Digital Concepts Design

Computer Repair and Graphic Design Services
April 14, 2009, 3:32 am
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Digital Concepts Design provides Computer Repair and Graphic Design Services at reasonable rates.

More Fakery
July 10, 2008, 10:37 pm
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Missiles, youre doing it wrong.

Missiles, you're doing it wrong.

Gundam, ikimasu!  I KEEL YOU!

Gundam, ikimasu! I KEEL YOU!

How NOT to and How TO Fake a Photo
July 10, 2008, 5:28 pm
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It was recently noted that Iran has been faking photos for propaganda. This process has a long and colorful past. The Soviets would have political enemies rubbed out, both really and in photos/paintings. The Soviets even added people in.  (A good resource on this can be found at Robert Conquest’s article at the Hoover Institution.

While some of the Soviet’s works were less than perfect, Iran’s recent photo fakery however was even more obvious. A recent article by Hany Farid in Scientific American explains some of the ways of spotting such forgeries.

I’ve got a lot of experience doctoring photos using Photoshop. In my employment there are often unwanted artifacts or elements in photos that simply cannot be left in the image lest the consumer think they’re getting more than we’re offering. I often have to remove pillows and adjust designs of furniture to better present the actual product my company offers. I also have had the opportunity to clean up and repair old photos for folks wanting family snapshots digitized. (One tip here, you might own a scanner already, but shooting an old photograph with a high resolution digital camera will often produce superior results than flatbed scanners in reproducing old photos.) With this in mind, let me show you what the Iranians did, and what they should have done.

Here’s the Iranian photo as it ran in many newspapers world-wide.


This photo was credited Sepah News.

Here is the actual image, received by the AP by Sepah News later.
The REAL photo.

Here’s the faked image in use:
The Fake in Use

The NY TImes was kind enough to make a graphic depicting what was done to fake the image:
How it was done.

Several things stand out in the image, that clue us into the fact that it was fixed using clones. Notice the base of vapor trail of the fake missle, how the smoke blurs out. Smoke and clouds RARELY blur like this, they often have (as can be seen in the images above) very clean dileniation between the background and the smoke. Secondly, the folds in the cloned area aren’t just similar, but IDENTICAL to the ones next to it. A proper fake would have randomized the details a bit more. It’s probable that Iran’s fourth missile failed to launch, or it was on a different schedule.  I agree with one commenter on the site where these were posted who stated that the four-missile photo looks better…😉

I took the original photo and doctored it using the full range of capability available in Photoshop CS3. While certainly detectable as a fake, especially given the techniques explained in the Scientific American article, I think this photo would have not been found as easily:

A better fake?

Notice the smoke is more randomized, the details look completely foreign to those surrounding them, the color and angle of the missle has changed. Just a few simple steps would have prevented the embarrasing discovery (apart from the release of the “original”.)  Simply using the clone tools cannot cut it.

First, duplicate the missle on the left and shrink it. Use a color brush to change the flame to a more yellowish. Clone details from other parts of the same plume, and use the dodge/burn tools to darken and lighten areas of the plume. Copy the smoke layer from other launches, hiding the details by cloning other areas. Finally, remove the truck and launcher by using the patch tool in Photoshop CS3, clean up the details using cloned areas around.

You can compare the Iranian fake and my fake here.

Having Trouble installing Adobe CS3 Web Premium on Windows Vista 64?
February 26, 2008, 10:32 pm
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Issues: Install CS3 causes error messages such as:
Adobepdf.dll not found
Adobe Lingusitics Library not installed
Installation Failed

I spent a couple days online trying to solve the problem. Then I called Adobe support at (866) MY-ADOBE, they will support this issue for free, as long as you legit own product. Adobe support is EXCELLENT, even if speaking accented English. Don’t give them a hard time. They’re fantastic.

The tech had me run the cleaner program available from:

You may need an application from Microsoft to get this to work. The cs3 clean should tell you what it is called. This cleans out any remnants from previous install attempts.

Read these dialogs of the cleaner ap carefully, you want to agree to the EULA and do an option #1, don’t back up anything etc. Make sure to put in your install directory when it asks.

Once complete, run the cleaner again, this time type 4 at the option prompt, I know there will be no option 4 visible on the options display, but option 4 is a deep clean . Run this cleaner at least 4 times.

Go to start, Run and type msconfig and hit enter.


Click the Services tab and turn off all NON MICROSOFT services, click the Start up tab and turn off all startup aps. Reboot.

Run CS3 install.

If install asks for AdobePdf.dll click X on the WINDOWS box asking for it (NOT the Adobe installer).

After CS3 install complete, follow instructions here:

You will install Windows update KB930627, and then you will need to update Acrobat later. The Windows installer will suggest that you reboot, and you should.

Once you’ve rebooted, you should be able to register your product and use it normally.

