DSS Settings for StarTools

Questions and answers about processing in StarTools and how to accomplish certain tasks.
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Guy
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:35 am

DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by Guy »

EDIT: Latest settings for DSS with screenshots can be found here.

Hi,

I'm new to Astrophotography and I am having a bit of trouble processing an image in Startools. I am doing the stacking in DSS and I know some settings affect StarTools' ability to process the image. As a first step I wanted to check that I had correctly set all the options in DSS that affected Startools processing.

From reading this forum and others the main settings I have are:

Stacking Parameters:
  • Light Tab: Mode: Kappa Sigma Clipping with Kappa of 2 & 5 iterations
    and Select 'No Background Calibration' option
  • Dark Tab: Mode: Median combination
    and Check 'Hot Pixel detection and removal' and uncheck 'Dark Optimisation'
  • Cosmetic Tab: Uncheck 'Detect and clean remaining hot pixels'
    and uncheck 'Detect and clean remaining cold pixels'
  • Result Tab: Uncheck 'Align RGB Channels in Final Image
RAW/FITS DDP Settings:
  • Raw Files Tab - Uncheck 'Use Auto White Balance' and uncheck 'Use Camera White Balance'
  • Bayer Matrix Transformation: select 'Bilinear Interpolation' option
There are other options set which I think do not affect Startools processing such as:

Register Settings:
  • Advanced Tab: Check 'Reduce the Noise by using a median filter'
Stacking Parameters:
  • Stacking Mode: Median Kappa Sigma Clipping with Kappa of 2 & 5 iterations
  • Intermediate Files tab: Final Image File Format: TIFF or FITS
I understand that DSS applies the white balance even if told not to
- so I need to use option 1 'Linear, was not Bayered or is whitebalanced' when opening the file in StarTools.

Are these settings correct and do you know of any other settings that are important?

Thanks,
Guy
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by admin »

Guy wrote:Hi,

I'm new to Astrophotography and I am having a bit of trouble processing an image in Startools. I am doing the stacking in DSS and I know some settings affect StarTools' ability to process the image. As a first step I wanted to check that I had correctly set all the options in DSS that affected Startools processing.

From reading this forum and others the main settings I have are:

Stacking Parameters:
  • Light Tab: Mode: Kappa Sigma Clipping with Kappa of 2 & 5 iterations
    and Select 'No Background Calibration' option
  • Dark Tab: Mode: Median combination
    and Check 'Hot Pixel detection and removal' and uncheck 'Dark Optimisation'
  • Cosmetic Tab: Uncheck 'Detect and clean remaining hot pixels'
    and uncheck 'Detect and clean remaining cold pixels'
  • Result Tab: Uncheck 'Align RGB Channels in Final Image
RAW/FITS DDP Settings:
  • Raw Files Tab - Uncheck 'Use Auto White Balance' and uncheck 'Use Camera White Balance'
  • Bayer Matrix Transformation: select 'Bilinear Interpolation' option
There are other options set which I think do not affect Startools processing such as:

Register Settings:
  • Advanced Tab: Check 'Reduce the Noise by using a median filter'
Stacking Parameters:
  • Stacking Mode: Median Kappa Sigma Clipping with Kappa of 2 & 5 iterations
  • Intermediate Files tab: Final Image File Format: TIFF or FITS
I understand that DSS applies the white balance even if told not to
- so I need to use option 1 'Linear, was not Bayered or is whitebalanced' when opening the file in StarTools.

Are these settings correct and do you know of any other settings that are important?

Thanks,
Guy
EDIT: Turning on or off align RGB Channels in Final Image may or may not yield better results. If uneven color fringing around stars is apparent, it is best to turn this on!

That sounds good!

A very important one is this though;
Screenshot-Stacking Steps-2.png
Screenshot-Stacking Steps-2.png (40.21 KiB) Viewed 12060 times
(e.g. the calibration options set to 'no')

Looking forward to your results!
Ivo Jager
StarTools creator and astronomy enthusiast
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Amaranthus
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by Amaranthus »

If you pre-convert your RAW files into TIFF using dcraw, you can avoid problems with white balance etc. This is what I do when using my DSLR.
Long-time visual observer, now learning the AP dark arts...
Guy
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:35 am

Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by Guy »

Thanks for your responses.

I was imaging the Rosette nebula using an unmodified Canon 1000D - getting 20 5-minute subs.

