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Stu
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Hi all. I'm at the stage now, where I should be able to start gathering some usable data 🥳 

Can anyone recommend software that I will need to start processing images?

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How many different answers are you expecting? 😂

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Deepskystacker  for stacking which is free  , Startools for processing free trial for as long as you like , just can’t save result full cost is only about £40 

https://www.startools.org/

Edited by Bottletopburly
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Posted (edited)

I was going to just average them all out if it got a bit messy 😁

Just after suggestions for stuff to check out as I have zero photographic experience beyond playing with stuff on my phone. 

I'll give the 2 mentioned above a look for sure. 

Edited by Stu
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Gimp is free for processing too.

 

If you are doing planetary or lunar, then you capture video files. Process these with Autostakkert, also free.

 

If you’re taking lots of single images on a tripod, you can create star trails very easily with StarStax

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4 minutes ago, Stu said:

I was going to just average them all out if it got a bit messy 😁

Just after suggestions for stuff to check out as I have zero photographic experience beyond playing with stuff on my phone. 

I'll give the 2 mentioned above a look for sure. 

Rather than just average them out, deep sky stacker, which is very easy to use, aligns all of the stars to get you better images with less noise

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14 hours ago, Derbyshire Dave said:

Rather than just average them out, deep sky stacker, which is very easy to use, aligns all of the stars to get you better images with less noise

Thanks. Seeing as the weather is looking rubbish this weekend I'll have a chance to check them out. 

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Hi @Stu

My recommendations would be:

Stacking: Deep Sky Stacker / Siril / Affinity Photo
Processing: Affinity Photo

 

Regards
Matthew 🙂

 

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As a start I would suggest going for the freebies.  Almost all astro software will stack images but as previously mentioned DSS is probably the easiest to use and I've never found a reason to change from using it (despite what others may say).  Processing the resulting stacked image is a completely different matter (DSS doesn't do image processing). You can use software where the software does the processing mainly to its built in presets or others that let you allow full control over what you want to achieve. Some are free, the rest are variously priced.  If you want a freeby to start with then one not mentioned so far is SIRIL but whilst it has some powerful image processing its not one that I would consider as 'out of the box' to use.  If you've used Photoshop in the past but don't want the expense then Affinity may be a cheaper solution but (I think like Photoshop) you may need some add-ons to get the most out of your astro images.

At the end of the day, the task of the actual image capture is the most important of any astro photo.  As I regularly find out, garbage in = garbage out 😁

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2 hours ago, Matthew said:

Hi @Stu

My recommendations would be:

Stacking: Deep Sky Stacker / Siril / Affinity Photo
Processing: Affinity Photo

 

Regards
Matthew 🙂

 

I will add them to the list, thanks 😁

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2 hours ago, Clive said:

As a start I would suggest going for the freebies.  Almost all astro software will stack images but as previously mentioned DSS is probably the easiest to use and I've never found a reason to change from using it (despite what others may say).  Processing the resulting stacked image is a completely different matter (DSS doesn't do image processing). You can use software where the software does the processing mainly to its built in presets or others that let you allow full control over what you want to achieve. Some are free, the rest are variously priced.  If you want a freeby to start with then one not mentioned so far is SIRIL but whilst it has some powerful image processing its not one that I would consider as 'out of the box' to use.  If you've used Photoshop in the past but don't want the expense then Affinity may be a cheaper solution but (I think like Photoshop) you may need some add-ons to get the most out of your astro images.

At the end of the day, the task of the actual image capture is the most important of any astro photo.  As I regularly find out, garbage in = garbage out 😁

Thanks, easy to use is the order of the day at the moment. I'll check that out. I got a few 120sec exposures the other night and the stars are almost round. Just need to get a bit more practice setting up and hopefully they will improve. 

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Sorry @Clive - I beg to differ (from experience) on some of your answers ....

(1) DSS can do some very basic processing (but I would not recommend using these)

(2) SiriL can be used out-of -the-box BUT needs some tweaking if you (say) don't want to use flats for some reason. All of this is controlled by easily edited scripts

(3) Affinity does not need any add-ons at all to process astro images and in fact to the contrary. One the head devs on the software is an imager himself and they have incorporated 3 main features so far specifically for astro - Gradient/background removal, Image stacking and Tone (HDR) mapping

 

Best regards

Matthew

 

 

Edited by Matthew
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6 hours ago, Matthew said:

... I beg to differ (from experience) on some of your answers ....

As my original post suggested, everyone has their own opinion and I perfectly accept that, but just to clarify what I meant:

6 hours ago, Matthew said:

(1) DSS can do some very basic processing (but I would not recommend using these

Yes it does have extremely limited processing and is capable of pulling out an image from anotherwise 'blank' result for 'viewing' but as you say (and so does the developers), it is not recommended to save the result!

6 hours ago, Matthew said:

(2) SiriL can be used out-of -the-box BUT needs some tweaking if you (say) don't want to use flats for some reason. All of this is controlled by easily edited scripts

Although the scripts are easily edited they may not be immediately obvious to the first time user?

6 hours ago, Matthew said:

(3) Affinity does not need any add-ons at all to process astro images and in fact to the contrary. One the head devs on the software is an imager himself and they have incorporated 3 main features so far specifically for astro - Gradient/background removal, Image stacking and Tone (HDR) mapping

When Affinity with the astrophotography tools was released I quite happly purchased it even though I'm not a Photoshop savey user. I quickly found that the stacking process took so much longer than DSS that I abandoned it and it still lays dormant on my PC.  Perhaps the effort of understanding the nuances of 'Photoshop' processing put me off delving further into using it but I don't remember ever seeing a gradient removal tool in my version.

For my sins, I still use the predecessor to SIRIL (with my own scripts of course!).  I have yet to justify using anything else to create 8 bit JPEG images using my limited astrophotography setup.

 

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On 25/06/2022 at 17:11, Clive said:

As my original post suggested, everyone has their own opinion and I perfectly accept that, but just to clarify what I meant:

Yes it does have extremely limited processing and is capable of pulling out an image from anotherwise 'blank' result for 'viewing' but as you say (and so does the developers), it is not recommended to save the result!

Although the scripts are easily edited they may not be immediately obvious to the first time user?

When Affinity with the astrophotography tools was released I quite happly purchased it even though I'm not a Photoshop savey user. I quickly found that the stacking process took so much longer than DSS that I abandoned it and it still lays dormant on my PC.  Perhaps the effort of understanding the nuances of 'Photoshop' processing put me off delving further into using it but I don't remember ever seeing a gradient removal tool in my version.

For my sins, I still use the predecessor to SIRIL (with my own scripts of course!).  I have yet to justify using anything else to create 8 bit JPEG images using my limited astrophotography setup.

 

 

Hi @Clive

Looks like there was more meat to the bones as it were and we are both singing from the same hymn sheet!! (Can't think of anymore saying's!?)......
 

All the best
Matthew

 

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