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Unknown file format

I want to know how to open a high-res image file from Portrait Innovations.  They provide a CD with low-res JPGs and it has an additional file with hi-res image files, but just renaming the PI2 extension to JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG didn't work so I'm guessing it is some high-priced format or a proprietary format, or encrypted.  Below is a link to the low-res JPG and a link to the hi-res PI2 file.  All points with a grade of A will be awarded to the answer that allows me to open the hi-res files so that I can print, or preferably, save into hi-res JPG.  The links are for the same image, the PI2 is just below 2.5MB and the JPG is just below 0.2MB

http://www.skipfire.com/0001.jpg
http://www.skipfire.com/0001.pi2
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SkipFire
Asked:
SkipFire
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1 Solution
 
softplusCommented:
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softplusCommented:
Sorry, here's an english link to Konvertor: http://www.konvertor.net/indexe.html :)
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
http://www.skipfire.com/0001.zip has the 0001.pi2 file.  FOr some reason the server just wouldn't serve the pi2 file directly.
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
No luck, didn't recognize the extension.
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softplusCommented:
ok, I'll try some more :)
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woodendudeCommented:
http://www.xnview.com/      give this a try.
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Jaime OlivaresCommented:
Don't confuse with Degas's PI2 format, for Atari ST.
It is an animation format for medium resolution: 640*200*4 colors
So, any software that recognize it will not help you.

I think it is a cyphered archieve.
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softplusCommented:
Hmm, it's definately not a standard format ...
Looking at the file and your jpg (assuming they match)  - it looks like it's possibly encrypted.
I have tried all my raw image import possibilities (custom program :)) but they all come out like "snow" (white noise image).
Can you find out more about the file? Which programs are they using? What do they say about the file (if they give it to you, it must have some use)?
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
XNVIEW did not help, it didn't recognize the file format.

So, any idea how I can de-cypher it and view the file?

The CD has the low-res files that you can use to have small screen images, backgrounds, screen-savers etc, they provide the file on CD so that I can take the CD back to them and have them make additional prints so that they do not have to store the images.  Of course they don't have options like cropping, zooming, etc.
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softplusCommented:
ok, in that case the rights to the original image probably still belong to them - this is their "negative" so to say. If this is the case, you wouldn't be allowed to extract the image from that file and re-use it anyway. Could this be the case? If so, then we really can't help, sorry :(
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
Well, we paid for a photoservice and with traditional studios I have always received the negatives.  There is nothing anywhere on the CD that mentions the files being their property.  Also with it being a likeness of myself, my wife, and my daughter I believe we should have at the very least "fair-use" of the images and since we only want to use them for private purposes I do not see any legal issues over ownership of the photo's.  I think they just do it to force people to go back to them.  Afterall, if they wanted to keep the negatives as their property they could just buy a large network storage device, zip the images from the session, and store them on their own equipment.
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woodendudeCommented:
To the best of my knowledge it is illegal to puplicate a profesionally taken photo with out the consent of the photographer. This prevents people everywhere from going to the pros. getting a proof sheet or cd and then opting not to purchase any of the photos.. The larger file is likely the the sized and formatted pics. that they would be printing of should you decide to buy... encrypted.
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
I'm sure that the larger file is the photo that they actually took, however what they gave me was everything so it isn't like I'm taking a proof-sheet and trying to get full size pictures made from that.  We actually purchased a pretty large number of photos from them, and we purchased the CD because they said we could use the images on the CD as backgrounds, screensavers, to distribute to friends and family, etc.  That being the case they have given us permission to distribute the contents of the CD in whatever fashion we desire.  The JPGs provided are not of sufficient resolution for what they told us we could do with the CD so I am needing to use the other images once I figure out what they are.  Their sales sheet that says the CD can be used to distrubute, use as screen savers, desktop images, etc. does not specify that we have to use the JPG, thus either they are guilty of false-advertisement and liable for a class-action lawsuit or I can use the full-size images as I wish without fear of prosecution.
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softplusCommented:
woodendude is correct, at least this is how it's handled in europe. the negative, i.e. "original artwork" remains property of the artist. If you want to have full rights over the original artwork, you might be able to buy them separately, but it is not a requirement that they offer this to you. Yes, they are binding the customer to their company to produce further prints, as would be their right if the original artwork is their property. For fair use you have the low-quality images. Forcing you to keep the original artwork in an unusable format is a bit novel, but certainly within their rights.

