10.9 Image Transform Filters

CFITSIO can apply a user-specified mathematical function to the value of every pixel in a FITS image, thus creating a new virtual image in computer memory that is then opened and read by the application program. The original FITS image is not modified by this process.

The image transformation specifier is appended to the input FITS file name and is enclosed in square brackets. It begins with the letters 'PIX' to distinguish it from other types of FITS file filters that are recognized by CFITSIO. The image transforming function may use any of the mathematical operators listed in the following 'Row Filtering Specification' section of this document. Some examples of image transform filters are:

 [pix X * 2.0]               - multiply each pixel by 2.0
 [pix sqrt(X)]               - take the square root of each pixel
 [pix X + #ZEROPT            - add the value of the ZEROPT keyword
 [pix X>0 ? log10(X) : -99.] - if the pixel value is greater
                               than 0, compute the base 10 log,
                               else set the pixel = -99.
Use the letter 'X' in the expression to represent the current pixel value in the image. The expression is evaluated independently for each pixel in the image and may be a function of 1) the original pixel value, 2) the value of other pixels in the image at a given relative offset from the position of the pixel that is being evaluated, and 3) the value of any header keywords. Header keyword values are represented by the name of the keyword preceded by the '#' sign.

To access the the value of adjacent pixels in the image, specify the (1-D) offset from the current pixel in curly brackets. For example

 [pix  (x{-1} + x + x{+1}) / 3]
will replace each pixel value with the running mean of the values of that pixel and it's 2 neighboring pixels. Note that in this notation the image is treated as a 1-D array, where each row of the image (or higher dimensional cube) is appended one after another in one long array of pixels. It is possible to refer to pixels in the rows above or below the current pixel by using the value of the NAXIS1 header keyword. For example

 [pix (x{-#NAXIS1} + x + x{#NAXIS1}) / 3]
will compute the mean of each image pixel and the pixels immediately above and below it in the adjacent rows of the image. The following more complex example creates a smoothed virtual image where each pixel is a 3 x 3 boxcar average of the input image pixels:

  [pix (X + X{-1} + X{+1}
      + X{-#NAXIS1} + X{-#NAXIS1 - 1} + X{-#NAXIS1 + 1}
      + X{#NAXIS1} + X{#NAXIS1 - 1} + X{#NAXIS1 + 1}) / 9.]
If the pixel offset extends beyond the first or last pixel in the image, the function will evaluate to undefined, or NULL.

For complex or commonly used image filtering operations, one can write the expression into an external text file and then import it into the filter using the syntax '[pix @filename.txt]'. The mathematical expression can extend over multiple lines of text in the file. Any lines in the external text file that begin with 2 slash characters ('//') will be ignored and may be used to add comments into the file.

By default, the datatype of the resulting image will be the same as the original image, but one may force a different datatype by appended a code letter to the 'pix' keyword:

      pixb  -  8-bit byte    image with BITPIX =   8
      pixi  - 16-bit integer image with BITPIX =  16
      pixj  - 32-bit integer image with BITPIX =  32
      pixr  - 32-bit float   image with BITPIX = -32
      pixd  - 64-bit float   image with BITPIX = -64
Also by default, any other HDUs in the input file will be copied without change to the output virtual FITS file, but one may discard the other HDUs by adding the number '1' to the 'pix' keyword (and following any optional datatype code letter). For example:

     myfile.fits[3][pixr1  sqrt(X)]
will create a virtual FITS file containing only a primary array image with 32-bit floating point pixels that have a value equal to the square root of the pixels in the image that is in the 3rd extension of the 'myfile.fits' file.