Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

General discussion about StarTools.
Therodir
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:19 am

Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by Therodir »

I'm a noob when it comes to post-processing my images. I usually just open DSS and move some stuff around until it looks good. Obviously that isn't very good. I decided to try StarTools since it says it is supposed to be beginner friendly, unfortunately I can't figure it out worth a damn. I have no idea what to do and how to make my stacked image look really good. I tried following the video tutorial but it didn't help me any.

Is there anyone here that can help out a noob so I can actually get some decent pictures?
hixx
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:36 pm

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by hixx »

Hi,
indeed ST is easy to operate and yields great results with preset operations - once you get the method. Then its really fun to play around and squeeze the most out of your data. There is lots of good training material around here, this is where:

please check out the User Note by Guy helping you to operate the modules. User Notes are available in this forum.
User Notes are also contained in the Inofficial Manual (English, German, Spanish), which also has a tutorial section. It is available on the webpage under "Download".
Furthermore there are workflow drawings on the webpage in the training section you may use as cheat sheets.
Video tutorials are also great, but you need to use them as you go and they should pretty much cover your scenario

Do not get hung up on the volume of the manuals and trainings - as a you just need the tutorial which is just a few pages. Run through it once processing any image and you'll get it!

clear Skies,
jochen
Therodir
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:19 am

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by Therodir »

Thanks for the reply, the tutorial in the manual you suggested is the same one I attempted to follow on the website, which was very confusing. Unfortunately, it did not work and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

I got a good stack of M42 using my ASI178MC which looks great in DSS but I wanted to see if I could get it better by doing some good post-processing (or at least trying to learn to). I followed to recommended settings for DSS and opened it into ST. It showed up pretty much as expected but when I try to follow the tutorial it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Here is how it looks when I open the file
opened.jpg
opened.jpg (162.31 KiB) Viewed 408 times
And here is how it looks after Autodev
autodev.jpg
autodev.jpg (358.74 KiB) Viewed 408 times
After this point I kept following the tutorial but nothing would change or it would get worse.
happy-kat
Posts: 271
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by happy-kat »

Hi, a rough outline of my first look at an image
Once loaded then first visit autodev to just look (I do not keep) to see how much to crop, then to crop module,
next I usually do a bin 50% or 75%,
then wipe (check colour)
then again to Autodev where on M42 I might select an area over the nebula to help tune the develop and ignore fine details raise that and play to you are happy.
HDR and reveal DSO
decon
mask module and manaul mask on M42
then sharp
clear mask
colour and have a look
life/super structure to isolate to taste ot not
star mask
shrink module to tighten stars
denoise
Therodir
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:19 am

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by Therodir »

Tried the best I could, still not liking it or understanding what I'm doing.

Pretty much given up at this point.
m42-forum.jpg
m42-forum.jpg (271.75 KiB) Viewed 349 times
This is what I got. Left is DSS with some Photoshop processing afterwards and right is ST. They both look terrible.
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admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2492
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:51 pm
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by admin »

Hi,

Perhaps you can share your dataset so we can have a look?

Could you help us understand at which step you are getting lost and are no longer understanding what you are doing?
What was it you found very confusing in the quick start tutorial?

Thank you!
Ivo Jager
StarTools creator and astronomy enthusiast
hixx
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:36 pm

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by hixx »

Hi
one of the most tricky points in ST is to get the final stretch right. This is the second use of AutoDev (after Wipe). You need to develop a "feeling how this modul works
1) when starting AutoDev, choose "Redo stretch" option!
2) define an ROI (by click and drag over the region of interest) in case of M42, it would be a rectangle including the core and some of the outer faint regions. Experiment by increasing and decreasing the region a bit and watch AutoDev changing the curve to get a feeling how it works.
3) Also compare Color result!
4) Leave remaining parameters or operate as per manual
5) for the moment use Contrast, HDR, with presets
6) For Sharp & Decon modules use auto created inverse star mask

And please let us know what parts are confusing in the manual, I would like to improve it

clear skies,
jochen
Burly
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:06 am
Location: Northamptonshie uk

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by Burly »

When posting its helpful to post acquisition info as in what amount of subs etc .
Therodir
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2020 12:19 am

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by Therodir »

admin wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:58 am Hi,

Perhaps you can share your dataset so we can have a look?

Could you help us understand at which step you are getting lost and are no longer understanding what you are doing?
What was it you found very confusing in the quick start tutorial?

Thank you!
I appreciate everyone trying to help, i just don't want to look/sound stupid here. I am very much a beginner when it comes to processing. I've only been doing AP for the last 7-8 years and its only a hobby but I enjoy it thoroughly. I live in a red zone and therefore have a lot of LP which makes my images limited.

As for what I'm confused about in ST, well, basically everything. I don't understand a lot if not most of the terminology and what anything does. Basically, i'm just following the tutorial and not understanding and randomly moving things hoping it will do something.

Also, as of a couple days ago, I had no idea what a dataset was. I could still be wrong, i'm assuming it is my final stacked image without any processing.

Anyways, here's the link for the dataset.
almcl
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:15 pm
Location: Shropshire. UK

Re: Newbie trying to figure out StarTools,

Post by almcl »

First of all, non-expert disclaimer here, but while we wait for Ivo who will be able to give a much more informed opinion, here are some thoughts.

M42 is quite a difficult target, I find. There's a very bright core round the Trapezium but also some wonderful fainter detail in the outer cloud. You have captured this and I have tried processing to bring out some of both aspects, but you may find getting a second set of data with a much shorter exposure where you expose just for the trapezium and then, after separately processing this, layering it in, gives a more satisfying result.

Anyway, I loaded your data, Auto dev'd it once, binned, cropped and wiped it, then Autodev'd it again using a 'Region of interest' on the red nebulosity, used the HDR module with the reveal core preset, then shrunk the stars using the shrink module (they looked a little bit soft) used the colour module which bought out some nice colours, and the turned the tracking off. The result is below. If you want more detail (you may not!) just ask?
m42.jpg
m42.jpg (87.13 KiB) Viewed 282 times
Skywatcher 190MN, astro modded Canon 700d, cls ccd, or Ha or Oiii filters, guided by OAG, ASI120, PHD2
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