Also - assuming the format is proprietary - it's probably illegal for us to "extract" the image (keyword: DMCA, glad we don't have that here :)).

But in any case, check with them and find out what the case is - do they "own" the image .PI2 on the CD? Will they allow you to extract it? These are things they should be able to answer you - and with the answers you could look further, if you wanted to.
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woodendudeCommented:
Did you purchase all images taken? If not the protected images are likely the ones you didn't purchase therefore not your property.
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
The sales pitch for the CD was that it contained all images from the session to use as we wish and was not limited to the photos we choose to purchase packages for.
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woodendudeCommented:
I'd give the studio a call!
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
I don't plan to call, I'll just go in there.  Sales people tend to be more cooperative when you are in a position to hurt some sales by complaining loudly about your problem, and I have no problem being heard.  And if all else fails there will soon be a site up and registered on all the search engines for <photostudio's name>sucks.com.
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woodendudeCommented:
Yes going there would be a better idea...Good luck and keep us informed.
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concretesailorsCommented:
I think I found it
1. goto this site and download the gimp (GNU format) - http://gimp.org/windows/ 


2. go to this site and download the plugin for the gimp (it's named Degas, it's a Registry Plugin)
        http://registry.gimp.org/list?category=7
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concretesailorsCommented:
Also if you can get your hands on the Picture It application it may open the pi2 file
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concretesailorsCommented:
one more idea;
I see where some sites say the PI2 file is a bitmap graphic, it would be interesting to know if mspaint would open the file.
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concretesailorsCommented:
ok, paint didn't open it
neither did The Gimp - either that or I didn't know how to install the plugin - probably both
I don't know I guess you'll have to do what was already mentioned and go to the photo lab and inquire
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
I think the PI2 extension is just what they choose to name it, the initials of their company are PI.
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kneHCommented:
Notepad opened it..
Never seen anything like that.

Best guess would be to ask the shop itsself as mentioned above.
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Jaime OlivaresCommented:
I insist it is not Degas since it is an ultra low resolution image format for Atari
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softplusCommented:
No, it's not Degas :)) and not .TXT :)) the extention is probably made up. Let's wait to see what they say....
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kneHCommented:
LOL I know it aint txt.

But mostly every file contains some plain text. Might just be 1 word... but at least some.
This one does not.
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softplusCommented:
I know YOU know, I wouldn't assume that :)) - just before guys run off and open JPGs in Notepad to see the pictures :)). I use a hex editor for things like that; I use the one from HHD ( http://www.hhdsoftware.com/ ), there're probably better ones out there though, but this one does it for most of my stuff. Yeah, to check files it's often a good idea to try opening it in something like that. Also, many image formats store general information in the header (file type, palette, sizes, texts, etc.), so sometimes you can get information like that.
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purquizCommented:
PI2 is degas med-res format, but ALSO is an extension for the Portrait Innovations(PI, duh) proprietary high res format . U got nothin to do, you are chained to them. You can use the jpg images, but PI2 file is reserved for their use.For example, u can choose what image u like lookin at jpgs, and when u go to the shop to have it printed, they use their pi2 file, just to ensure u won't be able to print your own high res copy.
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brentbordelonCommented:
The PI2 files on your CD are written in an encrypted format.  They represent the original, raw photos that were taken during your photo session, exactly as they came out of the camera.  

While these raw images are not themselves sold, they are used to create the printed portrait sheets that you ultimately purchased.  They are then encrypted and saved on the CD (in a folder named "Portrait Innovations Files") so that additional or even new portrait sheets, greeting cards, calendars, etc. can be created at a later date, simply by bringing the CD to any Portrait Innovations (tm) location.
Keep in mind that the PI2 files on your CD represent all of the images that were taken (typically anywhere from 30 to 100) during your photography session, not just the ones you purchased.

I hope this helps to clear up some confusion.
Brent L. Bordelon
Lead Developer
Portrait Innovations (tm), Inc.

