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Alternative methods of latent fingerprint enhancement and metrics for comparing them



Alfred S. Carasso


Digital enhancements of latent fingerprints using Photoshop processing is the preferred methodology among law enforcement forensic experts. This report explores alternative enhancement methods that are independent of Photoshop, relying instead on such widely used scientific image analysis packages as MATLAB, IDL, and PV-WAVE. In addition, standard image metrics are applied to the processed images and shown capable of distinguishing among various types of enhancements. The discussion is anchored around three illustrative examples, consisting of 8 bit greyscale latent fingerprint image pairs, extracted from the NIST forensic database. It is shown that alternative enhancement methods exist that can recover potentially significant fine scale information, such as may elude standard forensic Photoshop processing.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7910
Report Number


latent fingerprints, digital image enhancement, image gradient norms, total variation norm


Carasso, A. (2013), Alternative methods of latent fingerprint enhancement and metrics for comparing them, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created January 14, 2013, Updated January 27, 2020