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.
Workflow is everything. As described since the inception of this blog, how you go about getting the job done can, in fact, decide how and when you get the job done.
I spent this past weekend gathering images for a textbook on pancreatic surgery. Approximately 200 frame grabs from video were needed to illustrate the surgical procedures described in the book. Some chapters included stills and/or illustrations, but others needed some further visual enhancements.
First, I printed out the current build of the book, and while reviewing a PDF on my laptop, marked up the printout with locations for images, and the video clips from which they will be generated.
Next, I confirmed that the videos are correctly numbered. I do this either by reading the text and viewing the videos, or simply checking the layout against the online content management system we devised for this project and ones like it.
Next, I locate the hard drive containing most of the videos. Yup, it's a eSATA internal drive in an external bay - great for sneakernets and great for collecting dozens of drives - usually one per project plus backups. Sometimes the best solution is whatever is simplest.
Each chapter has a folder, including word docs, videos and premiere projects.
Open the premiere project, or make a new one as the case may be.
Now, looking at the content of each paragraph in the book layout on one computer, I locate the associated video clip, drag to a sequence, then scroll quickly through the clip to get a sense of the content.
Then, move the cursor to the approximate frame I want, then use the arrow keys to find the exact frame. Given the nature of the subject, surgery, the appropriate frame is somewhat subjective, and somewhat dictated by the video itself. If we are looking for a shot of an anastomosis (joining together of two structures, such as a hollow viscus and a solid organ, or two hollow viscus segments - me smart, use big words!) then we may get a clear shot of applying a suture, firing a stapler or simply the end result. The available frame decides what will be used. The thing is itself.
Then hit ctrl+M to export a TIF. There have been numerous discussions around the COW about how to get print quality images out of video - SD, HD or DSLR (usually also HD). Well, we simply take the 720x480 TIF and print at its native size of about 2x3 inches within a 300 dpi document. The printer's pre-flight check will flag any non-300 dpi image - but we tell them in advance what is coming their way.
Naming convention is vital. Never, and I mean NEVER, should you name something Slide 1.TIF, because inevitably there will be other files with the same name elsewhere on your computer.
In this case, my naming scheme is:
ch_vid#_# (chapter_video number_image number from that video).
Since the video numbers are already listed in the chapter, the layout designer need only locate the video number in the layout and insert the images with the correct name.
Exceptions to this are if there is more than one image, there MAY be a directive to place the images at particular points within the text. However usually there is simply a reference to the image inline with the text, and all of the images live below that paragraph.
Periodically it is a good idea to browse through what has been captured to make sure I have not mis-named anything.
tick tock......time passes........a few breaks to watch Meet the Press (a show I always liked but especially now that a fellow alum of U of Hartford is the director of the show) and a This Old House episode...
8 hours later, with just a few chapters to go, my eyes bleary, watering and the 3rd cup of coffee sitting cold on the desk, it is time to call it a night.
Tomorrow, I need to save a backup copy of the raw images (raw meaning original, not raw meaning RAW. If anyone can tell me how to get RAW images out of DV I'm all ears. Actually my friends tell me I'm all nose.). Then all images go to photoshop for deinterlacing and color correction, cropping and the occasional cloning tool or other touch up. The danger here is that sometimes when you grab a still from interlaced video, it cannot actually be deinterlaced due to the particular type of motion involved. So then a decision has to be made - live with it, re-do it or discard it.
Finally, pass images off to layout, and then check everyone's work.
Gotta go watch True Blood and Being Human - we like Vampires around the Cohen household.
Thanks for reading.