PS Consultants - ideas & solutions
Does what it says on the box…

Dec 2002

My fascination with all things imagery continues as long as MS keeps its steamroller parked outside this vibrant sector of the industry and allows competition to thrive. Alien Skin kindly mailed me a copy of Image Doctor, and plug-in filter family for Adobe-compatible graphics products, specifically Photoshop 5.5 or later, Paintshop Pro 6 or later and Macromedia Fireworks. The words on the box that describe the features of the product are simply wonderful:

“SMART FILL seamlessly replaces large objects and defects. Repair large tears in heirloom photos. Remove signs and trash from landscapes, unwanted tourists from vacation snapshots and estranged persons from family photos.”

This is my favourite phrase: “Remove estranged persons from family photos”. We can all use some that, eh? Well, I just had to try that one, so I found a happily family group photo and anticipated how Our Beloved Leader might prefer it to look - just in case the Iraq thing goes pear shaped. 

Me and my best mate dubya

Dubya who?

Image doctor did that in a single pass and it’s good enough for a lot of purposes – although a little more fiddling in Paintshop or Photoshop and history is completely rewritten.  Joseph Stalin, famous for Tip-exing his erstwhile rivals from the Kremlin group photos would have loved it.  Saddam Hussein is probably filling out the web form at to order his copy as I type this.

A more day-to-day application is the repair of “over compressed” JPEG images, and here Image Doctor can pretty much raise the dead in terms of busted imagery, although it cannot exhume details that have been lost, it makes the process of invisible mending through assessment and interpolation of the repair a lot simpler and faster than doing it all by hand. This is well illustrated (geddit?) in 

Removing text from imagines – such as date codes and in this example, watermarks from TV image grabs – is pretty much pixel perfect.

Again, you can do this sort of thing by hand a pixel at a time, but Image Doctor “just does it” and makes the judgement better than all but the very most fastidious manual touch-up artist.

I was going to mention the UK distributor, but they have edited the product description: “Smart Fill replaces large objects and defects, intelligently combining the repair with the background. Remove signs and trash from landscapes, unwanted tourists from vacation snapshots, and uninvited guests from party photos - without leaving seams.”

Spoilsports, so I won’t mention them after all, especially since they are suggesting the usual $/£ exchange rate. Nevertheless, this is neat stuff that’s worth the $99 cost of admission, and perfect for the digital camera age.