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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is Forensics

Forensics, or Forensic Science can be defined as applying a broad spectrum of tools and techniques to answer questions about a particular piece of evidence in the legal system. LEVA has a nice definition of Forensic Video Analysis. The Forensic Photoshop workflow can be used by more than just video analysts and is not exclusively a subset of Forensic Video Analysis. The workflow can be used by Latent Print Examiners, Questioned Document Examiners, Chemists, Criminalists, and so forth.

The word “Forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis” meaning forum. During the reign of the Roman Empire, prosecuting a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of citizens. Both the accused and the accuser would give speeches based on their side of the story. Having the best argumentation and presentation skills would ultimately determine the outcome of the case. In other words, the person with the best forensic skills would win.

Let's fast forward from the Roman forum to 1987: John and Thomas Knoll begin the sub-routines for what would become Photoshop. After showing their product around under various names, they finally reached an agreement with Adobe. Adobe wisely made the early decision to mass-market Photoshop, rather than reserve it for a few imaging specialists. Photoshop really starts to get noticed in 1994 with the release of version 3 - which adds layers. It was at this point that I, as a designer in a mid-sized advertising agency, first came on board.

In the next installment, we'll look at what I call the "what-how-why" method of mastery and how it relates to the Forensic Photoshop workflow.

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