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happy accidents

September 4th, 2009

I’ve been working on this book for Little Golden Books called “I’m a T-Rex,” you know. I spent a considerable amount of time on Wednesday working on one of the spreads, finishing it late Wednesday evening. Thursday morning I come in to the studio and want to open it to save the TIFFs and whatnot, and the file won’t open. I got an error saying something like “there was a problem reading layer data. read composite date instead?” I figure, you know, sure why not. So when I click “read composite data” it tells me that the file isn’t compatible with my version of Photoshop. Hm. Ok. Well, that’s dumb.
What this means in real-life terms is that the file got corrupted. What it also means in real life terms is I’ve got six hours of work in front of me that I already did if I don’t find a can-opener that will open this can.
Searching around the internets I found an open-source plug-in thingy called, melodically, Photoshop File (PSD) Extract/Recover Tool. I downloaded it, installed it, followed the directions, and it proceeded of course to crash Photoshop and make me restart. I’m an optimist, so I opened Photoshop and tried it again. The fourth time (!!) it didn’t crash, and instead opened a nice dialog box asking me if I want separate layers (this file had sixteen of them) or a flattened version. I tried flattened first (I figure I might as well get a workable 600ppi T-Rex, even if I would maybe later have to go in and surgically extract the layers). What I got was a nice big empty file. Well, see, I’m an optimist (did you know this about me?), so I tried it again this time asking for individual layers. I got excited when layer one, a shadow of the T-Rex on the ground, opened all fine. Yay! But then, this is where it got fun, I tried the other major layers (I have lots and lots of small texture layers that would be as easy to redo as going through this process) and got just the loveliest abstract colorful images. Here, I saved them and posted them for you.




The funny and amazing thing is that the colors and textures have absolutely nothing to do with the base layer/image that I lost. Photoshop completely made this up! I saved these (obviously) and don’t be surprised if they get used in the future. Maybe as album covers for my electronic music projects. Who knows?

Update: using a lower-res-but-high-enough-to-use layout test file that was also corrupted, I rescued a composite version of the T-Rex that I’d plopped on top of a background Wednesday night before closing up. This is not ideal, as it has no layers and is just big enough for the book (I like my files big enough to stick on a bus), but at least I have a usable image at 300ppi. See, optimism is a good thing. Here’s that original image from where these abstracts were born.

click the T-Rex to see it bigger

click the T-Rex to see it bigger