I hope this helps. If you see I missed any steps or have a different issue, feel free to comment.

Typeroom – Easy Website Content Management
January 10, 2008, 2:22 am
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TyperoomI recently was let in on a little secret that I believe will revolutionize the way websites are managed and edited.

Often I’ve created a website and handed it over to a client fearing the day when the client would want to make minor changes to the website, knowing that such changes would come at an inopportune time, and usually require a lot of work. Often the client would balk at the maintenance charge, wondering why changing a small bit of text would cost so much.

I’ve worked in the past with a website design firm in Los Gatos, CA called Internet Simplicity. I was unaware, however that they had encountered the same website maintenance issues I had and had been working on a solution. This solution has finally been revealed to the public as Typeroom.

Typeroom is an easy-to-use content management system that enables website owners to edit their sites directly using a web-based system. Text, graphics, and even links can be edited and changed on the fly. Typeroom also has a “preview” system that makes it easy for changes to be viewed by others in a team and approved.

October 30, 2007, 10:29 pm
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Eye-FiFrom Adorama News Desk: Eye-Fi, a California-based company, announced this morning what they say is the world’s first wireless SD memory card for digital cameras. The 2GB card, which will retail for around $99, is said to make it possible to send photos wirelessly from a digital camera to a Wi-Fi-enabled Mac or PC using wireless networks (also known as “hot spots”). The card works with any current SD-compatible camera, and will automatically upload photos onto pre-selected social networking sites or on-line photo labs when the camera is turned on. The feature, if it works as promised, could very well save photographers time spent uploading images to computers and then to web sites. The card is expected to be available immediately.

So this is a 2GB SD Card that can transmit photos over 802.11g wi-fi to the user’s PC and/or to specific social networking sites.

During a simple set-up process, users select from among 17 popular online photo sharing, social networking or blogging sites to share their photographs, and select where on their PC or Mac they want to archive their images. Once the set-up is complete, users can focus on taking pictures and sharing memories – and not on the process of uploading photos from their camera.

Without seeing the setup process, it is hard to judge what kind of impact this might have, however, I can see benefits in not having to download photos all the time. My concern would be what would happen if the camera is shut-off or loses connection while uploading photos from a 10+ megapixel camera, is wi-fi connectivity going to make sense?

Photoshop CS3, Tiffen DFX, Illustrator & Flash CS3
October 30, 2007, 9:01 pm
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It has certainly been a while since I’ve added to this blog. Work and life has kept me from saying much of anything, however there’s some new stuff going on you should look into. Firstly, Tiffen has some plugin software for Photoshop that will greatly enhance your photographs.


Before After

Tiffen InterfaceThese pics dramatically express the abilities of the Tiffen DFX software. Its interface is quite intuitive and makes enhancing a quick job. I highly recommend that you take a look at it.


Now onto Photoshop CS3… The entire line of Adobe products has been updated as the Creative Suite 3. The majority of the changes seem cosmetic, at first, the interface freshened with a more vista-esque design and the dialog boxes more in the style of Photoshop Lightroom, but under the hood the software is faster, more responsive and provides quicker access to the tools I use on a daily basis. Keep in mind I’m using a Intel Core Duo 2 with 3Gigs of RAM, so don’t expect an old AMD 3200+ to run like a Ferrari.

Refine Edge That said, one of the most interesting features of the new Photoshop is the “Refine Edge” command that has replaced “Feather”. I used “feather” on a daily basis when outlining objects to pull from photos, specifically furniture or cars… now with the “Refine Edge” command I can control the edges of a selection to the Nth degree. No longer am i stuck with .5 pixel feathering, I can actually expand or shrink the edge by tiny increments allowing precise control of the selection edges! Plus the review mode allows you to see the selection in several different ways, as part of the entire image, over a red mask, on a white background etc.

Photoshop CS3Also, the method Adobe uses to tile the tool boxes is quite intuitive. I appreciate the ability to set them up in a ‘tray’ of sorts. And the ability to pull them out to other locations if need be (ala Lightroom).

Adobe Bridge is back . The light-box-like application that allows you to browse your photos and graphics and pull them into Photoshop, Illustrator, etc… in CS2 the implementation of this application was less than stellar. In fact, I hated it. Bridge used to be a slow memory hog that I only opened accidentally, much to my chagrin. Now the app is much more well behaved and plays well in being the central element in a multimedia system. Allowing collection and retrieval of photos etc easier.

Adobe Bridge

I hope to talk later about Illustrator CS3 and Flash CS3. The integration between these two made-for-each-other applications has finally been achieved. No longer does one have to jump through hoops to copy/paste between them, nor export outlines from Illustrator and attempt imperfect imports into Flash, now these two apps integrate nearly-seamlessly. Examples forthcoming!