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Thread: Star Tools?

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    Default Star Tools?



    Does anyone use Star Tools- Welcome | StarTools -for image processing? If so how does it compare to other software?
    Thanks for any input

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    Hi Chuck,

    Just a heads up. I gave Star Tools 1.2 a trial today and it really seems to do a great job! It's quite automated so the learning curve is fairly small. The price is also very attractive! ($60.00 USD) The trial will do everything except let you save which is nice for taking it for a test drive.

    The gradient removal works quite well and the 'lens' tool will help if you have coma in you images like mine do.

    We had another member participate in the image challenge and his results were very good. (irwjager)
    Announcing the AstronomyForum.net Astrophotography Processing Challenge number 1!

    I can't find much info on the internet about it since it appears to be fairly new. I'm still playing with the trial but it looks very promising.
    Gordon
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    I down loaded the free evaluation program this morning and have spent several hours with it. Like most programs it has its good and its bad.
    Good...
    1. a lot of powerful tools for photo processing
    2. simple easy to learn interface
    3. inexpensive 64/32 bit photo processing program specifically for astrophotography
    4. You can download the program for free (save and print disabled) and try it at no cost (use a screen capture to import it into another processing program for saving or printing).

    Bad

    1. wasteful of signal... probably not a problem for images made of exposures longer than 60 seconds but has problems stretching an image made of 30 second exposures that have a very low signal to noise ratio
    2. simple interface and reality don't agree all the time...as all variances that one comes across can not be preprogramed in advance
    3. very picky about what kind of files will load.



    Here is my M81 done with Star Tool and with CC5 There is no comparison and I am a gross beginner with CS5.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by sxinias; 03-12-2012 at 03:18 PM.
    SXINIAS

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    Thanks for the report Joe!

    I've been playing also. He has a few tutorials that I need to go through to find all of the 'bells and whistles'. I was impressed with his results with the 'Challenge' photo mentioned above as it has a number 'faults' in it that his software was able to remove / fix.
    Gordon
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    I tried the free download and for several days . I was hoping someone had more experience with it- .I couldn't really find anything it could do that GIMP couldn't do with alot of tweeking. GIMP-free,AstroTools-$60. I will keep testing however.

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    Thanks information for all of you here regarding this software , I will try it .
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghswen View Post
    Thanks for the report Joe!

    I've been playing also. He has a few tutorials that I need to go through to find all of the 'bells and whistles'. I was impressed with his results with the 'Challenge' photo mentioned above as it has a number 'faults' in it that his software was able to remove / fix.
    Like you said, the program is impressive. The developer of the program did contact me and is concerned with the difficulties I had. I suspect, but don't really know, he will explore and correct issues we find with the program.

    To be fair, it should be stated that minimalist photography like I do very frequently requires herculean processing as my signal to noise ratios are so dismally low. Coaxing an image out of the sky noise is often a tedious task.

    The developer of the program in his write-up gives the impression that his routines are preprogrammed to meet a fairly wide range of conditions commonly experienced in processing astrophotography images. This, in my mind, is excellent as it takes the guess work out of what to do and the pop-up notes that are in the program take the guess work out of when to do it. I suspect (am guessing here) that the signal to noise ratio of my image was outside the parameters the program uses for stretching. The image of M81 that I used for my comparison pushes my processing abilities to the max regarding signal to noise for images I take using a SCT at f/6.3 on an AZ mount under a light polluted sky. ...GIMP was mentioned earlier in this thread. It's a powerful program but its 8 bit architecture (256 color steps) can not stretch most, nearly all, of my minimalist images without severe banding. Stretching them requires 16 bit programs like Photoshop CS5, Elements, PixInsite, etc. This is one of the dark sides of minimalist photography.

    I had problems loading images into the program. I would really like to stretch my images in photoshop then use Star Tools to perfect it. However, I was unable to get Star Tools to read a 16 bit TIFF file from photosphop. I never tried to see if it would load a 32 bit TIFF from photoshop. I also could not get the program to read 16 or 32 bit TIFF files from DeepSkyStacker and had to pull up the original auto saved stacked file and save it as a FITs file. I don't know if the difficulties I experienced were me or the program and am reading the program notes to see if I overlooked something. To be fair, CS5 and Elements have their quirks about reading DSS files too.
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    Thanks for the update Joe!

    I loaded both 16bit .tif and 16bit .fits files (preprocessed and saved in Nebulosity2) with no problems at all. Hopefully Ivo can get your problem worked out.

    So far with the images I've played with the results were great! As I mentioned before the software is pretty straight forward and simple to figure out. (Much easier than PS or any of the the others I have tried.) I was able to remove gradients and fix coma with a simple 2 step process.
    Only thing I have seen so far that bothers me is the fact that you really need to bin down an image to get the processing time reasonable. (at least on my 2 core win 7 machine.) Since I'm still on a trial I can't save the image to try it but I suppose you could 're-size it larger' after the fact if you wanted the results in a larger format.

    That being said, so far it appears to me to be a great piece of software for both beginners and intermediate users.
    Gordon
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