Overview of New Features in PixInsight 1.8.0 Ripley

Juan Conejero

PixInsight Staff
Sep 2, 2004
Valencia, Spain
Hi all,

This is a partial list with a few important new features included in PixInsight 1.8.0 Ripley, which we have released today:

* 24-bit STF LUT support (Image > STFs > Use 24-Bit STF LUTs). This means no more posterization of HDR images, background models and weak raw CCD images. 24-bit LUTs can be enabled/disabled on a per view basis. They are disabled by default, but this can be changed via Global Preferences > Miscellaneous Image Window Settings > Use 24-bit STF LUTs.

* New boosted STF AutoStretch functions.

* New "Reject Saturated Pixels" option on the HistogramTransformation interface. When an image has large black and/or white regions (or when you clip a significant amount of pixels with the histogram transformation being defined), this option allows you to see the actual histogram function with proper rescaling. This option is enabled by default.

* The CurvesTransformation tool can now represent the histograms of the active image "behind" the curve graph (only R, G, B, A and RGB/K channels). To enable this feature, simply check the new Track View button on the CT interface. CT and HT work cooperatively. If you change histogram generation settings (for example, histogram resolution or graph mode) on HT, any histogram being shown on CT will automatically reflect the changes.

* The ScreenTransferFunction tool computes now robust automatic screen stretch functions. This means that correct auto-stretch STFs are calculated for images with large black and/or white regions, such as partial mosaics or images with black borders. The internal accuracy of the STF tool has also been increased to work with 24-bit STFs.

* Redesigned Statistics tool. Statistics is now a much more powerful, robust and comprehensive tool. You can now select a custom set among 18 statistical properties, including: count, mean, modulus, norm, sum of squares, mean of squares, median, variance, standard deviation, average absolute deviation, median absolute deviation (MAD), biweight midvariance, percentage bend midvariance, Sn and Qn estimators of Rousseeuw and Croux, minimum and maximum, and the positions of extrema first occurrences. Black (=0) and saturated (=1) pixels are now rejected for calculation of all statistics.

* Redesigned PixelMath tool. New symbol initialization functions and global variable declaration syntax. Lots of new functions, including improved pixel access, statistical functions and geometrical functions. Better error diagnostics. Redesigned Expression Editor interface. New options to prevent generation of an output image (yes, this makes sense now) and to execute PixelMath in a single thread (also makes sense).

* StarAlignment: New smoothed 2-D surface spline registration models. Thanks to this feature, distortion correction is now more efficient, robust and accurate than in previous versions. This is particularly important for mosaic construction.

* Improved statistics and histogram generation on the whole platform. These objects are now computed as view properties (see next point) by the core application using highly optimized multithreaded code. There are many new statistical properties that can be computed automatically in this way, besides the classical mean/standard-deviation/minimum/maximum set. The STF, HistogramTransformation, CurvesTransformation, Statistics and DynamicBackgroundExtraction tools are already using this system.

* New view properties system. This is a completely new functionality that obsoletes the previous system of "rigid" image statistics and histograms. Basically, each view (main view or preview) can store a set of properties that modules can define arbitrarily, and which are persistent across undo/redo states and projects. This allows for more flexible and powerful implementations. For example, a module can now generate any kind of numeric or textual information that can be associated with images. Future versions of PixInsight will provide more types of views, along with the current main views and previews, including textual reports, spreadsheets, graphical representations, etc.

* Projects include now thumbnails, which are screenshots of the active workspace when the project is generated. These thumbnails are shown, along with many project properties, on the File Explorer window.

* New active STF indicators. These are shown as green lines on vertical view selection tabs, which are intended as a reminder that what you are seeing on the screen does not represent the visible contents of the image. This feature is enabled by default. You can enable or disable it globally with Global Preferences > Miscellaneous Image Window Settings > Show active STF indicators.

* New view selector thumbnails. Hover preview selectors (those small vertical tabs that you click to select a preview, etc.) with the mouse and you'll know what I'm talking about.

* View list floating previews. You get live thumbnails of views while you select them on tools.

* New Window > Capture Screenshot command with programmable delayed capture and optional inclusion of the mouse cursor.

* Improved workspace previews. When you hover a workspace selector the preview shows the entire workspace contents, including images and tool windows (previously only images).

* Integration of the Mozilla SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine version 24.2. More benchmarks here.

* Lots of new JavaScript object methods and properties. Among others: FileFind, FileInfo, FileWatcher, SurfaceSpline, dynamic JavaScript introspection with the new TypeDescription object, improved Math, Matrix, Vector, Image and ImageStatistics core JavaScript objects.

* Live JavaScript instance source code generation / interpreter directly available on all tools.

* Documentation Compiler version 1.5.0, with automatic rendition of embedded LaTeX equations, automatic syntax highlighting of \code blocks, symbolic numbering of references, equations, tables and figures, new document classes, and lots of new commands and features.

* Multiple initialization scripts can now be executed at startup. For example, this allows us to define new JS objects externally (for example, in .jsh headers) and include them in the Object Explorer window, with full documentation.

* New X11 UNIX/Linux  installer program included in all FreeBSD and Linux distributions. PixInsight now integrates nicely with standard desktop managers (GNOME, KDE, etc.) that follow freedesktop.org standards.

* The Mac OS X PixInsight application is now digitally signed, so we are identified Mac developers.

* Improved screen profile detection logic in the Mac OS X version.

* LittleCMS color management engine version 2.5 (improved black point compensation algorithm).

* cURL version 7.32.0 (fixes problems with SSL connections on Windows).

* Unofficial Qt 4.8.6 version with lots of bug fixes and support for OS X Mavericks.

* Hundreds of bug fixes.


Well-known member
Dec 14, 2010
Terrific, I'm looking forward to working with all these new features!

Thanks especially for increased and improved OSX support, Mavericks compatibility is wonderful.


Active member
Jul 28, 2013
Thank you for your work! It seems that an excellent product is getting
even better. Btw on which of the supported platforms is PI performing best?



Feb 15, 2013
This is fantastic, and as a Mac OSX Mavericks user I am especially excited !!!  I am also a OS X Registered and iOS Registered Developer, if the need should arise !!!


Well-known member
Sep 22, 2010
New Zealand

WOW and OMFG spring to mind. My Christmas wishlist is now empty ;-)

A couple of questions though;

Juan Conejero said:
* The CurvesTransformation tool can now represent the histograms of the active image "behind" the curve graph (only R, G, B, A and RGB/K channels). To enable this feature, simply check the new Track View button on the CT interface. CT and HT work cooperatively. If you change histogram generation settings (for example, histogram resolution or graph mode) on HT, any histogram being shown on CT will automatically reflect the changes.
I can't observe/reproduce this behavior at all. I would have thought that if you were manipulating a curve in CT, the histogram in the background of the curve would update as well.

OK, I confess to being on  the road, and only having my Win32 laptop to 'play with' at present. Is it possible that this is a only win32 problem/constraint? (in which case, ignore me and asap I'll upgrade my imaging system and re-test).

Also, big ups on the speed improvements esp. with Javacript - breathing yet more life into my old Win32 laptop. (Or to put it more accurately, allowing me to delay slightly longer installing Linux_x86_64)....

Cheers -