Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

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Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by MalVeauX » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:17 am

Hey all,

I made an acquisition and processing tutorial a while back (3 years ago? Yikes!) and it is fairly dated in terms of what I'm doing these days. I've been asked for a long time to make a new one showing what I'm doing these days. Specifically how I'm processing a single shot image for both the surface and prominences and how to process them together to show prominences and the surface at once. I've abandoned doing split images and composites and strictly work from one image using layers. Acquisition does not use gamma at all anymore. Nothing terribly fancy, but it's not exactly intuitive so hopefully this new video will illustrate most of the fundamentals to get you started. Instead of an hour, this time it's only 18 minutes. It's real time from start to finish. I'm sorry for the long "waiting periods" where I'm just waiting for the software to finish its routine, it lasts 1.5 minutes and 30 seconds tops typically at first. The first 4 minutes is literally just stacking & alignment in AS!3. I typically will go faster than this, but wanted to slow down enough to try to talk through what I'm doing as I do it. Hopefully you can see each action on the screen. I may have made a few mistakes or said a few incorrect things or terms, forgive me for that, this is not my day job. I really hope it helps folk get more into processing as its not difficult or intimidating when you see a simple process with only a few things that are used. The key is good data to begin with and a good exposure value. Today's data came from a 100mm F10 achromatic refractor and an ASI290MM camera with an HA filter. I used FireCapture to acquire the data with a defocused flat frame. No gamma is used. I target anywhere from 65% to 72% histogram fill. That's it! The processing is fast and simple. I have a few presets that I use, but they are all defaults in Photoshop. A lot of the numbers I use for parameters are based on image scale, so keep that in mind, experiment with your own values. The only preset I use that is not a default is my coloring scheme. I color with levels in Photoshop, and my values are Red: 1.6, Green 0.8, Blue 0.2 (these are mid-point values).

The video (18 minutes):

https://youtu.be/RJvJEoVS0oU

RAW (.TIF) files available here to practice on (the same images you will see below as RAW TIFs):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zjeou ... CH2PhB-dzv

(Please let me know if any links do not work)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Results from today using this work flow method.

Colored:

Image

Image

Image

Image

B&W:

Image

Image

Image

Image

SSM data (sampled during 1.5~2 arc-second seeing conditions):
SeeingConditions_afternoon_01162020.jpg
SeeingConditions_afternoon_01162020.jpg (78.71 KiB) Viewed 12133 times
Equipment for today:

100mm F10 Frac (Omni XLT 120mm F8.3 masked to 4")
Baader Red CCD-IR Block Filter (ERF)
PST etalon + BF10mm
ASI290MM
SSM (for fun, no automation)
ssm_100mmsolarscope_01162020.jpg
ssm_100mmsolarscope_01162020.jpg (43.59 KiB) Viewed 12133 times
solarsetup_01162020.jpg
solarsetup_01162020.jpg (36.64 KiB) Viewed 12133 times
Very best,



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by marktownley » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:55 am

Nice results Marty and thanks for the tutorial. I'll have a watch this weekend (just getting ready for work now).


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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by MAURITS » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:18 am

Marty thanks for sharing this tutorial.


Regards,
Maurits

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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by JochenM » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:52 am

Thanks for sharing that, Marty.

I still have a lot to learn on the processing side of things; so I'm definitely going to sit down and go through your tutorial this weekend.



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by Montana » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:04 am

Thanks Marty, I too will watch over the weekend :)

Alexandra




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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by Starry Jack » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:29 am

Mind. Blown.

OK...I watched this at 1.5x speed just to get the overall feel...holy cow what a range of tools and artistic judgements you make so effortlessly!

Now I'll go back multiple times and decompose and manually create a cheat sheet for myself (I'll happily share if folks want it).

You've really helped expand my thought processes here on AS3, IMPPG and GIMP (what I use instead of PS).

Can't wait for MORE.

BTW...I also thank you for your notes on data acquisition. It's so important so maybe that is a good next tutorial. :)


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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by MalVeauX » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:12 am

Starry Jack wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:29 am
I also thank you for your notes on data acquisition. It's so important so maybe that is a good next tutorial. :)
That's the plan, I hope to do it soon, it will be acquisition and information from focus, exposure (no gamma), histogram, flat frame and recording the stream in FireCapture specifically with both the disc & limb in mind leading to data that can be processed quickly as described in the above rapid tutorial.

Very best,



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by salvo lauricella » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:20 am

Thanks for sharing with us Marty!



