These are some helpful links and tutorials related to StarTools and other image processing resources.
You may also find it helpful to know that the icons in the top two panels roughly follow a recommended workflow.
Much of StarTools revolves around signal evolution Tracking from start to finish. As such, familiarising yourself with how it works, is recommended to get the most out of your experience and your dataset.
If you have a correctly stacked dataset, this quick, 7-step guide will get you processing your first image with StarTools in no time at all.
StarTools will not work correctly (or work poorly) with an incorrectly stacked dataset. Getting a suitable dataset from your free or paid stacking solution, is extremely important.
There is an optimal ISO value for each DSLR, where your specific sensor provides the optimal balance between read noise and dynamic range.
There are a few simple, but important, do's and don'ts to prepare your dataset for post-processing in StarTools.
Deep Sky Stacker (FREE) remains a one of the most popular pre-processing applications for Windows. Stacking and saving your data with these settings is essential to getting good results from StarTools.
ASTAP ("Astrometric STAcking Program") is a FREE, competent, actively developed stacker, available for all platforms. Stacking and saving your data with these settings is essential to getting good results from StarTools.
Astro Pixel Processor ("APP") is a paid stacking solution for Intel-based Windows, macOS and Linux OS's. Stacking and saving your data with these settings is essential to getting good results from StarTools.
This is a basic workflow showing how real-world, imperfect data from a DSLR can be processed in StarTools. The workflow details data prep, bias / gradient / light pollution removal, stretching, deconvolution, color calibration and noise reduction. Please see video description on YouTube for the actual datasets and other resources.
This video shows how processing a complex Hubble Space Telescope SHO dataset is virtually just as easy as processing a simple DSLR dataset in StarTools 1.5. Aside from activating the Compose module, your workflow and processing considerations are virtually the same. Please see video description on YouTube for datasets and other resources.
This is a very basic workflow using defaults, showing how the new Compose module (replacing the LRGB module in StarTools 1.5) makes complex LLRGB compositing and processing incredibly easy. The workflow details the usual data prep, bias/gradient removal, stretching, deconvolution, color calibration and noise reduction. You will notice this workflow is substantially similar to any other StarTools workflow, even though we are dealing with a complex composite of luminance, synthetic luminance, and color data all at once. Please see video description on YouTube for datasets and other resources.
This is a small selection of StarTools tutorials and resources, created by StarTools users.
This very useful document crafted by J. Scharmann, contains suggested workflow charts for beginners and advanced users.
A very popular, comprehensive tutorial titled "Processing a (noisy) DSLR image stack with StarTools" by Astro Blog Delta.
A brief tutorial on using Siril via the Sirilic front-end.
A great number of YouTube videos on StarTools are available from various users.
This guide lets you create starless linear data using StarNet++.
In-depth user notes, detailing modules, their parameters, use cases, hints and tips.
If you are looking for datasets from amateur astrophotographers to practice with, there are a number for useful resources.
Processing is meant to be fun! If you really need help with a particular dataset, jump on the forums or contact us directly for some pointers - even if you're just using the trial.
A long thread started by "the Elf" at Cloudy Nights, that includes datasets from the Elf himself and other CN users. StarTools processing notes can be found here as well.
The IKI Observatory is a remotely hosted astronomy setup in Castilléjar, Spain at https://www.pixelskiesastro.com/. FLO / Ikarus Imaging have sent out a setup in partnership with Optolong Filters and Starlight Xpress. The projects purpose is to provide a community based remote setup that can be collaborated on on Star Gazers Lounge - the data is made publicly available free of charge and the targets are chosen on the SGL forums.
A fantastic collection of various deep space objects, imaged in HaLRGB by Jim Misti. Working with just the L (luminance) frames, before delving into HaLRGB combining, is great way to learn the ropes.
StarTools was created to complement the many freely available stacking and pre-processing solutions with unique, state-of-the art post-processing functionality.
Many stacking solutions provide rudimentary post-processing functions as well. Please note that only pre-processing and stacking should be performed in these applications in order for StarTools' signal evolution Tracking to work and achieve optimal results; Tracking cannot track signal and noise propagation that happened in other applications. As such, please do not stretch, color calibrate, perform gradient removal, or perform any other operations beyond initial calibration in these applications.
ASTAP, the Astrometric STAcking Program, is an astrometric solver, stacker of images, and provides photometry and FITS viewing functionality. It is available for all platforms.
Siril is a feature-rich, free astronomical image processing suite with excellent pre-processing capabilities. It is available for all platforms.
DeepSkyStacker is Windows-only freeware software for astrophotographers, which aims to simplify all the pre-processing steps of deep sky images.
Regim makes some processing steps that are unique to astronomical images a bit easier. Regim is available for all platforms.
"Simple but powerful", is the core philosophy of this Windows-only application.
Fitswork is a windows image processing program, mainly designed for astronomic purposes.
Chances are that the image looks terrible, which is - believe it or not - the point.
In the Auto mask generator, set the parameters you need to generate your mask.
The 'Un-glow' feature attempts to reduce the halos around bright, over-exposing stars.
The 'AutoMask' button launches a popup with access to two quick ways of creating a star mask.
You can convert everything you see to a format you find convenient. Give it a try!