söndag 27 november 2016

Removing hot pixels in a stacked image

Sometimes even an aggressive hot pixel filter won't remove all hot pixels. Here's a technique that can remove any residual hot pixels in a final stacked image. I use PixInsight's Morphological Transformation with a starmask to remove these nuisances.
Here's a crop of an image, showing what I'm talking about. The image was taken with a DSLR and consists of a stack of 10 sub frames exposed for 15 minutes each at ISO 800. My camera, a Pentax K20D, is getting old, and I always have lots of hot pixels in my images. Calibration removes most, but frequently a number remain after image integration. The technique which I describe here will dim the remaining pixels.
hot pixels after stacking
I start with making a Luminance copy of the image in its linear state, and apply STF to this grayscale image. Then I use the StarMask tool with a low value for Scale (typically 3 works ok) and a noise threshold of 0.5 (to be experimented with). I decrease large-scale, small-scale and compensation (1, 0, 1) and smoothness (about 6 - 8). Then apply the mask tool to the luminance copy. It may be necessary to tweak the parameters. No stars should be in the "Star-Mask" that is created.
When I'm satisfied, I apply the mask to the original colour image.
For pixel removal I use Morphological Transformation with Morphological Median as operator. Amount to about 0.5, iterations to 4 - 5, and Structuring Element to 9 pixels with a circular pattern.
Apply the tool to the image. If hot pixels of a certain colour remain, I split the RGB channels and use the channel that has the remaining hot pixels to repeat the process. The result is this.
Same crop after hot pixel removal
Further tweaking of the star mask and morphology parameters can improve this result even more, of course.

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