As a web designer, I need photos and illustrations to put on websites. Frequently, these are provided by the site owners. Every now and then, I get a completely unusable image which results in them either having to track down a new image or me spending time re-creating that image. That’s right: if you fax me a copy of your logo, I can’t use it on your website, business cards, or anything else.
This leads to confusion on the part of the site owner who asks, “isn’t there a program that will fix that?”.
Ah Hollywood, I love you, but some days I want to smack you in the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
Some of you may remember seeing a movie or TV show where, when the hero is given a blurry photo, they hand it to a geek who scans it into a computer and it automatically cleans up the image. Frequently, its a voice-activated computer and the geek or hero is just saying “enhance” and the computer complies. And voila, by magic, we can see an image that was distorted, with crystal clarity. Better yet, something that was tiny in the photo is now blown up to where we can see tiny details.
In the real world, images do not work this way. What actually happens when we zoom in on an image is that we see more pixels.
According to Hollywood, I should be able to take this photo
and zoom in and see, let’s say…just one leaf on the photo.
Instead, what we see is this:
That is the reality of what zooming in on a photo looks like. Zoom and enhance is not possible with today’s technology; what you see on television and in movies is just make-believe.
Sure, there are some programs that will do a little bit of automatic touching up of photos. But those will only take you so far, and they’re not always going to do just what you want them to do. Technology hasn’t caught up to sci-fi on this one yet. So if you can’t find the original art or a quality image, sometimes, we just have to do it the hard way. But trust me, if a day ever comes that I can buy software that allows me to just yell “Enhance!” at my computer and have it fix a photo, I’m there.