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Computer-Assisted Photographic Superimposition

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 37 Issue: 3 Dated: (May 1992) Pages: 750-762
D H Ubelaker; E Bubniak; G O'Donnell
Date Published
13 pages
A new computer-assisted system for photographic superimposition using electronic imaging has been successfully employed to compare an antemortem photograph with a recovered cranium and mandible.
The computer-assisted approach facilitates photographic superimposition. Images and menus are displayed on a color monitor, although the images are currently grey scale. The computer menu is a series of on-screen, stylus-selected tools that allow the operator to electronically affect an image in any way. A video camera is used to capture the images used for the reconstruction. The photograph is placed under the video camera and the image is adjusted until it fills at least 67 percent of the monitor screen. This image is then digitized and stored in the computer. The computer-assisted system for photographic superimposition represents a rapid and highly effective method of demonstrating consistency between skeletal features of the head and facial photographs. Success in identification depends on the quality of the submitted photograph, proper articulation of the cranium and mandible, and proper orientation of the cranium and mandible. Comparison is enhanced when all bones of the face are present, unusual characteristics are present, and photographs showing multiple views are available. 42 references, 2 tables, and 2 figures (Author abstract modified)