May 15, 2008
Counting chickens in Africa, via Photoshop
A few years ago I heard from a researcher at DuPont who was, as I recall, using Photoshop’s Histogram palette & other tools to analyze samples of Kevlar and other materials. Later I visited the Johnson Space Flight Center and talked to a team about using Photoshop’s Ruler Tool to assess possible cracks in space shuttle heat shields photographed during flight. No matter what you think a given feature is designed to do, customers will always find interesting ways to push it farther.
In that vein, Chris Ing gets crafty on JacksofScience.com, using the new analysis tools in PS CS3 Extended to do everything from estimating chicken density in Africa* (by analyzing the "integrated density" of various regions of an info graphic) to calculating the height of Kirsten Dunst (studiously cross-checked against something called Chickipedia–and no, I’m not feigning ignorance). Should you find yourself "interested in comparing the circularity of your head to that of a friend," you’ve got a kindred spirit.
* Sorry, the pre-/post-hatched counting enhancement will have to wait for a future release. (We’ll sic Chris on it.) We’ve heard somewhere that it’s an important distinction…