Photoshop is a fine

bitmap editor. Like most of 'em, it's got a "

noise" feature, which

randomly (or

pseudo-randomly, if I may

geek out for a brief moment) lightens or darkens

pixels in the selected area. The effect is a lot like "

snow" on a

television. It adds

noise to the signal, so to speak.

Well, it's

random. This thing generates

random (okay,

arbitrary, whatever) patterns of

pixels. Just like the infinite

monkeys with typewriters thing, if you beat a series of

random numbers against each other for long enough, damn near anything is liable to fall out --

*eventually*. If you've got some serious patience.

I've got

Photoshop running right now. If I just keep on applying "

noise" to this little

bitmap here, I'll eventually see the face of

Our Lord, or maybe even the

BVM.

Think of the picture as a number, where each

pixel is a "digit" having a range of values equal to the number of colors available: In a 32 x 32 area, that's

1024 (== 32 * 32) "digits". If that each

pixel could only be black or white, then each "digit" has a range of two possible values. This gets us a number of possible unique arrangements of

pixels equal to 2 to the

1024th power, which can be (and should be, if you want to do anything useful with it) viewed as a

1024-digit number in

base two.

We're not limited to two colors, though. We've got 256 colors. Given a 32 x 32

pixel image using

256-color

grayscale (which is what we're working with here in

Photoshop), our number is

256 to the

1024th

power: The

radix (or "base") to the power of the number of "digits", as above.

256 to the

1024th

power is a lot. (in the neighborhood of 1 followed by 2466 zeroes, I believe).

^{1}
I'm going to be here for a long time, but you know what,

Lord? I'm ready when you are.

^{1}You could express the same number as 2 to the 8192nd power, of course: Eight bits per pixel times 1024 pixels is 8192 bits. In plain English, that's a 8192-digit number in base 2. But if that makes any sense to you, you know it already.

tregoweth: Good question. I don't have

Kai's Power Tools.