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Photo retouching
November 29, 2011 4:57 PM   Subscribe


 
I don't know how much sway the ama has with advertising agencies, but I can totally get behind this idea.
posted by dejah420 at 5:07 PM on November 29, 2011


This is one of the steps that will eventually lead us to the 211th, 212th and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, wherein all Americans are mandated equal.
posted by mullingitover at 5:10 PM on November 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think mullingitover is making a reference to a certain short story...
posted by jepler at 5:13 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, for one, would very much like to see a legitimate retouching metric.

This would be the first.
posted by effugas at 5:18 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This will never happen, but it's an interesting idea. Examples of the sort of retouching they are talking about never fail to depress me.
posted by everichon at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2011


So Tina Fey walks into a photo shoot for Bust Magazine and is dismayed to notice that it's a very simple setup with minimal lighting. She turns to the group and says, "We're all feminists here, but you're gonna use Photoshop, right?" After being assured that they do, she proceeds with the shoot, writing later:
Feminists do the best Photoshop, because they leave the meat on your bones. They don’t change your size or your skin color. They leave your disgusting knuckles, but they take out some armpit stubble. Not because they’re denying its existence, but because they understand that it’s okay to make a photo look as if you were caught on your best day in the best light.
posted by maudlin at 5:20 PM on November 29, 2011 [17 favorites]


Unsurprisingly, George Clooney manages to be better looking in his "before" photo.
posted by auto-correct at 5:21 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is one of the steps that will eventually lead us to the 211th, 212th and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, wherein all Americans are mandated equal.

Wow.
posted by DU at 5:22 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't mind the widening of eyes, shortening of noses, smoothing out of acne, and enhancement of bust. I would be content if the magazines would just stop carving out entire rib-cages and backs; I know enough anatomy from art school to be disturbed and saddened by the bizarre amputations that go on in the name of slimming.
posted by Peach at 5:25 PM on November 29, 2011


Since the industries lack the will and ethics to do anything about this, legislation might be needed. Meanwhile in France...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:27 PM on November 29, 2011


Labels generated by the system could be published alongside modified images, but Farid is also working with Kevin Connor, a former product manager at Adobe, to create a plug-in for Photoshop that would rate images in real-time during the editing process, warning retouchers if they stray too far from reality.

That's quite interesting. Definitely a good idea to give editors feedback before they make choices on what to publish. Might lead to a lot of self–restraint, if they know that others will run the same images through the program.

Otherwise let folks sue magazines that insinuate retouched fotos are true–to–life images. Magazines if they refer to "Amazing new photographs of Angelina Jolie" and not "Amazing new paintings of Angelina Jolie" will find themselves in court. Trade descriptions and all that.
posted by Jehan at 5:28 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whoa! The general public must in fact be too stupid to understand when something has been photosh... *sound of automobile accident in head*
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Photoshop? Who needs it? Unless one loses an eye or a leg (and if so no amount of photoshopping will do), it suffices to post a 10 year old photo to look better.

Wrinkles? As the actress Anna Magnani once said, "please don't cover away my wrinkles, it took me a lifetime to get them".
posted by elpapacito at 5:41 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whoa! The general public must in fact be too stupid to understand when something has been photosh... *sound of automobile accident in head*

It's far worse than that. It's your highly exploitable wetware being constantly exploited. On a daily basis. By thousands of impressions. Some people might be able to withstand the constant barrage, but no one can do it all the time, especially not impressionable young girls who tend to be very beauty and fashion interested.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:43 PM on November 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why doesn't the AMA just adopt a policy that young, impressionable people expose themselves to less advertising in the first place?
posted by rocket88 at 5:45 PM on November 29, 2011


To be very clear, most of the photoshopping metrics (Error Level Analysis, I'm looking at you) are almost entirely as realistic as the "enhance" thing everyone hates in crime procedurals. This looks like it could be more interesting...but it needs to be tested.
posted by effugas at 5:45 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess we're all too weak willed to simply reject and ignore the idiotic fashion industry? This is a pathetic turn of events. We need to harden the fuck up.
posted by Scoo at 5:54 PM on November 29, 2011


