The basics of digital alteration

Digital alteration

Be media savvy

Did you know that the average person sees around 3,000 adverts a day?  Or that we may see as many as 700 digitally altered images every single day?

With so many images of unachievable perfection, it’s no wonder many women accept self consciousness and dissatisfaction with their bodies as the norm.

Over 100 research studies show that unrealistic images of perfection can cause depression, worsening body image.  Yet there has been little movement by the fashion and beauty industries to stop digital manipulation techniques.

While altered images of perfection still ‘sell’ products, there is little chance advertisers will reduce or stop digital alteration.  This leaves women with a choice: either we stop exposing ourselves to these images or we become media savvy; critically evaluating mages and understanding the purpose and motivations behind them.

Being media literate requires an understanding of the scope for image manipulation.  Here’s my basic lesson in digital alteration:

Digital alteration basics

Digital photos are retouched or airbrushed using an advanced photo editing software such as Photoshop. 

Sophisticated software allows total transformation of an image so that it can look totally different from the original. 

Here’s a list of what PhotoShop can do:

Colour swapping – Everything from eye, hair, skin, or clothing colour can be altered.

Spot removal – Any blemish from a pimple, scar, birthmark or even a tattoo can be removed.

Wrinkle reduction – removal of lines from around the mouth and eyes to make celebrities look younger. Plus the removal of under eye bags to give the impression of a good night’s sleep.

Body stretching – changing the shape of the body completely: from enhancing boobs, to lengthening legs and the neck.

Tooth whitening – this is one of the most common retouching effects used in magazines. It’s also easy to straighten up crooked teeth.

Fat removal – trimming excess fat and smoothing away cellulite.

Photoshop also work on snap shots too. Many celebrities employ personal Photoshop experts to retouch every single image of them.

There are also a large number of altered images circulating on social media.  Every day people are using facilities on their camera phones to create altered ‘selfies’.

When you look at ANY image, know there is a high probability that it has been altered in some way. 

Question every image that you see, and certainly don’t compare yourself to them. 

Taking an objective view of media images will help you have a healthier perspective on your own body.

Remember that no-one can look like these images in real life, not even the celebrities and models that feature in them!

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