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Thread: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

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    Default Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!



    Guys,

    I'm new to imaging, just starting getting into DSO. Managed to finally obtain my 'first light' the other day (M51 Whirlpool), but disappointed to see no colour at all in final processed result! Surely I should have been able to pull some colour out, at least?

    I accept that I'm inexperienced in doing this, but I must have read every guide and viewed every video on YouTube over the past few months, plus numerous 'dry runs' in my dining room to have at least acquired a reasonable understanding and feel for the overall requirements I think.

    Took 20 x 5min Lum, 10 each x 5 min R, G and B all binned 1 x 1, plus darks, lights, flats, bias, etc. then registered and stacked in DSS (I made sure settings adjusted so as not to remove colour elements - isn't this forum a wonderful thing!), then processed in Photoshop.

    Used Sequence Generator Pro to manage all exposures, filter changes, focus adjustments and so on, and PHD2 for guiding. All seemed to work exactly as planned and as expected (I stayed up most of the night to make sure!). All subs look OK on initial view of FITS file(s), just no colour evident anywhere.

    End result not too shabby for a very first attempt, so I'm well pleased, but still very disappointed to not appear to have any colour showing? Or is that to be expected with the setup I have?

    If I'd have binned the RGB at 2 x 2, or even 3 x 3 would that have helped do you think? Or any other advice to suggest what I may have done wrong?

    Imaging train - WO GT81with Flat61 corrector/reducer, ASI183mm Pro cooled, ZWO filter wheel + filters.

    I'd very much welcome any thoughts or advice any of you experts out there might have!

    Richard

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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    From what you are saying, the images sound as if they are ok and having a set of LRGB should produce a nice colour image.

    Binning at 1x1 is always going to deliver the best results, so binning higher I would very much doubt have an impact on colour.

    What software are you using to combine and process your LRGB stacked subs? I find processing as much of a challenge as acquiring the images! So, if I were a betting man, I’d put the lack of colour down to processing on the back of your post.
    Rgds
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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    I have had issues in the past with DSS where I could not get any color to show im my images to save my life. So as a last resort and out of pure frustration, I uninstalled then reinstalled the latest version of DSS then ran the whole process all over again. For some unknown reason that worked. Just something to consider if you don't get any other definitive answers.

    Cheers,
    JT
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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Hi Aidan / JT,

    Many thanks for your advice.

    I'm using the very latest version of DSS to stack images, and having discovered that this can indeed lose colours during stacking, I followed the advice of Roger Clark (clarkvision.com) and altered the settings he suggested in DSS ….. which made no difference! Even tried saving the resulting stack as a separate TIFF file rather than using the 'autosave' file DSS generated (also as suggested by Roger), but still the same result.

    I'm then using Photoshop CS2 (some years old now, but works just fine!) for processing - I'm following a tried and tested method of converting the stacked image to 16 bit RGB, then layer stretch, curve stretch, Astronomy Tools plug ins and so on …. although I've got a long way to go I'm pretty sure my basic principles are OK because I've tested the method with some other processed image files (legitimately obtained from another astronomer, who provided them for training purposes) and that worked just fine.

    So - I agree, it looks like DSS may be removing colour in the process, or my subs haven't got any (enough) colour to start with? Any obvious way to successfully check the latter, because viewing a single FITS file (with FITS Liberator) doesn't seem to show any colour (or should it? In which case it may be my subs at fault, although I can't understand how this would be?)

    Should I expect to see some (anything?) colour tint in the RGB FITS subs, perhaps when stretched to the limit? Excuse the simple question, but as mentioned this is very new to me!

    In the meantime I'll try removing and re-installing DSS as you suggest JT - unless you could suggest any other alternative/better option I could use instead of DSS?

    Thanks for your help!

    Richard

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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    After I pre-processing my images with Nebulosity, I then use Star Tools to post process them. Almost near the very end of the processing is when "color" come into play. Color in my images (despite the fact that I use a Canon 70D in color) is almost non-existent until this point. The color module pulls absolutely gorgeous amount of color out of the final image. Sometimes, I swear, my jaw can be heard hitting the table. Star Tools is pretty inexpensive and I have truly gotten some very impressive images using it. I'm just a user and here is the website: https://www.startools.org . Best of luck
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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Hi StarDad,

    Thanks for the info, I'll check it out …

    Richard

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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Hi Richard,

    Part of my processing routine using PS5, typically in the middle or sometimes at the end, I really crank up the saturation till I get the color level that I desire. Is this something that you are also doing?

    Cheers,
    JT
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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Chaps,

    Thanks for all your help, sadly at the moment I think I'm at a loss!

    JT - loaded one of my 'finished' images (on the basis that that should definitely be 'at the end' of the processing) into PS, but even with saturation fully increased there's still no colour evident at all …. To clarify, it's not a question of 'hardly any colour evident' but rather it's 'no colour apparently evident at all, at any stage during the post processing'.

    So I also downloaded Nebulosity + Star Tools demo's to try those for the hell of it - still unable to push anything to get colour showing (even obtaining a faint tone somewhere would be nice!) after pre-processing with Nebulosity then post with PS; unfortunately, unable to get Star Tools to run properly so far, as my laptop's getting on a bit and not enough memory to run it successfully it seems even on 32-bit - haven't given up just yet, but I've had enough for today as I've been trying for about 6 hours straight!

    I respect your greater experience that colour detail won't start to show up until later in the process, which I fully understand, but as I just can't get anything at all at any stage I'm now doubting the subs themselves - however, as each one was taken through the respective filters I don't understand how that could be? Unless, as I mentioned previously, I'm just expecting too much from my imaging set-up (but I specifically chose those items in order to get what was perceived to be excellent results, so I'll be a bit upset if that's not the case!).

    Anyway, much appreciate your guidance and if you have any further ideas please let me know - I'll get there in the end, I'm sure.

    Thanks All,

    Richard

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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Guys,

    I also just tried deleting and re-loading DSS, did a new calibration/stack from scratch again using original subs - and still the same result!

    Regards the DSS 'final' image (the autosaved one that loads back in automatically once stacking has completed) I note that the resultant histogram offers a grey scale slider only and the curve shows just a very thin tall peak about a quarter of the way along the curve, i.e. there's no RGB sliders shown at all! I realise that this processing in DSS is very limited but even so does this, indeed, suggest that my subs don't seem to have any colour element within them? Bizarre if that's the case, as they were definitely obtained through their respective filters.

    So being at an impasse I decided to check absolutely everything, from equipment set-up right through to processing, to see if I might have screwed up somewhere. Would you believe it, I discovered that I had the R + G filters juxtaposed in the filter wheel - so, when SGP thought it was taking 'R' subs it was actually doing so through the G filter, and vice versa. At the end of the day, I wouldn't have thought that would mess up the subsequent stacking, colour info. etc., or would it? I'd still have provided 10 subs for each colour, whichever way round they were introduced into the process?

    Appreciate any further thoughts you might have, with grateful thanks.

    Richard

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    Default Re: Newbie needs imaging guidance/advice please!

    Good catch. That was a pretty thorough investigation. I don't know if I'd have caught that.

    This is an interesting situation. Rename your subs if you have to but put then in the correct order then restack and see what you get. BTW, are you stacking them as separate R then G then B subs then combining them is PS? If not, this is also an option.

    Cheers,
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