Government agencies show need for learning Photoshop
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Published on December 16, 2015
Last week yet another world leader demonstrated how there’s a near universal need among government agencies learn Photoshop. The official government of India’s Press Information Bureau used some less-than-stellar Photoshop skills to modify an image of the Prime Minister, then shared the edited image on social media. The Photoshop work was so poor that it was quickly noticed, criticized, and spawned a series of imitators. While receiving formal Photoshop training improves skills so that it is less likely that revisions are noticed, it also provides a better context for understanding what is generally acceptable. This provides an ethical framework for using Photoshop.
Details of the latest governmental Photoshop incident
In this internationally criticized Photoshop incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shown from inside an aircraft, surveying flood damage across Chennai, one of the major cities in India. In the original image, the city below is barely visible through a window of the aircraft, and is generally obscured by clouds. The failed Photoshop version of the image takes a separate image of the city from the air, in which the ground and flooding is clearly visible, and superimposes it over the general location of the window.
Photoshop Ethical Considerations for Government
The ethical considerations of a government using Photoshop to alter a news image are several. The image should reflect the original image, with no outside images being merged together using Photoshop. Where Photoshop is used, the manipulation should keep the original image, reflecting what an in-person observer might otherwise see. Photoshop can be used to clarify, sharpen, or bring areas into focus that might otherwise be difficult to see. Ethics for photo journalists should also apply to those at a governmental press agency, dictating that separate images should never be combined to create a more dramatic effect, which is what occurred with this image.
About the author
Jennifer Smith 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.