Guest post by Jim Hoerricks, Forensic Image/Video Analyst.
(Jim Hoerricks is a Photoshop Instructor, an Author, and a court qualified expert witness in Forensic Video Analysis who also happens to work for a law enforcement agency in one of the US’ major metropolitan areas)
I’ll start off today’s post by first thanking Rick Miller for inviting me to be today’s guest blogger, and by introducing myself. I’m Jim Hoerricks, Forensic Image / Video Analyst and best selling author of Forensic Photoshop – a comprehensive imaging workflow for forensic professionals (www.forensicphotoshopbook.com). I also blog at forensicphotoshop.blogspot.com. For more of my bio, check out the book’s link.
I’ve used Adobe products since the early/mid 1990’s. Some Adobe Products, like Pagemaker, I used before Adobe bought them from their respective owners.
Rick asked me to write a post about the Creative Suite and how it might benefit Criminal Justice students and practitioners. As always, I am happy to help.
So often, we think of Criminal Justice as laws, procedures, court cases, and lots of PT. (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 4 Master Collection is the way to go.
Photoshop CS4 Extended: For every case involving the 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.
InDesign CS4: 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 CS4, you can create suspect “six packs” in seconds. You can create professional looking forms and reports with ease, allowing you to spend more time investigating crimes … rather than trying to learn another program.
Illustrator CS4: 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, and diagrams with this amazingly powerful program.
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 CS4 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).
Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Contribute CS4: 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.
Premiere Pro CS4: 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.
After Effects CS4: Premiere Pro’ titling tools are nice. After Effects CS4 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.
Soundbooth CS4: Nothing cleans up bad audio recordings easier and faster than Soundbooth CS4. 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 CS4: Now that you’ve put all the pieces together, burn them all to an interactive DVD with Encore CS4. How would you like to create a video “six pack?” With Encore CS4, it’s a snap.
So many of the Create Suite products work to support each other that it makes little sense to just buy them individually. The Design and Production suites are fine, but our work spans so many different areas that it’s just more cost effective to buy the Master Collection. I think by now, you’ve come up with many more ideas on how to use these products. Keep thinking. Keep creating. Keep on top of technology and you’ll stay a step or two ahead of the criminals.