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Pixinsight or APP


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Hi, I'm thinking of purchasing either PI or APP, but undecided which to go for, any advice? I'm sure this question has been asked before, but all the other threads I've come across mainly consists of people who only use one or the other arguing over which is better without providing much objective evidence, pro's/cons of each etc.

For anyone that have used both: 

  • What are the pro & cons of each?
  • What does PI offer things that APP doesn't and vice versa?
  • Which ultimately results in the best image from a given set of data? 

I would download the trial version of PI to try out side by side with APP, but I got a trial licence a while ago which I didn't end of using. I've asked PI if it's possible to get  a 2nd trial but had no response.

Cheers

Adam

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I haven't used APP, I only use Pixinsight so I cant compare the two.

In PI I use about 14 tools and none of them are hard to learn - many of the available tools do very similar things and that makes it look daunting.

I can usually produce a reasonable image with those 14 tools and often I don't use more than 10 of them.

 

 

 

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I've never used PI (well actually I did download it and tried it for a few minutes and it seemed terrible!).

APP isnt really a complete image processing tool.  It's for stacking etc, and some preprocessing, before them opening it up in eg photoshop and completing the processing.  You wouldnt process an image from start to finish in APP.  I couldnt do without APP, it is a very powerful tool that does what it supposed to do very very well.  It can handle data of different imaging scales, and integrate them seamlessly, as well as produce mosaics with dynamic distortion correction from pretty much whatever you chuck at it.  It has a superb light pollution/gradient removal tool, which is a very tactile process, where you have a lot of control of the data processing.

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I have used both (trial version of APP), and settled on PixInsight as I prefer it, and personally believe it to be a much more powerful tool.

APP is more user-friendly and automated, as noted above, and does have some great automated features that PI lacks, such as mosaic registration and integration. This is a much more involved task in PI, but can be done.

If you are willing to get your head around the interface of PixInsight then it is well worth it and can do incredible things. There are some great resources out there to assist with that too, such as 'Mastering PixInsight', and 'Inside PixInsight'.

 

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I have APP, Pixinsight and Photoshop and use all three for various aspects of my processing workflow.  As Adam and Spongey have said APP is great for integrations and mosaics and certainly easier to use for that than Pi.  Photoshop is brilliant for its layers approach  - GIMP does similar and is free I believe so get that.  If I were to choose between APP and Pi it would have to be Pixinsight, looks complicated and to some it is, but it is extremely powerful.  Again as Spongey has said the books Mastering Pixinsight ($20 for a .pdf and money well spent) and Warren Keller's Inside Pixinsight are great resources to get you up to speed with it.  

Dave

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Echoing the comments about APP - it's a great pre-processing tool and the one I also use.  I came across this before PixInsight and used to take an image from APP and then tweak in Affinity Photo.  APP can give a certain type of stretch and does have an excellent light pollution (gradient) removal tool among some other post processing tools, but it's limited at that end of processing.

Once I realised it's limitations (for me) in post processing I moved that phase into PixInsight - although still compare the LP removal tool in APP to what PI can do with a tricky image.

I find PixInsight extremely intuitive, working with images, duplicates, previews, matching previews on different images, storing pre configured processes, history etc.  It has a vast amount of tools at its disposal, but as mentioned already you will likely only use small number of these, then perhaps add more as and when an image requires it (and your knowledge of the tools expand).  I've found a noticeable curve in PixInsight, but it's not a wall as some find, but the typical slope where you can do plenty of things quickly and as you want to make smaller, more refined or complicated editing, then more time needs to be spent.

I've recently found it still seems easier to do certain things in Photoshop/Affinity Photo (where my knowledge is at with PixInsight anyway - learning all the time).

If I had to choose between the two it would have to be PixInsight, but I'd shed a tear at losing APP for the pre processing!

 

 

Edited by geeklee
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Hi all, thanks for the advice. I think I will most probably go down the PI route then. Sounds more of a learning curve (I do like learning things, gives me something to do on cloudy days, which is most days). but I'm sure the results will be worth it, and I do like the sound of all the post-processing capabilities.

