The recent successful prosecution at Guy's Marsh Crown Court on Friday of accused forgery expert Flo Toekopia and her accomplice Aden-Anna Bettin has, if nothing else, highlighted to the general public the value of authentic pictures of the Dorset-born "missing presumed absent" Professor of Culinary Bioethics, Professor Brian Thrupiece. Given the rich rewards to be reaped from the Sydling St Nicholas Sun's "You are the Professor and I demand my £5" Competition, it is hardly surprising that unscrupulous criminals, armed only with a computer and access to a digital photokit programme are now going to extraordinary lengths to manufacture images of Professor Thrupiece and passing them off as real. Nor is it surprising that Dorset Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave is braced for further attempts. "Here at the Royal Dorset Constabulary, we are braced for further attempts", he said, outside the Crown Court yesterday. Police spokesperson and forgery expert Detective Superintendent Rob Erstamppe added "Since the recent prosecution makes clear the growing sophistication of those determined to fabricate images of the Professor and to make profit in doing so, we would like to assure the public that we will spare no effort in frustrating their ambitions and, bringing their international ring of co-cyber criminals to justice. Happily, thanks to the help and expertise of The Threadbone Digital Laboratories we now have the latest technology to guide us."
So, with the authorities in ever more vigilant mode and looking to stay one step ahead of the criminals, it's time to advise any would be forger of the simple dos and don'ts of image manipulation. Whilst following these simple rules will neither guarantee a fortune nor exempt anyone from prosecution should they be caught, they do make detection more difficult and the chances of success significantly greater.
NB You will need [a] a computer and [b] a photo manipulation programme such as Photoboneshop©. [Other photo manipulation programmes are available - though not as good.]
1 Try to scale any superimposed faces to make them of more or less the right dimensions
2 Orient them into the most naturalistic position possible
3 Remove any extraneous background - not always obvious to the casual viewer even the trace of a "halo" around the head is often a giveaway when subject to expert scrutiny
4 Adjust contrast and brightness and (in the case of colour images) hue and saturation to render them as similar as possible to the image on which the superimposition is being made. NB Colour faking is hard even for the most experienced counterfeiter. Begin in black and white (or sepia) and progress to colour only when you are confident you have the skills to do so
5 Keep the image as long range (and thus the substituted Thrupiece head as small) as possible. Close-ups are likely to challenge the novice.
6 Keep the background as plain as possible - a plain white wall, for example, is preferable to a wall-mounted short-pile hand-woven Persian-pattern Axminster Carpet
7 Be patient - successful results do not necessarily come quickly nor at the first time of asking.
1 F**k it up.