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September 14, 2010

Creative Suite 5 solutions for Public Safety, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice agencies

This week, Government Bits is honored to feature a guest post by Jim Hoerricks, a renowned Photoshop Instructor, bestselling author of Forensic Photoshop — A Comprehensive Imaging Workflow for Forensic Professionals , and a court qualified expert witness in Forensic Video Analysis. Jim also works for a law enforcement agency in one of the US’ major metropolitan areas, and his thoughts on the Forensic usage of digital imaging technology are featured in his Forensic Photoshop blog. He’s also a longtime user of Adobe technology, and will be making an appearance at Adobe’s upcoming live, free seminar for Public Safety and Law Enforcement agencies in Los Angeles, which you can learn more and sign up for here.

In 2009, Jim addressed Criminal Justice students and practitioners about how each tool in Adobe Master Collection CS4 could improve their agencies’ visual communications and imaging workflow. Since CS5 launched in April 2010, we thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss how new features in each tool can improve productivity, enhance existing workflows, and save valuable time. Thanks again to Jim for his excellent and timely contribution!

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Thank you to Adobe! This is Jim Hoerricks. So often, we think of Criminal Justice as laws, procedures, court cases, and lots of PT (and If you don’t know what PT stands for, get down and give me 20). I’m here to tell you that the state of modern policing is that … and much more. To illustrate my point, I’ll go down the list of Creative Suite products and show you how each piece fits perfectly within the Criminal Justice curriculum. By the time we’re done, I think that you’ll agree with me that owning the Creative Suite 5 Master Collection is the way to go.

Bridge CS5: Do you need to search your entire digital photo archive for photos that were taken by a camera with a specific serial number, or perhaps search for GPS coordinates that were encoded to JPGs taken by a cellphone camera? Do a metadata search in Bridge CS5, and you can view all those photos quickly. Even if you only buy one CS5 tool like Photoshop, you’ll get a copy of the Bridge, which is by far the best browsing tool for all Adobe filetypes. Not only that, but its capabilities for adding and searching file metadata are unparalleled. Bridge can also easily publish your images to printable contact sheets, attractive Flash slideshows, and even social media sites like Flickr and Facebook.


Photoshop CS5 Extended: For every case involving Law Enforcement, there’s bound to be evidence from at least 3 different camera systems (the terrorist bombings in London had over 50,000 individual image based exhibits). From CCTV to surveillance photos to pics of traffic collisions taken with your own camera phone, you’ll need the most effective tool available to process images as evidence. That tool is Photoshop, hands down. CS5 includes new functionality that easily compensates for noise reduction, lens distortion and chromatic aberration, as well as new tools for complex selections, content replacement, composite sketching, 3D modeling and much more.

InDesign CS5: A cookie-cutter attitude rarely works to further a career. You’ll rely on countless forms and flyers to communicate with your co-workers, your superiors, and the community. What does a designer’s tool have to do with your workflow? With InDesign, you can create suspect “six packs” in seconds. You can create professional looking forms, reports, newsletters, animations and interactive “slide deck” presentations with ease, allowing you to spend more time investigating crimes … rather than trying to learn another program. With CS5, you can publish your work to print, interactive PDF, eBooks, HTML, Flash… whichever format your agency needs.

Illustrator CS5: Why send publicity work out of the department? Why not give trial support a hand? In these days of shrinking budgets and doing more with less, Illustrator (combined with Photoshop and InDesign) is a marketing department in a box. You can create all of your agencies poster art, flyers, charts, tables and diagrams with this amazingly powerful program. With CS5, you can quickly create art on a Perspective Grid, making it a breeze to draw detailed crime scene reconstructions.

Acrobat 9 Pro: Are you used to putting all of your files from a case into a 3-ring binder? How many binders will you have over the course of your career? What if you could create virtual binders that housed all of your documents, reports, photos, and etc.? You can with Acrobat 9 Pro. Not only can you create them, but you can share them with anyone thanks to the free Acrobat Reader. This alone is worth the price, but you get so much more; redaction tools, form support, multimedia support, and better looking presentations (no more PowerPoint).

Flash CS5 Professional: Have you ever heard of “death by PowerPoint?” Do we need so many bullet points in our lives? Take your presentations to a whole new level with Flash technology. There’s no more hassle of building presentations, one “slide” at a time. Now we can build presentations along a time line, adding interactive elements, maps, video, audio, images, and more … and share them with just about everyone (thanks to the free Flash Player). Flash CS5 includes many “code snippets” that let you create presentations without worrying about learning to write code, and allows easy publishing to Apple, Android and many other mobile devices!

Flash Catalyst CS5: Ever wanted to create a personnel directory for your agency, but wasn’t sure how to create the simple interactivity or database functionality? Flash Catalyst CS5 allows you to create simple interactive prototypes that can then be sent to professional developers. No coding, no programming — just create a sample of how you’d like your application to look/feel, and Flash Catalyst writes the basic code for you, allowing developers to easily hook up to a database. And the best part is, you can create the whole design in Photoshop or Illustrator, and import it into Flash Catalyst with pixel-precision!

Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Contribute CS5: Just about every company has an intranet these days. Do you like the way yours works? Do you want to work on it easily, work with others seamlessly, and have a rich and rewarding intra/internet experience? What happens when you need a page added to your agency’s web site – now? With these products, you can be up and running, changing, creating in no time. With CS5, you can easily create blogs or websites based in popular frameworks like WordPress, with maximum control over the design and styling. You can also conform your website for multiple screens and devices using the new HTML5 Multiscreen functionality in Dreamweaver.

Premiere Pro CS5: Just about every crime scene is covered by a video camera. You’ll need a powerful video editor to be able to quickly and easily view the video, save a few still images, and get the images and video up on your agency’s web site (and YouTube). Premiere Pro does much more than that. You can create training videos, messages from your chief, sheriff, director, and etc. The list just keeps on growing. Premiere Pro CS5 supports an enormous variety of video inputs, from phone cameras to DSLRs to Hollywood-grade HD video cameras, with blistering, unrivaled performance in the industry, and allows you to easily mix/match multiple formats on the same timeline. Moreover, you can edit these formats natively, without transcoding or rendering, directly from their source media (like SD cards or onboard storage), which can save hours/days of work!

OnLocation CS5: Have you tried to replace your VCR lately? The days of tape based recording of video are over. So what now? Included in the Suite is a hidden gem – OnLocation CS5. Create an interview room recorder on the fly. Upgrade your surveillance van’s recorder to solid state – without the huge expense. Go straight from your camera to disk. Load this handy and robust program on your laptop and you’re ready to go. OnLocation works hand in hand with Premiere Pro CS5, so that you can avoid long render times.

After Effects CS5: Premiere Pro’ titling tools are nice. After Effects CS5 takes them to a whole new level. After Effects is a crime scene reconstructor’s best friend. Create unique “count-down” effects, tag individuals in the scene and track them over time, blur out faces of under cover operators, and much more with this incredibly powerful program. What’s more, you can dynamically link your AfterEffects compositions with Premiere Pro’s editing environment, for a render-free effects workflow! AfterEffects CS5 allows you to easily do “green screen” scene compositing without the need for a green backdrop, using the revolutionary Roto Brush tool.

Soundbooth CS5: Nothing cleans up bad audio recordings easier and faster than Soundbooth CS5. You’ll forget that you left your audio recorder in your inside jacket pocket. You’ll need to boost the volume, remove background noise, or transcribe the interview. Yes, you read that right, Soundbooth uses a unique speech to text technology that will allow you to turn your interviews into text reports in no time.

Encore CS5: Now that you’ve put all the pieces together, burn them all to an interactive DVD or Blu-Ray disc with Encore CS5. How would you like to create a video “six pack?” With Encore CS5, it’s a snap.