Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enhance That

I was tagging photos after a recent birthday party and got a kick out of how hard Facebook's facial recognition feature tries to find people. It asked me to tag the beyond-distorted wine glass reflection of something that may or may not actually be a face. The best part is that there were two real people in this photo and Facebook only grabbed the one in the wine glass.

Who is that?! Great question, let's enhance.

I had to laugh because it reminded me of the mash-up video of television crime dramas where they "enhance" photos beyond the realm of possibility to get information that would never be there in real life.

Surprise: A low res screenshot from a surveillance video doesn't suddenly become high quality just because you zoomed in really tight. Also surprise: a 2-D image doesn't jump into the 3rd dimension just because Gil Grisom requests that we rotate on the z-axis.

For those who aren't familiar with how image resolution works, the idea that you can just zoom in to get more pixel information is the same as thinking you can make more dogs by squeezing yours really hard. It just doesn't work that way.

As one commenter says:
BS! When a computer or a security camera takes a picture it has by definition only a limited amount of pixels given to you and that is it. Computer enhancement it's very unsafe and vulnerable to commit a mistake because it means that information has been ADDED to the picture thereby altering the real and only information that existed. This would not stand in a court case because artificial information was added by the computer. - ThoughtGazeCarlos

For my students if they are reading this: Adding pixels to an image is called "interpollation." This is done in Photoshop by leaving the "Resample Image" box checked in the Image Size dialog box when you increase the dimensions of your image.

Here's the video. It makes me chuckle every time I watch:

On another note, I've leapt into the Photoshop War going on through Facebook. The only real rule of engagement for this war is that you must use at least one photo taken from your opponents' Facebook page in your composite image. After each person has submitted a challenge, Facebook friends vote for the winner.

I chose to challenge Devon for this round. Here are the images I started with, along with the final composite. I grafted Dev's face onto Jane Fonda, removed the background using the pen tool, used brushes to create the trees, and cut out the ball to float in a few random spots. The whole process took a little under an hour.

Three Starting Images

Composite Image

I'm up for a friendly fight if anyone out there wants to challenge me.

1 comment:

greg said...

Can you enhance that? No I cannot!! Lol