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Astrophotography Stack Unbelievably Slow! 1.9.1


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Hello,

I updated Affinity Photo today from 1.9 to 1.9.1

With 1.9 the Astrophotography Stack feature just crashes and didn't work at all.

With 1.9.1 the Astrophotography Stack feature is incredibly slow. I have taken a screenshot of the status bar after 30mins.

I'm only stacking a small number of frames consisting of:

Lights frames = 22 x 4min @ ISO500

Darks = 17, Bias = 50, Flats = 50.

All frames are CR3 Raw files.

My laptop is an i7 quadcore so it's not exactly slow.

My complaint is that your YouTube videos show the Astrophotography Stack feature completing the processing in seconds. 

Can you address why you have made advertising videos showing this feature working so quickly when the reality is extremely different? This seems really disingenuous and is false advertising. 

If you're going to sell a product with a feature like this then it should definitely outperform free products such as Deep Sky Stacker, which can complete the stacking process much quicker.

I would really appreciated hearing from an Affinity developer on this issue.

20210227_143831.jpg

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4 hours ago, ds.johnston said:

My complaint is that your YouTube videos show the Astrophotography Stack feature completing the processing in seconds. 

Can you address why you have made advertising videos showing this feature working so quickly when the reality is extremely different? This seems really disingenuous and is false advertising. 

Apologies that you feel misled, but they are tutorials and not designed to advertise or lay claim to any kind of speed expectation—during the recording process, the stacking would usually take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, which understandably is a long time for a viewer to sit through when they are just trying to see a step-by-step tutorial guiding them through the workflow.

Unfortunately it seems there must be an issue somewhere—I would be leaning towards either the CR3 format or maybe even the pixel resolution, both of which are issues that would need to be addressed. What pixel resolution are your images? Do you happen to be using a full frame 40-50MP (or greater) camera?

The alignment implementation we use is quite slow but precise—if you were attempting to stack hundreds of light frames I would understand the process taking so long. The most challenging stack I've given Photo so far is around 550 light frames (24 megapixel resolution) with around 40-50 calibration frames of each type. With all frames enabled, including bad frames that contain star trailing, the stacking can take around an hour.

The fact that you cannot stack a mere 22 frames, however, is why I'm asking about pixel resolution. Are you able to try stacking just two light frames to begin with, and perhaps using a smaller number of calibration frames, e.g. 10 each? I'm not suggesting this as a workaround, merely a way of determining whether it's the amount of data causing the issue, or if it could be related to your particular camera and RAW format.

Quote

If you're going to sell a product with a feature like this then it should definitely outperform free products such as Deep Sky Stacker, which can complete the stacking process much quicker.

Possibly. I would however argue that DSS has years of maturity under its belt, and therefore plenty of testing, bug fixing and no doubt countless users providing data samples from all manner of setups. In order to bring this feature to 1.9 we gathered as much data as possible within the development time period: primarily FIT files of varying resolutions, both monochrome and OSC, and RAW file data from 24 megapixel cameras, mainly Sony and Canon (albeit CR2 format). When DSS first released I would imagine it wasn't perfect out of the gate.

We had a lengthy beta period but obviously only a handful of users will realistically engage with that—the initial results from external users were promising however. Since release we've become aware of issues from a larger pool of users and are trying to tackle them. Any help is greatly appreciated.

All the best,
James

Product Expert (Affinity Photo) & Product Expert Team Leader

@JamesR_Affinity for tutorial sneak peeks and more

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Hi James, thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response. I hope you understand that I am making these criticisms out of wanting this software to do well. I think this has the potential to be game changing software for astrophotography.

20 minutes ago, James Ritson said:

Apologies that you feel misled, but they are tutorials and not designed to advertise or lay claim to any kind of speed expectation—during the recording process, the stacking would usually take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, which understandably is a long time for a viewer to sit through when they are just trying to see a step-by-step tutorial guiding them through the workflow.

I completely understand that you want to create videos that are easy to follow, and of course no one wants to sit there watching the stack progress. However, I do think expectations should be set in regards to the Astrophotography Stacking feature. I think setting the realistic expectations about the speed of the stacking progress (and other YouTuber tutorial videos are often clear about how long these things can take) is fair and informative for potential customers. Even stating that this is a new feature that is constantly being improved as part of your mission to simplify the image processing process for astrophotographers, would indeed go down much better than expecting the stacking process to happen as quickly as it does in your videos, only then to buy it and find out this is not the case.

Your tutorial videos are excellent btw. Easy to follow and very clear on instructions.

 

20 minutes ago, James Ritson said:

Unfortunately it seems there must be an issue somewhere—I would be leaning towards either the CR3 format or maybe even the pixel resolution, both of which are issues that would need to be addressed. What pixel resolution are your images? Do you happen to be using a full frame 40-50MP (or greater) camera?

I mainly use my stock Canon M6 mark II which is a 32.5mp mirrorless using the new CR3 Raw format. I do also own an astromodified Canon 650D so I can check how the software compares when stacking either CR2 or CR3. 

Have CR3 Raw files been tested?

 

20 minutes ago, James Ritson said:

The fact that you cannot stack a mere 22 frames, however, is why I'm asking about pixel resolution. Are you able to try stacking just two light frames to begin with, and perhaps using a smaller number of calibration frames, e.g. 10 each? I'm not suggesting this as a workaround, merely a way of determining whether it's the amount of data causing the issue, or if it could be related to your particular camera and RAW format.

I will try stacking fewer frames and report back.

 

20 minutes ago, James Ritson said:

We had a lengthy beta period but obviously only a handful of users will realistically engage with that—the initial results from external users were promising however. Since release we've become aware of issues from a larger pool of users and are trying to tackle them. Any help is greatly appreciated.

I'm have no doubt Affinity will continue to improve, and I appreciate your response in the forums. 

If there is any further advice you can give on speed up the stacking progress I will certainly try it out. 

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