Abstract: STIFF converts scientific FITS images to the more popular TIFF format for illustration purposes. Most FITS readers and converters do not do a proper job at converting FITS image data to 8 bits. 8-bit images stored in JPEG, PNG or TIFF files have the intensities implicitly stored in a non-linear way. Most current FITS image viewers and converters provide the user an incorrect translation of the FITS image content by simply rescaling linearly input pixel values. A first consequence is that the people working on astronomical images usually have to apply narrow intensity cuts or square-root or logarithmic intensity transformations to actually see something on their deep-sky images. A less obvious consequence is that colors obtained by combining images processed this way are not consistent across such a large range of surface brightnesses. Though with other software the user is generally afforded a choice of nonlinear transformations to apply in order to make the faint stuff stand out more clearly in the images, with the limited selection of choices provides, colors will not be accurately rendered, and some manual tweaking will be necessary. The purpose of STIFF is to produce beautiful pictures in an automatic and consistent way.
Credit: Bertin, Emmanuel
Preferred citation method: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012ASPC..461..263B