I recently mentioned how spotting a bad Photoshop job is a hobby of mine, so I thought I would share the fun. When you know what to look for, you will see that bad Photoshop is all around us. Here are a few keys elements to keep an eye out for:
Floating Objects – This is probably the single most dead give-away that a photo has been doctored. When an object is plopped into a photo and the designer does not add a drop shadow to it, the object appears to float in space. (And not in a cool David Copperfield kind of way).
Bad Silhouettes – Cutting a clipping path around someone with fuzzy flowing hair is no easy task even for the most seasoned Photoshop gurus. So when a rookie tries the same task it’s easy to spot (you can often see the old background color coming through or the designer gives the subject a severe helmet head hair cut). This and the fact that they forget to knock out paths in between people’s arms and any other overlapping area of their body. I have recently noticed that a particular woman’s magazine that shares the name with a fancy girly drink, has taken to cutting funky shapes around people so they don’t have to bother with cutting clipping paths and soft silhouettes around hair. This to me is L-A-Z-Y. Seriously, don’t they have interns?
Repeating Background – Ever notice while watching the Flintstones that whenever Fred ran through the house, the background just looped – chair, lamp, window, chair, lamp, window, chair, lamp, window. Well, the same thing happens when a designer needs to extend a background of an image and takes the easy way out. The rubber stamper is a power tool in Photoshop that helps to clone parts of an image, but used incorrectly it can cause quite a mess.
Frankenstein Body Parts – It is not uncommon to take different poses/body parts from several shots in a photo shoot and piece them together to make one image. But a bad Photoshopper won’t take the time to make sure all the body parts blend into one believable image. Worse yet, they might not all be in the same perspective.
The Over Sight – When a designer is in a hurry, or just plain isn’t paying attention to detail, some really hilarious things can happen, this I call The Over Sight. People with two left arms, only three fingers, people placed in inadvertently suggestive poses, irrelevant floating body parts – this is the gem of the bad Photoshop job.