top of page

Group

Public·2 members

How PixInsight 1.7.4 Can Transform Your Astrophotography



PixInsight 1.7.4: A Comprehensive Review




If you are an astrophotographer, you probably know how challenging and rewarding it is to capture the beauty and mystery of the night sky with your camera and telescope. But you also know that taking the pictures is only half of the process; the other half is processing them to bring out the best possible quality, detail, and color.




pixinsight 1 7 4



There are many software options available for astro image processing, but one of the most popular and powerful ones is PixInsight, a dedicated platform designed specifically for astrophotography and other technical imaging fields.


In this article, we will review the latest version of PixInsight, which is 1.7.4, released in December 2019. We will cover what PixInsight is and why it is useful for astrophotography, what are its main features and benefits, how to install and activate it on your computer, how to use it to process your astro images, what are its pros and cons compared to other software, how much it costs and where to get it, and finally, whether it is worth it for astrophotography.


By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of what PixInsight 1.7.4 can do for you and your astro images, and whether you should give it a try or not.


What is PixInsight and why is it useful for astrophotography?




PixInsight is a modular, open-architecture, portable image processing platform that was created by Pleiades Astrophoto S.L., a Spanish company founded in 2004. It is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.


PixInsight is not just another image editing software; it is a specialized platform that focuses on advanced image processing techniques that are essential for astrophotography and other technical imaging fields such as microscopy, medical imaging, remote sensing, etc.


PixInsight is useful for astrophotography because it offers a comprehensive set of tools and modules that can handle all aspects of astro image processing, from calibration and alignment to noise reduction and enhancement. It also supports various file formats, including raw files from DSLR cameras, FITS files from CCD cameras, TIFF files, JPEG files, etc.


PixInsight is also unique because it has a modular design that allows users to install external modules that can extend its functionality and performance. These modules can be developed by third-party developers or by the users themselves using the integrated development environment (IDE) that comes with PixInsight. Some examples of external modules are StarAlignment, DynamicBackgroundExtraction, HDRComposition, etc.


PixInsight is also known for its innovative and powerful algorithms that can perform complex tasks such as deconvolution, multiscale processing, star masking, etc. These algorithms can help astrophotographers achieve stunning results that are not possible with other software. The main features and benefits of PixInsight 1.7.4




PixInsight 1.7.4 is the latest version of PixInsight that was released in December 2019. It includes several new features and improvements that make it even more versatile and efficient for astro image processing. Here are some of the main features and benefits of PixInsight 1.7.4:


  • New user interface: PixInsight 1.7.4 has a new user interface that is more modern, intuitive, and customizable. Users can choose from different themes, colors, fonts, icons, etc., to suit their preferences and needs. Users can also create their own toolbars, menus, keyboard shortcuts, etc., to optimize their workflow.



  • New core application: PixInsight 1.7.4 has a new core application that is faster, more stable, and more secure. The new core application supports multithreading, multiprocessing, and GPU acceleration, which means that it can take advantage of the full power of the computer's hardware to process images faster and smoother. The new core application also has improved memory management, error handling, and security features, which means that it can handle large and complex images without crashing or freezing.



  • New tools and modules: PixInsight 1.7.4 has several new tools and modules that can enhance the quality and functionality of astro image processing. Some examples are:



  • LocalNormalization: This tool can normalize the intensity and background gradients of multiple images before combining them. This can improve the quality and consistency of image integration and reduce noise and artifacts.



  • PhotometricColorCalibration: This tool can calibrate the color balance of an image based on the photometric data of the stars in the image. This can produce more accurate and natural colors that reflect the true spectral characteristics of the objects in the image.



  • LinearFit: This tool can perform a linear fit between two images to match their histograms. This can improve the quality and compatibility of image combination and reduce color shifts and gradients.



  • ImageSolver: This tool can solve the astrometric parameters of an image based on its star positions. This can provide useful information such as the field of view, the pixel scale, the orientation, etc., of the image. This can also enable other tools such as Annotation, DynamicAlignment, etc., to work with the image.



  • Annotation: This tool can annotate an image with labels, markers, lines, etc., based on its astrometric solution. This can help users identify and highlight the objects and features in the image.



  • DynamicAlignment: This tool can align multiple images based on their astrometric solutions or reference points. This can improve the accuracy and flexibility of image alignment and registration.



  • Improved tools and modules: PixInsight 1.7.4 has also improved several existing tools and modules that have been updated with new features, options, algorithms, etc., to make them more effective and user-friendly. Some examples are:



  • DynamicCrop: This tool can crop an image interactively with real-time feedback. It has a new option to crop an image based on its astrometric solution or reference points. It also has a new option to rotate an image while cropping it.



  • DynamicPSF: This tool can measure the point spread function (PSF) of an image based on its stars. It has a new option to measure the PSF automatically using a star detection algorithm. It also has a new option to export the PSF data as a CSV file or a FITS file.



