TinySpeck wrote:Hello Ivo,
I'm a brand new astrophotographer. I've been struggling with equipment for a while, but things are finally starting to come together. I had been getting nice results with some preliminary images using StarTools, and now with some decent image data StarTools seemed to be working quite well. I wondered what I might be missing, however, since of course everyone uses PixInsight (PI), so I decided to download their trial and compare. I'm an engineer and quite used to signal processing, so I thought I would appreciate PI's approach.
I spent several hours with PI and was starting to make some progress on my comparison image. It was tough going, despite all the help and tutorials available. Doing barely-acceptable background and color neutralization required me to manually place over 800 sample points on the image, something which StarTools did in Wipe with breathtaking ease. I tried a dozen different approaches in PI, but my unbelievably tedious manual method was the only one which worked even halfway on my rather heavily vignetted image.
PI also creates an alarming volume of intermediate image files. My single image chewed up almost 50 GB (yes, GB) in intermediate disk files.
After giving PI a good run, I looked back at my beautiful results obtained with ease using StarTools and gave it up. I did some more looking for tutorials and found a couple example workflows with StarTools, which have been so successful I was stunned. I'm now creating gorgeous images from even mediocre data with very little effort using StarTools.
What a brilliant program! I didn't realize what a jewel it was until I'd checked out the competition and gotten a little more comfortable with a good StarTools workflow. Now I'm so amazed that I am processing and re-processing my images with ease, just for fun, and can't wait for more new data. I do so hope you can keep maintaining and improving this fabulous program. You've got a lifetime fan here.
Thank you so much for your thorough review and testimonial Gerrit!
Thanks to your background in signal processing, you just took a massive a shortcut where others take a long road; starting with ST, then "graduating" to PI (because complex & granular is better, right?) only to eventually return to StarTools after learning more about signal processing and signal preservation.
It's such a common path in fact that I created a PI <> ST "translation table"
a good while back for those switching between the two applications, simply to speed up the process; it's best to discover these things for yourself rather than to take someone else's word for it - it's how we learn. As such I definitely encourage people who feel like they're "missing out" to try PI, since it has a 45-day free trial
If you already bought PI, know that the price is worth it for its stacking capabilities alone. It is probably the best AP processing program of the old filter-upon-filter-upon-filter paradigm; as such it is a great toolbox. Unfortunately its tools don't have a concept of time progression / signal evolution (and hence ignoring a 3rd dimension of signal that can be used by its algorithms to improve results), nor do its tools have any awareness of the commutative properties of the the other tools in the toolbox. At the end of the day, it's just as handicapped as Photoshop in that regard, producing similar results.
It's a hard thing to explain to newbies and intermediates. Fortunately ST's superior results tends to be enough evidence that something else must be going on
besides the obvious ease-of-use.
Thank you again & I will add your testimonial to the website!