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tobblerone

Continue learning PS or invest in PixInsight?

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Hi all!

I'm pretty new to astrophotography.  Before I started I had never used any image processing software. I currently use photoshop but I'm very very basic in it so far. So I started to wonder what software is best to learn before I invest time and money in addons such as GradientXterminator and Astronomy Tools Action Set? Which one is the most potent and easy to learn considering no previous knowledge? Since Photoshop is subscription based i guess PixInsight is cheaper with time but its still a lot of money and I'd like to hear peoples thoughts about it before deciding :) 

/Tobias

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I'm a PixInsight user, think its fantastic, many tools to be mastered (or at least to become competent on) so an endless journey of experiment and learning - great fun :-)

David

 

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I don't believe the best option is to pick *either* PI or PS. They both excel in very different things, my image processing work-flow relies on being able to pick and choose processes and actions in which bit of software does it best. There is no one stop shop in my opinion I'm afraid. If you're serious about imaging, be prepared to use both.

Edited by johnrt
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Iv'e had PS around 4 years and love it for my general photography.

Within a few weeks of starting AP i had purchased Noels astronomy tools plugin, GradientxTerminator and the free HLVG, within another 2 months i had the trial version of PI, within a week i'd bought it, not sure what that says about me but i love PI.

My partner bought me the Warren Keller book "Inside Pixinsight" now i love PI even more. I still use PS but very, very rarely for my AP.

Edited by MARS1960

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I was very handy with PS, but it was not enough for astrophotography, so I started doing part of the processing with PixInsight LE, then tried the full PI demo... I mean it is very powerful, but it is very expensive and in the end it took me quite a while to get the image to where I wanted (plus the demo ended quickly). And then I tried StarTools. The first attempts were weird, as it is a program completely different from any image processing I had seen, but after I while I could get within 10 minutes the result that took me more than an hour with PS and PI / PI LE. It does many things sort of automatically, so it is good for a beginner and you can try it for as long as you want (only save is disabled - you have to do a screenshot), while in the end it is a fraction of the cost of PI. There are video tutorials available, also my own quick tutorial made for members of my astronomy group.

Edited by ecuador

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I am a PS user through and through, with only the occasional dabble in PI. I believe that PS is more than enough for Astrophotography ..... but that is no more than my opinion based on my experience :) 

PS and PI are very different beasts with regards to their user interface alone...... I cannot get on with the PI way of working, but it may suit you. You can download a PI trial that will give you some idea of how you would get on with it. I quickly realised that it's way of working didn't suit me and so I invested time in PS learning which I *think* has paid off, but I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

Perhaps trial versions of both (don't know if PS has such a thing?) will help you decide :)

 

Edited by swag72
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I think excluding either would be a mistake.  Both are very powerful tools, exclude one of them and you loose that toolset.

PI can do things PS simply can not and has many tools designed specifically for AP, these will enhance your data more effectively and efficiently than PS.  For me PS still has the edge in the areas of masking, colour, finishing touches and embellishments. Some PI can not do, some PI can but not as effective, intuitive or responsive.

I may not use all of either program but could not live without both.

Learn both, learn what you need and when you need it - will result in improved images and more efficient processing.

Paddy

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Thanks for your valuable input! I was afraid this was going to be the answer, that one cant replace the other ;) 

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For me, too, it has to be both. If I were a narrowband imager I'd probably be happy with Ps alone. However, imaging in broadband throws up difficult colour gradients and, good as GradX is, PI's Dynamic Background Extraction is better. I never use it on narrowband layers but always do so on RGB. I would buy PI for that alone but I do use other routines in it as well, usually exported as a layer into Ps so I have proper real time control of where I apply it.

As Sara and others have said, the way of working is very different. In PI you carry out a modification with parts of the image masked to protect them from the mod. In Ps you modify a bottom layer and then erase the top layer with an eraser brush where you feel the mod is an improvement. I prefer layers because I can see what I'm doing in real time. I like the analogue 'touchy feely' approach of Ps. Others prefer the 'hands off, masks on' approach of PI.

Ps is a triumph of user interface communication. PI... is not!

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I use only PS. I've thought about trying PI, but I really don't believe that my images will improve significantly, nor that there is anything that I can't do in PS that I would be able to do in PI (other than stacking). Also, it seems to me that while many use PS exclusively, few use PI exclusively and why use two programs if not essential. of course this is a biased opinion because I've never used PI. I've always thought an interesting challenge would be to post calibrated stacked subs of less than optimal data of a challenging target, for anonymous users to process exclusively in either PI or PS, with judging of the results by individuals blinded as to which program was used.

Derek

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49 minutes ago, schmeah said:

I use only PS. I've thought about trying PI, but I really don't believe that my images will improve significantly, nor that there is anything that I can't do in PS that I would be able to do in PI (other than stacking). Also, it seems to me that while many use PS exclusively, few use PI exclusively and why use two programs if not essential. of course this is a biased opinion because I've never used PI. I've always thought an interesting challenge would be to post calibrated stacked subs of less than optimal data of a challenging target, for anonymous users to process exclusively in either PI or PS, with judging of the results by individuals blinded as to which program was used.

Derek

Recently I posted a set of linear calibrated stacks in L and RGB and Ha for the Christmas amusement of anyone who fancied playing with them. I thought it was interesting that there was precious little difference (to my eye, at least) between my own result, mainly Photoshop, and Barry Wilson's entirely in PI. There is something of the Jihad in the PI/Ps debate which serves no useful purpose.They are both graphics programmes which allow the user to manipulate the raw data.

Olly

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