PetaPixel

Here’s What Happens When You Try to Edit Photos of Money in Photoshop

Did you know that Photoshop has built-in mechanisms that prevent you from editing photos of banknotes? After getting a payday, Reddit user tarballdotgz tried to Photoshop some of his hundred dollar bills, but ran into the above error in Photoshop. Even if you find a way to edit the images in Photoshop, there’s a good chance your printer will give you a similar error if you try to print the image out!

TIL that Photoshop doesn’t let you edit photos of currency [Reddit]


Update: Another interesting fact: apparently one mechanism used to do this is something called the “EURion constellation“, a specific pattern built into banknotes worldwide. (Thx David!)


 
  • http://twitter.com/omicronlyrae Oliver Lea

    This is due to the EURion pattern on most bank notes. It’s a pattern of dots specifically designed to be electronically recognisable to stop people just printing money on normal paper. Clever stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/omicronlyrae Oliver Lea

    This is due to the EURion pattern on most bank notes. It’s a pattern of dots specifically designed to be electronically recognisable to stop people just printing money on normal paper. Clever stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/omicronlyrae Oliver Lea

    This is due to the EURion pattern on most bank notes. It’s a pattern of dots specifically designed to be electronically recognisable to stop people just printing money on normal paper. Clever stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/_iMatt_ Matteo Gastaldi

    ..same with my photocopier (with Euros).. if I press the button for a COLOR Copy doesn’t work..LOL

  • http://twitter.com/_iMatt_ Matteo Gastaldi

    ..same with my photocopier (with Euros).. if I press the button for a COLOR Copy doesn’t work..LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632512335 Matt Higby

    The question is, why was this guy trying to photoshop money in the first place? ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632512335 Matt Higby

    The question is, why was this guy trying to photoshop money in the first place? ;)

  • http://twitter.com/Blackbird_2 Bob Dunkin

    We needed stacks and stacks of money to drop for a show 2 years ago.  Had to be pretty realistic.  Got the error on the initial scan, and there was some way around it.  I don’t remember what it was now.  I think there was some ‘I’m not printing money’ thing to click.  Regardless, we weren’t printing ‘real’ money.  The Canadian $5 was changed to $55, and the face changed to Leonard Bernstein (composer of the show).  They looked pretty realistic, despite the $55. 
    Pretty fun at the bar after too!  BIG tippers!  (yes, we did leave an ACTUAL tip as well…)

  • Anonymous

    I think the workaround was something like; import the image to illustrator, then copy it from illustrator to photoshop. But I don’t remember it that well :P

  • Anonymous

    I think the workaround was something like; import the image to illustrator, then copy it from illustrator to photoshop. But I don’t remember it that well :P

  • Anonymous

    I think the workaround was something like; import the image to illustrator, then copy it from illustrator to photoshop. But I don’t remember it that well :P

  • http://www.perigeeglobal.com Tom Halpin

    Printing money should be fine, and in many cases legal – provided it is more than 10% larger or smaller than an authentic note, or there is obvious colour changes etc!.

  • http://twitter.com/salzmanufaktur Salz

    I got this message with the 1st CS version of PS. Geez, I had a Fujifilm S2pro back then so I guess it was around 2003. 

  • Mike O’Sullivan

    works fine for me, i don’t get a message

  • http://profiles.google.com/slimspidey Spider- Man

    CRAP! And my okidata microline 320 can print a wicked 100!

  • Asjfd

    I just printed a fuckload of cash and it didn’t tell me squat.  I’m off to Harrod’s, suckers.

  • Travis McCrea

    This is, of course, really dumb… it just makes it difficult for good people to be artistic, while the bad guys will use actual printing presses and various things that don’t have these built in  limitations. the only people who lose are good people. 

  • T-dawg

    This has been around a long time. I even got permission from the Royal Canadian Mint to reproduce the bills for an ad, but Photoshop interfered with that message.

    It should also be pointed out that colour copiers all have a micro encoding that is unique to each machine. If you try to reproduce bills on them and print them, it will be encoded with the serial number of the unit and other information that will help law enforcement agencies track the location of them.

  • homsar

    If anyone accepts laser-printed money as the real thing, they deserve to get defrauded. Seriously, the difference is as clear as night and day.

  • Guest

    heh!! i used to work for a group at the MIT media lab doing steganography work on images of dollar bills – hiding data that looked like random noise to the eye but registered as intentional to the machine. (it was GIMP plugins back then. aaaaaaah, perl…)

    not a bad use of a january work period as a recall.