  • Deconvolution: This tool can sharpen an image by reversing the effects of blurring caused by atmospheric turbulence, optical aberrations, etc. It has a new option to use a regularized Richardson-Lucy algorithm that can produce better results with less noise amplification and artifacts. It also has a new option to use a multiscale support mask that can preserve fine details while suppressing noise and ringing effects [assistant](#continue)



  • MaskedStretch: This tool can stretch the dynamic range of an image without clipping the highlights or introducing noise in the shadows. It has a new option to use a multiscale median transform that can produce smoother and more natural results. It also has a new option to use a target background reference that can help preserve the color balance of the image.



  • StarNet: This tool can remove the stars from an image and create a starless image and a star mask. It has a new option to use a convolutional neural network that can produce more accurate and realistic results. It also has a new option to use a multiscale support mask that can help preserve the fine details of the image.



These are just some of the new and improved features and benefits of PixInsight 1.7.4; there are many more that you can explore and discover by yourself.


How to install and activate PixInsight 1.7.4 on your computer




If you are interested in trying PixInsight 1.7.4, you will need to install and activate it on your computer. Here are the steps to do so:


  • Download PixInsight 1.7.4: You can download PixInsight 1.7.4 from its official website. You will need to choose the version that matches your operating system (Linux, macOS, or Windows) and your computer's architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). The download file size is about 300 MB.



  • Install PixInsight 1.7.4: You can install PixInsight 1.7.4 by running the downloaded file and following the instructions on the screen. The installation process is simple and straightforward, and it will take only a few minutes.



  • Activate PixInsight 1.7.4: You can activate PixInsight 1.7.4 by entering your license key and your machine identifier in the activation dialog that will appear when you launch PixInsight for the first time. You will need to have an internet connection for this step.



If you do not have a license key, you can request a free trial license key from the PixInsight website. The trial license key will allow you to use PixInsight for 45 days without any limitations or restrictions.


How to use PixInsight 1.7.4 to process your astro images




Once you have installed and activated PixInsight 1.7.4, you can start using it to process your astro images. There are many ways to use PixInsight, depending on your preferences, needs, and goals, but here is a general overview of how to use PixInsight 1.7.4 to process your astro images:


The basic workflow of PixInsight 1.7.4




The basic workflow of PixInsight 1.7.4 consists of four main steps: calibration, alignment, integration, and post-processing. These steps are common to most astro image processing software, but they may differ in some details and options.


  • Calibration: This step involves applying corrections to your raw images to remove any defects or distortions caused by your camera, telescope, or other equipment. These corrections include bias subtraction, dark subtraction, flat-field division, bad pixel removal, etc. You can use tools such as ImageCalibration, CosmeticCorrection, etc., to perform this step.



  • Alignment: This step involves aligning your calibrated images to compensate for any shifts or rotations caused by your mount, tracking, or guiding errors. This will ensure that all your images have the same field of view and orientation, which is necessary for combining them later. You can use tools such as StarAlignment, DynamicAlignment, etc., to perform this step.



  • Integration: This step involves combining your aligned images to create a single master image that has higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), higher dynamic range, and lower noise than any single image. This will improve the quality and detail of your final image. You can use tools such as ImageIntegration, HDRComposition, etc., to perform this step.



  • Post-processing: This step involves applying various adjustments and enhancements to your master image to bring out its full potential. These adjustments and enhancements include cropping, rotating, resizing, stretching, sharpening, denoising, color balancing, contrast enhancement, etc. You can use tools such as DynamicCrop, HistogramTransformation, Deconvolution, CurvesTransformation, ACDNR, PhotometricColorCalibration, etc., to perform this step.



This is the basic workflow of PixInsight 1.7.4, but you can modify it according to your specific needs and preferences. You can also repeat some steps or skip some steps depending on your situation. For example, you may want to calibrate and align your images separately for different filters or exposure times, or you may want to skip the calibration step if you have already done it with another software.


The most common tools and modules of PixInsight 1.7.4




PixInsight 1.7.4 has a large number of tools and modules that can perform various tasks and functions for astro image processing. Some of them are essential and frequently used, while others are optional and specialized. Here are some of the most common tools and modules of PixInsight 1.7.4 that you should know and use:


  • Process Explorer: This is the main window of PixInsight that shows all the available tools and modules in a hierarchical tree structure. You can access any tool or module by expanding the corresponding branch and clicking on its name. You can also search for a tool or module by typing its name in the search box at the top.



  • Process Console: This is the window that shows the output messages and status information of the tools and modules that you run. You can see the progress, errors, warnings, results, etc., of each process in this window. You can also copy, save, or print the messages from this window.



  • Process Container: This is the window that allows you to create and manage process instances, which are copies of tools or modules with specific parameters and settings. You can create a process instance by dragging a tool or module from the Process Explorer to the Process Container. You can then edit, execute, save, load, or delete a process instance from the Process Container.



  • History Explorer: This is the window that shows the history of changes that you have made to an image. You can see the list of processes that have been applied to an image in chronological order, along with their parameters and settings. You can also undo, redo, or revert any change from this window.



