Trying to find an easy way to do modal analysis on fotomicrographs of thin-sections I found two very useful and free programms to assist in such efforts. These programms are JMicroVision and ImageJ. Both of them are Java based and should function on any ordinary computer. I've been testing both of these in the last weeks and they have their uses. JMicroVision has been developed by Nicolas Roduit of the University of Geneva with image analysis of petrographic thin-section in mind and allows to do various tasks easily, like point-counting, area counting, grain-size measuring or pore classificaton to just name a few. ImageJ originated in the field of biology and medicine, was developed by Wayne Rasband from the National Institute of Mental Health, Maryland, and thus lacks a little the easy to find path as the other programm though offers a lot of tools and plugins that make-up for that short coming. What I found to be an enormously interesting feature is the possibility to make 3D images from serial fotographs or other well aligned image sources which sounds like a great tool to make 3D images from serial thin-sections of fossils. The biggest short-coming of both programmes I discovered to be the image analysis of contrast poor limestones which I am working. Neither programm manages to adequately seperate components and cements. So I have to stick to old-fashioned point-counting. Utilising contrast and color-richer sandstones or crystaline rocks easily gives great results though!
Being relatively new to the computer aided image analysis I recommend to check-out the respective websites yourself. I am sure to some of you these will be a value!