A complete pre-processing walkthrough? (migrating from MaxIM DL)
Hi, just signed up for the trial.
I must admit that I have not yet spent very many hours processing my frames. I simply did not have available time to jump from MaxIM to PixInsight, so I'm hoping it's true what they say about APP!
The thing I really liked about MaxIM was that I could throw all calibration frames in, and do (almost) all preprocessing in one go. Of course, other things say "move on".
I do all calibration frames. Lights are from my Bortle 2/3 site (cabin in the mountains, no LP removal needed). No mosaic (for now). I'd like to think of this as the "basic workflow", but I may be lost.
So a simplifed but detailed walktrough would be great. And a maxim-migration walkthrough would be really nice.
Seems like videos soon might be the only medium around for instructions. Not what I prefer, but ok. Still, the APP-videos mostly seem to cover mosaic and UI intro videos. No basic workflow. And the quickstart guide is literally half done, it stops before the calibration chapter.
Or am I missing something entirely here?
Hope my first impression is all wrong.
Ok, guess I found it. This is where to start: https://www.astropixelprocessor.com/fully-automatic-multi-channel-processing-in-astro-pixel-processor-by-mabula/
Would prefer documentation though. Will give it a try later.
Btw, APP license/subscription cost is indeed friendly. Maybe too friendly to have a friendly doc-site 😉
Hope the APP will keep becoming THE stacker/preprocessor, and stick to the core until theres not much more to be good at, only then move on to post-processing features 🙂
First of all, that's one great site to be taking data from!
As for the documentation, yes this is a good point. The main issue I think was that Mabula started on his own, focusing a lot on getting the program out there in good working order. It just celebrated its first year and thus is very new, getting the features to really crystallise into a very good working process took center stage. Documentation takes a huge amount of time which he simply didn't have. The videos do seem to do a good job in getting many started, but it's not for everyone, which I understand. Maybe I can help out with that.. but can't promise anything as of yet. The forum here at least will have both Mabula and me now to try and get anyone started as quickly as possible. My experience, coming from another package as well, was that APP indeed is more or less a 1 click and go processor, with amazing results. I'm seeing many beginners immediately producing way better results than when they used other packages, which must come down to the ease of use. And ofcourse, that can always be improved as we get more feedback, so that's appreciated!
It's ironic. Because I spent too much of my spare time of the last two years getting a decent observatory at a premium location, I'm still a long way from any deeper astro image processing experience..
So no APP flowchart or map. I finally dragged myself through the mentioned video, after seeing Getting started by Sara Wager. The multi-channel video left me a bit confused. Looked like it didn't get the channel from the FITS header, sort of manual import from time to time. Otherwise it does look decent. Might even get used to the UI!
It might be a good thing for a developer to forget about documentation, if available for purchase. I see that PixInsight has Adam Block's video comprehensive series and Warren Keller's Inside PixInsight book.
Guess I will also end up buying the APP, choosing an annual subscription (which are healthy for software), and see what i like over time. And I would definitely buy APP books and HQ videos.
Well, personally I think documentation and developing is better when they go hand-in-hand. For instance with PI, I only really started to dive into that when a book came out, years after it was first developed. As a programmer myself I always try to keep both updated as I go, but yes it is a terrible time consuming exercise. And ofcourse, everyone is doing things differently and has personal circumstances that might prevent all the extra time and effort put into it. At least I know something will come up regarding this, so stay tuned. 😉
Thanks for the support!
Thanks Vincent and Basilio, for great follow-up!
I already did a spin with some of my own data, and was puzzled to see improvements over the MaxIm results - in a case where I already was quite satisfied!
Now I see that APP has a lot more power and options, while actually being tidier and easier to walk trough.
Basilio, I had another go when I got your book sample. (Because this is a book or subscription service coming? Please tell whenever ready.)
Friendly and concise text, very nice layout. Great, fast help. You pointed out several things I missed the first time. Premium advise all over. While the APP tooltips has a lot of great stuff going on, the file list is silent. You had that covered, and then some.
(Just some minor feedback. Analyze Stars always come out with only one column of values no matter what I try. Did you leave out a page on Combine RGB? Jump from Load to Register etc is a very interesting option, but might need a little more explaining as I'm not sure APP remembers all my last choices.)
