Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's wrong with Messi's pants?

Shopping for school supplies, our son picked a cool notebook featuring images and autographs of his favorite players from FBC Barcelona. Later at home he noticed a strangely reversed number "10" on the front player's (famous Lionel Messi) pants.

We were all puzzled. Word UNICEF appears correctly printed on all three players' shirts. Numbers 8 and 9 are oriented as expected on the right part of the other two players' pants. What is wrong with Messi's pants?

Answer ideas accepted any time until midnight on Saturday August 27th (EST), on our Family Puzzle Marathon. They will be hidden till then and everyone who suggested something reasonable will get a puzzle point.


Donna said...

Here's my theory. The numbers and symbols are stitched onto the shorts rather than just printed on one side. Messi put his shorts on inside out, thereby switching what should be on his right leg to his left leg, and reversing the number and the Nike symbol on the other leg. He was either in a big hurry when he dressed, or he has a noticeable stain on the front of his shorts. :)

Ilya said...

He's wearing them inside out.

Bean said...

Not only is the number a mirror image, it is on the left leg instead of the right. And while the other players seem to have a fairly strong light low and to the right, there are virtually no shadows on his legs.

So it seems pretty clear that his legs were photoshopped in after flipping an image where he was running to our right/his left. Only the legs were replaced, as the shirt is correct. My guess is that getting a clean shot of a soccer player's legs, with no other legs or bodies in the picture, is not that easy. I'd say they had to photoshop in the legs, from a reversed picture, to get a complete shot of just his legs, without obstacles.

I'd say all three players, and the ball, were photoshopped in. For Messi, they decided to photoshop two pictures, flipping the legs, to get a good clean shot.

Susan said...

It looks to me like Messi is wearing his pants inside out. With enough stitching, the embroidery could easily be visible on both sides. Is this is the soccer equivalent of a rally cap?

NaplesMom said...

My guess is that Messi's pants for some reason was a separately added reverse image, because the number is on the player's left leg, but for the other two players, numbers 8 and 9, the numbers show on the right leg.All players look like they were photoshopped in.

Tom said...

Inside out.

Anonymous said...

Since the other players' pants have numbers on the right leg, Messi must have his pants on inside out. And the numbers would have to be visible from the inside!


anne-marie said...

This guy was added to the picture. A symmetry exists not only on the pants but also on the Tshirt. The patch on hisleft shoulder is wrong. They just rewrite UNICEF the right way.
Nice to see you back!

Anonymous said...

The shorts are on inside out, often as my own son chooses to wear his clothes. This is why the other players have the numbers on the other side of the shorts.

Anonymous said...

Did he put them on backwards? The other players have the numbers printed on the opposite leg.

Anna B. K. (via Facebook)

Maria said...

I wonder if there is any other website where Messi is being visually undressed by so many people of various ages.

It looks like we have three proposed solutions here:
1)He put his pants backward.
2)He is wearing his pants inside-out and since all the decorations are embroidery they are clearly visible on both sides.
3)Image has been digitally altered and Messi's legs were copied from another image where they were originally horizontally flipped. His torso was either not copied or was also flipped and then UNISEF reversed digitally.

I am personally leaning toward the answer #3.
It doesn't seem very likely that a famous player who receives hundreds of thousands for each game and appearance will be negligent enough to wear his pants flipped or reversed. Plus reversing front-back will still result in the number being printed incorrectly on the back of his right leg. Wearing pants inside-out is a proper "geometrical" solution but can this be such a heavy embroidery to look so clean and bright inside-out?

I decided to consult with a field expert - a friend of mine Hany Farid who is a professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth, . He is an expert at identifying digital manipulation. I will post his answer as soon as we hear back from him.

Meanwhile - a puzzle point for everyone who contributed.

Maria said...

We got an expert opinion from digital forensics guru Dr. Hany Farid:

Here is what I think is going on. I think that the image of Messi was flipped about its vertical axis, that the text on his shirt was copied from the player behind him, and that the text on the shorts was inadvertently not corrected for. If you look at the little folds on the shirt of the two players just around the "unicef" text and the logo you will see that they are nearly identical and hence fairly good evidence that they were copied.

If you are curious to see more examples of digital manipulation, check out Dr Farid's company FourAndSix

Tom said...

Later, Tom thinks....
Nah. "Nearly identical" would imply that someone (a skilled ph-shoppper) did much work on the shirt and ignored/overlooked the flip error on the shorts. Indeed that's possible if the editor was working on a blown-up image. Flip the image, undo the flipped shirt text, replace it with copied material from some other shirt, slightly modify the little folds, all that effort and still miss the 10? Messy Messi.

Some digital editing was likely on a poster for a celebrity in this market. There should be more shadow on the grass, for instance, if there is any at all.

But why not lean toward the simplest answer, inside out. Not reversed front-back, no. Just inside out.

Poor workmanship in any case. Hurried.

Anonymous said...

he put his pant inside out!

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