Botched Photoshop work turns Kanye West into a vampire
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Published on March 29, 2014
Photoshop errors can distract from what would otherwise be a high-quality image, as was the case a recent issue of Vogue Magazine which features a spread covering Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. One of the images of the couple and their daughter, North, has sparked an Internet-wide discussion about the use of Photoshop to create photo composites - and serves as an example of things to avoid when combining images.
All is well from afar
At first glance, the photo seems relatively normal. Kardashian, holding North, is taking a picture of herself and the baby, and off to the side, West is capturing the moment on his iPad. Viewers can clearly see that there's a mirror that spans the far wall behind the subjects, and missing from the reflection is West, making it apparent he was added to the image after it was taken.
Is Kanye a vampire?
According to PetaPixel, this seemingly small mistake triggered a burst of fan-made images, called memes, that follow a "Kanye is a Vampire" theme. Gizmodo helped it gain traction in the public sphere by asking its followers to point out the errors in the comment section below the photo. There, people picked apart other aspects of the image, such as the fact that all three members of the family appear to be retouched using Photoshop, and that the lighting behind the figures seems to be inconsistent, which suggests that the entire background might have even been fabricated.
Selection tool gone wrong
A user on Gizmodo's site noted that the image on West's iPad, which is meant to be of him taking a picture of Kardashian and North from his perspective, seems to actually be the byproduct of a poorly used selection tool that was used to make a copy of the original image. How can you tell? For starters, there's no indication that the camera app on West's device is there. It's as if the image has been dubbed in place of something else. Tim Pyke, another of Gizmodo's users, also pointed out that "the angle looks totally wrong here." It's as if the designer hurriedly transferred the image to the iPad screen, rather than making sure that these little details were recreated.
Errors such as this, and Target's recent debacle that revealed a sloppy attempt to slim down an already thin model, are dangerous to the source's credibility. For brands to remain credible, they must be careful in what they select to edit and how they use Photoshop's editing tools.
In fact, if Gizmodo's article, which nonchalantly asked its readers to find the mistakes for themselves, is any indication of a new trend in a common search for design errors, then aiming for perfection is that much more important in terms of the finished product.Taking Adobe Photoshop classes at the American Graphics Institute is one way in which you can learn how to avoid making these kinds of composition errors, and retouch images to avoid these types of embarrassing mistakes.
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.