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2022-05-29: APP 2.0.0-beta2 has been released !

Release notes

Download links per platform:

windows 2.0.0-beta2

macOS x86_64 2.0.0-beta2

macOS arm64 M1 2.0.0-beta2

Linux DEB 2.0.0-beta2

Linux RPM 2.0.0-beta2

M1 Native Support

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(@jeffmorgan)
Main Sequence Star Customer
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 44
 

...But Mabula, please don't do anything that sacrifices the speed 😉 


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(@vmsguy)
Molecular Cloud Customer
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 5
 

Initial tests of Beta release are looking great!

Macbook Pro M1 Max, 32GB, 24GPU

Multiple runs all on battery, fans came on during integration, but could barely hear them.  My previous intel I7 MacBook would have not finished without plugging in and the fans would have been roaring the entire time.

Images: 51 Canon Rp RAW frames, ~49MBytes each.

10 threads, 24GB memory given to APP for V1.083.2

10 threads, 28GB memory allocated by APP for V2.00beta1

V1.083.2 standard settings took 14:34 to process.

    Analyze Stars: 5:32

    Normalize: 0:58

    Integrate 8:04

V2.00 Beta1 standard settings took 10:23 to process.

    Analyze Stars: 1:52

    Normalize: 0:43

    Integrate: 7:48

With larger datasets I'm sure the difference will increase.

I also need to start figuring out a way I can justify a M1/M2 Ultra Duo 😀 

Brent


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(@jonathankimmitt)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 8
 

Just testing the Apple-M1 beta, appreciate the bong that sounds after a long compute, just one slight problem, if registration fails on one or more items, it stops at a dialog with no bong, so it doesn't get your attention. It would be better if it just carried on, automatically deselecting the failed items, if that's possible, and/or have a different alert sound when it needs attention due to an error. No idea if this behaviour is specific to this version


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(@vincent-mod)
Quasar Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4850
 

Yes, good point, I've put it on the list to see if we can change that behavior.


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(@mountainair)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 13
 

@vmsguy I am glad I found your post.  I wasn't sure I could believe my eyes...

Running 1.0.83.2 on MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019), 2.4 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 32GB, I stacked a small batch of lights with pre-generated master frames in 3m 34s.

Running the same version on M1, I was disappointed -- 4m 4s.  But then I noticed the 2.0 Beta 2 download.

Beta 2 finished the job in 1m 56s!  That's 2.1x faster... I am blown away.  I still can't believe it.

I really need to test the same beta on Intel vs beta on M1, but I think most of this increase came from adding at least some native M1 support in APP.

APP dev team, great job!


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(@vincent-mod)
Quasar Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4850
 

Thanks for the kind words!


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(@christinez)
White Dwarf Customer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
 

I for one am really appreciating the speed increases on an M1...I have a couple of data sets that took close to 16 hours of analysis, registration, normalization, and integration...now these are finishing many hours quicker, often in the same evening! Sorry no benchmarks, I am not that technically minded enough to do that...I am just truly amazed at the ability to handle GB's of data as gracefully as it does. I am sure some of you may laugh at my procedures, I am not a tutorial type of person, and prefer to understand at a fundamental level what is happening and why certain settings are what they are...I amaze at the what is really going on in the background here.

I do use PixInsight, but find APP to be a significantly better tool on integration and RBG combining. This is one fundamental tool that has taken amateur astrophotography an evolutionary step forward.

To folks who find this thread and are on the fence about "is it worth it?" Let me say this:

1) Is APP an advanced piece of software with a steep learning curve? Yes and No

   To truly understand it? yes...but to get up and running on your first data sets? absolutely not: the default settings will generally give you great results...you will then slowly go back and adjust settings to experiment and as you learn their functions. Or watch some of the tutorials...which is what I never did...lol Compared to PixInsight, hands down easier to use, and easier to get repeatable results.

2) Is it worth the money? Absolutely yes!

Compared to PixInsight, which is also a very powerful, (and does a bit more for post processing), the pre-processing routines are rather obtuse and complicated. APP hands down is the better app here.

There certainly are free options, but I would place APP anb PixInsight at the top, and for me, APP is my first goto tool in the pre-processing & Post-processing stage.   

3) I find the pre-processing routines to be easy to follow, very extensible and customizable, but at the same time, very forgiving. 

4) I find the post-processing routines, especially the Light Pollution removal tool, the Star Reducer/Removal, and the Star Calibration tools to be superior to other tools available. While I sometimes use the Vignetting tool, my main setup has great illumination to the corners, and I get great flat corrections, so this is a limited use tool for me, if at all. 

My only suggestion would be for the tool tips to suggest the best locations and sizes to make the rectangles. It does suggest how many, but not where, what to avoid, what to include and optimal placements. 

5) I find the Batch processing tools to be super easy to use...Which is what they should be...they are all one trick ponies, but they do what they advertise. 

6) I find the combine RGB and HSL selection tools to be so laughably easy, customizable, yet so powerfully fast and efficient and accurate to really obviate the need to use other channel combination tools that are available (Pix, Photoshop, Gimp, Affinity etc...) APP hands down, is the superior tool

7) Lastly, I use all of the software mentioned here, I have full licenses to them. I will continue to keep them and use them, however, APP is my main processing engine and will continue to be so. It is the backbone of my processing. I am super excited over the speed increases given to the M1!! 

