the `Apply Color Calibration' box UNchecked.

6) I click the `Show RGB' button, and let the script work until I see an RGB image in the preview window.

7) I then click the `Show NBRGB' button, and let the script work until I see the image in the preview window change.

8) I click OK, and now I've got an HaRGB image.

Does that workflow look reasonable?


- Marek

New Scripts and Modules / Re: HaRGBCombination Script
« on: 2013 August 16 11:36:37 »
I have a question about the NBRGB Combination script:

What should I use for the "White Balance Preview"?

I know that if I were shooting a galaxy, I would simply drag a preview around the galaxy. Pixinsight uses the overall color of a spiral galaxy as the basis for the white balance in Color Calibration.

But for a target with no spiral galaxy, such as a nebula, Pixinsight's Color Calibration routine offers `Structure Detection' as an alternative. In other words, it uses the stars in the image for the white balance. So far, so good.

But if I select the 'Structure Detection' check box in the NBRGB script, it demands that I also select a "White Balance Preview".

What should this "White Balance Preview" be? A preview that includes most of the image?

(I am trying to process an image of the Trifid nebula and the nearby open cluster M21.)


- Marek

General / Re: Spectroscopy work flow for newb please?
« on: 2013 August 04 10:10:46 »
Hi Steve,

I think Gerald's idea of a `scan line' in Pixel Math is probably the most straightforward way to go, in PI.

If you haven't seen it already, you might want to check out Tom Field's "RSpec" software:

Tom was at AIC last year, and I thought his system looked really cool! I would enjoy experimenting with it.

- Marek

Hi Juan,

I'm sorry if I created stress by quoting that part of one of Ron's slides. I should hasten to point out the larger picture: The fact that Ron was giving a how-to talk on PI was *huge*! That was extremely positive. I got the impression that, since lots of people know Ron through his book, his endorsement of PI carried a lot of weight. And he really was singing its praises. As I remember it, one of his main messages was that "PI is the real deal. It's got the real, heavyweight math under the hood. It may be complicated, but you need this. This is the best tool out there for astro-processing." I'm happy to stand corrected if I'm mis-representing Ron's talk, but the 'like IRAF with a GUI' was only a small, throwaway line, and it was presented with what I'd characterize as affection.

The best way I can summarize my take on all this is to quote some of my previous posts: I've often said that the PI community needs "the Ron Wodaski of PI" and "the Warren Keller of PI" and suchlike. I've probably also said that it's marvelous to see that these people have turned out to be, in fact, the *actual* Ron Wodaski and Warren Keller. That's huge! I think that bodes well for PI.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with your comment about "PixInsight is much more than an unordered collection of routines with a GUI.". I realize I'm being extremely presumptuous here, and I apologize, but I'd recommend printing that sentence in a very large typeface, and putting it up on the wall of your office. Make that the `iron law' of the PI user interface and workflow development. I am a *huge* PI fan, and I absolutely want to see PI succeed and become the go-to image-processing system for amateurs, and, heck, maybe even for the researchers, too.

(A brief digression to illustrate my point: When Travis Rector was giving his talk, I couldn't help thinking "Sir, I envy you for your knowledge of UNIX and IRAF, but seriously, PI would make your life so much easier...")

However, PI's developers are so good at mathematics and programming that they may have a hard time imagining what it's like to *not* be a programmer or mathematician. That, I think, is far and away the biggest challenge facing PI.

That printout on the office wall might inspire thoughts like this: What would it be like to work in an entirely different field from software? What would it be like never to have gotten a paycheck of any kind from the software business? What would it be like to have never read a single paper or book by Fionn Murtagh or Jean-Luc Starck? And what would it be like if those papers made about as much sense as Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics? Plenty of intelligent, diligent, enthusiastic people are in exactly that position. And for those people, there's a substantial risk that PI could seem like `IRAF with a GUI'. Fortunately, there are now a substantial number of training materials, some from the PTeam, and some from others, to help remedy this. But, presumptuous of a suggestion as it is, I think that printout on the wall might be a positive thing for the development of an already-great program.

