Photoshop image manipulation – is it a good or bad thing?

Dual photos of a before and after PhotoShop editing brush ups

In the latest twist to the controversy over the use of computer software to manipulate model and celebrity photos, a video briefly re-surfaced on YouTube last week to remind us all of the power of Adobe Photoshop…

Photoshop image manipulation

Image Source: Design Taxi

Last week, a short 37-second video clip on YouTube caused quite a stir among the Photoshop and graphic design community. Titled “The Power of Adobe Photoshop”, it was an edited version of the “Body Evolution – Model Before and After” video created by online campaigners Global Democracy back in 2011.

Both videos demonstrate the full extent to which airbrushing and image ‘touching up’ techniques can used on models and celebrities by photographers, advertisers and magazine designers to enhance – and totally transform – the original photograph.

The result, claims Design Taxi in their article about such Photoshop wizardry, is a “lifeless, plastic mannequin rather than a living, breathing human being.”

“The Power of Adobe Photoshop” video has now been removed by the YouTube user responsible for uploading it, but you can watch the original Global Democracy version below:

Photoshop Image Manipulation

When I mentioned the “Power of Adobe Photoshop” video in my Google+ feed last Friday, it immediately sparked a heated debate among the leading Photoshop community on Google’s social media network. The responses were both for, and against, the over use of Photoshop to manipulate images.

Here’s a few examples of what was said:

“Nice Photoshop skills.”
-Darren Covell

“I think the before is more beautiful. Photoshop is not evil in and of itself. It is merely a tool which can be used for good or for evil. I am a photographer who uses Photoshop, but I would never take it anywhere close to this far. For retouching, Photoshop should be used like makeup – to enhance, not change.”
-Get Shot Naked

“IMHO, resulting image looks like an ET. I’m from the minority that prefers human beings.”
-Pablo Silvio Esquivel

“I think this is a bad example of over-Photoshopping and used more to create the buzz about it than presenting an actual situation or any reality. This is not a magazine shoot and nor is it selling us anything other than a negative response.”
-Warren Morgan

Either way, as Spider-Man already knows… “With great power comes great responsibility.”


  1. As with anything it’s great to use for the right reasons but I think it should be used sparingly in the fashion/magazine world as it’s giving teenagers the wrong impression of beauty.

  2. It has a place, but for me that extends to only correcting mistakes & temporary blemishes.

    This should not be used to portray false, wildly unrealistic images of people.

    It makes people feel as though they are not good enough & could tip someone over the edge.

  3. It should be banned. It gives impressionable youngsters unrealistic expectations of themselves and the opposite sex.

  4. I think it is bad. Its ok for an oldie like me as this kind of thing doesn’t really influence me but I think it can make younger women feel inadequate about their appearance and make them strive for an impossible goal.

  5. I think the manipulation is a bad thing, my fiancé showed me the video a week or so ago and I couldn’t believe how much work they did to the picture. I feel sorry for young girls growing up with these kinds of images and the amount of alterations people make to themselves to be ‘beautiful’. Plastic surgery is becoming the norm and it really isn’t necessary. More people should be interested in living a healthy life and being fit rather than going under the knife to be socially acceptable.

  6. I think it depends on the extend of the work that’s done and the audience. Especially young girls should be educated that pictures in the media or advertisingbare highly altered and not the reality.

  7. I see it as bad..all the way! A great friend enlightened me a few years ago by showing me a before/after image of a rather famous beautifull person which was appearing in a high spec fashion mag..I was truly gobsmacked and totally shocked!! It made me feel human for sure, but made me realise just how damaging the fake portayal of perfection is. It’s all a lie. So from a female fashion consumer point of view, I do not like it.

  8. I think its bad.It gives out wrong messages to young people and makes everyone think they are not good enough/thin enough/beautiful the way that the photo shopped models are.

  9. As the survivor of an eating disorder, I say bad, without a doubt. Altered images of celebrities in magazines shaped a whole part of my beliefs of body image and what I felt I should look like.

  10. I think sometimes it can be a good thing but when it is purposely misleading, such as woman’s magazines, it can lead to unhealthy attitudes.

Comments are closed.