At the time (22nd May 2008) the reply I got was "you don't know anything about how images are processed."
I guess Mike's been thinking about the problem all this time (along with writing two more books full of appalling factual errors), because today he finally responded, in the form of a step-by-step Youtube demo. Thanks, Mike. Better late than never.
The pictorial part of the demo starts with an array of the 12 Hasselblad images shot by Gene Cernan of the inside of Shorty. The top left image has had color artificially added, and the narration soon explains why:
[01:31] One of them I've already worked on. I've done some enhancement. The head does not appear in that image, but you can see by comparison with the picture next to it that the actual real colors of the Moon are significantly brighter, significantly more contrasty, significantly more interesting than NASA would have you believe.
Hilarious. He takes a perfectly good image, in focus and correctly exposed, showing lunar terrain which has, by nature, very little in the way of color. He then proceeds to add color, and declares that the result is more authentic than the original. This is his "more interesting" image, which he also used in Chapter 4 of Ancient Aliens on the Moon:
The caption in the book is "Color corrected image of the lunar surface from Apollo 17 pan of Shorty crater. Note pink, purple and green hues of the entire area". His use of the term "color corrected" is totally dishonest, of course. The fakery is immediately apparent from inspecting the Lunar Rover's wheel-guards, which here appear bright scarlet. They are in fact bronze color, as you might easily see in any number of NASA shots from Apollo 16 or 17, or even from chapter 7 of AAotM. So much for "the actual, real colors of the Moon."
Image faking for dummies (like Mike Bara)
Back to Mike's Youtube demo. He takes us through the steps, using this image--one of several that show the DH rock.
step 1: Crop to isolate the rock
step 2: Zoom in. He says that this isn't interpolation or re-sampling, but in fact it is.
[03:10] You can already see that there is in fact ... indications of the red stripe on the upper lip, upper jaw, area of Data's Head.
No we can't, Mike. It's in your imagination.
step 3: Use Microsoft Office Picture Manager's "auto-correct"
[03:30] ....it's the built-in tool that makes some corrections ... it simply enhances the image a little bit -- brightens it up, does a few things to it.
It's not clear why it's legitimate to use auto-correct on a high-definition image that's already well focused and exposed. Actually, it's a way of losing data that you can never get back. Donch'a just adore the precision of that "does a few things to it"?
step 4: Color enhancement
This is where Bara steps well beyond any legitimate digital photo retouching process. Take a look at the controls in Picture Manager:
In the upper part of the control panel, there's an option labeled 'Enhance Color'. The instruction is "To perform the correction, click on an area in the picture that should be white". Mike does this in his demo, thus performing a second invalid corruption of the image since there is no white in the original (the brightest pixel is RGB 180,185,188.) But then, using the slider in the lower half of the panel, he ALSO slams the color saturation all the way to 100, the max (as shown in my image).
[04:22] This is nothing more than increasing, for instance, the volume of the color just the way you'd increase the volume of the audio on your TV set.
No it is NOT, Mike. A modern domestic audio system can reproduce considerable volume without distortion. What you're doing here is a distortion of the image and there's no conceivable justification for it.
I invite you to load some pictures from your family album and see what effect this has. Here's what it does to the face of the master image-enhancer himself:
IS THERE ANY CONCEIVABLE WAY that image could be considered a true representation?
step 5: Using brightness/contrast controls, reduce mid-tone brightness (in the context of a professional image editor this would be known as reducing gamma)
[05:00] As you can see, it all begins to jump right out at you. [05:42] There it is, plain as day.
Well, not really, Mike. Mike, dear, back in May 2008 you wrote "it looks like a head, it's the right size for a head, it looks like C3-PO's head. Period." Well, despite your utterly illegitimate manipulation of the NASA image, it looks nothing like C3PO.
To me, Mike's Youtube demo is another case of what soccer players call an "own goal." In attempting to show us how legitimate the Data's Head image is, he's done the exact opposite.
Following along with Mike's instrucs, after cropping and zooming in I arrived at a 142 x 147 image containing 1433 colors. After following Mike's color "enhancement," the same basic image contained 6084 colors. WHERE DOES HE THINK THOSE 4651 ADDITIONAL COLORS CAME FROM? Certainly not from the original. Of course not -- they were artificially added by Picture Manager. THE RED STRIPE IS IMAGINARY.
I just tried it with the ultra-high-def .tiff version. Recall from my original 2008 blogpost that I special-ordered an enormous 46.1 MB, 5190 x 6175 px. tiff that was scanned direct from the archived interneg at JSC. In case any reader doesn't understand digital image formats, let's just say this image contains two orders of magnitude more information than the online jpg. Following Mike's instrucs again, here's the (significantly different) result:
Here's an over-zoomed detail showing that the vague rusty color on the "lip" is no different from all the other rust-colored patches generated by Mike's corruptions.
Update, the wisdom of Youtube commenters again:
I dont' understand your "logic" - you maintain that using a different photo-manipulation proves you didn't manipulate the photo... what? Are you crazy or are you relying on your audience having a below room-temperature IQ?
No, I rely on my critics having below baboon IQ's, which you obviously do. I'm surpised they even let you have access to a computer in a Turkish prison.
Ah, aspersions of homosexuality once again. What a brilliant rebuttal (NOT).