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› Excessive Photoshopping Called-out by Pop Star Trainor
  • Published on May 12, 2016

This week Massachusetts native Meghan Trainor who won the Best New Artist Grammy award complained of excessive Photoshopping of a music video for her most recent song titled Me Too. The complaints led to the retouched video being removed from circulation and replaced by one that doesn’t include Photoshop-like effects being used on Trainor’s body. The before and after images of Trainor show Photoshop-like effects were used, with her waist being made to appear thinner, her hair adjusted, and her dress smoothed. The before image is on the right side, with the image after editiing showing on the left side.

Trainor said she saw screen captures from the video on social media in which her body appeared distorted. She demanded the excessively edited video be removed and replaced by one that accurately reflects her actual shape. In an interview after discovering the excessively edited video she said "I'm the poster child for no Photoshop."

While Photoshop retouching is often blamed for any type of image alteration, video effects typically involve using different tools such as Premiere Pro and After Effects. “Post-production tools allow for editing, filtering, and application of effects on video more efficiently than Photoshop,” according to Christopher Smith, president of American Graphics Institute which offers Photoshop classes and also provides After Effects training. “Photoshop can edit individual frames from a video, or even small portions of a video. But for larger-scale adjustments, this type of edit was likely performed using a tool such as After Effects,” said Smith. He added that courses teaching Photoshop retouching and similar effects always include a discussion on the ethical considerations surrounding altering an image. There are even places where edits are covered under a Photoshop law, he noted. "Photoshopping has come to mean any type of excessive retouching, even if Photoshop isn't used," he said.

Trainor drew a line between retouching to remove stray hairs or skin blemishes and Photoshopping to completely change the shape of her body and making her waist appear slimmer. Once she realized that her body shape was changed, she complained to management at her recording label, Epic Records, insisting that the edited video be replaced by one without the Photoshop-like effects.

When the revised version of the video was placed online, without the excessive Photoshopping effects, Trainor posted on Twitter, "The real #metoo video is finally up! Missed that bass. Thank you everyone for the support."

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.