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Using The GIMP (or Photoshop) to Improve Photos? 111

Nom du Keyboard asks: "Is it possible to use The GIMP (or Photoshop) to improve my digital photos? I have a mid-range 7.1MP Olympus camera capable of shooting in Raw mode. When I inspected a section of clear blue sky on a bright, sunny day (which I've long believed to be relatively good reference of uniform color and brightness) I was surprised (disappointed, since I expect digital perfection) at the variance in adjacent pixels. It's also a quick way to identify any bad pixels. Surprisingly, actual photos from this camera look pretty good despite this variance so far. Moving on from that point it led me to wonder that, if you shot a uniform white surface, perhaps blurred as much as possible to avoid any imperfections in the surface itself, could a correction (adjustment) layer be created in GIMP or Photoshop exactly tuned to your camera that fixed the variations in your CCD sensor and improved the image quality in the process. Any thoughts?"

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar