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Author Topic: PixInsight  (Read 8996 times)
Fine_Art
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« on: June 28, 2014, 01:06:42 PM »
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I noticed Bart is using a program called PixInsight for deconvolution so I thought I better check it out.  Wink

It seems to be using DCRAW so it can support any camera they support.
It has a few amazing features.

Compare your own noise reduction program using their test image
http://www.pixinsight.com/tutorials/nr-comparison/index.html
Better than Topaz DeNoise!

Artifact free sharpening
http://www.pixinsight.com/tutorials/mmt-sharpening/index.html

Check out their FAQ comparison to Photoshop. It shows a very different design philosophy.
http://www.pixinsight.com/faq/index.html

This seems like an amazing product. I can't wait to get a free trial license.
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jjj
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 01:38:38 PM »
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"While we try to design and implement our tools to facilitate the user's work as much as possible, ease of use is not one of our main goals."
 I think they failed right there. Providing you even got that far on the website, because you get little clue as to what is going on from the home page.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 02:44:32 PM »
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"While we try to design and implement our tools to facilitate the user's work as much as possible, ease of use is not one of our main goals."
 I think they failed right there. Providing you even got that far on the website, because you get little clue as to what is going on from the home page.

PixInsight is not an image editor as most photographers are accustomed to using, it is a software development environment that focuses on processing of AstroPhotographic images. Some of its functionality is very advanced compared to the tools many of us know/use, probably too advanced for many less technically oriented users to make good use of.

Horses for courses.

Cheers,
Bart
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jjj
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 08:07:37 PM »
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PixInsight is not an image editor as most photographers are accustomed to using, it is a software development environment that focuses on processing of AstroPhotographic images. Some of its functionality is very advanced compared to the tools many of us know/use, probably too advanced for many less technically oriented users to make good use of.
Advanced processing necessarily doesn't equate to inaccessible though. That's only the case if something is poorly designed. Some of the stuff PS does is very complex stuff, yet is easy to use.
Not to mention the line I quoted contradicts itself whilst being rather pretentious.
BTW in a previous life I was an astronomer.  Smiley
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 08:40:41 PM »
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I don't care if the user interface is primitive if the program delivers the best NR and sharpening. They are a small company. Better they focus on the core functions first which will result in a stable, bloat-free program. They can always add nice curtains later. I design, then build houses. I spend a lot of time on the foundation so that people will never have a pretty house that is breaking up. Most companies will put all the money into fancy finishes. Ask them in 20 years how important that "look" is when the foundation is cracking.
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kirkt
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 09:51:30 AM »
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Make sure you visit their dedicated resources page:

http://www.pixinsight.com.ar/en/

kirk
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Isaac
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 09:53:51 AM »
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I design, then build houses.

So you don't design and build software? Maybe it's different :-)
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 11:18:28 AM »
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So you don't design and build software? Maybe it's different :-)

Despite that astounding epiphany, conceptually building anything has similarities. In past careers I have built systems that ran the operations of a college. I built several different systems that controlled the supply chains of multinationals.

IMO photoshop is well designed for graphics manipulations. Scientific imaging programs are about protecting the data. Getting the most out of the data. This approach will never give graphics design type tools. It will give damn good sharpening and noise reduction. Use the tools you need.
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jjj
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 03:30:48 PM »
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I don't care if the user interface is primitive if the program delivers the best NR and sharpening. They are a small company. Better they focus on the core functions first which will result in a stable, bloat-free program.
Bloat=features I don't want.  Roll Eyes  Yet to other people that bloat maybe essential to their workflow.

Quote
They can always add nice curtains later.
If they last long enough with a user unfriendly programme.

Quote
I design, then build houses. I spend a lot of time on the foundation so that people will never have a pretty house that is breaking up. Most companies will put all the money into fancy finishes. Ask them in 20 years how important that "look" is when the foundation is cracking.
And if people struggled to work out how to place the building on the very well built foundation, then they wouldn't hire you again. That would be a better analogy for PixInsight's attitude.
The thing about companies that do not consider how something looks - which is not what I was talking about as usability a very different thing - is that they run are idiots. People almost invariably judge things on looks and if you ignore that fact, then you are only hurting yourself. My view is that if someone doesn't bother to work on something so basic and so important to so many people, what other areas have they overlooked?
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Isaac
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 04:03:53 PM »
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Despite that astounding epiphany, conceptually building anything has similarities.

