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We need to make 'wanted' posters with kid's pictures for a police open house

Posted on 2006-03-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-16
Our town is having its bicentennial in a couple months.  The police, fire and first aid buildings are having open houses.  I am helping the police and they want to make wanted posters.  They did that with a polaroid glued onto a wanted sign last time which was a couple / few years ago.

I am thinking we'd have a webcam hooked up to a pc that inserts the live picture into a wanted poster.  Click a button and the web cam pic is stored and the document with the picture is ready to print.  Similare to how they make IDs now - you see the active webcam picture in the frame of the ID card?

Any recommendations on the app(s) that can do that?  And can we get fancy - like on my cell phone, you can have cartoon images that are superimposed OVER the picture - so can we have prison bars over each kids face?!

Question by:LookingForITHelp
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Expert Comment

ID: 16255360
You can do that by Adobe photoshop and Adobe elements


Also you can take the wanted pic as a template and put the pic you want there

Author Comment

ID: 16258304
WOuld you know if these can have the live picture in the wanted page frame and you just click a button to freeze the cam?  Or do yo have to take the picture, then cut and paste it into element's picture?  and then at that point, thats like any other app for cut and paste from one image to another?

Expert Comment

ID: 16260267
Yes you have to take the picture, then cut and paste it into element's picture
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Author Comment

ID: 16260357
most any apps do that, I think.  I was hoping to do it like you see at the booths that insert your picture in the magazine cover, etc....  less steps / easier.  I am thinking I am looking for a webcam app that will frame the scene
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Expert Comment

ID: 16262010

You might be be best off with dedicated software. Unfortunately, I don't know of any that are free or very cheap, but you might look at something like http://www.jollytech.com/print_studio/overview.php or http://www.aptika.com/products/idpacklite.asp, which can handle the image acquisition as well as the production on a more-or-less automated basis.

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Expert Comment

by:Dushan De Silva
ID: 16276688
Verctor Graphoics :- Adobe Illustrator or COREL Draw
Raster Graphicxs :- Adobe Photoshop

BR Dushan
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Expert Comment

ID: 16283154
I recall once getting a Canon digital camera, and it came with some software that would do this sort of thing. Might want to check with webcam manufacturers too.

>Verctor Graphoics :- Adobe Illustrator or COREL Draw
>Raster Graphicxs :- Adobe Photoshop

Er... huh?

LVL 39

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 2000 total points
ID: 16319023
Here's a simple and relatively inexpensive ($39.99) application that would allow you to:

1. Have a pre-existing image of someone behind bars looking through
2. Select an area of that person's face so that the bars are still in front, and create a "mask" from it
3. Take a snapshot of someone's face
4. Slide it in behind the bars to replace the masked out area
5. Save the modified image in any of the common image formats
6. Print it out however, and onto whatever, you choose.


I bought a flatbed scanner a long while ago, and it came with a "Lite" version of the Arcsoft's "PhotoFantasy" (PhotoFantasy 2.0 SE).  Maybe that's the one that Bill Mercer was thinking of.  It looks like "Fun House" is its successor.  My original SE version didn't allow you to create your own templates - only use the included ones that became a bit boring, but I upgraded to PhotoFantasy 2000 for buttons and have had fun with it ever since.

The hardest part is getting the angle of someone's face to fit that of the template you turned into your "mask".  There are some basic tools to tilt and reverse the image being slid into the original in my version, but I see that this new "Fun House" version allows :
"Live Image Capture
With a live video feed from a video camera or web cam, you can capture appropriate facial expressions directly into any Funhouse template. The live image capture feature also makes it easy to position any face into any background template".

There are some extra templates for download, but they are fairly basic:

Basically all you do is load your template image, use one of a handful of tools to paint or draw the area you want to become available for the portion of the new image you want to show through from begind, and then load your new image.  You slide it into position, enlarge or reduce it, and then adjust the colour of the implanted image to match the template before saving or printing.

Perhaps the "Demo" version would allow you to get an insight into it to see if it would suit the bill
but it may not offer the facility to create your own templates.


Author Comment

ID: 16341855


I haven't tried the bars idea, but fun house is exactly what I was looking for - a live camera shot in a template.  The bars - you think you can get the bars in front of the face?  I played with the demo last night and only saw the tool for drawing in where the face will go.  But even without the bars over the face, this is perfect.

Now I have to find a sample wanted poster that looks good and maybe says something like 'wanted'  "to stay off drugs' or other kid theme.

LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 16343252
Thank you, LookingForITHelp

I haven't tried this newer incarnation of the program from Arcsoft, but it looks like the principle is just the same, and that any changes are largely cosmetic and the name change is a marketing decision.

