This chapter will tell you how to start with raw image files from your camera, perform dark-frame correction, decode the color matrix, combine multiple images into one, and carry out final adjustments.
Vita brevis, ars longa. Digital image processing is a big subject, and I don't plan to cover all of it here. In particular, in this and the following chapters I'm going to skip almost all of the mathematics. To learn how the computations are actually done, see Astrophotographyfor the Amateur (1999), Chapter 12, and other reference books listed on p. 195.
This is also not a software manual. For concreteness, I'm going to give some specific procedures for using MaxDSLR (including its big brother MaxIm DL) and, in the next chapter, Adobe Photoshop, but in general, it's up the makers of software to tell you how to use it. My job is to help you understand what you're trying to accomplish. Many different software packages will do the same job equally well, and new software is coming out every day.
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