  • Anonymous

    Try taking money in a steamy, dark bar some night.  Now, of course, you can’t pass this off on regular photocopy paper, but there are papers out there that make it a lot easier to pass off as real currency.

  • http://twitter.com/rich_d_rich Rich d’Rich

    I’m guessing that either GIMP will edit money happily, or that the code to stop it can be easily viewed by anyone willing to plough through a squillion lines of C.

  • http://twitter.com/pete_boyd Pete Boyd

    It’s not an “error”, it’s a feature.

  • Travis

    Well, good thing I create and print my own currency.  It looks a lot like monopoly money but has my name written all over it.  You can’t use it in many shops, but i’m hoping to change all that soon.

  • Jesse

    I’m guessing the note has to be photocopied in? I just grabbed a couple different bills online and opened them in CS5 with no trouble. I was able to edit and save. I didn’t try printing though.

  • L01

    Hint: try it with an older version of photoshop – bet you don’t have the same problem.

  • http://twitter.com/d7e7r7 David Ritchie

    Didn’t get that error with a South African R20 note I shot… 

  • http://vool.ie Keith
  • http://vool.ie Keith
  • http://vool.ie Keith
  • http://grotesqa.net Rui

    Just tried it with a Singapore 10 dollar note, didn’t get the error… does this error show with all kinds of banknotes, or specific ones?

  • http://www.worksplash.com Oscar

    Well, you know, it’s the creative instinct!

  • http://www.worksplash.com Oscar

    Well, you know, it’s the creative instinct!

  • http://www.worksplash.com Oscar

    Well, you know, it’s the creative instinct!

  • http://www.worksplash.com Oscar

    Well, you know, it’s the creative instinct!

  • http://www.iamchrisphoto.com Iamchris

    No such problem here with a £10 note. Must just be you americans and your dollars. :) 

  • Elfwreck

    Photoshop for CS2 will import (scan) US $1 bills and $5 scan fine. US $20 gets a warning that although they can be imported (scanned) & edited, they can’t be printed as-is:

    This application does not support the printing of banknote images.

    You can open and edit this image but you will not be able to print it as is. For more information, select the information button below for Internet-based information on restrictions for copying and distributing banknote images or go to http://www.rulesforuse.org.

    [Information] [OK]

    Now I want to find an older $20 bill to sort out if it’s something in the newer bills that sets it off.

  • Mpierrat25

    I faced that problem in using part of banknote in Photoshop
    I moved to Linux open with Gimp an print on the same printer it’s OK
    No idea how the protection works
    Anyway I’m fed up of this softwares using most of their resources to protect anything !

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashelton1980 Andy Shelton

    Just took a photo of a twenty and it opened just fine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/happytinfoilcat HappyTinfoil Cat

    I just need to know how to embed those dots on my photos.

  • Laura H.

    I don’t think GIMP cares. Can’t say for usre, I’ve only played with scans of US bills. For purely artistic purposes, mainly, but also to document a few interesting vintage dollars.

  • Rajko

    Trying to drop in a Canadian $20 into an advertisement and Photoshop will not let me edit.

  • Bill

    Scanned $50 Canada using Hamrick’s VueScan software on Mac.
    Placed the jpeg into Illustrator CS5.  Then import the PDF into Photoshop CS5.
    Could edit no problem but can’t print.  Acrobat will print but the Canon MX870 recognizes the EURion markings and won’t print more than a centimeter or so of the bill.

  • Mpierrat25

    means the Canon driver used on Mac check what you are printing. Move to Linux may work.

  • darylcheshire

    Years ago in Australia, colour reproduction equipment was illegal for this reason. In any case such equipment was expensive.
    If these controls were easily circumvented, the Treasury would just ban colour reproduction equipment again.
    I remember someone got into trouble printing money on tea towels, not sure about beach towels.
    I also remember one of Gough Whitlam’s elections, the ALP printed election material as a $3 note saying the Lib’s promises are as true as a three dollar note. I dimly recall a sheep with Billy Snedden’s face.

  • niko

    This is why I issue and use my own money: Bitcoin.

  • Dick

    If the Federal Reserve can print money and debase its value, what does it matter?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anwar.mamad65 Rayena Mamad

    anwar

  • bluegirlredstate

    I’m trying to edit money for a flyer we’re making – I figured putting a partial pic of $25 cash could be pretty enticing. So much for that idea.

  • darl

    Why not? They’re plenty of CREATIVE reasons for needing to do so; I take it you’re not the creative type? Otherwise, your question would be ass-off….