Pixinsight Top Five Common Processes


When you first start using Pixinsight, there’s a lot to learn. Be aware that there are some processes that you will almost every time. In this post, we go over the Pixinsight top five common processes, to help you get going. I’ll give a slight example of what each does, but keep in mind that this won’t go in depth, this is a general overview.

Pixinsight Common Process Number 1: Screen Transfer Function

This is Pixinisight’s auto stretch. One thing to note is that this is just a preview, not an actual stretch. But, it’s very common to use this to see how things look. We’ll get to that in a second. There are two ways to use this.

First method is to use the nuclear button in the top bar indicated with the green arrow. If you need to cancel it, you can click the icon with the computer monitor and the red and white X, indicated by the red arrow.

STF Auto Buttons

Second method is to use the ScreenTransferFunction process

To use, hit this nuclear icon. It works exactly like the other one.

This method allows for more precise stretching, as sometimes the auto stretch can be a bit much. On the colored bars for R, G, B and L, you an zoom in and adjust the sliders to change the stretch.

Pixinsight Common Process Number 2: Histogram Transformation

This is the actual stretch! You use Screen Transfer Function above to start the stretch, and in Histogram Transformation, you can use a real time preview to fine tune it before stretching. 

If you want to fine tune, you can use the sliders here to change things.

However, this is still a preview. To actually apply it, you need to either drag this triangle over onto the image, or hit the square.

Pixinsight Common Process Number 3: Luminance Mask

This button is commonly used to create luminance masks. These masks are used to protect areas of the sky, such as the main object when doing noise reduction.

Pixinsight Common Process Number 4: Dynamic Background Extraction

This function is used to remove gradients and vignetting in your image. Even with flatteners, and filters, the sky ALWAYS has a slight gradient, even if our eyes can’t see it. Light pollution and moon phases produce a gradient that’s always in the image. 

If your flats didn’t fully remove vignetting, DBE can assist to flatten the image out. This process is one of the most time consuming depending on your image and how long you are willing to spend placing the points.

Pixinsight Common Process Number 5:Curves Transformation

The last one to be familiar with is curves. This process is frequently used for further stretching than Histogram Transformation function.

It’s also used to boost colors and saturation, but these adjustments are photographer’s discretion. There is no right or wrong way to modify curves. However, it is recommended to do small adjustments at a time to not overstretch.

When using this, you’ll more than likely have a mask on to only adjust the object you imaged, while leaving the background alone.


The top five common processes used in Pixinsight are the ones that every Pixinsight user will become familiar with. They are all useful in processing a great photo of a Deep Sky Object.

If you would like an example of a full Pixinsight workflow that uses all five of these processes, check out my workflow video here:

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