You should be able to paint out any part of the imag you choose to load as your template.  In other words, if I chose a photo of some cool-looking guy wearing shades, I should be able to paint out the rest of the face and leave the shades.  The image that I then load into this "mask" should then slide in behind the shades.

There should be several sizes of "painting-in" tools, and also an "eraser" tool to remove any overzealous use of same.
I'm assuming the main functionality of the program remains much the same, in which case the secret is to start with a small dot in the middle of the area you are going to work with, and then zoom in to help get the area painted in more accurately.  It will probably only allow you to zoom in after you have begun editing the image.

With care, you should be able to paint out the face area behind the bars, so that the image will then slid in behind them just the same as with the dark glasses idea.  Incidentally, if you have an original template image with several faces, you can use the option to mask out one of them or more than one.  There may be a limit of only two at a time, but if you then save the image (don't use jpg compression, ie. 100% quality), you should then be able to reload the saved image and make more changes to it.  Saving in a non-compressed image format like BMP or TIF each time shouldn't degrade the image when doing successive changes to the same image.

If you find that you have a couple of hard lines between the mask and the inserted image when finally saved, most image editing applications have a "clone" tool that you can blend these in from adjacent parts of the image to make them less obvious.

It looks like this program just makes the concept of "layers" much simpler to use than in professional image editors where you can copy out a selected area from your subject's photo, and then insert it as a new layer into the template.

Have fun googling for images.  It's up to you whether you turn off adult content in your google preferences, but you can end up with inappropriate ones if not.
Good, but not what you need :-)

Ideally you need something along the following lines, with a stark message that if you do drugs you will end up here:

I suggest seeking permission to create your own template photo under the conditions you want in a real jail cell.

Good luck

Author Comment

ID: 16354356
I sat down with the trial version of the app and experimented - you can draw more than 1 area with their image insert tool I guess you'd call it, and those act as seperate clear spots to the bigger camera image - like scratching clear areas in frosted glass - just what I was looking for again! although, thinking about it now, if you are wanted, you wouldn't have the person behind bars... but it's great to see the app can do those type of things...

now, the guys are looking to print on an 11 x 17 piece of paper - more like a poster, than on the 8 1/2 x 11 that I envisioned.  Have to see if the copier in the police station can print that large and is a printer also.  

thanks again!
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 16356251
>>> "if you are wanted, you wouldn't have the person behind bars" <<<
Yes, that occurred to me too as I began to look on google for a few suitable images, although perhaps as an Anti Drug message you could use something like that as a template.  Thailand government sites may well have some such images due to their total intolerance for drug smuggling, and accompanying death penalty.

A bespoke "morphing" program would be a much better idea to instill terror into would-be young drug users though.  You grab a photo of a beaten up time-worn face (I could supply a self-portrait snapshot :-), and then capture the subject.  You could morph the subjects face into a projected image of what they might look like in 10 years time if they use drugs.

A couple of hints that I would offer, seeing as you need to print to large format:

1. Take the photo's (template AND subject) at a high resolution so that the final image doesn't have to be stretched and degrade too much
2. Try and capture the subject's face at the approximate size of the face you painted out of your template.  It can degrade the face a fair amount when you enlarge it to fit the mask.  Not always apparent from within the application's viewer, but more apparent when saved as a final image.
3. Try and capture the subject in as flat a light as possible.  Having a tungsten lamp or bright daylight as the light source on the subject will add a yellow or blue colour cast to the subject's photo, and the program's "colour balance" tools are relatively primitive and limited.

We just got a new photocopier at my workplace that is a massive step forward from the old one.  It's more of a multi-purpose machine in that it acts more like a scanner.  Choose as colour or B&W tiff or pdf as the output format, use it to email or fax as you scan, or email to it from a remote (or intranet) computer and it prints off as a fax, etc, etc.  The regional and branch managers keep losing my various forms that are completed dutifully by me through the night, so I now scan and email them to all their intranet email inboxes from the new scanner.

Hopefully the one at the Police Station will handle what you need.
I'd love to see an example once the bicentennial thing is over.

LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 16356257
BTW, I'm not sure if the Trial version times out and prevents reinstallation after the trial period ceases.
I'm not sure if the full retail version, or registration of the trial version, extends functionality.
Something you should check well in advance.

Author Comment

ID: 16357228
Thanks for all the info.  I'll try to remember to post / link to an end result!

LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 16357992
You're welcome.
Make up a poster of the Chief of Police behind bars and have them post it on their official site or the town's media website for a laugh.

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