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Scientific Imaging With Photoshop is a must have for anyone who is in the scientific community and works with images and Photoshop.

Book Review: Scientific Imaging With Photoshop – Methods, Measurement, and Output by Jerry Sedgewick

Everyone knows about the capabilities of Photoshop for graphic design, photography, and illustration, but did you know that it is also one of the most powerful tools for scientists and researchers as well? It is indispensable in the preparation of digital images of specimens for measurement; especially for separating relevant features from background detail.

The goal of Scientific Imaging With Photoshop: Methods, Measurement, and Output  is to be the authoritative guide to the use of Photoshop in scientific research, with a special emphasis on the ethical ramifications of the use of image-enhancement software to extract data from digital images. Scientific Imaging With Photoshop is 312 pages long divided into ten chapters spread over three parts.

Ethics and Background Information

Chapter 1, "Visual Data and Ethics," is concerned with what is done with the image after capture. When dealing with scientific images, many think that there should be no "enhancement" done to the image because they are to be used as visual proof of experimental evidence. What about when the captured image does not truly represent the actual specimen? This chapter examines the right and wrong ways to correctly represent visual data.

Chapter 2, "General Guidelines for All Images," continues the discussion of ethical dilemma by presenting what constitutes ethical guidelines for processing of scientific images. These guidelines are based on three main areas: acquisition, post processing, and conformance.

Chapter 3, "Guidelines for Specific Types of Images," concludes this section by discussing some content specific changes. These are changes based upon the intent of the image itself and many times address issues not clearly spelled out in author guidelines for the major scientific publications.

Input, Corrections, and Output

Chapter 4, "Getting the Best Input," focuses on specimen preparation and correct setup of the imaging device. The goal here is to get an accurate representation of the subject being imaged. Topics covered include illumination, noise reduction, and capture. Chapter 5, "Photoshop Setup and Standard Procedure," will show you how to get your Photoshop set up, calibrated, and ready to go. You will learn how to get the best out of your system.

Chapter 6, "Opening Images and Initial Steps," will show you the best methods for opening an image to insure that you have put into place a process to document any changes that could happen to an image, and how best to prevent any unanticipated problems. Chapter 7, "Color Corrections and Final Steps," continues with correction of images for color. The goal here is to return the specimen to its original color, color to grayscale/ grayscale to color, as well as other techniques. Chapter 8, "Making Figures/Plates and Conforming," will show you how to create the final destination for the representative image as a figure to be used in posters, prints, laptop presentations, publications, or for the web.

Segmenting and Quantification

Chapter 9, "Separating Relevant Features from the Background," examines what you can do to separate the relevant features from background (segmenting). Once separated, these images can be measured within Photoshop CS3 Extended, or from other software packages that do image analysis. Chapter 10, "Measuring Images," shows what kinds of measurements can be done from within Photoshop CS3 Extended. These include how to perform the selection of relevant features, the use of the measurement tools, and how to work with the Count Tool.

While Scientific Imaging With Photoshop is definitely a technical book that deals with how to use of Photoshop for the scientific community, it also puts into perspective what the term "ethical use" is. While it is generally agreed that adding or removing from an image would be considered to be manipulation, Scientific Imaging With Photoshop points out the times where "manipulation" is really in the best interest of all parties when it is attempting to recreate an accurate representation of the object being viewed.

While it would be hard to justify Scientific Imaging With Photoshop for anyone who just wants to examine ethics and image manipulation, for anyone who wants to have a clearer understanding of the topic, and especially for those who are in the scientific community, I can highly recommend this book.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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