What happens when an image fails to load in your system? It goes without saying that we need to find a non-intrusive way to analyze it.

It happened to me today. An image downloaded from the internet was failing to load in my project (a virtual art gallery for domes, more on that once it’s out). The internal framework involves to copy the image to the project folder and open it with Video Texture. For those unfamiliar with the Blender Game Engine, this is a python module to dynamically load and swap in-game textures.

In my tests all the images I tried were working. No exception. But of course it takes only a test-run with the client to get a crash 😉 One single image was enough to make me pull my hair.

Our beloved open image editor GIMP opens the image with no problems. In fact if I open it and save it I can open it in my project with no problems. So what’s wrong? Why can’t GIMP warn me about this problematic file?

Looking for ‘file inspectors’ I ran into this Binary File Inspector from Microsoft. It didn’t take more than a glance to spot the problem:

CMYK … Bingo! Opening the image in a station with Photoshop proved this was the issue.

For the adventure seekers out there, remember: open source tools are great. Yet you should be not afraid of getting out of your comfort zone once in a while.

Who could guess that Microsoft would be the cavalry to make it up for the lack of CMYK (and feedback) support on GIMP 😉 (or the lack of CMYK support in Video Texture, or me being short in tools for image forensics, …).

Have a great day,
Dalai

5 Thoughts on “Thanks Microsoft for saving the day

  1. An alternative: ‘$ hexdump -C | less’ 🙂

  2. Danni Coy on March 5, 2012 at 1:41 am said:

    or okteta on Linux (for example – there are a lots of other fine hex editors out there)

  3. Solano on March 5, 2012 at 2:19 am said:

    I use GHex 🙂

    PS: Nice new blog

  4. admin on March 5, 2012 at 6:19 am said:

    Calm down, calm down 🙂 I’m quite familiar with hexaviewers (thanks for the suggestions though).

    It always bring me back into the days when trying to follow a ‘how to crack an app’ tutorial was a great way to spend the evening (I wonder if those are still around the web or things are more ‘modern’ nowadays).

    But you get to agree that a multi-platform html5 friendly binary viewer is quite cool. And I was on windows so I didn’t really want to download an app for that.

    On a side note I will definitively use `hexdump`when the need knocks my door again (on OSX most of the time here).

    Now, is it only me that find this ‘convert without warning’ gimp approach a bit dangerous?

    • Yep, no objection to an online tool indeed. I’ve always though it would be great to have an online IDA Pro type of application too… nice open source opportunity there 🙂

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