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StarTools Main Window Use

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:58 pm
by Guy
Here are some notes relating to using StarTools. It is not the only way to use it and experimentation is encouraged.
Please let me know if anyone sees any errors or has any additional advice they think helpful.
I will update this post as needed.
To see a full alphabetical list of module topics click here.

StarTools' Main Window

  • To load the initial image(s), Select modules to apply, change the mask, and undo changes.
Useful Sources
The Unofficial guide is also a good source of help. It relates to version 1.3.5 so there may have been some changes. The notes below relate to StarTools version 1.4.

When to use:
  • At the start of processing to load the files(s).
  • To select the next module to apply (see below for example workflow).
  • Between modules to set a mask or undo some changes.
  • To turn Tracking off towards the end of the workflow.

See the Quick Start Tutorial for a quick generic workflow.

Full Workflow Example:
AutoDev-{Band/Lens}-Bin-Crop-Wipe-AutoDev(or Develop)-{Decon/Sharp/Contrast/HDR/Flux/Life}-Color-{Filter}-Denoise-{Layer/Magic/Heal/Repair/Synth}
Key: {...} optional modules

  1. Open a file with the Open button, or combine multiple files with the LRGB button.
  2. In turn, select the modules you want to apply (see above for example workflow).
  3. Turn Track off. Denoise at this stage.
  4. Select any remaining modules required.
  5. Save the desired result.
Description of Controls:

Used to open single monochrome or colour images:
  • StarTools reads FITS, PNG and uncompressed TIFF files.
  • StarTools works best with images that are linear and without preprocessing apart from registration and stacking
  • The image should not have had any stretching, noise reduction, colour balancing or deconvolution.
  • For more information see Background Notes.
  • After loading you are prompted about the image source. This will affect how you open the image in StarTools:
    • If it is a (stacked) RAW image - either monochrome or white-balanced colour - select 'Linear, was not Bayered or is white balanced.
    • If it is a (stacked) RAW colour image that is not white balanced - select 'Linear, was Bayered, is not white balanced'.
    • If it is a JPEG or video source use 'Modified and not linear'.
Used to merge multiple files such as those representing Luminance and Red, Green, and Blue channels, or those representing the Hubble palette.
See separate LRGB module description for details on how to use it.

Saves the current image:
  • To save as a TIFF file use the extension .tiff or .tif
  • To save as a JPEG file use the extension .jpg
  • Undoes the effects of the previous module.
For general instructions on using the mask see Mask.

Turns off tracking and provides and opportunity to do the final Denoise - See Tracking.

Allows us to return to the image at a previous stage in the processing - but with the option, for example, of reverting to Linear data but keeping Deconvolution intact - even though that was done after the global stretch.
  • Original - revert to the original Linear, Binned and Cropped image.
  • Linear, Wiped - revert to the Linear image after being Binned, Cropped and Wiped.
  • Linear, Wiped, Deconvolved - revert to the Linear image after being Binned, Cropped, Wiped, and Deconvolved.
  • Globally Stretched, Wiped, Deconvolved - revert to the image after being Binned, Cropped, Wiped, Globally stretched, and Deconvolved.
The modules are all accessed by clicking the corresponding button to the left of the image area. Click on the module name below to get the description of how to use that module.
  • Band - Remove banding.
  • Lens - Correct for lens defects.
  • Bin - Reduce resolution - improve signal to noise ratio.
  • Crop - Crop image edges.
  • Wipe - Remove Gradient, light pollution and vignetting.
  • AutoDev - Automated global stretching.
  • Develop - Global stretching.
  • Decon - Recover detail from seeing-limited data.
  • Contrast - Optimise Local contrast.
  • HDR - Optimise Localised dynamic range.
  • Sharp - Sharpen detail.
  • Flux - Automatic feature recognition and manipulation.
  • Life - Light diffraction modelling.
  • Color - Correct and Adjust Colour.
  • Filter - Manipulate features based on colour.
  • Denoise - Reduce noise.
  • Layer - Versatile pixel level manipulation.
  • Heal - Remove unwanted features.
  • Magic - Control star appearance.
  • Repair - Repair star defects.
  • Synth - Augment or replace stars.
  • Rotate - Rotate image.
  • Mirror H - Make mirror image horizontally.
  • Mirror V - Make mirror image vertically.
Background Notes:

Preprocessing Images for StarTools
  • StarTools works best with images that are Linear and without preprocessing apart from registration and stacking.
  • No stretching, noise reduction, colour balancing or deconvolution.
  • When stacking, use median or some form of sigma clipping with more than 10 sub-frames
  • If using DeepSkyStacker (DSS) - when saving the stacked image - in the save dialog choose:
    • Set 'Per Channel Color Calibration' and 'RGB Channels Calibration' to 'No'.
    • Save as type: 'TIFF Image' or 'FITS image', '16 bit/ch' or '32 bit/ch - integer' (a 32-bit file is twice the size of a 16-bit file)
    • Compression:'None' and Options:'Embed adjustments...'
    • See DSS settings for StarTools
    • Always white balances - unless you preprocess with DCRAW using this method: Eliminating white balancing when using DSS
  • If using Regim:
  • If using PixInsight:
    • Rejection algorithm: Sigma clipping.
    • No white balance.
  • If using Nebulosity:
    • Align and Combine: Standard Deviation based stacking: Sigma-clip
    • Don't do post processing such as Digital Development, Adjust Color Background or Auto Color Balance .
StarTools Log File

Every time you process an image, the processing steps are saved to a log file named StarTools.log in the StarTools program folder.
It contains entries for:
  • StarTools version used.
  • Date processed.
  • Source file name and location.
  • Modules used along with the associated parameter values.
  • Saved file name and location.
It is very useful if you want to recreate a processing workflow or to help with troubleshooting.
For versions earlier than v1.3.5 it was saved in the folder where the source image file is located.