I've stacked the Lights, Darks, Flats and Bias frames using the settings above and got the following image:
https://app.box.com/s/x9xhneyv3417n4h8ib4yi58425trvtf3

I processed it using StarTools and got the image below:
https://app.box.com/s/nd8dw22452j8jesshydlz2x9virff9de

My questions about it was:
- I needed to increase the saturation a great deal to bring out any colour - is this normal?
- There is a lot more blue than other images I've seen - is this just because the camera is unmodified or am I processing it wrong?
- This is my first guided image and one of the first I have processed using StarTools - is there any other advice regarding processing you can give?

Any advice would be welcome.
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by admin »

That is a truly excellent result, showing very good coloring, and I'll tell you why;
  • The full (visible) black body radiation spectrum is covered; your image shows red, orange, yellow, white and blue stars.
  • Your diffraction pattern shows a nice 'rainbow' of different colors.
  • The red H-alpha, mixed with blue from Hb (sometimes OIII) yields the signature red/purple of a HII region (as seen in the outer regions of your image). The hot O-type stars are responsible for exciting the hydrogen and the emissions.
  • The blue in the centre is reflection of the hot, bright, blue O-type stars in that area - much of the lighter gas has been blown away by the extreme stellar winds.
StarTools takes coloring very seriously, trying to maintain informative coloring like this throughout the image. (see here for more info about why this important)

As for your question about Saturation;
I strongly suspect it may also have something to do with the screen-filling nebulosity and having no real background to calibrate against for Wipe to do its job. This will see Wipe calibrating a lot of nebulosity to to 'neutral'. You could lower the Aggressiveness parameter by quite a bit to make Wipe look much further for background to calibrate against than just locally. Doing this, Wipe wil be more generous ('less aggressive') with retaining background color and you will need to push saturation a lot less.

Have you tried using the Lens module? It can help alleviate the coma somewhat. You may also want to consider dithering between frames, as I can see some pattern noise. The data is quite nice and clean otherwise!

Love this image! :thumbsup:
Ivo Jager
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Guy
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by Guy »

Thanks for the explanation and kind words about the image. If the colours are good its thanks to StarTools (and the Canon !). I've enjoyed using StarTools. Even with my limited experience I can use its' powerful tools easily.

I had read about the Scientific approach to handling colour and so I was thinking that there may be some difference from other images of the Rosette - which are often shades of red - but I hadn't expected such a difference. There are also many blue stars which made me think I might have done something to emphasise the blue. Good to hear I haven't.

I did reduce the aggressiveness a bit when using Wipe but I will see what a effect further reduction has.
I haven't tried using the Lens module to tackle the coma - I think I used the Repair module on this version so I'll give the Lens module a go.
I'll also try dithering between frames.

Thanks once again.
cbecke
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by cbecke »

Hi!

I'm new to StarTools.

I've processed my first images using these DSS settings, but have a question:

Even if we set all of the DSS settings as listed in this thread, with no background calibration, should we import with option 1: "Linear, was not Bayered or is whitebalanced" when opening the image? I thought the whole point of turning all these DSS options off was to NOT do whitebalancing.

Thanks for helping me understand.

- Chris
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by admin »

cbecke wrote:Hi!

I'm new to StarTools.

I've processed my first images using these DSS settings, but have a question:

Even if we set all of the DSS settings as listed in this thread, with no background calibration, should we import with option 1: "Linear, was not Bayered or is whitebalanced" when opening the image? I thought the whole point of turning all these DSS options off was to NOT do whitebalancing.

Thanks for helping me understand.

- Chris
Hi Chris,

Having non-whitebalanced data is ideal. However DSS still white balances it regardless, with no way for you to tell it no to.

The point of turning off the other options in DSS is to "reduced the other damage" it does (from StarTools' point-of-view) to colors and noise levels.

Hope this helps,
Ivo Jager
StarTools creator and astronomy enthusiast
Ricker
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by Ricker »

When doing mono imaging with multiple filters I find I have to use Intersection as standard results in different frsam sizes and so compose will not handle the stacked frames.
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Re: DSS Settings for StarTools

Post by admin »

Ricker wrote:When doing mono imaging with multiple filters I find I have to use Intersection as standard results in different frsam sizes and so compose will not handle the stacked frames.
Thank you - that's an important point for those with mono CCDs.
You can find all recommended settings for DSS here.
Ivo Jager
StarTools creator and astronomy enthusiast
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