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Advice on image processing - software and workflows


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Hi,

I'm very new to astrophotography and hope you can help me. I have been trying to process my images in GIMP (as it's free) and found a couple of workflows online which I've used with some images I took last week of the region around Deneb and the North America Nebula. I also tried using Startools on the same image. It would be good to get your thoughts on the processed images below and any advice or workflows you can share with me would be really appreciated. 

The images were captured using a Canon EOS 70D on a static tripod (no tracking), 50mm lens, f2.8, ISO 1600, 100 x6 seconds exposures, 30 dark flats and 40 bias frames. Stacked in DSS using the default settings, so only 10 minutes of integration time. 

The first image is using the suggested workflow in Startools. I didn't change too much at each stage and I didn't create a star mask - as I didn't know how to do it. 

The second image is from GIMP using a basic workflow that simply uses Levels to 'Auto Input Levels' for All Channels, followed by using the black dropper to define the background region. 

The third image is also from GIMP but uses a series of stretches using the Levels function, followed by background neutralisation using the gradient tool. I attempted another further stretch but the image looked really bad - a lot of blue across the bottom of the image. 

Given this is only 10 minutes of exposure time I wasn't expecting too much, but can I improve these images and if so what workflow would you recommend. 

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thanks! 

Deneb - Startools workflow.jpg

workflow basic.jpg

workflow layers.jpg

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Hi, great to see a static tripod used you've captured quite a bit.

I found when I did a similar exercise of 100 x 6 second images I needed to split this into three sets, I used the middle frame of each set as the reference frame in deep sky stacker.

You'll get three images to process but the edges will be less distorted if you had found this the case so far, the final three can then be joined using something like Microsoft ICE, you'll get a wider final image then crop the top and bottom of desired. I had used a 24mm lens rather than a 50mm.

Many infinity photo or photoshop astro processing videos can be followed using GIMP.

In startools to create a star mask go to Mask then select Auto and then stars or fat stars and Go to create a quick star mask. Could do print screen to save a reference of your process while you use the trial.

 

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12 hours ago, happy-kat said:

Hi, great to see a static tripod used you've captured quite a bit.

I found when I did a similar exercise of 100 x 6 second images I needed to split this into three sets, I used the middle frame of each set as the reference frame in deep sky stacker.

You'll get three images to process but the edges will be less distorted if you had found this the case so far, the final three can then be joined using something like Microsoft ICE, you'll get a wider final image then crop the top and bottom of desired. I had used a 24mm lens rather than a 50mm.

Many infinity photo or photoshop astro processing videos can be followed using GIMP.

In startools to create a star mask go to Mask then select Auto and then stars or fat stars and Go to create a quick star mask. Could do print screen to save a reference of your process while you use the trial.

 

Thanks for the advice. I'll try the three set process. I was also thinking about taking more than 100 exposures to get more data, but after every 100 or so I would realign the camera back on where Deneb was originally before capturing the next batch of 100 exposures. Just waiting for a good clear night before trying that technique! 

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