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Photoshop Fails – Don’t be a Victim!

While the Photoshopping of images is extremely common these days error still occur. We look at a couple of Photoshop fails and also how to spot an Photoshopped images

Photoshop has become an essential tool for any photographer or publicist. While the touching up of photos has been a common place in the media for many years now, the strength and capabilities of Photoshop have made it so easy that it can be seen everywhere. But it’s no longer just models and Celebes getting the digital beauty treatment, now the self conscious feel the need to remove those blemishes and hide those rolls for things such as Facebook photos.

However, not all attempts at creating a visual sensation are quite as successful as the creator may have first imagined. Leaving tell tail signs that an image has been ‘shopped can cause more backlash to the person in the image or the company the image represents than the unaltered original image would have had.

In homage to these train wrecks of images we look at a couple of our favourite Photoshop fails of recent time:

The Claw

This recent howler made by Simply Be managed to mutilate their lovely model’s hand, making her look more freak show than modelling pro. It has managed to give them some unexpected press coverage and inadvertent advertising. There’s no such thing as bad publicity is there, right? # photoshop fail

The Tone and Tuck

Photoshop has also become the favourite tool of the lazy dieter, previewing what your ideal figure would be should you commit to a lengthy diet and exercise routine. However, you may impress your social media buddies with your pixel perfect image, but if the original image surfaces you may be in for a spot of bother. Another photoshop fail.

Can you tell if an Image has been Photoshopped?

In a word, yes, but it is usually down to the skill of the Photoshop artist. The sloppy novice may leave their mark through unexpected bends and curves which look out of place (ladies, this is common when trying to enhance those curves). More skilful ‘shoppers will have you inspecting pixels for the slightest of mismatched tones and shades.

However the experts will have you rolling out the CSI-esq equipment to scan for alterations and edits made. Once you get the hint of an edit you need to follow up on it with more tests as there is bound to be more. There are several different filters, analysers and techniques that can help with this, including:

  • Error Level Analysis (ELA) which measures the colouring and consistency of the image
  • Luminance Gradient which should display the noise of an image, if areas are smoother then it is likely they have had some work done on them
  • Looking for colour variation using Demosaic Modification Analysis
  • Checking minimum and maximum levels of image noise for patterns (unaltered images should be just noise)
  • JPEG save checking through looking for pixelated areas of the image once the image has been brightened using a histogram

So there are enough readily available tools to catch out unsuspecting ‘shoppers, maybe signalling for people to go back to the el natural way of taking and publishing photos.

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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