Building anything has superficial similarities.
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 08:08:52 PM »
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Building anything has superficial similarities.

No. I'm talking about the process of analysis that lets you solve a problem. Just like the scientific method is a process that is used for many subjects. In software the object oriented model lets you build all kinds of software. To handle data a common schema like a star or snowflake pattern lets you handle all kinds of data. SQL lets you run data processes on your data. These are not superficial similarities.
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kirkt
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 09:55:29 AM »
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I've not found PixInsight to be user unfriendly - it is difficult, but not unfriendly, and it is difficult mostly because *I* do not understand some of the specialized tools and their applications - I am not an astrophotographer but I use many of the tools for image processing.  To condemn it seems hasty and unfounded, unless of course you have used it and found it to be doomed to failure for whatever reason.  If the creator of the application states that his emphasis is not on a pretty interface, but on the design and implementation of a toolset that provides flexibility and precision above and beyond what might be currently popular or available, I suppose that is a description he feels is relevant to folks looking for a similar tool.  The workflow is different than Photoshop, but in a good way, providing a non-linear, object-oriented quasi-node-like environment for producing workflow solutions that can be stored, re-used, scripted and programmed.  In addition, there are methods for branching your workflow with multiple paths to a result, all the while preserving the original data.  Add to that tools that provide an extended ability to work with linear and high-bit data and you have an environment that is geared more toward working with raw data.  The gory details are exposed to the user throughout the workflow, should you choose, so one can control the result with was much micromanagement as one sees fit. 

Like any application, there is a learning curve - it is steep but manageable if you know what you are looking to do with your data.  As I posted earlier, there is a website dedicated to learning resources and the documentation is extensive within the application itself.  It is obviously not a tool for everyone, regardless of how great it might be and I can respect that.  I'm not sure how one can argue that it is bloated, other than to characterize something that is filled with things not useful to that person as bloated - in that sense, an application like Lightroom or Photoshop is almost entirely bloat for a lot of people.  For others, it is just about perfect.

kirk
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 12:29:15 PM »
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Like any application, there is a learning curve - it is steep but manageable if you know what you are looking to do with your data.  As I posted earlier, there is a website dedicated to learning resources and the documentation is extensive within the application itself.  It is obviously not a tool for everyone, regardless of how great it might be and I can respect that.

I agree with Kirk. The PI functionality is aimed at the processing of AstroPhotography, but some of the functions can be equally useful for 'Terrestrial Photography', in fact a lot can be learned from our stargazing friends (who need to make due with relatively few photons, (atmospheric) motion blur, and still make the best of it).

There are also some interesting features that make more sense for the type of linear gamma images one usually encounters in AstroPhotography, such as a built in File Explorer which not only shows a preview, but also shows the image histogram, and all sorts of technical details of the images, including minimum and maximum RGB pixel value statistics. It's a bit like having a built-in EXIF viewer, and then some, in the file open dialog.

Of course the immediately most useful functions for 'regular' images are found under the Denoising, Wavelet processing, Resizing, and Deconvolution dialogs. Given the complexity of those functions, they are implemented elegantly, with automatic linearization (based on image gamma/profile) where necessary.

Cheers,
Bart
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 12:29:38 PM »
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I installed a trial copy.

Here is a quick TNG denoise of an old file. This was an old CCD camera at low ISO. The NR barely touches well defined edges. Not bad for a brand new user. You have to experiment with parameters until you get a feel of it.

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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 01:29:52 PM »
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I installed a trial copy.

Here is a quick TNG denoise of an old file. This was an old CCD camera at low ISO. The NR barely touches well defined edges. Not bad for a brand new user. You have to experiment with parameters until you get a feel of it.

