Find out why Photoshop is a hot topic in the advertising industry.


This blog is used to fulfill an assignment for my writing for mass communications class, MMC2100. For a greater understanding of my course, please visit our class blog,


There are many resources on the web that can help a Photoshop rookie make an advertisement. gives a few simple steps on how to get started. If you complete their version of an advertisement, you will come out with something similar to a colored background with some words. They advise using minimal words to keep the message stronger. is helpful for an early beginner, like someone who doesn’t know how to open a new document.

Vandelay Design‘s tutorials will result in a much more professional look. They offer fifteen different formats to advertise various products from software to perfume. They guide the students step by step instruction, so they will be able to create an ad for themselves.

The Internet doesn’t just offer steps on how to create, but it also has tools to download, that add to the creation opportunities of Photoshop. The Photoshop software directly out of the box does not provide all of the tools that can be used to make a professional looking ad. A few stock photos and downloaded paintbrushes can make a pretty convincing advertisement with more originality than a tutorial provides in just a few minutes.

One handy tool for Photoshop is the brush tool. The Internet can improve this tool greatly because they have free brushes available to download. Students were shown the possibilities of the brushes at a crash course I attended for Photoshop, and they were immediately excited. Now, you’re probably imagining a paint brush and wondering how a basic paint brush can be cool, but the brushes offered on sites like are much more than a piece of wood with camel hair attached. It’s like having every stamp imaginable, but they are better than stamps because they’re free, take up no space, and require no ink!

Digital manipulation does not have to be restricted to editing only photographs, it can be pure creation like Nicco Di Mattia, blending elements like brushes and photos or tweeking a photo and adding a few words.

The degree of digital manipulation is optional when making advertisements or even art. An article from The Art Institute says, “Some degree of digital image manipulation can be seen as necessary and beneficial to those in the industry. Becky Olstad is a Photography Instructor at The Art Institutes International Minnesota and says using computer applications like Photoshop is a routine part of the process.” Olstad adds that many of the manipulations used could be performed in a darkroom but believes Photoshop is a great improvement to the business.

Welcome to a world with virtual makeovers. is a website that targets women to give them a chance to try new hairdos and see how they look with different makeup on.

Consumers can try new products without any risk or sacrifices involved, described in an article published, titled Taaz Blends Photo Editing with Sneaky Marketing. says, “You can experiment with a palette of thousands of colors and shades in products ranging from foundation and concealer to multi-tone eye shadow and lip gloss and even colored contact lenses! With the addition of a hairstyle or change of hair color, the look is complete. The effects are immediate, simple to use and so life-like that the saved result looks like a real photograph.” was launched in March 2008 and now features top beauty brands and media companies including InStyle, People, Bravo, Sephora, Oxygen, iVillage, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Topshop and more. Michael Arlington from said, “The tools are dead simple to use (thanks, Adobe) and I had a lot of fun testing the service.” Arlington did not use the site for his own makeover but enjoyed enhancing Angelina Jolie’s beauty. emphasized that their editing website is a great way for people without the Photoshop skills to make glamorous profile pictures for social networks.

Inventor Spot said, “One of the founders of Taaz, David Kriegman, a professor of computer science at UC San Diego, told Inventor Spot that revenue at Taaz would initially come in through advertising on the site. But he noted, ‘We will be offering women the opportunity to buy the products needed to create their look.’”

A blogger on says, “I think its the best virtual website as far as makeup goes, and I love how they name the brand, shade and everything!” So after a girl sees a beautiful face edited by, she can go out and buy that look after knowing the tools to achieve that look. Makeup retailers like Revlon and Sephora have found a way to show consumers exactly what they want by letting the consumers pick it themselves.

Photoshop Grows with Age

Photoshop had its 20th birthday in February of this year. When the program was first introduced to software specialists, it only worked in gray scale. Oh, how it has changed. As Adobe developed more features, users marveled at PhotoShop’s ability to clone, and as it evolved they were able to sharpen edges and create layers. Soon, more and more photo gurus saw the potential for this software, as they were able to enhance colors in seconds.

