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StarTools workflow notes

These were the notes I took from watching the Youtube video by the author Ivo Jager – I’m sure the best person to teach you about a program is the author himself.

  1. Open as linear, was Bayered, is not white balanced for my DSS images (or not Bayered, or is white balanced depending on your stacking software).
  2. Bin if pixels are higher than seeing limit i.e. over sampled data.
  3. Use Autodev to look at the image for subject of interest, stacking artefacts and to aid cropping. Use mouse to select region of interest (e.g. over the galaxy).
  4. Wipe to remove light pollution. Try default. Bump up dark anomaly to 8 pixels to reduce stacking artefacts in noisy images. Cancel this after taking note of the corner artifacts.
  5. Use Crop to remove corner artifacts, which the wipe process had made visible.
  6. Use Wipe again. To see the image better do temp Autodev (set to yes). Mask lasso around Galaxy. Do wipe. Keep.
  7. Redo global stretch with Autodev. Ignore fine details set to 3-4 pixels depending on image. Set region of interest on Galaxy. Outside of region influence set to ~15%. Keep.
  8. Deconvolution. Use auto mask for stars. Invert the star mask. Up the radius until you see the ringing around the small stars and back off slightly (default 1.5). Regularization keep at 1.00. Click on all and then Keep.
  9. Sharp module after Deconvolution as mask would be useful for stars to prevent sharpening of them. Click next. Can choose different size to concentrate on: large, medium or fine. Sharpening Scale 1 is for finest, 5 for largest structures. Small detail bias increase will bring up more of the finer detail. Can change amount according to taste. Keep intelligent enhance on to reduce the noise. Keep.
  10. HDR choose the one according to subject (tame bright core etc). Check each to see the result. Detail size range set to ? 150-300 pixels so image is not too flat. Keep.
  11. Color. Undo mask to apply to all of image. Can use entire galaxy to set white balance or cluster of stars or entire image. Also if  star is known to be white can white balance against it. Click Max RGB button. Shows up maximum colours. Galaxy core usually red-yellow and edge blue. Adjust Red Bias Reduce higher if Galaxy looks too red. Can cap green to yellow if needed. Dark colour saturation can be reduced or kept at full. Keep.
  12. Switch tracking off. Denoise. Use default mode. Increase noise grain until it disappears. Then click Next. Adjust for each scale downwards to remove noise. Adjust smoothness as appropriate.
  13. Final steps, can also do Repair for stars with star mask . Keep.
  14. Save as .tiff file.

I have to say that following the above workflow helped me to get the two images I’ve posted. So with practice and better data, I am hoping that I will get even better results. Happy processing.

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