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PixInsight - My new favourite tool: History Explorer


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I was watching a few YouTube videos last night by pomfretvids, and he was using the History Explorer to show how he stepped through from one stage to the next. He could go back to a particular stage and the image would change to reflect what it looked like at that stage in the processing. Quite cool I thought, if I need to go back a few stages I can see exactly what tools I have run, but not really a killer feature.

Then this evening I was reprocessing M42 (again), and I got almost to the end and I realised that I had dark halos around my stars. Having a quick look on line it turns out that the culprit is often Masked Stretch, and the cure is to run it with more iterations. Bother thinks I, that was about 10 processing steps ago. If I go back to before the Masked Stretch and re-run it with more processing steps that will cause it to lose all of the history after that, and I was happy with the rest of the processing steps.

Then I notice that the History Explorer has one of those little triangular "New Instance" buttons. If you drag this new instance button onto the PI desktop, then you get a process icon. If you expand this process icon, all of your processing steps, including all of the parameters and the masks used are all stored in a Process Container.

So I was able to remove all of the steps before the Masked Stretch, edit the parameters of the Masked Stretch step in the Process Container; then Use the History Explorer to step back to before the Masked Stretch. Then I could just run the Process Container and it executed all of the steps from the stretch on.

You can also execute each step, one at a time by double clicking on it in the Process Container. Oh happy day! Of course I am still not happy with my processing of M42 and I will have to start over from scratch again ;)

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PixInsight does remind me of the old point and click adventure games like Monkey Island or Zak McKracken, in that you have to click on everything in every posible combination. Most of the time the results are boring, but every now and again something wonderful happens and you unlock a whole new area to play in ;)

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