How Playboy Accidentally Helped Create the JPEG

How Playboy Accidentally Helped Create the JPEG

Each day we process hundreds of images from our sessions and turn them over to clients in a digital form or upload to companies for printing purposes. The history of how this digital upload started is quite interesting, coming into the light just after the recent passing of the Playboy creator himself, Hugh Hefner. He left behind a surprising contribution to photographers everywhere.

Joint Photographic Experts Group or more commonly known as the JPEG, was created by group of researchers at University of Southern California in the department of Image Processing Institute (SIPI). Assistant Professor Alexander Sawchuk and the team were looking for an image, preferably with a human face, for digital processing when someone walked in with a copy of the 1972 Playboy Magazine.

Lena Söderberg was Miss November and the centerfold image for Playboy Magazine. She is well known as the "First Lady of the Internet" and rightly so as her image has also become one of the most widely used for testing image processing algorithms. Swift on Security wrote that "Lena is perhaps, and may remain, the most analyzed image in the history of the world."

This image was one of the first ever to be uploaded to the Internet in regards to testing image process compression. The image itself was cut to fit the 512 x 512 Muirhead wirephoto scanner, in turn leaving the original look cropped at the shoulders in what we now recognize today according to Writer Brett Williams. The final image turned into digital lines of red, blue, and green. Other researchers started to test it and the image became widely known for helping engineers understand how to achieve better compression rates. While the major talk about Hefner's passing might be balanced between the magazine being an loved versus hated, you have to admit that this a a big contribution even if accidental to the modern day photographer.

[via Design Taxi]

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14 Comments

Here's a much better version of the image. Much better times when women weren't mutilated with tattoos and holes all over their bodies and faces, and when they looked more natural and beautiful. Boy have times changed.

It's a good thing that women don't exist for your viewing pleasure then.

Expressing a preference for unmutilated women doesn't equal me thinking they exist for my pleasure.

There's also great irony in your remark, since other people are the ones that get to do most of the viewing of such things, especially a spouse. A lot of women now regret permanently marking up their bodies when they were younger. In fact, they make up 3/4 of all tattoo removal services, a fast growing business that is far more lucrative than the tattoo business. Imagine that.

It's a good thing that it is their bodies and not yours, so your opinion is invalid and not wanted.

You don't get to determine for others what opinions are valid or wanted.

1. Article: "Here's some interesting history about the development of digital photography."
You: "Let's talk about what makes women's bodies ugly."

At the very least, your comment is inappropriate. It is also the same kind of inappropriate behavior women put up with every day.

"Let's talk about Candidate A's qualifications."
"Well, she'd certainly improve the view in the office."

"Woman B is so much help."
"Yeah, but she'd be so much prettier if she smiled more."

"Here's this point we should discuss"
"Let's talk about women's bodies and judge what makes them good or bad."

This is what you did.

This was an article about photography. Women's looks have nothing to do with it. You have interjected a personal opinion about the value of women's looks in an inappropriate forum for such things.

2. "Much better times when women weren't mutilated with tattoos and holes all over their bodies and faces, and when they looked more natural and beautiful. Boy have times changed."

What part of that statement is about you?

f this were truly a statement of your preferences, you would have started it with "I prefer to see women who are". Your comment was not a statement of preferences, but an opinion on the value of different women's bodies. The words "better times", "mutilated", "and "beautiful" show this. Your statement wasn't about you, it was about women's bodies. There is a difference between a statement of preference and expressing an opinion on something. However, if you had expressed your preference for what you like in women, I am pretty sure the response would still be "who cares?"

Whether it was you expressing your preference for how women look or a general opinion on what makes a woman beautiful, it was still inappropriate.

3. "You don't get to determine for others what opinions are valid or wanted."

Oh, the irony. So you get to spout off on what makes a woman's body worthy of being called beautiful, but Christian has to keep his mouth shut when it comes to your inappropriate, judgmental opinions? You started this conversation. We joined in, and you didn't like how it went. The conversation was about digital photography before you chimed in. No one was discussing what made a woman's body beautiful or not.

Your opinion is not valid. My opinion on women's beauty is not valid. No one is saying you can't have an opinion, just that it doesn't add anything to 99.99% of conversations (which is why it is not valid in context), In fact, the only conversation that men's opinions on what makes a woman beautiful valid is one that starts with "What are men's opinions on what makes a woman beautiful?" Context means everything. You have a right to your opinion, but that doesn't mean you have to express it.

And that is the heart of the problem. You value your opinion over all others (including the women whose bodies you are actually talking about), and you do not understand what is or should be part of a conversation.

Do yourself a favor. Next time you want to tell the world about what makes a woman beautiful, ask yourself three questions;
Is anyone else in a conversation about this?
Should they be talking about this here?
Why should anyone (other than me) care about what I have to say?

hmmmm, but somehow your comment about his is more important. Hypocrite much? I agree with him. Makes women look ugly.

Wow, that's quite a lot for a comment that should at best be shrugged at if you don't believe in it.

If you are so concerned about what the specific topic of this article is about then why are you responding in a way that will only keep it going in a direction that you don't want it to go in?

It's not uncommon for discussions in forums, and of course normal conversation, for people to comment on things that are not specific to the topic but are somehow related. Your long winded and annoyed response is not a reasonable response.

******

"If this were truly a statement of your preferences, you would have started it with "I prefer to see women who are". Your comment was not a statement of preferences, but an opinion on the value of different women's bodies."

It isn't grammatically reasonable for you to not take my comment as nothing more than my opinion. You're very welcome to like tattoos and piercings all over a woman's body.

"Oh, the irony. So you get to spout off on what makes a woman's body worthy of being called beautiful, but Christian has to keep his mouth shut when it comes to your inappropriate, judgmental opinions?"

As previously noted, I gave my opinion on what I think makes a physically beautiful woman. I never said or suggested that anyone should believe as I do.

"You have a right to your opinion, but that doesn't mean you have to express it."

Oh, I'm sorry; I didn't realize I needed your permission.

All the attacks again you are the direct result of the, so called, social justice movement. In other words, if "they" disagree with you and your opinion, they attack. So, you are no longer allowed to express your opinion unless it's aligned with theirs. BTW, I agree with your opinion about women destroying their bodies, it's a cry for attention. Oh, but if you give them attention you, my friend, are a womanizer. Have a great day.

Elan Govan's picture

Repeating myself here.

Elan Govan's picture

Learn something new today. Thank you JPEG

Someone at Uni SoCal walked into an imaging lab that had a scanner, with a copy of Playboy. Whodda thunk it?

…And did the photographer get credit? ;-)

Eduardo Francés's picture

Nice article, but again clickbait titles ugh...

I don't think "accidentally" was the right word. Maybe indirectly?