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by Rusted » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:07 pm

Thank you Marty. My hero! :D

I went straight on to binge watch your other capture and processing videos.
The more I watch the more I realise my ignorance of many of the settings in all the softwares I/we use regularly.
Your tutorials will, hopefully, save me/us tremendous amounts of time not having to make poor choices unnecessarily.

You are a great artist, a gifted teacher and a genius.

Many thanks again. :bow


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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by Starry Jack » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:49 pm

Marty,
What are the odds of you graciously typing up your thoughts during processing much as you did for the Data Acquisition post? That info is well organized and gives us insight into pros and cons of the tools?

Just hoping...


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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by MalVeauX » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:59 pm

Starry Jack wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:49 pm
Marty,
What are the odds of you graciously typing up your thoughts during processing much as you did for the Data Acquisition post? That info is well organized and gives us insight into pros and cons of the tools?

Just hoping...
Sure, I'll take a stab at it this weekend. :bow2 :band

Very best,



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by Starry Jack » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:18 am

YES!


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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by MalVeauX » Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:05 pm

Starry Jack wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:18 am
YES!
So, here's an unprofessional break down of what I was doing/thinking through the process. If there's anything you recall or a term or method I mentioned or saw that you would like to know more about, I'll try to explain if I can. I'm far from an editing master in these programs, so I'm always trying to learn things with them.

AS!3: AS! has some guides available that likely will explain better than me a lot of the parameters and functions. Many use % frames to stack. I personally don't that often. From the video, I mentioned it, but we were looking at a 1,000 frame clump of video. After analyzing there's a quality graph, each column is 25% of the total frames. You can see higher quality frames (estimated) with the spikes higher on the graph and poor quality frames lower on the graph. These are estimated. You could see the pattern of my seeing during the capture cycle as frames went up then down in a wave pattern, so my seeing was fluctuating pretty fast but rather like a pattern. If the graph is flat, seeing was likely more uniform through the capture session. This is no indication of quality, a flat graph can be high on the estimator and still show up as poor seeing, it was just steady poor seeing. I prefer to see variation because it means there was instances of better seeing and poor seeing, unless you are some where special with excellent seeing to want a flat graph knowing the seeing was great. So looking at those columns really only a handful of frames were considered good in each 25% block. So I do 4 stack piles. The 251 is that 25%. I just told it to start there. Then I back up sequentially to 181, 101 and 61 frames. You can use different numbers. I just do these as a standard as a workflow to not think about it too much when doing lots of processing. But you can assume it's always less than 25%, but I do use the graph for that. 181 was 18%, 101 is 10%, 61 is 6%. Easy math, but again, I tend to set it myself rather than use % values. I add a 1 to everything for personal preference for when doing averages in the calculations to always break any even splits in the math. Probably doesn't matter, but that's why I do it. If you have excellent seeing, you can stack any number of frames and evaluate what will process best for you. I do 4 stacks so I have options and I look at the smallest to largest to see which group has the best overall balance of dynamic range, noise handling, sharpness/contrast of features before getting too soft, and without stacking needlessly too many frames. For HA, I often need to stack more frames so I'm commonly in the 101~181 range with good seeing. With photosphere, I commonly stack few frames, and focus more on 31~61 frames tops as too much blur can destroy delicate detail in such fine structures of convection cells. There's a lot of different ways to approach deconvolution/unsharp mask and number of iterations, so that's part of it too (the stack size and dynamic range plays into this big time, noise can destroy these processes).

IMPPG: IMPPG has online tutorials that are excellent at explaining what everything does, so I will reference that. My main use of IMPPG is to deal with tone curves and the histogram. You will notice in the video I reset the curve then stretch it with the preset buttons. They work great. I use this to evaluate the image quickly to see the quality of what's there after stacking but before processing. This is primarily where I get the surface & prominences/limb to be similar in overall brightness so that they're more uniform which is difficult with a single stack imaging system, but easier with a double stack system (as the surface brightness is less in a double stack with the photosphere light removed). You can play around in the shadow area of the tone curve (far left near black point) to see where your prominences exist the most on average. It will be different each time based on brightness. Gently lift there and that's it. This will induce some artificial brightness increase on shadows in the void space, but we suppress it back later. Deconvolution has a lot of ways to be used, number of iterations, sigma, etc. See the tutorial for more on that. My large stacks can withstand greater doconvolution, my smaller stacks can handle much less. I tend to figure out my ideal blurr removal with deconvolution first, then adjust unsharp mask last. Ideally, I don't want to end up with a "finished sharpened" look here. I still want it a bit soft at this point, to fine sharpen later in PS/GIMP/etc.

