Saturday, December 27, 2008

Image Doctor 2

A reader asked me to look at Alien Skin's Image Doctor 2 with an eye towards the "forensic applications." The helpful folks at Alien Skin provided a bunch of documentation on the program (along with Blow Up 2). Naturally, I put a bunch of CCTV images and surveillance photos through the program to judge the results.

The program's JPEG repair did try its best on the macro blocks and over-compression that is typical of China's finest systems, but the results were not that spectacular. In fairness, there's not much that can be done with the 60:1 - 270:1 compressed images that come from the Futian District's CCTV manufacturers. (interesting trivial note: Futian is part of Guangdong Provence. A nearby city, Guangzhou - in Pinyin, the provincial capital - was Romanized as Canton. The local people and their language are commonly referred to as Cantonese.)

The disappointment of the forensic side of the trial notwithstanding, it does have some spectacular uses. 

Have you ever seen police web sites and their un-retouched photos of the dept's leadership? What's wrong with touching up the photos a wee bit? Nothing at all. I've been retouching photos for some time now. Presentation is everything - and there's nothing wrong with helping your boss look his/her best.

Retouching can also help restore the dept's archival images. You know, those pictures that decorate our hallways - reminders of the days gone by. Over time, the originals get worn out - they need some help to get in shape for their place of honour.

So, who can use Image Doctor 2? Media relations, dept. web masters, graphic artists, photographers, archivists, and anyone involved with the agency's publicity. Image Doctor 2 is easy to learn and easy to use. It's certainly well worth the price for the time savings it offers. 

After the holidays, I'll take a few posts and show off its power for fixing old photos as well as getting head shots ready for the media.

Until then, enjoy.

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