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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Image Analysis - developing a critical eye for images

As image analysts, we often get presented with hundreds of images for a single case. A number that large, or even larger, can overwhelm the analyst. Where do you start with that many images?

When looking at a seemingly complex problem, I like to take a play from an old football coach of mine. He used to say, "Son, how do you eat an elephant?" As a young man, I initially thought of all manour of witty retorts; knife and fork, with a bit of curry, invite your mates over with a few pints, and whatnot. His answer was simpler than that; "One bite at a time," he would answer. Therein lies the answer to our problem as well. We can look at our big pile one image at a time, then look for commonalities, then look for differences, then look to see what can be automated or batched, then look to see what needs to be fine tuned, and so forth. 

We can create a systematic, step by step approach to any imaging problem and break down any complex job into a series of simple technical steps. Whatever problems we may encounter can be discovered in this way and an approach crafted to fix them, both technical and aesthetic.

So, take a moment to look at the images that need to be processed. Do they all suffer from the same problem? Start to plan your path for the images and assemble the necessary tools to get you from start to finish. One easy way to sort your images is by creating Stacks in Adobe Bridge. You can Stack images that suffer from the same problem as the first step in your analysis. Looking at your work flow in this way will help in developing your critical eye, your most valuable tool in analysing images.

In the next installment, we'll look closer at Adobe Bridge and the opening steps in the work flow.

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