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Fun with a Cell Phone Camera

We employ a medical illustrator. He telecommutes. So sharing ideas for images is either via email, phone or Skype screen sharing. Sometimes what is needed can only be depicted visually. In the case of a particular anatomical drawing, I've discovered a phone app called "camscanner." You could use the normal camera mode too for that matter, but a PDF is good for sending as an attachment because it autoscales. If you send someone a native photo by email, it is difficult to see in the average email client without opening. So if someone is going to open a file attachment, you might as well send them something easy to manipulate.

This app uses the phone's camera like a scanner, automatically enhances the image with something like the photoshop auto levels command, crops it and saves as a PDF for instant emailing. I often use this for my own reference to scan images and send to my own email, but it works great for grabbing a reference image out of a book. Much more efficient than walking down to the copy machine, hitting scan, then going back to my computer to retrieve the scanned image from the server.

On a few occasions I've needed an image drawn based upon a hand position. Drawing your own hand freehand can be a challenge. Using the phone, I took a picture of my hand in the appropriate position.

Email to myself. Retrieve from email client in about 15 seconds. Import into Photoshop.

Next, I cut out the background and rotate.

Find a reference image from the web, save, open, copy, paste, cut out from background. The white background makes this easy, and stretch into position.

Next, draw in the suture approximately where it should go.

Save as a PSD. Email out. The whole thing took 5 minutes. Writing this blog about it took longer.

And magically, the next day or sooner, I get my final image. It appears to be an exact match, but unlike the photo, it is at 300 dpi print resolution - and he even added my missing fingertips!

Needless to say, when the image needed is of a spleen or gallbladder, the phone cam is not so handy. Although I am always on the lookout for an X-Ray app!

Thanks for reading.

Mike Cohen

Posted by: Mike Cohen on May 11, 2011 at 2:57:37 pmComments (1) photoshop, previsualization

I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!


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