I know that this is preaching to the choir, but I respectfully take issue with the folks that complain about PixInsight’s GUI design and lack of documentation.
I started out about 7 years ago with my first 300D images processed in Registax. Nothing intuitive about the software, but I found a tutorial on the web that walked me through it.
I then stumbled across Jim Solomon’s brilliant Cookbook for Iris. This software was structured like nothing I had seen before. But it was free (same as Registax) and with Jim’s guidance; I was able to produce images that liked me. The final tweaks required Photo Shop, so I used my Elements copy for that. Thinking that Elements was simply not getting it done, I bought a copy of Paint Shop Pro, and have since dabbled in Gimp. Now these are three GUIs that I found impossible to penetrate. In fairness, I had never used them before.
Again thinking that my images deserved better treatment, last year I looked into buying the full copy of Photo Shop. I had also seen a number of references to PixInsight (mostly on Cloudy Nights forum, and mostly good). While PS was limited to post processing, PI was a full service software. Also the price for PI was substantially less than PS. So I got my trial version and gave it a go.
I found the PixInsight GUI no weirder than the PS, nor my earlier softwares. Initially, I needed hand holding for all of them. But what I did find were lots of tutorials for PixInsight. This included their web site material and videos (sometimes difficult to follow), Harry’s videos (brilliant), and miscellaneous others. Their forum is a powerful tool and even their built in “help” system is slowly growing.
My first few days with the software were spent watching the videos and building my own recipe cookbook. Once done, I was able to process quickly and (mostly) to my satisfaction. My technique was to save the PI file after each step with that operation’s abbreviation in the file name. By the time I finished, the file name was quite long, but that’s OK. I then would use a previous file as my guideline when processing a new image. Now the cookbook rarely gets drug out.
The lack of experience with Photo Shop allowed me to approach PI with an open mind and no prejudices. And I find there to be a wealth of processing help on the web. Just consider the internet as your index.