8) PS: the developers are a small team, they are open to and responsive to requests and issues. I think that is evident, from just viewing this thread alone, but easily so with just a casual glance at the forums in general.

Thanks to Mabula, Vincent and Wouter for their efforts to bring their magic to astrophotography. 🙂

 


Paul Muller, Obs30, Vincent-Moderator and 1 people liked
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(@jonathankimmitt)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 8
 

I find APP to be intuitive to use, compared to PI anyway. The one thing that seems to be missing is being able to save your file list and commands/settings as a script that can be replayed later?on a different dataset.


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(@vincent-mod)
Quasar Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4850
 

@christinez Thanks for the kind words as well! We love to hear that people are indeed enjoying it and also on how to improve on it. But, kind words always make our day. 🙂


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(@vincent-mod)
Quasar Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4850
 

@jonathankimmitt Saving of your workflow settings is going to be implemented yes, I think it will be there for APP 2.0 stable.


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(@obsi)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 11
 

Thank you for offering the M1/ARM version and support.

I am using APP on a MBP 14" / M1 Pro / 16 GB RAM.

It is relatively fast. Results are like always stunning 🙂

The multi-window GUI is pretty non-standard and the focus on the active window is very confusing and not adapted to any app I ever used. The Image viewer keeps dropping into the background when the mouse is not focused on the viewer. Somewhat annoying. 

Speed: ... Looking at the Activity Monitor during processing & stacking: 400% CPU, 0% GPU.... wow ... this is not taking any advantage of the available hardware... I hope that will be changing will Vulcan.

With this heavy CPU usage, the battery drains in real time like nothing I have seen before on this machine. The bottom of the MBP chassis is getting really hot... this is the only app, where I observe this drastic behaviour 🙁

OK... people compare APP to other processing tools... I don't think this is the right forum for this ... anyway: Affinity Photo is MUCH faster, uses Metal and Core Graphics and gives very good results. No battery drain, no heating, and full utilisation of the GPU.

I still like the APP results better for the time being. Your processing algorithms are just amazing! Waiting for full utilisation of the Mac hardware in the future.

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Obs30

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(@jonathankimmitt)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 8
 

I don't know whether this comparison is quite fair, GPU operations are very efficient for a certain class of operation, for example applying the same transformation to multiple blocks of an image in parallel with no dependency from the result of one operation to the input of the next, but a lot of algorithms are not like that and APP probably falls into the latter category for many of its functions, in fact to make a sweeping statement the majority of traditional CPU algorithms are not suitable for GPU, whereas any GPU algorithm can run on a CPU at lower throughput. I have no doubt Aries Productions are constantly reviewing their code to see if there are new techniques that can be parallelised without dependencies between simultaneously operating cores.


Obs30 liked
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(@vincent-mod)
Quasar Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 4850
 

It is indeed not possible for all algorithms for sure, like Jonathan mentions here. And APP is using quite a bit more complex algorithms then Affinity at the moment, which is a choice of the developer. A simpler one is faster, maybe suited for the GPU, just like packages as DSS, they are also fast, but it comes with the downside that less data can be properly registered, calibrated etc. The more complex your data, the more you'll have a benefit from these more complex algorithms.

That's not to say we can't use the GPU more at all, we will, but this is quite tricky to implement and other priorities are at the moment higher up. We will start work on it in a future version though.


Obs30 liked
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(@obsi)
Brown Dwarf Customer
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 11
 

OK... (good!) Point taken.  Indeed it seems that during the actual stacking Affinity does not use any GPU either.

So the reason for Affinity being so much faster must be a different and less elaborated processing.

So I ran this test:  I compared the processing results of the same data set (of M8, taken last week): "Out-off-the-box", i.e. with "only" default settings in both programs, APP found much more subtle details in the image and in the faint nebulosity areas around the main box-shaped nebula.

The default color correction, white balance, star colours, ...  is much better in APP as well. That's why I still like APP very much! Of course this could be fixed in post processing in the other program, but APP seems to be more correct and better in anticipation how the image should look like. And that seems to take some calculation time.

The longer wait in APP is definitely worth that extra cup of coffee.

 


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(@andrecajolais)
White Dwarf Customer
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 27
 

I have made many tests with APP for Apple Silicon, and I must say that I am very satisfied!!!

For example, I processed the very same data... M13 free data from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada with APP V2beta2 and with PI (1.8.9-1, WBPP 2.43).

The results of the pre-processing :

Mac MINI (M1, 16Gb Ram, 8 cores CPU, 8 cores GPU) with PI - 16 min 30 sec - with Mac Mini with APP - 9 min

MacBook Pro (M1 Pro, 16Gb Ram, 10 cores CPU, 14 cores GPU) with PI - 12 min 05 - with MacBook Pro M1 pro with APP - 7 min...

So APP makes the demonstration - in my opinion - that it's solid, fast and efficient! PI is very good at processing images, but for preprocessing, APP is superior in my opinion!! 

Many thanks Mabula and the team for the hard work!

André


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