May 24, 2006
Be patient, I have just started. The goal of this project is to create multiplatform application for amateur astrophoto processing.
I'm creating this application primarily for myself, as I miss such piece of software. However, if someone other will find it useful, the better. I want to put together all usual functions you use when you want to create breathtaking pictures of astronomical objects from raw kinofilm scans or images downloaded from your digital or CCD camera. I do not like current state, when I need three or five tools (mainly Windows only and some of them commercial) to do all the processing I need. Note, that this software is dedicated to “visual enhancement” of the images, not for some data mining. It should ease the process of capturing the beauty of the universe.
The application is being developed with Trolltech Qt 4.0 under GPL license, so it should be available on Linux, Windows and possibly also Mac OS and UNIX systems, but I do not have access to such platform. However, the source codes will be available of course. I do the development on Debian GNU Linux, using Eclipse CDT.
List of features I would like to have implemented with version 1.0. First two are to be done first, because the others can be done in GIMP.
Automatic image registration – fully automatic registration (star matching) of multiple images. Necessary step when you want to combine more exposures. Does not include just simple linear transformation (translate, rotate, scale), but also small local transformations to handle small local differences, caused by film deformation, atmospheric refraction and other problems.
Dynamic background extraction – extraction of image background (light pollution, natural sky glow etc.), to be subtracted from the image. User will distribute sample points (small rectangles) over the image, avoiding the star, nebulosities and so on. The background will be extracted using interpolation between those points. Application will assist user with point distribution (uniform distribution, maybe with attempt to avoid stars).
Tools for scratch and spot removal – there are always small spots and scratches on images, scanned from films. Tools like Clone from GIMP or Photoshop and Scratch Removal from Paint Shop Pro will be implemented to ease this task
Image composition – combining images (sum, difference, average, weighted average, maybe also some general formula)
Histogram adjustment – Levels, Curves. Maybe, it would be also possible to adjust histogram based on Hue value and tolerance (= adjust levels just for some color)
High Dynamic Range composition – tools for combining exposures with different exposure value. This is typically used when the object has great range of brightness (like Orion Nebula or Andromeda Galaxy). This function should allow to compose images using 32 bits per color value and do all necessary adjustment before transforming the images into usual True Color format.
Image cropping – you always need to crop the images, at least a little.
Image transformations – scaling, rotation.
Watermarking – adding the label with your name and so on.
Filters – Gaussian Blur, Unsharp Mask, maybe others
Selections – for most of the tools, it will be possible to restrict the effect with selection, including “fuzzy” selections known from Photoshop or GIMP).
Image formats – support for JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP and TIFF (through Qt plugin)
May clear sky be with you.
Zbynžk Vraštil, Czech Republic