Droppin' some science

Psst–hey buddy, seen any good kite-borne photos of Estonian peat bogs lately? You would if you checked out the winners in Science Magazine and the National Science Foundation’s Visualization Challenge [link via PhotoshopNews]. But if your tastes run more towards the secret life of the pea weevil (really!), check out the Visions of Science Photographic Awards. Winners include revealing images that were colored in Photoshop.
Photoshop wasn’t designed for scientific imaging per se, but we’re learning quite a bit about how it gets used in a broad range of applications. Last year I got to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The team preparing the next shuttle flight requested better measurement tools that could aid in the analysis of the shuttle’s heat-resistant tiles. (They also mentioned a rumor that a copy of Photoshop has even found its way onto the International Space Station–evidently several astronauts are avid photographers–but I’ve never been quite able to confirm that.)
We’re working to build up info and resources on Photoshop in the sciences, as well as its uses in engineering and other disciplines. If you’re using Photoshop in these fields, and/or if you have ideas on how we should develop the app to suit your needs, please let us know. Post a comment, or drop us a line.
PS–Apple’s scientific computing pages mention numerous uses of Photoshop, including the Visible Human Project.
PPS–Good luck to this group of 7th & 8th graders, who want to send film into orbit and then analyze the results in Photoshop.

0 thoughts on “Droppin' some science

  1. I’m sure a lot of scientific data has been ‘lost’ by using the 16 bit color mode of Photoshop. Because actually it is only a 15 bit mode (2^15+1 possible values to be exact). So please, bring on this floating point color support.

  2. I’m not aware of examples of applications that use a full 16 bits of data & are losing precision in Photoshop. If you know of cases, we’d be interested in hearing about them.
    In any case, Photoshop CS2 adds support for 32-bit floating point data. I think it’s likely that applications will use something greater than 8 bits and fewer than 16, or they’ll go way beyond 16 and require floating point.

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