Russell Croman Astrophotography  

 

 

NoiseXTerminator

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NoiseXTerminator is a fast and easy-to-use AI-powered noise reduction tool specifically for astrophotography. While powerful AI-based noise reduction and detail enhancement solutions exist for general photography, they were not trained on astrophotos. As a result, they often mangle the stars and invent detail that simply isn't there. NoiseXTerminator was trained exclusively on deep-sky astrophotos, so its neural network is "familiar" with how stars should look and the types of detail we see in our photos. It can perform natural detail enhancement without boosting noise or inventing non-existent structure.

NoiseXTerminator is currently in beta testing, and at the moment is only available for PixInsight. A plugin for Photoshop/Affinity Photo is coming soon.

Recommended Usage

  • NoiseXTerminator can be used at any point in your processing flow, but generally earlier is better. The PixInsight version can handle both linear and nonlinear (stretched) images. Using NoiseXTerminator on images that have already been heavily processed, particularly with other noise reduction/sharpening software, can produce less than optimal results.
  • If processing a linear (unstretched) image in PixInsight:
    • Neutralize the background first. Don't unlink STFs – actually neutralize the background.
    • Make sure the Linear checkbox is checked.
    • Make sure PixInsight is configured to use 24-bit STF lookup tables. Otherwise you might see what looks like posterization in your image, when it is really just limitations of the lower-precision default lookup tables.
  • In PixInsight, you can create a preview containing a representative sample of your image, including bright and dark regions, important detail, etc. Select this preview and run NoiseXTerminator on it to allow rapid adjustment of the parameters.
  • In Photoshop, you can select a small area of the image and quickly evaluate different NoiseXTerminator settings. Use "undo" to revert a change to the selected area.
  • The "Denoise" parameter literally determines the fraction of what the neural network identifies as noise will be removed from the image – setting it to 1.00 will tell NoiseXTerminator to try to remove 100% of the noise from the image. As with all noise reduction solutions, completely removing the noise can result in an artificially-clean image with a "waxy" appearance. This a matter of taste, of course, but try setting the Denoise parameter to a slightly lower value (e.g., between 0.75 and 0.90) to retain some noise for a more natural appearance.
  • The "Detail" parameter acts much like controlling the radius of an unsharp masking operation, but it is noise-aware. It can sharpen details in the presence of noise, and without boosting it. In general, the best value for Detail is a bit lower than a value that produces dark halos around small stars.

System Requirements

Please see current known issues and planned improvements on the support page linked above.

NoiseXTerminator requires a computer with a modern CPU having instructions required to run neural networks. Older CPUs lacking FMA, AVX, and SSE instructions are not supported. Request a trial before purchasing to make sure it will work on your machine.

  • MacOS
    • Version 10.15 (Catalina) or later
    • PixInsight 1.8.8-9 or later
    • GPU/Neural Engine recommended for fast performance, but not required. Not all GPUs are supported. NoiseXTerminator will automatically use the CPU if the GPU is not supported.
    • Apple silicon (e.g., M1, M1X) supported natively
  • Windows
    • Windows version 10 or later
    • PixInsight 1.8.8-9 or later
  • Linux
    • Ubuntu 18.04 or later, or equivalent (glibc 2.27 or later required)
    • PixInsight 1.8.8-9 or later

PixInsight Module Version History

Version Date Comments
1.0.0 3 May 2022 Initial production release. Modified "Select AI" button to only allow loading of NoiseXTerminator AI files (prevents crashes from loading unrelated AI files).
0.1.0 30 Apr 2022 Initial beta-test release

Photoshop Plug-in Version History

Version Date Comments
0.9.1 15 May 2022 Settings are now remembered. Fixed a crash on images of certain sizes.
0.9.0 10 May 2022 Initial beta-test release

AI Version History

Version Date Comments
2 22 May 2022 Improved reduction of low-frequency (large-scale) noise and retention of detail in faint areas and dark structures (e.g., galaxy dust lanes, nebula absorption filaments).
1 30 Apr 2022 Initial beta-test release