Mask Brush

Requests for new features and wish-list items.
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midnight_lightning
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:01 pm

Mask Brush

Post by midnight_lightning »

Hi,

I'm currently trying to create a mask to ISOLATE the Heart and Soul nebulas using the single pixel toggle and Grow.

It would be much easier if there was a brush function (similar to PSE) with variable diameter.

Thanks

Mid
ecuador
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:23 pm

Re: Mask Brush

Post by ecuador »

I think I've asked for that as well ;) The work-around I use is to make the mask in photoshop using the brush tool - I have the photo on a layer to see where I am painting and I make the mask on a layer above it.
midnight_lightning
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:01 pm

Re: Mask Brush

Post by midnight_lightning »

Good idea, I didn't know they were transferable.
AmyGP
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:13 pm

Re: Mask Brush

Post by AmyGP »

midnight_lightning wrote:Hi,

I'm currently trying to create a mask to ISOLATE the Heart and Soul nebulas using the single pixel toggle and Grow.

It would be much easier if there was a brush function (similar to PSE) with variable diameter.

Thanks

Mid
I totally agree. I really need a variable size brush.
Guy
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:35 am

Re: Mask Brush

Post by Guy »

Thanks for the handy tip, Ecuador. It opens up many more ways to make a mask.
Also, it uses a Tiff file so other programs such as GIMP can be used.
Is it OK if I add it to the Mask Module Use notes?

Guy
devonshire
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:30 am

Re: Mask Brush

Post by devonshire »

Ivo,

I just upgraded to 1.5.364, and had hoped that there would now be a real brush available in Mask Brush, but no joy. Lots of things I like about StarTools, but I do what I can to avoid masks.

Consider the Western Veil, which I'm now processing. A lovely wisp of red/pinks and blues, incorporating some of the very colors that mottle my overall background.

So I need a mask, and building one with the available tools...Well, I might as well create it one pixel at a time. Or, I could use the Gimp workaround you've documented. Which is just that, a workaround, and time consuming in itself.

Please. A brush/eraser tool for masks. A circle, w/parameterized size, say, 1 to 50 px. Same operation as the line tool, down-click, and release, and don't toggle if you bump a neighboring mask pixel. A pixel density choice for the circle (as brush or eraser) might be nice for feathering edges, if that's practical.

Please?

- Bob
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admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2795
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:51 pm
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Mask Brush

Post by admin »

Hi all,

The Masking feature in StarTools is mostly meant to support algorithms that require artefact mitigation.
As such, generating masks algorithmically is the main focus, with touching up the algorithmically generated masks comes second.

The masking feature in StarTools is not really meant for the purpose of direct detail "enhancement", as processing images that way is preciously close to "doctoring" a photo (some would argue it's over the line, myself included). Regardless of what I or others think, compared to something like PixInsight, StarTools is nevertheless very lenient with allowing you to enhance detail with "educated" guesses, including the Life module (when used with a mask), Synth and Flux modules. There is a sliding scale here too, from just touching up something that was algorithmically generated to something that completely adds "new" data/signal that was never recorded.

Enhancing detail with manual intervention through selective mask, is not something that I feel you should aspire to if documentary photography is your end-goal. It is certainly useful to enthuse beginners, who may not necessarily have the skills yet to achieve clean data and just wish to produce something recognisable from data with severe gradients and other acquisition-related flaws. Processing as a beginner is a double whammy; you have to overcome learning data acquisition and post-processing. If you just spent 2 hours of your precious time under the night skies and have nothing to show for it in the end, you may lose interest and/or motivation quickly. I'm also aware of people using StarTools for the purpose of creating art, such as converting drawings into more life-like scenes.

In general however, creating intricate masks is something that falls a little outside of the purpose of the application. Using PS or The GIMP instead are great suggestions, as these applications were built specifically for this purpose.

All this said, if, however, I am entirely missing an application for manually created, intricate masks, do let me know!
Consider the Western Veil, which I'm now processing. A lovely wisp of red/pinks and blues, incorporating some of the very colors that mottle my overall background.
I'd love to help you figure out if there are other ways that may help you with overcoming the mottling, rather than using masks. If you'd like to share the dataset with me, I'd be happy to have a look!
Ivo Jager
StarTools creator and astronomy enthusiast
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