Friday, January 25, 2013

Image Manipulation - Succumb to the Temptation but not the Greed!

At a time when many viewers are howling why image manipulation is getting more unrealistic the editors themselves can have a code of conduct. It is better to be tempted to have perfect pictures rather than to be greedy to make then unreal.

When an editor knows he can do a lot of manipulation he cannot just take advantage of the features. Being less greedy will prove to be valuable here and retain the clients. This is one important lesson that advertisers should learn for themselves. Succumbing to creativity needs to be balanced. Making a few adjustments is passé today. Editors have the ability to do more than just tweaking. So a fat body torso is made into a well-toned abs to envy. An uneven skin is made freckle free and young. For an image of a younger person it is fine, but when older people are also subjected to manipulation it can have wrong results. Yes image manipulation is risky and needs to be applied intelligently. Now there are guidelines for manipulation also. So pay attention to this:

Touch up pictures only as much as they do not require major alterations.  Cosmetic surgery should be avoided at all costs. The quality of image will depend largely on the reason it is being used for. For example if one is showing a well toned body to add to a medical or wellness product it can be appropriate only if it matches the claim. If it does not then the image manipulation is not good. When one is showing before and after pictures of a surgery, medical program then also one need to be careful while showing the image. Manipulation out of tune can be risky. Hence it is okay to succumb to the temptation to airbrush, but to make layers and change the contours is not recommended.

There are many new ways one can do image manipulation today. Photoshop has introduced many new features to make the process of editing easier. The trends are changing to make the process more acceptable. These trends are not like that of fashion that come and disappear. For example one of the reasons why images are manipulated is that the pictures have become old. They need to be revived. But in the process of revival never do things that can spoil the value. Like if it is black and white photo there is no need to make it in any other monochromatic color. It will look silly. There is also no need to change the hairstyle by masking even though it is possible. Why because the picture was taken 50 years ago and it represents a particular era. Why tamper with that element? It would be a foolish attempt to use the right technology in the wrong way. Let the photos look old and dated. It retains the charm and also gives it value. It is up to the editor to know where he can draw the line. He should try to understand the emotion, frame and importance of the event. When he understands the essence then the manipulation is valuable.

A further tip:

A great photo can look greater but cannot be stretched. Effects can be added to make it better but the main subject cannot be modified to suit the palette. Let not the knowledge over power but empower the visual.