Photoshop Has Changed The World

Can you imagine a world where Photoshop doesn't exist? A world where we can take every picture at face value and believe that there was no airbrushing, no retouching, no nothing? I can't. Photoshop has made it impossible for me to not question what I'm seeing and at the same twisted time has also redefined my image of what things are supposed to look like.

PBS' excellent Off Book series takes a look at how Photoshop is remixing the world:

Photoshop has completely revolutionised our visual culture. Artists now use Photoshop to create complex imagery that would have been impossible 20 years ago. It has also profoundly changed the art of photo retouching, turning a labour intensive process into an artful and often controversial digital workflow. But possibly the most current and expressive influence can be seen in meme culture online. With the ability to alter any image in the media landscape, everyday people now have the means to critically comment on culture and spread their ideas virally, levelling the playing field between traditional media creators and consumers. Photoshop has changed the way we communicate, the way we express ourselves, and the way we view the world and each other.

It's true that though Photoshop has changed what we see, as a tool it has served as an equaliser on what anyone can do (to a degree, at least). [PBS Off Book]

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    Photoshop is one product. No, it has not 'changed the world'. Image manipulation happened before Photoshop and would still be happening now, using any number of other tools, if Photoshop had never been released.

      They probably wouldn't have been able to communicate as effectively if they replaced every instance of "Photoshop" in the video with "digital photo manipulation programs like Photoshop".

        Rather than run what amounts to an ad for Adobe they could've been neutral (and more truthful) and just said "digital image manipulation" but, hey, who cares about good journalism?

          Photoshop might as well be a common noun now. Like Doona refers to quilts, Blundstones refers to that sort of boot and iPod to many older people is any music playing device.
          When someone digitally manipulates an image, more often than not someone will call it 'Photoshopping'. Not GIMPing, or Paint.NETing or even digital manipulating.

            GIMPing means something entirely different :)

            Last edited 16/04/13 10:21 am

          I know one single person who uses another photo program, and they're a neck beard Linux nerd. Everyone else I know has either bought PhotoShop for work, or pirated it for personal use.

            That's because gimp is rubbish, and only slashdot-reading neckbeards like your friend use it. Or, more commonly, install it and then tell the internet that they use it. No one who actually needs PS-level tools uses it.

   is probably enough for 95% of people.

          Although I use Gimp myself (I think its better than photoshop in isolation), I usually refer to photoshopping an image, in much the same way I 'google' it. My bad I guess.

        Nevertheless, image manipulation was around long before computers were, in forms like airbrushing. Photoshop and digital image editing suites are just an incremental update.

    That one of McCain and the zombies was good XD

    Love Photoshop, excellent program. It's a cartoonists wet dream.

    Last edited 14/04/13 4:49 pm

      Photoshop is perhaps the worst of its kind. The workflow is awful and its development is constrained by the need to keep Flash, After Effects, Dreamwaever and Illustrator relevant. Things like Xara Designer Pro are far more capable and cost a lot less into the bargain. Even Corel Photopaint is better/cheaper than Photoshop.

    "Artists now use Photoshop to create complex imagery that would have been impossible 20 years ago."

    That's utterly false, the part about it being impossible. It has ALWAYS been possible, it's just easier for less skilled people now.

      True to some degree, even hand painting/drawing artists though over the last 20 years have gotten so insanely good people have problems telling if they're photo's or not, so I guess it does hold true to some degree.

        40 years ago the hyper-realistic movement was a thing in art- both in painting and sculpture. People would replicate reality perfectly without the use of a camera.

        On the photography side, undetectable manipulation of photos has been a thing since photography was invented. It did not depend on how good the tools were, only the skill and experience of the re-toucher.

        Last edited 15/04/13 12:31 am

      It's not false at all. Digital processes have greatly expanded an artist's possibilities. e.g. In the old days there were only so many ways to combine two images/negatives, today Photoshop offers 27 different blending modes, some of which are purely mathematical and could not have been done before computers.

    to say that in the days of film, transparencies and negatives never had any re-touching, then I tell you you are deluded. Having met a person who did brush out the cellulite in the images of a very well known Australian Model, it is an indication of what is possible, albiet by only a small number of very skilled people.

    and where did the terms "burn" "dodge" and the likes come from? they are techniques employed in the dark room, they are not new and exclusive to photoshop.

    "I've talked to traditional artists before, and alot of them are just kinda stuborn in trying it, or they feel like they'd be a cop-out if they do. It's really no different to a regular traditional brush..."

    I respect 'shopping skills, but this is just bullshit. There's no Ctrl + Z in meatspace.

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