New in version 3.0

The new version 3.0 of the ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator has the following added features:

Notes on performance:

The performance of the FITS Liberator is a continuing issue when working with large files and dependent on resources available on the local system. If the FITS file is too large compared to the amount of available physical memory (RAM) then FITS Liberator will have to use the hard disk drive to temporarily store image information. In version 3.0 of FITS Liberator the performance is enhanced significantly from the previous version, although dependent on how FITS Liberator is used and on the local computer. The following offers a few tips for obtaining a significant gain in performance.

Work flow optimization

Since FITS Liberator 3.0 is standalone more than one instance may be loaded simultaneously (Windows only). This means that the user has the ability to have, say, three or four FITS files open at the same time (which could be the same picture in different colour filters). In this way adjustments can be quickly done since the user can instantly change between the open instances, tweak the export settings and save the TIFF file. In previous versions, the user had to reload the FITS Liberator in Photoshop since only one instance was allowed at the same time and the FITS Liberator exited after having imported the image into Photoshop.

Operating system and physical memory (RAM)

FITS Liberator 3.0 is a 32 bit application (both Mac and Windows). There is therefore a hard limit to how much memory it may use at any given time. However, it has been possible to tweak the performance such that if the user’s operating system is 64 bit (be it either Mac or Windows) somewhat more memory can be used (typically 2.5 GB rather than 1.5 GB in a 32 bit system). This means that larger images may be fully loaded at any given time and thus an increase in performance of up to 35 percent may be gained.

Another feature exists on 64 bit operating systems with a large amount of RAM (8 GB or more). In this case when running several instances of FITS Liberator (Windows only) each instance will most likely have its own physical memory space and the system does therefore not have to swap to the disk as much. This enhances performance too.

Applying the stretch values

A new feature has been added to the FITS Liberator graphical user interface named “Apply values”, which is a button located next to the “Auto scaling” button. In the Options Dialog a check box enables/disables the “Apply values” button. When the button is enabled the Background level, Peak level and Scaled Peak level text fields do not force a re-calculation of the image statistics. In this way the user may type in each or some of these values and then click the “Apply values” buttons after which the FITS Liberator will calculate the image statistics, etc. In this way the user may change more than one value in an instant, thus potentially saving a lot of time by only making the FITS Liberator do the calculations once.

Flipping the output image

If the image is flipped (i.e. check box 71 in Figure 10 in the User Guide is checked) when saving to a TIFF file the performance upon loading into Photoshop, e.g., may be decreased if the FITS file is large. This is due to the fact that Photoshop has to flip the image and that can take some time for large files. In this case it may be advantageous to not flip the image, depending on the situation.


Minimum requirements:

Other limitations:

Development team

Project ExecutiveLars Lindberg Christensen
Technical Project ManagerLars Holm Nielsen
Developers:Kaspar K. Nielsen & Teis Johansen
Technical, scientific support and testing:Robert Hurt & David de Martin

The ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator uses NASA's CFITSIO library, TinyXML, Boost C++ Libraries, Object Access Library, and Intel Threading Building Blocks.

Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

We kindly ask users to acknowledge the use of this plug-in in publicly accessible products (web, articles, books etc.) with the following statement: "This image was created with the help of the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator".