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Monday, May 8, 2006

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

MSP Defends Decision Over Leaking of McKie Report HERALD, UK - May 4, 2006 ...a damning report alleging "criminal actions" by fingerprint experts in the McKie case...

Key Players to Face McKie Inquiry BBC, UK - May 4, 2006 ...all the major figures involved in the McKie fingerprint case will be called to give evidence...

Handling of McKie Case 'criminal'  BBC, UK - May 3, 2006 ...failure to address errors in the McKie fingerprint case amounted to "criminal action"...

Senior Policemen Brand McKie Prints Scandal 'a criminal case'   SCOTSMAN, UK - May 3, 2006 officer cites "institutional arrogance" in the fingerprint service...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist

[ Poll ] McKie / Peter Swan
Curious 1327 Sat May 06, 2006 7:29 pm

AFIS Questions
Charles Parker 55 Fri May 05, 2006 8:59 pm

dry time after cyanoacrylate method is complete
Tara 236 Fri May 05, 2006 4:17 pm

Processing reports.
Wayne Reutzel 138 Fri May 05, 2006 4:14 pm

Footwear and Digital Photography
Kelly Zirngibl 886 Fri May 05, 2006 7:36 am

The Science of Sherlock Holmes
Ernie Hamm 100 Fri May 05, 2006 12:38 am

Elimination from NV prints
eromoore 264 Thu May 04, 2006 10:27 pm

'I am Shirley McKie'
Iain McKie 339 Thu May 04, 2006 12:19 pm

Latent prints on deceased bodies
Danny L. Harness 126 Wed May 03, 2006 8:41 pm

Elimination Science
C. Coppock 493 Mon May 01, 2006



There are still seats available for the Ridgeology Science Workshop taught by Glenn Langenburg.  The course will be held in Hamilton, NJ on June 5-9.  For registration information, contact or visit or the training page of this website for registration additional information.


Last week

we reviewed an excellent article on leadership.

This week

Steve Everist brings us the second article in a series on Adobe Photoshop for latent print examinations.
Latent Adobe Print Photoshop Series Part 2: Saving Actions
By Steve Everist,
King County Sheriff's Office - Seattle, WA

When actions are created, they are saved as a file with the extension .atn.  These files can be shared with other Photoshop users.  On Adobe’s website, there is an area known as the Studio Exchange where users can share their custom actions.  Although the actions available in the Studio Exchange are not created for forensic purposes, I will use them as an example of how you can save and load actions that you share with others through email or from websites. 

If you would like to download some of these actions from the Studio Exchange site, you will have to sign up through Adobe’s website. This will require an email address and password.  If you currently have an Adobe Store username and password, you will still need to create a new one as the old one does not work with Adobe Studio 2.0.  You can sign up later, when you go to download an action.

Adobe Studio Exchange can be found at  Photoshop actions can be found under the Photoshop Downloads pull down menu. 

I’ll select the Image Effects category, which will take me to a page with a selection of different actions that have been uploaded by different Photoshop users.  After finding an action that I’d like to download, I’ll click on the download link associated with the action.  This will bring me to the Download Instructions page. 

Now I will right-click the download link and select Save Target As… 

I can save the action in any folder.  I have chosen to save it in the Adobe Photoshop Actions folder.

Once finished downloading, I will close the Download dialog box.

Now I will go into Photoshop and load the action.  To load an action, I will go into the Actions Palette menu, accessed by clicking on the arrowhead in the upper right hand corner, and select Load Actions…  


The Load dialog box will pop up where I will select the action that I have downloaded.

The new action will now show up in the Actions Palette.

This is an example of how to download an action and load it into Photoshop.  The same principles apply to actions sent through email or downloaded through other sites.  They need to be saved to a location where they can be found and loaded.  You can create a separate folder for your actions or save them into Adobe Photoshop Actions folder.

Lab Color a Action

Now I will create a new action using the Lab Color a channel and the Auto Contrast function.  Adobe Photoshop’s Help menu has information regarding the Lab color space.

First I will open the image that I will be working with.  For creating the action, I can use any image, but to see the steps as I progress, it is best to use an image similar to one where I would find the particular action effective.

When I create an action, I must remember to take the Actions Palette out of Button Mode. (see the Detail 211 for details)  On the Actions Palette, I will click on the “Create new action” icon, which looks like a piece of paper with a folded corner. 

The New Action box will pop up where I can give my action a name, specify the set of actions that I would like the action put into, assign a function key, and choose a color for the button for this action.  I have chosen to call this action “Lab Color A – Auto Contrast.”  This describes what this action is used for and what steps it consists of.  I put it into the “Forensic Actions” set I created earlier and I chose green for the button color.   

Once the action has been set up, I will click the “Record” button to start recording the steps for my action.

For this action, I will need to convert to the Lab Color color space.  This is done from Image – Mode – Lab Color. 

Now I will click on the Channels Palette.  There are four different channels: Lightness, a, b, and Lab (a combination of the other three).  For this action, I will select the “a” channel.

The ridge detail in the current image is barely visible, so I will perform the auto contrast function to make it more visible.   

The auto contrast function makes this particular print visible, although the ridges are light on a dark background.  This is done from Image – Adjustments – Auto Contrast. 


The light ridges can be converted to dark by using Image – Adjustments – Invert.  You may not want to record this step, since it will perform this function on all images this action is used on.  

Although the image will appear to be in grayscale at this point, it is still in Lab color.  I will need to convert it to Grayscale.  This is done from Image – Mode – Grayscale. 

The Discard other channels window will pop up.  I select OK to discard all of the channels except for the selected a channel, and convert the image to grayscale.

Now I have finished recording the steps for this action.  I will click on the “Stop playing/recording” icon at the bottom of the Actions Palette.  This icon is shaped like a square. 

I have now created an action to use on a variety of different images to clarify the detail in the print.  The new action can now be found in the Actions Palette for use on different images.  After using this action, the image will be in grayscale.  I can now perform additional steps such as levels adjustments and inverting the ridges.

For more information regarding Lab Color and actions, go to the Photoshop Help window and do a search for Lab Color or actions.


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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!