Published April 29, 2011
It didn’t take long for some of President Obama’s doubters to claim the long-awaited birth certificate posted online by the White House on Wednesday had been altered or might be a fake.
But a leading software expert says there’s no doubt about its authenticity, and he dismisses claims of fraud as flat-out wrong.
The doubters have latched onto the idea that Adobe Illustrator — the premier program for computer graphic artists — “reveals” evidence of document manipulation in the Obama birth certificate. They note Illustrator reveals nine separate layers of the document, and claim it’s “proof” the file has been altered.
But that’s not so, says Jean-Claude Tremblay, a leading software trainer and Adobe-certified expert, who has years of experience working with and teaching Adobe Illustrator.
“You should not be so suspicious about this,” Tremblay told FoxNews.com, dismissing the allegations.
He said the layers cited by doubters are evidence of the use of common, off-the-shelf scanning software — not evidence of a forgery. “I have seen a lot of illustrator documents that come from photos and contain those kind of clippings—and it looks exactly like this,” he said.
Tremblay explained that the scanner optical character recognition (OCR) software attempts to translate characters or words in a photograph into text. He said the layers cited by the doubters shows that software at work – and nothing more.
“When you open it in Illustrator it looks like layers, but it doesn’t look like someone built it from scratch. If someone made a fake it wouldn’t look like this,” he said.“Some scanning software is trying to separate the background and the text and splitting element into layers and parts of layers.”
Tremblay also said that during the scanning process, instances where the software was unable to separate text fully from background led to the creation of a separate layer within the document. This could be places where a signature runs over the line of background, or typed characters touch the internal border of the document.
“I know that you can scan a document from a scanner most of the time it will appear as one piece, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no software that’s doing this kind of stuff,” he said, adding that it’s really quite common.
“I’d be more afraid it’d be fake if it was one in piece. It would be harder to check if it’s a good one if it’s a fake,” Tremblay said.