Bloodstains on clothing or its absence is important evidence in any forensic investigation. The patterns can provide valuable information to a bloodstain pattern analyst. Once blood is located it needs to be documented utilizing notes and photography. Documentation can be difficult when bloodstains have been deposited on dark or multicolored fabric. Additional problems exist with fabrics that have been stained by liquids other than blood. The use of Photoshop® to create composites is an excellent way to assist with note taking and documentation of bloodstains on clothing or any other object. Exhibits can also be created to assist with trial testimony.
This documentation process can be achieved by the use of luminol photography and then creating a composite photograph in Photoshop®. The steps outlined are aimed at an analyst with previous Photoshop® skills. Photoshop® CS4 was the version used for the examples presented in this paper.
Equine (horse) blood
Camera Settings for Luminol Image:
Example "A" was created with cast off and swiping of a bloody hand.
Example "B" was created by pooling blood into a cupped hand and slapping multiple times with the other hand. The hands were then dragged down the sleeves and the neck line grabbed.
Transferring Images to the Computer
Image #1 should be a correctly exposed image. Image #2 will appear black with blue areas of luminescence. Transfer both images to a new folder on your computer. Rename them Image #1 and Image #2. Copy and paste the images into the same folder. You should now have a second set of images with the word copy written within the file name. Digital imaging protocol requires that image processing will only be done on a copy of the original. The copied images will be the ones worked on from this point.
Creating the Composite
Using Photoshop® can be daunting to many novice users. It contains hundreds of tools and combinations of tools within the program. Becoming comfortable using layers and the adjustment tools is simply a matter of using the program and experimenting on different images. Someone with a minimal amount of experience with the program should be able to follow the steps outlined above to achieve the desired results. The use of Photoshop® to visualize bloodstains specifically on dark clothing that have been processed with luminol enable the Bloodstain Pattern Analyst to create very detailed court exhibits, and notes for case work.
Example A: Back Side of Trousers Stained with Paint and Blood
Example B: Front Side of a Multi Color, Multi Design Blouse
Broward County Sheriff’s Office
201 SE 6th Street
North Wing, Room
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Article from the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts (IABPA) Journal of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, Vol. 27, No.1. March 2011