Here's my rating system:

1 - White balance, color correction, levels, etc.
2 - Stray hair wisp removal, acne removal, eye capillary reduction, etc.
3 - Mole removal, iris enhancement, wrinkle smoothing, etc.
4 - Body part repositioning, symmetry enhancing, etc.
5 - Body part modification, breast augmentation etc.
5 -
posted by nathancaswell at 5:54 PM on November 29, 2011


Oops someone photoshop out that extra "5 -"
posted by nathancaswell at 5:55 PM on November 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ooh! Encode it as a watermark in the image so it would be invisible to the naked eye but can be decoded using a smartphone. Have Photoshop do this automatically by default. Most Photoshoppers would never bother to change the setting.
posted by miyabo at 5:55 PM on November 29, 2011


As a graphic designer, I would hate to have to incorporate some extra label into everything I do. There are already tons of that kind of stuff I already have to put in. However, if an image rated above a certain level on a reliable scale for portraits of people, I would get behind it because people need to understand what they are looking at is fantasy.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:56 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Great idea.
I use photoshop a lot and I think my natural workflow would inadvertently defeat the plug-in (I tend to work in stages, and previous stages exist as unrelated files, not as something a plug-in could access. The final touch-up could be extremely minor even when the end result is vastly different from the original). It would not be difficult (if the law or company policy required it, for example) to adapt my workflow to comply with the needs of a plugin, but there would need to be some kind of push like that to get the change to happen.

Also, it's been a while since I looked at celeb before&after pics... seeing that page has made me think that since this is the media norm, and what people expect, it's only fair that I should start going to town on online-dating profile pics! Whoa, can o' worms!
posted by -harlequin- at 5:56 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What this would accomplish: the small number of near-physically perfect models will make more money and get more work. Photographers will do more to pose and light models in the best possible way. Makeup artists will lay the foundation on thicker. You can make an imperfect person look perfect and give average people a complex without ever opening photoshop, and still get that '1' rating that just makes them even more neurotic. At least now people expect that the images are manipulated after the shoot.
posted by mullingitover at 6:04 PM on November 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


The next logical step to protect us is to require people who have had body modification and/or plastic surgery to publicly disclose--either verbally or printed on an article of clothing, a sign around their neck, or maybe a tattoo--the location, type, and amount of construction/modification/restoration.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:08 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This seems really difficult to quantify, but maybe I underestimate algorhythm writers.

I mean, I'm very into photography and I've done web and print design for longer than I care to admit, so I've used me some Photoshop.

I've done things like remove mountains or telephone poles or half-people that would represent a pretty large percentage of the picture but don't really change the impression of the picture much, they just clean it up a little. Then again, I've tweaked curves or levels or white balance just a bit and it totally changes the character and mood of the image. It's seems like it's not like calories or polyunsaturated fats or something where you can assign a number and know exactly what the effect is. (Is it?)
posted by mullicious at 6:09 PM on November 29, 2011


Here's the problem - retouching is now being done by the camera itself. I gave a talk on this recently. Here's an example from HP, where the camera slims you by 10%.
posted by fake at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


There was a line from the sadly gone AV Hatecast about how "brave" some people where for doing photo shoots without photoshop, noting that they where in the best possible lighting covered head to toe in mineral oil and had hair in their face the entire time- but more importantly "I like it when I see that Mariah Carrey's skin is all one color and her waist is smaller than her head, cause I know that's fake and you can ignore, when it's even without extensive post production I still look ten thousand times better then you ever will, when then that makes me feel worse."
posted by The Whelk at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2011


Someone find a way to get the "affection"-whores on 500px.com to agree to this. You know who you are.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:22 PM on November 29, 2011


I've done things like remove mountains or telephone poles or half-people that would represent a pretty large percentage of the picture but don't really change the impression of the picture much, they just clean it up a little.

