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Author Topic: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity  (Read 5588 times)

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Offline NickH

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The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« on: 08:19:59, 03 September, 2009 »
Just wrote this up for another post, but hopefully it may be useful here too... feel free if it is to make it a sticky

Okay, NickH start to finish process

1: Line up the scope on the Sun. Stick in TV2.5X (if it's looking good, stick in the 2X Celestron as well = F50)

2: Launch Lucam Recorder (very similar to K3CCD or AS Capture), and spend time focussing, this is critical. Edge focus on the limb or on an active region. Rack the focus either side, gradually moving in towards critical focus (good tip from Pete a few years back). It will literally jump at you when it's in.

3: Open the Histogram window, and try to optimise that for surface as a nice peak around mid-2/3rd way over (depends on conditions etc, but you'll get a feel for it)

4: Adjust the Gamma, until the surface is nice and detailed, and flat across the field (i.e no brighter bits). This requires a quick etalon adjust usually, with a PST/Lunt sweet spot (yes Lunts have em....!). SV50, no need really, it's flat as flat can be..

5: Start capture. Typically on a good day at F25 or F50 I aim for 3000 frames per AVI (or SER on the Lumenera if working in 12-bit mode)

6: Finish the capture

7: Launch Registax 4 (5 is a buggy hairy mare at the mo...too easy to crash/fall over)

8: If seeing is good, set gradient method for align/optimise and 85% minimum level,if the seeing is not so good, 75%, as it will get me a smoother final (less good) image :-)

9: Select a box algnment region (or multi regions) where a higher contrast part is visible (this is why setting the gamma is important...too high, and the whole surface is washed out more, and more difficult to get a good lock). However, if using the single shot approach for proms and surface, aim at the proms for alignment, that usually works well.. Polar alignment on the scope is more important as if it's drifting less, this is all easier to do!

10: Aliign, optimise and stack the frames (can set Mitchell 1.5X resample during this, but will take longer, I usually don't do this on the netbook...)

11: Set Wavelets, usually I will adjust 1-6 and 5 if needs be, and maybe 2 down a tad. Adjust to taste, but don't overkill them to sharpen up, it looks messy

12: Resample the image (can also do this with Mitchell at 1.5X during stacking) to 1.5X size at the end

13: Save the image

14: Launch PS CS2

15: Open the image

16: Resample to 300DPI at 100%

17: Despeckle filter in CS2 (Filters/Despeckle)

18: Run Focus Magic plug in... :-).....oooh yeah... but be careful with the aggressiveness on that one too, I usually let it detect, then knock it down a fraction. Even when the image is bang on focus, this little wonder is just amazing!

(best plug in of the year for me!)

19: Adjust levels in CS2 (Image is RGB mode) with red up about 20% ish, green down about the same, blue down 80-100%

20: Adjust saturation levels, contrast etc.. to taste

21: Same for proms, but different gain and gamma settings in Lucam (higher gamma)

22: When you have the proms and surface images open in CS2. Crop out the surface in the proms (lassoo tool), to make a black disk

23: Copy with a feather (magic wand and tolerance set accordingly) the surface shot, and paste and move on to the proms, keep the two layers

23: Colour adjust to taste whilst it's still as two layers.. you can also do neat tricks like removing dust bunnies using the lassoo tool, and feater around them, then use a guassian blur. I do this for proms too to make them stand out more against the background when doing large composites

24; Flatten the image, and save as a PSD or TIF, and then save for web version for posting.

Et voila

No magic...just focus, good kit and practice
Celestron C11: DSI-C/Toucam Pro 2 ICX mod and SC1.5 mod/ Meade LPI/EOS300D/ED80/WO80ZS/Shoestring guider. PST/PST CaK/ART285

No time....always bloomin cloudy...need to build the Obsy..

Offline Merlin66

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #1 on: 08:42:11, 03 September, 2009 »
Ohhhh man...
You make it sound sooooo easy!!
I agree with the practise, focus, practise, focus, practise etc etc
C11, C9.25 SCT, 4" Genesis, NEQ6pro, modded 1000D,  ATik314L+, DMK41AF04, SM60DS/BF15, and Spectroscopes (many!).
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Offline swashy

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #2 on: 08:46:24, 03 September, 2009 »
Nice one Nick  :urock:  thats a stickie for sure!

Imagine...  above us only sky!

Offline Roger Banks

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #3 on: 09:16:36, 03 September, 2009 »
Excellent Nick - just what us newbies need!

Offline mtivo

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #4 on: 22:26:12, 03 September, 2009 »
Great walkthrough Nick.
Loads of tips in there and not just for the newbies.


Offline michaeloconnell78

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #5 on: 19:00:16, 11 September, 2009 »
Thanks for taking the time to write up your process Nick.

Gemini G41 Observatory+ Mount; 16" LX200 SCT, TEC140; Pentax75SDHF; PST CaK, PST Ha.


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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #6 on: 20:01:28, 18 September, 2009 »
Thanks Nick. its good to see how everyone captures/processes and as you say there is no magic out there.


Offline honey

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Re: The NickH method - As demoed at Gravity
« Reply #7 on: 06:43:27, 19 June, 2013 »
Very nice simon, looks like the weather has returned to type though eh!!


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