While the internal characteristics of the White House PDF have been explained in great detail by blogger NBC, using a simple workflow involving a Xerox WorkCentre office machine and the Mac Preview program, there remains to be studied the issue of “halos.” The halos are basically light areas surrounding the text. Birthers say that the halo effect comes from using the “unsharp mask” in Adobe Photoshop and that it means somebody forged the document.
While I have written a little on halos, I have never considered it significant after I made two observations: a scholarly paper on MRC compression says that halos are one of the things that MRC does, and when I saw a special function in Adobe Acrobat (that also does a form of MRC compression) to remove halos. I also observed that the PDF file from the US National Archives of the Certificate of the California Electoral College vote in 2012 had halos too (it was an Adobe creation) as did a scan of my own birth certificate.
However, rooting around in my emails today, I came across a curious document. It is a JPG created from the White House PDF, sent to me by birther image expert Garrett Papit, and it has no halos. I don’t know where he got this from, or how it was made, but it has no halos (click to enlarge).
So if you can print the White House PDF without halos, one has to ask whether they are actually in the PDF, or whether they are created by the programs used to view the PDF to make the text appear sharper. I don’t know.
In any case, if one wanted an original without halos to scan as a test, the document preceding might be a good candidate.
Ok, it’s a fake insofar as it is a true print from the White House PDF. You can see that it derives from the White House PDF by looking at the faded “R” in “BARACK”:
However, it’s not authentic because the security paper is positioned differently in relation to the text as can be seen easily in the following comparison (the White House PDF above). Notice particularly the position of the security pattern beneath the word “OF”:
I don’t know whether Papit tried to trick me (more or less successfully) or if he was fooled himself.