Free image/video processing software
creates vivid representations of time,
movement, and data.
By Bob Goldstein
ImageJ is a free, cross-platform program for processing images
and videos. Its author, Wayne Rasband, originally wrote it for
use by biomedical researchers working with microscope images.
But he designed it with an open architecture so anyone could
write plugins to add new tricks to the program. As a result, its
capabilities are constantly growing and improving, thanks to contributions from the more programming-savvy among its users.
Volume 18, page 42, and subsequent columns). But my favorite tricks are the ones
that transform a video into a single image,
and those that perform math on images —
combining two images by adding their pixel
intensities, for example.
But ImageJ isn’t yet well-known outside of
the scientific community. As a scientist and
fan of creative tinkering, I thought it would be
fun to introduce MAKE’s readers to some of
the tricks it can perform.
ImageJ processes images using filters
similar to those in programs like Photoshop.
These filters are written as plugins, and there
are hundreds available.
In his Country Scientist column, Forrest
Mims has described using ImageJ as a tool
to make scientific measurements (see MAKE
This article explains how to get started with
ImageJ, then describes some of my favorite
ImageJ recipes. Starting with a few interesting
images or a short video captured by a digital
camera or a webcam, you can cook up any
of these example images within about 20
Bob Goldstein is an occasional contributor to MAKE and a cell
biologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
116 Make: makezine.com/27