FAQ: Frequently asked questions

6. Q: Why did you choose to support Photoshop?

A: We chose Photoshop for a variety of reasons:

  • Photoshop is a state-of-the-art image processing package and is in our opinion the best available.
  • Photoshop is widely accepted as 'industry standard' for professional graphics artists.
  • Photoshop CS works completely natively with 16 bit files. Most astronomical observations are 16 bits or more, so before we could not exploit the full dynamic information in the images. The 16 bits we have access to now has a great impact on quality of the colour images that are composed.
  • Photoshop has a large development community and the software is therefore always in rapid development.

If you do not want to use Photoshop there is a free java image package that can read FITS images called ImageJ. It's based on the older NIH Image program from the 90's and is free: http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/ . To our knowledge this is the only cross-platform completely free software that handles FITS files.

We do not have plans to support GIMP, PaintShop Pro or others. For Linux users it should also be possible to run Photoshop, see this article.

5. Q: After downloading and trying the FITS Liberator, I was wondering if there existed a similar, easy, image-alignment tool.

A: Good point. To our knowledge it does not exist for Photoshop, although it would be an obvious place to have it here. The tool we use is Registar. We are investigating whether it is feasible to develop a registration tool for Photoshop. Follow, or participate in, the development by checking the draft specifications for v.2 that will soon be available in the menu to the left.

4. Q: Photoshop CS is too expensive. Are there other options?

A: You can also use Photoshop Elements 2.0. It costs around 99$, Note: it does only support 8 bit (which should be enough in most cases).

3. Q: The Photoshop action script does not download as expected on a Mac.

A: You have to "save linked file as", i.e. Alt-click on the file.

2: Q: I seem to have problems installing the plug-in with a non-English Photoshop.

A: Indeed. We are aware of this and are working on a solution.

1. Q: Are you planning on releasing the source code?

A: In most cases the answer would be that we are not allowed to do this due to our contract with Adobe Systems. There is however a possibility to perhaps share code if you apply for, and become, an Adobe SDK developer. Note that we have used NASA's CFITSIO for the FITS routines and these are public.