Given StarTools' general design goal of exploiting psychovisual limitations of the human visual system, there are some important things to take note of when evaluating the result.
Specifically, the module exploits "useful" noise grain (by modelling it as quantization error in the signal) to retain and convey more detail in areas that are too "busy" for the human visual system to notice, without the result appearing noisier. The actual "useful" noise grain, much like dithering, however may be visible when zoomed in at scales beyond 100%.
The value of the module's ability to shape noise grain in this way, becomes particularly apparent when combining this ability with the output of StarTools' deconvolution module. The latter module can be "overdriven" to trade increased detail for increased (though perceptually equalised) fine grain noise "artifacts". The magnitude of the noise grain is subsequently recovered, modeled and shaped for use as quantization error diffusion in the final denoised image.
Of course, if so desired, using more aggressive parameter settings will progressively eliminate such quantization error diffusion, and yield a smooth image.
I'm relatively new to image processing and just wanted to say how straight forward and powerful StarTools is.
It is important to understand that the signal as show during this first stage, is merely signal that is up for consideration by the second stage.
The FilmDev module effectively functions as a classic digital dark room where your prized raw signal is developed and readied for further processing.
Central to the module, is the 'Digital Development' parameter, which controls the strength of the development and resulting stretch.
A 'Filter Mode' parameter selects the mode of the filter.
You can convert everything you see to a format you find convenient. Give it a try!