PixInsight script to integrate FITS (and other) image files. Script automates initial steps of image processing in PixInsight.
Script has a GUI interface where some processing options can be selected.
After running the script there will be integrated light images and automatically processed final image. Both LRGB and color files are accepted.
This script is originally targeted for use with Slooh.com where .fit files are already calibrated. LRGB files need to have keyword FILTER that has values 'Luminance' (or 'Clear'), 'Red', 'Green' or 'Blue' values. If keyword FILTER is not found images are assumed to be color images. Slooh images use these keywords. Files from other systems like iTelescope and Deep Sky West has been tested and they work fine. Also camera raw files can be used and they are treated as color files. More details of processing the files can be found from the header block of the source code.
Below is a sample output of AutoIntegrate script with default options.
Steps to run the script
- Open script editor in PixInsight
- Open file AutoIntegrate.js
- Press F9 to run the script in the editor
- When script Dialog opens, click AutoRun
- In the file dialog, select all *.fit files and wait until script completes.
It is also possible to run manually background extraction, histogram transformations or other steps on the integrated images and then continue automatic processing from there. For more details see header block in the source code.
PixInsight scripts that come with the product were a great help when developing this script. Website Light Vortex Astronomy was a great place to find details and best practises when using PixInsight.
Some tips for using AutoIntegrate script
Most often you get the best results by running the script with default settings and then continue processing in Pixinsight.
Usually images need some cleanup with HistogramTransformation tool. Depending on the image you can try clipping shadows between %0.01 and %0.1.
If an image lacks contrast it can be enhanced with the CurvesTransformation tool. Changing the curve to a slight S can be helpful. CurvesTransformation can also be used to increase saturation.
If background is not even then tools like AutomaticBackgroundExtractor or DynamicBackgroundExtractor can be helpful. Script can run AutomaticBackgroundExtractor automatically if needed.
Further enhancements may include masking, noise reduction, sharpening and making stars smaller. Often tools like HDRMulticaleTransform and LocalHistogramEqualization can help with details in the image.
Batch mode for mosaic images
Batch mode is intended to be used with mosaic images. In mosaics there are several images and typically the same basic processing options are used for all images. In Batch mode AutoIntegrate script automatically asks for files for the next mosaic panel. You can freely choose the directories for images. Script creates a final processed image which has the same name as the directory where images were read. So if images are from directory P1 then the image name will be P1. At the end of the script all batch mode images are left open and all intermediate images are closed.When batch files are ready for further processing is it possible to save all files by clicking a button in section “Save batch result files”. Batch mode adds a keyword to each image and it is used to find files saving. It is possible to save images in PixInsight .xisf format, 16-bit TIFF format or 8-bit TIFF format. If you want to assemble the final image in Photoshop save images in 16-bit TIFF format. Batch mode keyword is saved on disk with .xisf format but not with TIFF format. If you want to process images later and use batch save then you should save files also in .xisf format.
Tips for combining mosaic panels
When doing a mosaic, after running AutoIntegrate script I often do just HistogramTransform at Pixinsight. With HistogramTransform I just try to get the panels visually close enough. Then I save panels as 16 bit TIFF and move to Photoshop.In Photoshop I load the panels as layers (File/Scripts/Load Files into Stack…). Then I align them using a Difference blending mode (select all layers and change to Difference mode). It makes it quite easy to adjust panels correctly. After that I change blending mode back to normal. At this point it is still possible to adjust individual panels to make them match more closely. I blend layers together using Edit/Auto-Blend Layers. Usually it works very well and you get a nice blended image. After that you can flatten the image and continue processing as a single image in Pixinsight or Photoshop.
Processing Slooh T3 color files
Default options are typically a pretty good start for most Slooh telescopes but I have found that some changes are needed for T3 color files. I suggest unchecking Skip ABE and checking Use BackgroudNeutralization. Otherwise there is a pretty bad color cast and vignetting on result image.
AutoIntegrate covered in Remote Astrophotography Using Slooh.com blog
Erik Westermann has created a great book titled Remote Astrophotography Using Slooh.com – A Handbook. He also maintains a web site Remote Astrophotography. You can download the book from there for free.
Erik talks about AutoIntegrate in his blog post PixInsight AutoIntegrate.js Processing Script. It has a lot of useful information so please check it out.