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I haven't used APP but, as others have said, it's not a full processing package, more orientated towards pre-processing, complex integration & mosaics etc.  I use DSS for some of this at the moment but intend to move to APP at some point in the future. 

Meanwhile, under lockdown (1 & 2) I decided to tackle PixInsight and at first found it a steep / difficult learning curve.  However, with the help of Light Vortex online tutorials, Harry's Astro Shed & the recently published gamechanger Mastering PixInsight, I'm now using it routinely and can honestly say it's transformed my processing - used in combination with DSS, PS & Topaz AO Denoise from time-to-time.  Frankly, there are so many possibilites with PI I'm unlikely to master the software if I live to 100 but for now it's been worth the effort; personally I found PI pre-processing a complete pain, even using batch processing to spedd thinsg up, hence my desire to adopt APP instead.

As has been said, you can get by with say 10 to 15 basic processes + PixelMath is a very powerful tool that can do lots of tricks that would take hours in PS.  In this regard, I should add Shawn Nielsen's Visble Dark youtube tutorials which are excellent + some of the more ambitious techniques.

Hope that helps - if you've got the time and patience then PI is the way to go IMO.

Graham 

   

 

 

             

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I also use APP for integration/pre processing. So easy to use and get great results. It can easily remove amp glow.

I also own Pixinsight which does all what APP can do and much much more. I use Photoshop professionally so have that too although you can do much of what PS does in Gimp (free) and the incredibly cheap but fantastic Affinity Photo.

My experience so far of PI is it may indeed be the only tool you need to produce spectacular results although I personally have issues with processing ampglow with PI (I need to experiment more). I agree that APP is sublime at producing mosaics and haven’t yet experimented with PI to do the same.

So really it is up to you and what you want to do/have interests in. I’m glad I use all these tools but know that budget maybe a consideration. In that case PixInsight would be my choice if I was starting a fresh. Get a training course (rather than random internet Youtube videos) by MastersOfPixInsight for instance and it would pay dividends for years to come.

Edited by TerryMcK
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I have the ZWO ASI 183MM and 183MC Dave. APP gets rid of amp glow completely but I still struggle with PI. I am using the weighted BPP script. I use darks, bias frames and flats. I’ve even removed bias from the PI integration but still get amp glow. There is probably something I’ve missed in the settings.

 

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1 minute ago, TerryMcK said:

I have the ZWO ASI 183MM and 183MC Dave. APP gets rid of amp glow completely but I still struggle with PI. I am using the weighted BPP script. I use darks, bias frames and flats. I’ve even removed bias from the PI integration but still get amp glow. There is probably something I’ve missed in the settings.

 

These are the settings I use with my ASI1600, matched Darks, no bias, a pedastal of 150 (to avoid black clipping) and optimisation turned off..  I dont use the sccript and dont know how you'd put these settings in..  When I first got Pi and my ASI1600 I used the BPP and couldn't get it to work so went the manual route...  Not saying it cant be set up to work properly I just couldn't figure out how to.  Flats calibrated the same way with a Flat Dark

HTH

Dave

 Image Calibration CMOS.xpsm

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I’ve got a few, APP, PI, Startools, Affinity Photo, and an ancient copy of PS.

The post processing tools of APP are, on the face of it, a much more limited range than PI, but I would disagree that you cannot produce a reasonable image using just APP. IMHO the devil is in the data, a quality data set will deliver a fine image right out of APP and a photo editing package like Affinity Photo or GIMP.

But if you enjoy working through the myriad of PI tools and the extensive minutiae of the parameters and settings that lie within, then perhaps that’s the route for you.👍

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  • 2 weeks later...

FYI I'm now the proud owner of a PI license 😀

Been playing around with it over the last week, going through the instructions in the Mastering Pixinsight book and re-processing my image of the Crescent Nebula along the way. 

Not finished processing it yet but it will be interesting to compare my processing with PI vs Siril/Photoshop, will post up the comparison when I'm done!

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