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

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



    I've received a few requests for this information so I thought I'd post this mini-tutorial.

    Things you need to know:

    1) Because of a bug in DSS, the "File - Save As" command does not create a high-quality file. It creates a 16-bit tif wrapper with 8-bit data inside it. Eventually this bug should get fixed. Until it does, for the best possible data out of DSS you need to use the Autosave.tif file that it creates automatically after stacking is completed.

    2) The Autosave.tif file is itself problematic. It contains 16-bits of real data + 16-bits of zeroes within a 32-bit tif wrapper (quite why it does this is unclear).

    3) Some editing/AP packages can handle this format without any problems... PixInsight for example. Photoshop can also handle it UP TO A POINT although presumably it will think that the 32-bit data indicates an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image file that it can open for display purposes but do nothing else with until it is converted to 16-bit data (within Photoshop itself).

    4) Some editing/AP packages will not open the Autosave.tif file at all.

    5) Unless you use an Editing/AP package that can handle the 32-bit Autosave.tif file your best course of action is to convert the file to a true 16-bit tif file. A convenient tool for doing this conversion with no quality loss is ImageMagick


    Using ImageMagick

    I am no expert in IM. I only use it for this one specific task (in fact, to be honest I don't use it at all because I use PixInsight... but it is a handy tool to have around).

    To install IM, go to the ImageMagick site and follow the download and install instructions. There are separate versions for Win32 and Win64 - make sure you get the correct one - see first attachment. Also get the "static" versions (ignore the other versions).

    IM is a powerful suite of tools of which we are going to use precisely one; the "Convert" tool.

    IM runs from the Windows command line - no fancy GUI here!

    To use IM, do the following:

    1) open a Windows Command session (type "CMD" into the "search programs and files" box on the Start Menu)
    navigate to the Drive/folder containing your autosave.tif file using trusty old DOS commands (I'm going to assume you know how to do this...)

    2) type: convert autosave.tif -depth 16 yournewfilename.tif (then hit "enter")

    3) wait a few seconds (you may get some warning messages - you can completely ignore them... they are caused by the way that DSS creates the autosave.tif file)

    4) a DIR command will show you the new file which will be ~half the size of the original, as you would expect

    See second attachment.

    That's it. Done. Enjoy
    Phil
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Thanks for that Phil. I now have a years worth of images to play with until the clouds go away.
    Tony
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Thanks for the info Phil. I have a question. If I use the autosave file...in PS it sees it as a 32 bit image, and I have to convert it to 16 bit (pain).

    But, my question is this...I have always saved as a 16 bit FITTs file. When I open it in PS, it shows it as a 16 bit file, and I do all my processing with this 16bit image. So, if it were a 8 bit file, wouldn't PS see it as a 8 bit?

    I'm a bit confused, since I've never seen anything relating to that bug, and is there a way in PS to proof out whether or not it is really a 8 bit or 16 bit file...?

    Best,

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Astronewb View Post
    Thanks for the info Phil. I have a question. If I use the autosave file...in PS it sees it as a 32 bit image, and I have to convert it to 16 bit (pain).

    But, my question is this...I have always saved as a 16 bit FITTs file. When I open it in PS, it shows it as a 16 bit file, and I do all my processing with this 16bit image. So, if it were a 8 bit file, wouldn't PS see it as a 8 bit?

    I'm a bit confused, since I've never seen anything relating to that bug, and is there a way in PS to proof out whether or not it is really a 8 bit or 16 bit file...?

    Best,

    Paul
    No - this is the trap that people fall into... the wrapper and the information vs data within the wrapper are subtly different things.


    it's the difference between "16-bit data" and "16-bit information"

    The autosave.tif file is a 32-bit wrapper within which is stuffed with 32-bits of data... BUT the lowest 16-bits are all set to zero so really it is only 16 bits of information, padded to 32-bits of data

    The "file save as" is 16-bit wrapper, 16-bits of data - 8-bits of information+8 bits of zero....

    hope this is clear,
    Phil
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    it's the difference between "16-bit data" and "16-bit information"
    Okay, that's perfectly clear, as well as the math regarding 32bit data and 16bit data. I erred..I save as a Tif..not a Fitts. Doubt if it makes a difference in the wrappers?

    Now all I have to do is wrap my head around the 'wrappers'....lol. If I'm getting the results I do using 16 bits of data and 8 bits of info...does that mean the results will be considerable better if I use 32 bits of data and 16 bits of info? If so...I have a lot of reprocessing to do.

    Thanks for all the info Phil...you are a 'riddle wrapped within an enigma"......I don't know how you keep track of all the knowledge wrapped up in your head....

    Best,

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Astronewb View Post
    Okay, that's perfectly clear, as well as the math regarding 32bit data and 16bit data. I erred..I save as a Tif..not a Fitts. Doubt if it makes a difference in the wrappers?

    Now all I have to do is wrap my head around the 'wrappers'....lol. If I'm getting the results I do using 16 bits of data and 8 bits of info...does that mean the results will be considerable better if I use 32 bits of data and 16 bits of info? If so...I have a lot of reprocessing to do.

    Thanks for all the info Phil...you are a 'riddle wrapped within an enigma"......I don't know how you keep track of all the knowledge wrapped up in your head....

    Best,

    Paul
    Thanks Paul... Neither do I, but I think it has something to do with my lousy weather... Too much time on my hands to read/research stuff...
    Cheers
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    I know you helped me with this a while back using CS6. Much appreciated.

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

    Before, I'd change the file to 16 bit in PS, 'cause thats what I had to do to be able to work the image. Now I know why I've been doing it. Thanks muchly.
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Phil, Thanks for that information. I've been converting the autosave.tif to 16 bit in PS. Is this the same as converting using ImageMagick? If not, can you tell us what the difference is? I've converted a couple of my files and it seems to me that the processing is a bit easier using the ImageMagick converted file rather than the PS converted file. Or it could be that I'm just getting better at processing.
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    Default Re: How to use the DSS Autosave.tif for best possible image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by spectre View Post
    Phil, Thanks for that information. I've been converting the autosave.tif to 16 bit in PS. Is this the same as converting using ImageMagick? If not, can you tell us what the difference is? I've converted a couple of my files and it seems to me that the processing is a bit easier using the ImageMagick converted file rather than the PS converted file. Or it could be that I'm just getting better at processing.
    as far as i know it should be the same....
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