Dodge & Burn: These are an ancient set of tools (from film to digital!), but they still are great at a lot of things when it comes to handling shadows and mid-tones. I use dodging to lighten areas, I target midtones at a very low value (1~3%) to lift prominences a little more to separate them from the background tones that ideally should be near black. I do that first so I see the proms. Then I switch to burn and target shadows, again at low 1~3% values and gently brush away the non-solar-features. Great to handle the limb and around proms. I start strong 3% initially then gently work at lesser values, 1%, to even it out on images I'm trying to get a better display finish with.

Highpass Filters: I use these filter methods to do my primary sharpening, but consider that sharpening really is just a function of contrast. Contrast is higher when there's less gradient of frequency between transition of frequencies so it looks "sharp" to us. So my use of highpass filter is actually just a way to increase contrast. High pass is a way of basically selecting the high frequencies, or sharp, or high contrast areas (not the blurry stuff) and ignore the rest. So you can do targeted sharpening. I do this because this helps to avoid sharpening noise in the background where there's no structure or maybe just blurry areas that need to stay blurry. High pass does that. So set a pixel value that you can real time see that highlights the structures you want with the contrast you want. That simple! I then set the blending mode to softlight (a bit darker) than using overlay (highest sharpness, too much in my opinion). I then dial back the opacity to a low value, 50% or so, play with it, to get a nice blend between the previous layer and the new filtered layer as you don't want sharp transitions that look oversharpened. I sometimes do several variations of this, from small pixel (the sharpest features) to brought pixel series (to increase overall contrast on the surface and limb dramatically). If you push this too much, you can clip data into white, as well as push shadow data too close to black and lose things. So this is why it's good to be gentle and use low opacities when blending to not lose things.

Levels: Levels is the histogram with white point, black point, mid-point. I use this to manipulate the curve in the histogram between the mid-point and either the black point or white point to effect contrast, mainly, in the mid-tones and shadows. I use it primarily to increase contrast in shadows and mid-tones so I push the midpoint almost always to the right towards white point to crush the transition in mid-tones and towards highlights. Lower gradient between frequency changes will look higher contrast or sharper. So I mostly use levels to sharpen/increase contrast the surface of the sun. I follow this often with a highlight/shadows adjustment to bring back shadows (proms/limb) that are effected by the levels change. I also can target the highlights and suppress them a bit here too. Play with those values, they're different based on the brightness values of each data point and is different each time. You could do all of this with curve layer adjustments too. I just prefer to use this method because it's fast and I don't have to measure the values and target them on the curve over and over which is time consuming. This method is real time and lets me see what it's doing and results in increasing contrast on the surface but keeping the limb/proms, from one shot.

Gradient Removal: Even though you can make/use flat frames for calibration at acquisition, I sometimes do a pseudo-flat in post to get rid of gradients for composition and display purposes. Especially if there's too much bright area on a disc's surface relative to the limb. So I often do this to even out the gradient from the surface to the limb so that they're not too different and it makes it easier to process a good balance between the two with as single stack (so much easier with double stack as the surface is dimmer to begin with). My method is to duplicate the layer, dust & scratches to remove large high contrast features, then a median filter to smooth it out, resulting in a heavily blurred image that shows the light and dark points only and gently blurred. I use pre-set darkness curves, three times (you can do more or less, play with it) to get a "negative" version of my original layer. I can set the blending mode to "difference" to subtract it. Adjust opacity until it looks as flat as you like. This can help get rid of hot spots or even out sweet spot inconsistency on these lower quality etalon systems (common of Quarks, entry Lunt/Solarmax, PST, etc). You will see in high quality etalons this is less needed. After this the image is really flat, so less contrast. To get the contrast back, open a levels curve. Look at the white point, it's far from the data going to the right. Move your white point back towards the data but leave a little room in front of it and it will brighten back up and be contrasty but flat in gradients.

Coloring: There are lots of ways to false color and many variations of combinations of colors. The one I use is just a particular set that I enjoy for HA/WL so I use it as a preset that I made. To color the way I did in the video, I use a levels adjustment (image must be set to RGB not mono). In the levels adjustment, instead of affecting all RGB, click the red channel, move the mid-point around (I used 1.6). Click the green channel, move the mid point around (I used 0.8). Click the blue channel, move the mid point around (I used 0.2). You can get different colors this way. I do this for my HA stuff and a different version for my CaK stuff. I save them as presets to instant color with a levels adjustment. No right or wrong. Play with it.

Hope that helps a little. If there's more you need to know about or that wasn't clear, just say so!

Very best,



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Re: Solar Processing Tutorial (Rapid Workflow) for HA | Jan 16th 2020

Post by marktownley » Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:06 am

Thanks Marty!


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