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Excessive image manipulation under fire

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› Excessive image manipulation under fire
  • Published on January 10, 2014

Taking Photoshop classes is one of the most effective ways to master this complex and remarkably powerful software application. Although very much an outdated term these days, "airbrushing" of professional photography has been very much in vogue, if you'll pardon the pun, in the fashion and advertising industries for years. While ad agencies may no longer use actual airbrushes to touch up the images that grace magazine covers, they do rely heavily on the vast array of image manipulation tools in Photoshop. However, officials at the American Medical Association have called for an end to the practice.

Fantasy versus reality
At the heart of the matter lies the contentious issue of how influential mainstream magazines are, and how ubiquitous the use of image manipulation is within the publishing and entertainment industries. The AMA claims that today's culture of unrealistic body imagery and idealism over increasingly unattainable physiques has serious implications for young people and those at risk of dietary and eating disorders.

"The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image," said Barbara McAneny, a member of the AMA board. "In one image, a model's waist was slimmed so severely, her head appeared to be wider than her waist. We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."

Celebs weigh in
Officials at the AMA aren't the only ones to take exception to the artistic liberties that Photoshop affords publishers. According to The Huffington Post, numerous celebrities have spoken out in the past about how magazines and other media outlets have altered their appearance for the sake of glamorization or sales without their consent.

Popular singer/songwriter Lady Gaga voiced her objections to how Glamour magazine depicted her on a recent cover, claiming that her skin looked too smooth and her hair too soft. She added that, "It is fair to write about the change in your magazines. But what I want to see is the change on your covers ... When the covers change, that's when culture changes."

Excessive image manipulation can certainly be a touchy subject, but if you're keen to learn how to restore old photographs, paint digitally or other exciting ways to use this powerful software, taking Photoshop classes at the American Graphics Institute is an excellent place to start.

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.