  • Preview Explorer: This is the window that allows you to create and manage previews, which are small regions of an image that you can use to test or apply processes without affecting the whole image. You can create a preview by dragging a rectangle over an image with the mouse. You can then edit, execute, save, load, or delete a preview from the Preview Explorer.



  • Image Window: This is the window that shows an image that you have opened or created in PixInsight. You can zoom in or out, pan, rotate, flip, crop, resize, etc., an image from this window. You can also access various tools and options from the menu bar, toolbar, status bar, or context menu of this window.



  • Project Window: This is the window that allows you to create and manage projects, which are collections of images and processes that are related to a specific task or goal. You can create a project by clicking on the New Project button in the main toolbar. You can then add images and processes to a project from the Project Window.



The advanced techniques and tips of PixInsight 1.7.4




PixInsight 1.7.4 is a very powerful and versatile platform that can perform many advanced techniques and tasks for astro image processing. However, it also has a steep learning curve and requires a lot of practice and experimentation to master it. Here are some of the advanced techniques and tips of PixInsight 1.7.4 that can help you improve your skills and results:


  • Use scripts: Scripts are programs that can automate or simplify some tasks or functions in PixInsight. You can access some built-in scripts from the Script menu in the main toolbar, or you can download some external scripts from the PixInsight website or other sources. You can also write your own scripts using JavaScript or PJSR (PixInsight JavaScript Runtime) in the Script Editor window.



  • Use masks: Masks are images that can protect or isolate some regions of an image from being affected by a process. You can create masks using tools such as RangeSelection, StarMask, PixelMath, etc., or you can use existing images as masks. You can apply masks to an image using the Mask button in the Image Window toolbar, or you can use tools such as MaskedStretch, MaskedClone, etc., that have built-in mask options.



  • Use layers: Layers are images that can be blended or combined with another image using different modes and opacities. You can create layers using tools such as PixelMath, HDRComposition, etc., or you can use existing images as layers. You can blend layers with an image using the Layer button in the Image Window toolbar, or you can use tools such as PixelMath, LRGBCombination, etc., that have built-in layer options.



  • Use process icons: Process icons are icons that can store the parameters and settings of a process instance. You can create process icons by dragging a process instance from the Process Container to the Process Explorer. You can then apply process icons to an image by dragging them from the Process Explorer to the Image Window. You can also edit, execute, save, load, or delete process icons from the Process Explorer.



  • Use real-time previews: Real-time previews are previews that can show the effect of a process on an image without actually applying it. You can create real-time previews by clicking on the Real-Time Preview button in the Process Instance window of a tool or module. You can then adjust the parameters and settings of the process and see the changes in the preview. You can also compare different previews by clicking on the Compare button in the Real-Time Preview window.



  • Use keyboard shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts are keys or combinations of keys that can perform some actions or functions in PixInsight. You can use keyboard shortcuts to access tools and modules, execute processes, zoom in or out, undo or redo changes, etc. You can see the list of keyboard shortcuts by clicking on the Keyboard Shortcuts button in the main toolbar, or you can create your own keyboard shortcuts by clicking on the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts button in the main toolbar.



What are the pros and cons of PixInsight 1.7.4 compared to other software?




PixInsight 1.7.4 is a very powerful and versatile platform that can perform many advanced techniques and tasks for astro image processing. However, it is not perfect and it has some pros and cons compared to other software. Here are some of the pros and cons of PixInsight 1.7.4:


The advantages of PixInsight 1.7.4




  • It is specialized for astrophotography: PixInsight 1.7.4 is designed specifically for astrophotography and other technical imaging fields, which means that it has a comprehensive set of tools and modules that can handle all aspects of astro image processing, from calibration and alignment to noise reduction and enhancement.



  • It is modular and extensible: PixInsight 1.7.4 has a modular design that allows users to install external modules that can extend its functionality and performance. These modules can be developed by third-party developers or by the users themselves using the integrated development environment (IDE) that comes with PixInsight.



  • It is innovative and powerful: PixInsight 1.7.4 has innovative and powerful algorithms that can perform complex tasks such as deconvolution, multiscale processing, star masking, etc. These algorithms can help astrophotographers achieve stunning results that are not possible with other software.



  • It is fast and stable: PixInsight 1.7.4 has a new core application that is faster, more stable, and more secure than previous versions. The new core application supports multithreading, multiprocessing, and GPU acceleration, which means that it can take advantage of the full power of the computer's hardware to process images faster and smoother.



The disadvantages of PixInsight 1.7.4




  • It is expensive: PixInsight 1.7.4 is not cheap; it costs 230 euros (about 270 US dollars) for a single-user license. This may be too expensive for some hobbyists or beginners who do not want to invest too much money in astro image processing software.



It is difficult to learn: PixInsight 1.7.4 is not easy to learn; it has a steep learning curve and requires a lot of practice and experimentation to master it. It also has a complex and sometimes confusing user interface that may intimidate some users who


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

bottom of page