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Thread: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

  1. #11
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality



    Very interesting thread, thanks Phil. Next image I process, I'm going to save as both a 16 bit and a 32 bit rational, as well as the autosave.

    After converting all the files in PS, I'm going to save them to see which image contains the most data, ie; which file has the most Megabytes...? That should be the image which contains the best information and data? Is my logic correct?

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  2. #12
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Phil, Since I cannot open the autosave.tif file in DSS using Photoshop CS4, I have been doing a file save from DSS and saving it as a 32 bit TIF rational file. CS4 gives an "insufficient RAM" error on the autosave.tif file and I have 16GB of memory with only about 1/4 of it inuse, so I'm pretty sure it's not really an insufficient memory problem, plus other people seem to have the same issue with CS4.

    Anyway, since I can't open the autosave file, I've been saving it as a 32 bit rational TIF file. Do you think that gets me a 16 bit file?

    I've never been able to get DSS to work properly with raw files from my Canon 60da either. It stacks, but it ends up with tons of grain and colors that are black/white/bright blue or bright red or green without varying shades of color. Theres nothing I can do with those images. If I convert my raw files to TIF (no compression & 300 dpi) then DSS stacks them just fine. I downloaded the "beta" version that was supposed to stack raw files, and now it will stack them into the mess described above.

    If we can't stack the raw files, is there a preferred format other than TIF to convert the files to before processing in DSS?
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Relevant to this discussion is an understanding of what happens if you process 8-bit data, either because you saved from DSS using the "16-bit TIFF" setting, because you exported JPEGs from your camera, or because the only software you can afford is limited to 8-bits.

    In a 16-bit file, each pixel can have a value between 0 and 65535. In an 8-bit file, each pixel can only have a value between 0 and 255. Both files can represent the same range of brightness, with 0 being black and 65535 or 255, respectively, being white. The difference is the dynamic range that the files can handle. A 16-bit file can handle 65536 distinct shades of gray, whereas an 8-bit file can only handle 256 distinct shades of gray.

    What does this mean in practice?

    Suppose that, for whatever reason, your frames are quite dim. All the pixel values will be low. Let's say that you save a 16-bit file that has background areas of the image that have pixel values in the range of 20-30 and that your target areas have pixel values in the range of 100-500. Remember that 16-bit files can have values up to 65535, so this is a seriously underexposed frame! But that's the name of the game in AP. This image is perfectly processable: the background is not clipped (none of the values are zero, and you have some dynamic range (though not a lot) that you can stretch.

    If this file is reduced to 8 bits, you divide all pixel values by 256, rounding down if there is a remainder. So your background is now all zeroes. Your target now has image values that range from 0 (100/256) to 1 (500/256). This picture is not processable with any software. No matter what you do with it, your image will have only two pixel values: background (which now includes some of your target) and not-background (which you can make any level of grayscale you choose, but it will all be the same).

    Obviously this is an extreme example, but it illustrates the consequences of reducing the bit depth of a file. A less extreme example might be a picture with 2000 different shades of gray. Convert it to 8-bits and suddenly you only have 8 shades of gray!

    If for some reason you have no choice about reducing the bit depth of the file (for example the only software you can afford is limited to 8-bit files), there is a workaround. Normally we advise APers to use a relatively low ISO setting. Technically, it should be whatever setting is closest to your camera's "unity gain" value. However, if software limitations force you to use reduced bit depth, you can compensate by increasing the camera's ISO setting. This will multiply all the pixel values by the ISO factor, increasing the dynamic range enough to perhaps save the image, at the price of higher noise levels.

    Of course, this workaround is something that you have to anticipate before firing up the shutter timer!

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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Just curious but how did you discover this bug.
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by cp255 View Post
    Just curious but how did you discover this bug.
    I discovered it because when processing DSS files using file save as I noticed some weird behaviour that at first I didn't understand... So I went Googling.

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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    When do you think it will be fixed?
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Paul - I have no idea to be honest. As I don't use DSS anymore (except to help out people here) I'm not really tracking its developments. Anyway, there is an effective workaround.

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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    If you do use Imagemagik just be warned....you need to know DOS commands if you plan on using this work around. Not too many people these days know it unless you can say 8086...286 DX2.....386 : )
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Moreflying View Post
    If you do use Imagemagik just be warned....you need to know DOS commands if you plan on using this work around. Not too many people these days know it unless you can say 8086...286 DX2.....386 : )
    6502, 8680 and stacking was for registers done by accumulators, fortran is gone
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Note that Imagemagik will only use 8.3 format as well and truncates all longer names. Took me a minute to figure out why it couldn't find a certain file.....
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