Updated: Jun 7
NoiseXTerminator is a plugin for PixInsight that removes noise from images without affecting stars or deep-sky objects thanks to AI technology.
How to install and use NoiseXTerminator on PixInsight? In this post, I will go over how to get NoiseXTerminator to work on PixInsight and give you a few tips on how to use it. It is very easy to install and it yields incredible results, especially on linear images.
You can watch our video tutorial HERE.
On April 30th, 2022, Russell Crowman (the maker of StarXTerminator) released the initial beta of NoiseXTerminator, a plugin for PixInsight that uses AI to drastically reduce the noise in your images without impacting the stars and deep-sky objects.
This is Russell's fourth plugin built to make astrophotography processing easier. You likely know or have used one of the other plugins listed below:
Plugin for Photoshop and PixInsight. Removes the stars and creates star masks.
Plugin for Photoshop and Affinity Photo. Fixes gradients from light pollution and other sources.
Plugin for Photoshop. Reduces the size of the stars.
Installing NoiseXTerminator is very easy. It all happens within PixInsight and takes about 3 minutes. Unlike some other plugins, there is no need to copy and paste several files to the PixInsight subfolders at all. Even though it is very straightforward, let's still go over the installation process very quickly.
Step 1 - Install the latest version of PixInsight
The first thing you need to do is update PixInsight to the latest version (1.8.9 at the time of writing this tutorial).
If you're a Mac user, first uninstall the application by dragging it from the Applications folder to the trash (make sure you do not trash the files in your "Library" folder though as those contain your license and user preferences). To access that library folder, open a new finder window, click on the "Go" tab at the top, hold "Option" for the library to appear, and select it). Once again, don't touch any of these files.
Next, head over to the PixInsight Software Distribution page and download the latest version on your computer.
In our case, we downloaded the second option as we are using a Mac computer.
[Optional] After installing the package, launch PixInsight and see if any update window pops up as you may have to install a small update internally as well. Once this is done, close the program.
Step 2 - Get your NoiseXTerminator License Key
You now need to get to the download page of the plugin. To do this, simply CLICK HERE and select the version that works for your computer (Windows, Linux or Mac). There isn't any actual file to download, but instead, you will need to provide your email address and payment option.
NoiseXTerminator costs $59.95. The links on this page are not affiliated in any way.
Once the payment goes through, you will receive an email titled "NoiseXTerminator Permanent License" with your license key, which we will use in the next step.
Step 3 - Launch PixInsight and Import NoiseXTerminator
Now, launch PixInsight and do the following:
Go to Ressources > Updates > Manage Repositories
Click on "Add"
Copy/Paste this link: https://www.rc-astro.com/resources/NoiseXTerminator/PixInsight/
Click OK, then OK once again to confirm
Go to Resources > Updates > Check for Updates
When the download is finished, click OK
Quit PixInsight and agree to the pop-up window to install updates and restart the software
And the installation is now complete! We only have one last task to do before being able to use it normally.
Once PixInsight is re-opened, open NoiseXTerminator by selecting it in Process > Noise Reduction.
Click the wrench icon, then enter the email address you used when you purchased the plugin, as well as the license key you received through email. Lastly, click on “Select AI” and pick the latest, most up-to-date AI file available.
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Step 4 - Use NoiseXTerminator on your Images!
The NoiseXTerminator process is extremely easy to use. There are several options you can interact with when opening the module:
You should not need to bother with this button, unless a new update was released and a more recent AI is available.
The main setting you can play with to control how much noise reduction will be applied to your image. The default setting is 0.90 (1.0 being the maximum you can apply). You might find that 0.90 is a good amount for most images, although if you want to play it safe, you could lower this to 0.60 or 0.70.
This is how much detail will be preserved and/or enhanced. The default setting of 0.15 is a good place to start, and you can increase or decrease the amount depending on your liking. Just be careful to not go too high or you might start seeing dark halos around stars.
Make sure this box is checked if you are applying the process to a linear image. For best results, it is recommended to use NoiseXTerminator in the linear phase, so just leave this box checked at all times and be sure to use the plugin during the early stages of your processing workflow.
How well does NoiseXTerminator work?
Below you will find comparison images with and without NoiseXTerminator applied. The process was applied with the default settings on linear data that were either just stacked, or stacked and DBE'd (Dynamic Background Extraction). This is, as recommended, very early in the processing workflow.
We used three shots to run this comparison:
Sadr Region (SII Master, taken from our Bortle 9 backyard with a cooled mono camera)
Orion Region (OIII Master, taken from our Bortle 9 backyard with a cooled mono camera)
Messier 78 (DSLR Master, taken from a Bortle 4 spot with our Canon 7D Mark II)
Left is without NoiseXTerminator applied. Right is with NoiseXTerminator applied.
Although not recommended, we also wanted to see if it would be worth it to apply NoiseXTerminator on a finished image.
We used it on an old low-quality JPG image just out of curiosity, and it actually did pretty well!
The images below show the Heart Nebula (JPG file) without and with NoiseXTerminator applied.
NoiseXTerminator is an awesome plugin for PixInsight to make astrophotography processing even easier! It is perfect to remove most of the noise from the data in a simple way without having to create masks or go through several processes. Russell Crowman did a fantastic job at training the AI used for this module, and we so far are very impressed with all our tests done!
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