A new version of AutoStakkert! has just been released, check out the AutoStakkert!2 blog for more information and a download link!
Building something that makes astrophotography easier is fun and can be very rewarding. But developing software also takes a lot of time. If you like my software, and would like to support me in developing it, I present you with the option to give a (small) donation via Paypal.
AutoStakkert! - the original and outdated version
- Easy and fast batch processing
- Produce raw and/or convolved stacks in 16-bit PNG or TIF output
- Saves up to 8 different stack-sizes in one run (limited to a percentage or framenumber)
- Two quality estimators; Edge (especially for smaller targets), and a noise robust Gradient estimator(works well on all planets)
- Only for grayscale recordings (in Y8 or DIB format). (color processing is a TODO)
AutoStakkert! - or AS! - is a grayscale planetary stacking program targeted to produce excellent stacking results with as little effort as possible. Ideally it works best in combination with Castrator, and I suggest you use that program to center and crop the planetary recordings first. But AS! can also be used on the original recordings (although there is a 1 gigabyte filesize limitation!). Most stacking programs are unnecessarily difficult to use, because they contain too many options, and it takes a long time to get the most out of your recordings. AS! on the other hand is easy to use, works fast, and produces very good results out of the box.
Especially in the last year I have been very active in producing planetary images, and overall I have spent MANY hours processing my recordings in stacking programs like Registax. Because I like to take the 'lucky imaging' philosophy one step further, there often were nights that I made non-stop recordings of a target, and ended up producing over 50 recordings all in need to be processed as good as possible. In December 2009 - when I had several nights of more than 100 recordings - I came to the conclusion that something needed to be changed, I needed software that worked faster and easier, so I wouldn't have to spend my time on repetative work for hours on end. The AS! project was born.
To make sure that AS! stays fast and easy to use, every feature of AS! has been extensively tested on my own recordings. Usually this testing is done 'on the fly' while I am programming, because I like to see what actually happens to a stacked image when a certain paramater is changed.
AutoStakkert! is not meant to post-process your images, although it does support a 5x5 convolution filter which is compatible with Photoshops Custom filter, and which gives you the option to preview the stacks. You can open up the raw stacks in any of your favourite image processing programs ( Photoshop, GIMP, Iris, Registax etc.). Usually I end up opening the RAW stacks in Photoshop CS4 and take it from there. Some of the time that I used to spend on producing raw image stacks in Registax, is now used to post-process the recordings in Photoshop.
How does it work? A quick walkthough.
I have created a couple of short movies in which I explain how AS! operates. The sound quality is rather poor (because of me and my microphone), but I think it should get you started on using AS!
The following list contains known issues and/or things that I should do for a future release.
- add a posibility to enter an X and Y offset to the COG measurement. Currently the planet is always centered in the output stacks, but it might be handy if you could drag the planet to the side a bit, in order to include one or two moons on the other side.
- support folders or zip files containing (16-bit) TIFs or FIT files
- improve the frame-brightness invariant option
- >1 gb files (not an issue if you first use Castrator on your avi's)
- color stacking (color raw, and normal rgb24)
- resizing options after stacking
- support more avi formats
0.0.1.15 - output image size restriction moved from 400x400 to 640x560.
0.0.1.14 - added an option make quality estimator brightness invariant. In the previous version it was on by default, but sometimes you can get (much) better results if you turn the setting off (when the transparancy is changing during imaging, I suggest you check to see if you can get better results by turning this setting on!).
0.0.1.12 - first release.
Although great care has been taken to ensure that the software works without problems, I cannot garantuee that it actually does. AutoStakkert! was only tested under Windows XP and Windows Vista. If you have any problems, feature requests or other questions about AS!, you can either go to my forums and drop a message, or contact me directly. Please note that I'm a fulltime college student, and simply don't have time to work as much on this project as I would like.
You can download the latest version (v0.0.1.15, April 27 2010) here