The presented technique gets around that by separately quantifying changes in the background vs. changes in people, and so using the mechanical turk ratings it's presumably learned that changes in the background are less important. The authors point out that where it fails is when the changes are small but significant, such as photoshopping in missing teeth. It would probably also fail if the change were big (in terms of pixel movement) but insignificant, such as moving a person (but otherwise leaving them unchanged) a bit to the left in an image.
posted by Pyry at 6:24 PM on November 29, 2011


They will have to find some other way to convince us that there is a sort of aesthetic perfection that we can only hope to attain by buying lots of Products. Otherwise, however shall we know how inadequate we are?

I mean, after all these years, I think we already know that nobody could ever possibly love us because our skin has pores in it and we have pelvises and far too many ribs. But somebody, please, think of the children.

This is anatomical correctness run amok!
posted by louche mustachio at 6:57 PM on November 29, 2011


The camera adds ten points.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:29 PM on November 29, 2011


fake: " Here's an example from HP, where the camera slims you by 10%."

That's awful. I just mentioned this to my girlfriend, who says maybe next they'll have cameras that make black people look white.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:30 PM on November 29, 2011


I started googling "photo" and "retouch" and pretty soon found this. Words fail.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:45 PM on November 29, 2011


twoleftfeet, I have a friend who used a similar service, albeit with drawings instead of photos, after her twin sons failed to overcome the effects of their very severe prematurity. She treasures those pictures; they're the only ones she has where her boys don't have tubes and IVs all over the place. Losing a child is excruciating, and if something like that helps someone get through it, I'm all for it.
posted by KathrynT at 8:00 PM on November 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


KathrynT, yeah, I can understand that. I've never put "photo retouching" and "loss of a child" together in the same mental sentence before, so it was a bit of a shock. I don't know what to think.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2011


Related: Crotch-Tastrophe

you're welcome. I lsughed and laughed and laughed.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:04 PM on November 29, 2011



That's awful. I just mentioned this to my girlfriend, who says maybe next they'll have cameras that make black people look white.


uhhhh
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 PM on November 29, 2011


What this would accomplish: the small number of near-physically perfect models will make more money and get more work. Photographers will do more to pose and light models in the best possible way. Makeup artists will lay the foundation on thicker. You can make an imperfect person look perfect and give average people a complex without ever opening photoshop, and still get that '1' rating that just makes them even more neurotic. At least now people expect that the images are manipulated after the shoot.
Maybe the reason we had so many 'supermodels' back in the day before photoshop.

Still, I would just personally prefer if photos were not as retouched. People go way to far a lot of the time and the result is ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 8:23 PM on November 29, 2011


I don't think another (yet another) rating system is going to help anyone. If people haven't figured out that all media is a lie or an attempt to manipulate them in some way, putting a +5 next to it isn't going to make any difference. This will just be another layer of bureaucracy for peoples lives to get tangled in, another reason to get sued or fined or shut down.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:26 PM on November 29, 2011


I was going to make a joke about how mugshots should be rated according to their hotness, but it's already been done.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:32 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have the funny feeling that having models as we use them today, looking as they do, is the problem. Going after Photoshop is a Band-Aid solution. There are always ways to light, pose, use make-up, etc. in order to either make someone look thinner, or to cover up the fact that they look like the withered crone-queen of a land where starvation is used for currency.

You could also look at the obsession with thinness as being a side effect of the use of close-ups in film. The camera adds ten pounds, especially to the face, so you wind up with all these actresses who look normal enough when it's just their head in a shot, but if you saw them in real life, you'd retch, and then you'd vomit, and then you'd start vomiting on them, and then you'd start to vomit a web-like material onto them, in the hopes that you could encase them in a hardy cocoon to last the winter, so that they could metamorphose into a healthier version of themselves.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:42 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, this isn't bad at all.

Instead of the normal approach -- take a photo, and attempt to blindly posit which pixels are altered and which are original -- they take a pair of altered and unaltered photos, and then derive a metric based on the difference between the known states.

That's a totally different problem, a much more tractable one in fact. Good stuff.
posted by effugas at 8:55 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is this page disabling right click?
posted by Goofyy at 10:41 PM on November 29, 2011


We as a society have retouched photos enough that I'm not sure we can make fun of Hentai anymore.
posted by amuseDetachment at 11:25 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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