I know I have sounded like a skeptic, but once again I'll be a total rear end and ask for more before I'm in: G2V calibration support.
That was one of the very few things I really liked about MaxIm. A convenient workaround might be ok, but I searched the Photoshop Addin Site and found nothing on "G2V" (not "WhiteCal" either, which I believe was an old option). PI has its PPC instead it seems, which is still not "scientific mode". Bringing G2V into the workflow was one of the few things I really learnt on my relatively short voyage. Perfect for me with several complete imaging setups that won't be altered too often. Kind of stuck with the idea!
Most stuff will sort itself out as I go and the product is developed, I'm sure. But one final thing I really looked for. I can't see any templates or ways of saving settings for different setups/targets. Could really wish for batch mode, and a good batch editor/manager/etc. But then I saw somewhere in a tooltip that it's coming..(?)
If the "pain in the rear" means, constructive criticism, then please be a pain. 😉 Information like that will be the only way to spark a new idea and how to cater better for the community.
Great to hear you are surprised by some of the improvements, if it can slowly turn around a sceptic view, we are on the right track. Regarding G2V calibration, have you compared it to the color calibration inside APP yet? As far as I know it should be on par with the best out there. It is being improved ofcourse, but I'm getting very easy and great results with it. Thing with APP is.. it looks pretty easy and in some ways is almost a 1-click and go flow, but I know Mabula is spending a tremendous amount on proper (and really high-level) maths and statistics behind every step, that was actually the basis for the programme and has made the features stand out from the competition (best example being the mosaic algoritm). I'm pretty sure he has put a similar effort in to color calibration as well.
Thanks again Vincent,
I'm choosing annual payment for the future of APP, unless there's higher chance of discontinuity. ("..software will stop working after the expiry date. After license expiry, you can renew..") That is, a possibility for upgrading before expiry.
I'm sure APP color calibration is among the best of its kind. But it is not G2V and can't be compared. G2V is perfection and control, although a lot more work and not necessarily "nicer". Will use MaxIM for that part until I find something different.
I understand that the batch mode of PI was never really much liked, so I feel a bit odd wishing for something similar in APP.
I will have to check every settings in APP for every run (no documented "memory" or templates), but that's ok for now 🙂
There shouldn't be a chance of discontinuity with any plan as far as I'm aware, APP should stay working when the license is extended. Thanks very much for giving it a go!
Allright, so I guess Mabula (@mabula-admin) has lots to say about G2V and possible use here. 🙂 I lack the experience with it unfortunately.
Yes true, there are no templates, but I believe it already is on the wish-list to be added, one of these things that makes so much sense it will be there eventually.
I guess I'm a bit late,
I've recently done exactly this for those of us who like to have something on "paper":
Feel free to have a look at it and use or share it.
b4silio Thank you for this writeup! Very handy starter guide and the tips are helpful.
I had difficulty sharing with friends though through email due to the size, probably due to all the screen shots. But these are helpful for new folks as a companion to the tutorial videos.
Just getting started with trial version. I have been working with files from DSLR/Star Adventurer combo taken last week featuring 1. Pleiades and 2. Orion belt and nebula. So far everything has worked well. I wanted to gain familiarity with work flow etc so just used lights and a few darks. Results without processing and any tools adjustments have been very good. I just have one frustrating issue with saving the integrated image. I have saved as both jpeg and tiff files. The files register in the bottom list and open up ok. However with one exception I cannot find the files on the Mac. Maybe I am not looking in the right places. The Mac is new to me having come to it from windows.
When you launch for the first time APP asks you to indicate which will be the working directory. Depending on which one you have indicated, you will save the image in one place or another.
Yes I got the protocol for loading files and the pathway. My first load of files included shots from multiple observation sessions of Pleiades and Orion. Having loaded all files in one location creates practical problems selecting which to use when using APP to stack etc . and as it stands all of the results end up in the one location. It would be really nice to be able to file to folders in my normal pictures file structure where I can then load into PS or Capture 1. Still working on old files as Cumbrian weather is pretty awful at present. Other users, like Sarah in her Sky at Night review, mention opening files in PS for final treatment but I am having difficulties with this.