Also - we need to have some of the PTeam come over to this side of the pond for conferences! I'd love to meet you or Vicent or Carlos at AIC! That would be really cool!

- Marek

I've gone to the last two, and I enjoyed them. I'm planning on going in 2013.

I liked Ron Wodaski's talk in 2012, particularly his note about how PI was kind of `like IRAF with a GUI'  ;)  It was fun meeting Warren Keller and chatting with him, too. If RBA has time to do any sort of how-to presentation on PI, that would be great. I missed his workshop here in the Bay Area last summer, and was sorry to have done so. AIC is a nice opportunity to geek out on imaging as the clouds are setting in for the winter.

Off-topic, but... last weekend, in the ballroom at the Hyatt, where the big talks are given at AIC, I attended an interesting event, called `California Extreme'. Hundreds of old video-game and pinball machines were on display, and available to play. I hadn't touched an arcade machine in literally 30 years. Playing an actual Tempest machine again was amazing... quite a different experience from listening to Ken Crawford or Nick Risinger in that room!

- Marek

Gallery / Re: Moon - 7 panel mosaic
« on: 2013 June 21 21:41:13 »
Wow, I think that's a really nice Moon image!

I always wondered if PI would be good for assembling a mosaic like that. I guess so!

I think I see what you mean about the panels possibly being processed a bit heavily - it looks like they may have been fairly heavily sharpened. At the scale of the final image, though, it looks pretty good. I like the overall levels of lightness... it's a bit darker than most such images, but not too much IMO.

Makes me want to shoot the Moon, too! I love deep-sky images, but I'll always be a Moon enthusiast at heart, and images like this are nice to see.

- Marek

Gallery / Re: Sunflower Galaxy
« on: 2013 June 12 16:50:22 »
Nice image!

I agree with your approach to the galaxy's core. I like HDRMT, I'm glad we have that tool, but some images make the cores of galaxies look a bit too `flat' for my taste. Keeping some brightness in there makes them look a bit more impressive.

- Marek

New Scripts and Modules / Re: Annotation script
« on: 2013 May 18 22:23:58 »
Thanks, Jeff and Andres,

I was thinking the same thing as Jeff. I've been waiting on a new focuser, and so I haven't been out collecting data for a few months. Didn't have a lot of old data to play with, either, so I've been on a bit of an imaging hiatus. I've kept reading the PI forum, though, and have been holding off on installing 1.8, for the same reasons Jeff mentioned. Hearing someone say that the current 1.8 seems to be as stable as 1.7... that's reassuring to me.

I should install 1.8 soon, once my main computer comes back from having its HDD replaced.


Gallery / Re: Markarian's Chain with DSLR
« on: 2013 April 20 22:18:08 »
Hi Ignacio,

That's a really nice Markarian's Chain. It made a good `first impression' on me when I opened it, and it was fun to look at for an extended time! Very pleasant image to examine! Thanks for posting it.

- Marek

Thank you so much for posting this tutorial, Gerald!

I watched the video yesterday, and I'm really excited to try your methods. The thing that impressed me most about your video is the method for generating a `large-stars' mask. Although I haven't tried it yet on my own data, your method strikes me as brilliant. Finally, a suggestion for how to deal with the biggest, brightest stars! I can't wait to give it a shot.

- Marek

Announcements / Re: PixInsight 1.8.0 RC4 "Ripley" Released
« on: 2013 March 26 11:17:55 »
RBA's idea strikes me as being very useful. I think that would be a helpful way to implement PixelMath. I like to do things in visual ways, even physical-like ways, such as with buttons and sliders, rather than in a command-line-like way. (I guess that's because I've never been a programmer). This idea for a GUI-ish way of implementing PixelMath will, I think, encourage more people to use it.

I also like the idea of an `opacity' control, since that's like using PixelMath to blend two versions of an image. Instead of typing in blending coefficients and `multiplication asterisks', the user could use the `opacity' slider, a la Adobe. Again, I think a lot of users would find themselves more likely to use the tool if it had this sort of interface.

- Marek

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