Talha Mansoor looks back at a tricky invention
Unbelievable Photoshop – The entry of Photoshop in human life has permanently altered the perceptive nuances of human understanding. Created three decades ago in 1988 by Thomas and John Knoll, Photoshop is a raster graphics editor created and published by Adobe Systems and operates within the spheres of operating systems created by Apple and Microsoft. A raster graphics editor is a computer programme that permits users to create and edit images interactively on the computer screen and save them in various bitmap or raster formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF.
The advent of Photoshop has completely altered the scope of photographing, recording and re-producing images for good. Its impact on the processes of producing images is huge and it has entered vocabulary in a way that is not always interpreted positively. It has become a generic term photo-shopping mostly used as a common verb and stands for image alteration.
Photoshop was originally innovated to show grayscale images on a monochrome display and later on developed into a full-fledged editing program. And while the purpose of Photoshop initially was to alter images by cropping them or changing their colour effect but it gradually progressed into a medium of partially or completely altering facial and body features.
With all of the media attention Photoshop gets, it could be assumed that the use of Photoshop on the vast majority of images of people seen in media is common knowledge but many people still do not comprehend the puppeteering that goes on behind the images and the process is still phenomenally successful in befooling people. Every single day, people come across an ample amount of photo-shopped pictures that influence their perspective of reality. Even though many people know deep down that the pictures are altered but they are unaware of the magnitude of these changes.
Though Photoshop has brightened and glamourised images on a grand scale but an element of unreality has crept in equally. The social media scene has been profoundly altered after the introduction of the latest version of Photoshop that provides a plethora of latest tools for web designers, photo manipulators, concept artists and graphic designers.
Before the advent of Photoshop, digital photo manipulation industry relied on expensive machinery and skillful production staff. Photoshop has mitigated the heavy workload and inherent limitation of the process followed in the past and has brought many significant changes in the conventional photography. Moreover, in the past, digital image cost huge amount and many companies used to get it done through outsourcing. However, now it has helped people to create similar type of graphic design that can be effortlessly done through laptops which were previously unheard of.
Photo-shopped images instantly provoke the inevitable ‘vow’ but the doubt about their validity continuously lingers at the back of mind and the question immediately pops up that they must have been photo-shopped. Despite the feelings of grandeur of these images the doubt overtakes their lustre. The accuracy levels of Photoshop are brilliant and it is very difficult to distinguish real from unreal.
Photoshop was the outcome of the glamour associated with the cine-world because it is the necessity of making images extremely attractive that formulates the essential ingredient of an almost unreal cine-world. Photoshop’s co-creator John Knolls was greatly impressed by his experience while working for the company that made Star Wars and created the software along with his brother that made glamour the basis of Photoshop. Quite understandably it was the film industry that first started using the new software.
Photoshop is a far cry from the advertisers designing and developing images by hand and the time and effort required for doing so was phenomenal. Photoshop has completely eliminated this tedious method by introducing various tools that made advertising a child’s play. Photoshop has made easy inroads into content marketing, email marketing and public campaigns.
The most potent impact of Photoshop is witnessed in the sphere of social media where viral content such as memes has become a nuisance that is increasingly becoming difficult to contain particularly in the developing world and conservative societies. The pop culture suffers from it the most as it is the fast-changing social genre and is vulnerable to a lot of alteration.
A campaign to raise public awareness about the impact of image manipulation on the social segments of a polity is gradually gaining momentum in the developing countries like Pakistan. The focus of the campaign is to reflect upon the way in which unrealistic imagery may serve as a contributor to negative social attitudes. In order to emphasise resisting the harmful influence of social media the campaigners have started creating awareness about the potential misusage of the Photoshop imaging.
Attempts are being made to warn people through clear instructions emphasising that digitally enhanced images including adverts, photos, art photography, campaign coverage and product packaging are retouched aimed at giving them a particular angle. Social activists believe that by warning people openly they may not only do a public service but will also warn the creators of such images that may cause potential harm. The Weekender
Talha Mansoor is an advocate