PS.  The PI2 format stands for "Portrait Innovations (tm) 2", the "2" meaning the files were created using Version 2 of the software application that we use.
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softplusCommented:
Hi Brent
Thanks for your comments -- so could you say that the buyer/user is *not allowed* to access these files? I.e. no use in trying to decrypt the files, as that would be illegal? If that were the case, wouldn't it be a good idea to keep a small text-file in that folder telling the user that it's so? :)
Cheers
John
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brentbordelonCommented:
softplus,

short answer:  Access the files?  OK.  Print or copy the files?  Not OK.

long answer: <for anyone else who may be curious>

Softplus, you bring up a good point.  The issue is one of copyright, which I will explain...

When you take a roll of film to a local drug store, you will receive the negatives back in the packet.  You may even receive digital versions of those negatives on a CD.  You -- not the subjects in the photos -- own these images, because you created them and therefore own the copyright.  (and I know I'm oversimplifying a potentially complex issue - keep in mind, I'm a software guy, not an attorney)

By the same token, Portrait Innovations (tm), Inc. owns the copyright of the raw digital images that that are taken and burned to the CD that a customer receives when they purchase our portraits, because Portrait Innovations (tm) took those images.

So, technically speaking, you are not explicitly breaking any copyright laws by hacking or decrypting PI2 files.  It *is* a violation of copyright law, however, to then reproduce those files in any form, including electronic or print.

That being said, I think putting a text file along with the PI2 files on the CD stating the copyright ownership issues is an excellent idea, and I'll stick that in there in the next week or so.

I hope, SkipFire, that you do not feel misled in any way -- that is not our intention.  There really is no "sales pitch" for the CD - it's included as a bonus at one of the lowest purchase points.  While it is stated that all of the images are included on the CD, it does not necessarily state that they are included in their native resolution (which is quite high, btw).  Instead, they are scaled down enough to roughly fill a computer screen.  It is to these scaled-down images that we refer - they encrypted hi res images are included simply to allow you to order more or different prints from the same session, because we discard all of the hi res digital images at the end of a session.

FYI, Currently, all of our prints have the copyright printed clearly on the back.  
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
We had to pay nearly $100 to get enough sheets in order to qualify for the CD (we were told at least 4 packages), and the CD is all my wife really wanted.  We do feel quite mislead.  Also, the sales person said we could email the images to friends/family or use them as backgrounds or screen savers on our PCs, but the resolution makes the images look really bad if they are anything above half the screen.  I do know we won't be going back to Portrait Innovations, we tried to go and get our money back (we had all of the print sheets to give back) but they refused.

A resolution of 1024x768 would be sufficient to prevent the severe pixilation, but they are just below half that.  Unfortunately for Portrait Innovations we feel very cheated and most likely will not be speaking well of them.  The absense of any literature about the CD meant we had to trust what the people working in the store said in their sales pitch.  And regardless of a formal sales-pitch, there definately is one.
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brentbordelonCommented:
I am sorry you had a bad experience with our company.  At 69.95, the CD is included.  The image sizes are 504x756 for a vertical image.  There is also a business package, which includes 3 sheets of 3 poses, a special effect, and an *unencrypted* CD of the 3 poses purchased, all for 69.95 as well.

I need to mention that I am not a customer support person.  I am a software developer who is only here to answer the technical question which you initially raised, which I have done definitively.

If you would like to voice your complaints or displeasure, the more appropriate and place to do that would be either the local Portrait Innovations(tm) location, or our corporate office.  I *can* say that we do indeed care about our customers and their experiences.  I you have a problem that you would like to have corrected, please call us at (704) 847-4927.  During the initial welcome, you can press "0" and you will speak to a real person from that point on.

As for the initial technical question, I cannot, unfortunately, help you open the PI2 files, which was the requirement for the point award.
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
I did not expect to have a person from Portrait Innovations answer the question, but you definately have the best answer, even if I don't like what it is.
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brentbordelonCommented:
I need to clarify my last statement.... I am not in the position to make the *decision* to open your PI2 files.
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SkipFireAuthor Commented:
I'm a developer too, so I knew what you meant.
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