Yes, it takes a bit of experimenting to find the best settings of the TGV Denoising. In my experience, it helps to also have an Image Statistics window running in parallel (the statistics shown can be user selected and saved) somewhere on the Work space. When there is a relatively uniform image area somewhere in the image, make a preview selection of it, and set focus to it. Then tweak the (most important) Edge protection control (drag the New Instance triangle to the preview after each change of controls) up/down until you find the sweet spot where noise is starting to be reduced (Standard deviation in 8-bit or 10-bit is reduced). Then see how far you can go up again before image detail elsewhere in the image (you can reposition the Preview or add another one) starts to be impacted. Once everything is to your liking, increase the number of iterations to something like 500, and verify if the details are still there. Tweak if necessary, and balance all that e.g. with the Strength control.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 02:05:58 PM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 06:11:03 PM »
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Here is a quick TNG denoise of an old file. This was an old CCD camera at low ISO. The NR barely touches well defined edges. Not bad for a brand new user. You have to experiment with parameters until you get a feel of it.
And like every de-noise demo I've ever seen, the before looks better. Removing noise generally makes the photo look soft/smeary/unsharp, yes the text may be sharp in that example but the bricks now look soft.
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jjj
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 06:19:14 PM »
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If the creator of the application states that his emphasis is not on a pretty interface, but on the design and implementation of a toolset that provides flexibility and precision above and beyond what might be currently popular or available, I suppose that is a description he feels is relevant to folks looking for a similar tool.
The comment I quoted had nothing to do with the aesthetics of the interface, but the usability of the software. Fine Art started talking about 'fancy finishes' which was missing the point.

To repeat the point.
"While we try to design and implement our tools to facilitate the user's work as much as possible, ease of use is not one of our main goals."
Which is a dumb attitude. Not to mention that it makes little sense as it's somewhat contradictory.
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2014, 07:14:08 PM »
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The comment I quoted had nothing to do with the aesthetics of the interface, but the usability of the software. Fine Art started talking about 'fancy finishes' which was missing the point.

To repeat the point.
"While we try to design and implement our tools to facilitate the user's work as much as possible, ease of use is not one of our main goals."
Which is a dumb attitude. Not to mention that it makes little sense as it's somewhat contradictory.

That sounds like a mis-interpretation of what they are saying. Some software tries to present a simple black box. You feed it something, it spits out a finished product. An example is several of the Topaz plugins, which are quite good. They also have parameters if you want to fiddle with them. Another would be filmpacks from various vendors. Color Efex is another.

This company is saying they give you the manipulation tools. You do what you need to the data. It means you might actually have to learn what your image data is showing. This is perfectly consistent with a scientific imaging product.

Other people may want to pay someone to be their brain trust.
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jjj
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2014, 05:51:44 PM »
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That sounds like a mis-interpretation of what they are saying. Some software tries to present a simple black box. You feed it something, it spits out a finished product. An example is several of the Topaz plugins, which are quite good. They also have parameters if you want to fiddle with them. Another would be filmpacks from various vendors. Color Efex is another.

This company is saying they give you the manipulation tools. You do what you need to the data. It means you might actually have to learn what your image data is showing. This is perfectly consistent with a scientific imaging product.
Not a misinterpretation at all as they were very specifically comparing themselves to Photoshop, not a simple filter pack in the section where I found the pretentious quote. Remember many people think of PS as an extremely complex tool.

Their attitude simply reminds me of the photographers who slag off PS as a tool to alter photographs, when the truth is they simply are not very good at using it. I'd hazard that PixInsight people are rubbish as UI design and that is why they slag it off. It's a classic diversion technique, to try and hide the fact you are crap at something claim it's not important/relevant.

The fact that the website is nearly all wordy explanations and avoids using images to show/explain things is also a dead giveaway of people who are clueless about both design and how to explain things. Even trying to find a screenshot of what the programme looks like is a challenge. Not to mention that if you land on the home page, you get no clues as to what the website is even about.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 05:58:57 PM by jjj » Logged

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Fine_Art
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2014, 09:29:57 PM »
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You seem determined to insist they have nothing to offer. Why is that?

PS made a very important jump - layers. Using different effect on different layers with the user choosing what effect to have where was brilliant. Maybe you can afford them (pixinsight) the courtesy of trying their software before spouting how evil it is.
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