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ImageTOOLSca is a package containing 2 applications, ImageVIEWca for image viewing and processing, and ImageHEADca for viewing FITS and EXIF headers without having to opening the actual image.

This software was initially created as a lightweight viewer for FITS images and other image formats, after I started to use the Artemis 285 camera. Most programs supporting FITS are too complex and slow for "on and off viewing". The second motivation for this software was to provide useful processing features that are otherwise available only in large, complex and expensive software packages, or simply not at all.

Before you Download the program, you may want to review the information below. You can also download the latest for a more complete program description (the PDF also comes with the program).

Features summary

Image viewer

ImageVIEWca provides viewing of many image file formats (see list below). It is a quick and easy way to check image files and it is well suited for FITS files. You have easy access to the FITS header information. 16 and 32 bit FITS files are supported with full dynamic range, as is 3x16 bit colour FITS. Also supported is single zip-compressed FITS files without need for external decompression. AVI videos can be previewed as still images or video, and AVI frames can be exported to 16 bit FITS, optionally stretched and gamma adjusted.

Histogram stretching, gamma adjust, resampling and zoom is available. A useful feature is the capability to browse through the contents of the current image disk folder using the Prev./Next buttons. Using these buttons for browsing, combined with the "Trash It" button makes an easy way to weed out bad frames.

Image files can be saved to any of the available save formats, so the program is also a convenient image format conversion utility. See also the batch conversion feature below for batch image conversion, useful for converting DSLR RAW files into FITS or other formats. This feature can also be used for converting for example 48 bit colour FITS to 48 bit colour TIFF.

Read formats

    Fits files (*.fit,*.fits,*.fts)
    Compressed FITS files (*.zip)
    AVI video files (*.avi)
    BMP files (*.bmp)
    JPG files (*.jpg)
    TIFF files (*.tif)
    Canon RAW files (*.crw,*.cr2)
    Nikon RAW files (*.nef,*.jpg)
    Minolta RAW files (*.mrw)
    Olympus RAW files (*.orf)
    Fuji RAW files (*.raf)
    Kodak RAW files (*.dcr)
    Sony RAW files (*.srf)
    Pentax RAW files (*.pef)
    All Files (*.*)

Save formats

    Fits [16bit signed] (*.fit)
    Fits [16bit unsigned] (*.fit)
    Fits [32bit] (*.fit)
    Fits [48 bit RGB] (*.fit)
    TIFF [16,24,48bit] (*.tif)
    JPG  [24bit colour] (*.jpg)
    JPG  [8bit monochrome] (*.jpg)
    BMP  [24bit] (*.BMP)
    Photoshop PSD [48bit] (*.PSD)

FITS image calibration

The calibration process is illustrated in the GIF animation at right (10 seconds per step)
  • Step 1: make master bias
  • Step 2: make master dark
  • Step 3: make master flat
  • Step 4: calibrate light frames

As you can see, quite a few things are happening behind the scenes when you use the calibration features.

Image alignment and stacking

  • Very fast processing.
  • Fully automatic, no need to select alignent stars.
  • Supports translation, rotation and scaling alignments.
  • Automatic resampling allows stacking of images with different binning.
  • Each aligned frame may be saved separately.
  • Save to 16 bit or 32 bit FITS.
  • User selectable reference frame.
  • Logging of alignment information.

Example stacked image: IC410
C8 @ f6 using Artemis 285 camera
15x240s (2x2 binning)
16x240s (1x1 binning)

Export from AVI video to FITS

  • Preview AVI videos in main window.
  • Export from RAW modified Philips webcams using BW CCDs (Raw "Y" channel), or using Grayscale option from standard colour webcams.
  • The original 8bit data may be stretched to 16 bit. It is recommended when combined with the gamma adjustment (see below).
  • Gamma adjustment may be performed during conversion. This can be used to linearise the response, and thereby make the camera more suited for scientific use.
  • 16 bit FITS supported for output. Option to write exposure length to the FITS header so that the exported FITS files may be used in calibration effectively.
  • Multithreading techniques allow the user to cancel an ongoing process at any time.

Create AVI video from FITS

  • Convert a series of FITS files into AVI format to make animations.
  • Simple, but powerful features for stretching image from 16 or 32 bit FITS into 8bit AVI.
  • Gamma adjustment and downsampling may be performed without intermediate image storing,
  • Preview of stretched and resampled image is possible.
  • Option to select AVI refresh rate available.
  • Easy "Show last created AVI" option.
  • Multithreading techniques allow the user to cancel an ongoing process at any time.

Batch convert images

  • Convert a series of files (from any of the supported formats, including a range of DSLR raw file formats) to 16 bit formats like FITS, TIFF or Photoshop PSD, or 8bit formats like BMP and JPG.
  • Output files may be colour (RGB) or colour separated (separate _R, _G and _B files) or grayscale. For example, it is possible to convert directly from any RAW DSLR format directly to 3 colour separated 16bit FITS files.
  • Any number of files may be processed in batch, the files may be of different input formats and image resolution.
  • Use of multithreading allows cancelling an ongoing conversion process at any time.
  • Optional automatic contrast stretching. This can be useful to provide an easily viewable output. When switched off, the conversion is linear and true to the original image representation.

Program Download

Legal notice: All information and software in this page is Copyright (c) Carsten A. Arnholm. You may download and use the software at no cost for trial purposes for 40 days. If you wish to continue using the software after, you must register the software.

Disclaimer: The author regularly uses the software on several of his computers and firmly believes that the software is without any damaging effect. Nevertheless, the author accepts no responsibility for damages resulting from use of the software and makes no warranty or representation, either express or implied, including but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The software is provided "AS IS" and the author does not assume or accept any risk by its use.

Download setup programs: By downloading any software, you agree that any use of the program is at your own risk.

View latest release notes here.

ImageTOOLSca_v3_03.exe (Released 12. February 2008)