Today got the urge to start messing around with JPEG files. This is because one of my graphic design heroes – Rob Sheridan – did the same for the artwork for The Social Network Soundtrack (which is amazing – I urge you all to listen to it on Spotify or download the sampler). I’ll speak a bit more about his work another time – that post is long overdue.

It was a very experimental, trial-and-error process – I tried different file types, different rendering methods (for example, damaged Photoshop files render much more interestingly in OSX’s Preview than in Photoshop itself), and different types of text injected into the image files (I grabbed random paragraphs of text from around the web – ridiculous fan-fiction sites were a fun source). The results are what you see below – these images were distorted through manual editing of the image files in a text editor, not through intricate Photoshop work.

More info here http://rob-sheridan.com/TSN/

I tried editing the code from some jpegs in notepad and opening them, but it wasn’t working, so I did a little digging around on the net and found a program called Hexplorer on Sourceforge. It’s Windows only… but you know, I’m sure Steve Jobs has got an ‘app for that’ for all you Mac users.

This is how the interface looks –

I chose a photo that I took during the Key Ideas: Taste event as a base and got going with the hexadecimal hacking!

This was the first outcome. Now when I opened it in Photoshop, look what happened –

These two images are the exact same file, but for some reason Photoshop shows it differently to Windows Picture Viewer. So I saved the above image in Photoshop and fed it back into Hexplorer –

After this step though, Photoshop is having none of it –

Here’s another I’m playing with at the moment –

Lithography workshop tomorrow! On Tuesday we have another Litho workshop with photosensitive plates (Monday is drawing plates) – definitely going to use something from Hexplorer for that one.


2 responses to “Hexplorer

  1. This is pretty interesting. Kinda reminds me of the old days when vcr tapes used to go wrong and produce the weirdest “effects” when played.
    Are you going to explore this method a bit more?

  2. Hi Francisco! How’s things? Loving the Open Studio blog as always – kind of missed it over summer!

    Yes, I’d definitely like to explore it a bit more! I’m hoping to get to grips with Processing so I can do something similar with that. With the hexadecimal stuff it’s edited completely at random so the outcome is always unexpected. It would be great if I could come up with a system for changing the values. I’ll have a try with video files also but I’m not sure how successful it will be, if it works at all.

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