Cnet News says, “The software gained popularity in a variety of areas–publishing, art, photography, advertising–and specific features followed. Narrower markets arrived, too–police forensics, medical diagnostics, scientific analysis. The biggest and possibly most infamous feature, though, is the ability to make people look more attractive. Curves get curvier, skin gets creamier, teeth get whiter, muscles get chunkier, and lips get plumper.”

Phtoshop CS5 was realeased April 12, 2010, not too long after the release of CS4, which was released Sept 23, 2008. Even though CS4 had barely any time to become outdated, CS5 offers 18 new features and 14 improved features from CS4. CS stands for Creative Suite, which is a package Adobe bundles Photoshop in.

Kevin Roberts, a professional photographer in Melbourne, Fl, still works on CS3. Roberts says, “I haven’t seen any changes that make the pricey upgrade worth it. Everything I need and more I can do with CS3. I started my business with negatives and a dark room. Photoshop has already improved my efficiency incredibly.”

Pro Design Tools, a website for Adobe users, says, “We haven’t seen a bad review on CS5 yet.” The website has also has users saying CS5 is what they expected out of CS4.

The abundance of new releases is profitable for Adobe but is hard for business owners, like Roberts to keep up with. Roberts said, “I have seen CS5, but when I go through my habitual edits, things aren’t where they used to be. Until I find something I can’t make CS3 do, I’m sticking with what I know.”

Evolution of Art

Photoshop is not just a photo editing tool. It is a whole new art form. Artists like Nico Di Mattia are masters of the software. They are not digital manipulators; they are creators.

Artists are no longer stuck in a dark room for hours making minor changes to pictures or restricted to paper to create original works. Photoshop has changed the definition of a minor change in a photo says an online encyclopedia. There are just as many steps to remove acne, as there are to make the image black and white. Instead of airbrushing makeup on the subject physically, you can simply go to your filters tab and click airbrush and in a few seconds have the same effect as an expensive and messy makeup crew.

Photoshop is challenging to learn at first but once you learn the different commands there are usually three different ways to get similar effects, says Katherine Loupe, a fine arts major at USF. You can even go on to learn the same techniques used by professionals.

When looking at magazines, having an eye educated for Photoshop helps to distinguish lies and truths. Professionals take advantage of the gullible uneducated eye and make sloppy mistakes creating a six fingered boxer or a punk rockstar missing an arm. There are many sites dedicated to ridiculing and making these mistakes known, like, where people can send photos they have noticed flaws in. comments that professionals have gotten a little over their head with making the perfect picture because they all too often become a joke.

Failure to Launch

Photo editing is a great way to make lies believable. Iran, however, needs to brush up on their Photoshop skills in order to fool the public., a website for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, posted a picture July 9, 2008, of four missiles being launched. The image was picked up by major news sources like USA Today. That afternoon, photo specialists noticed the sloppy cloning performed on one of the missiles, making the fourth missile a complete twin.

The Photoshop clone tool allows you to select a group of pixels to copy over to another area of an image, basically duplicating whatever you selected.

This Iranian missile image was altered in order to compensate for the failure of the launch said AFP, a global news agency. After the release of the altered photo, the Defense Secretary of the US, Robert Gates, said that this missile test posed a “real threat.” This statement was made before Gates knew Iran was not completely successful in their missile testing.

Photo editing in cases as important as this questions the legitimacy of many images circulating through global news. Mohammad Mohammadi, spokesman for Iran’s United Nations, denied alterations of the photo, but as early as the next day, The Associated Press ran a photo showing the missile still in the launch pad, proving the failure of the missile.

Experts like James Brown, an Indiana University journalism professor, said Iran’s Photoshop skills were “amateurish,” but imagine if they had experts covering up their failure, would America be spending even more on defense due to falsified information?

Photoshop enables photos to no longer be factual, but this is not a new issue. The Weekly Standard wrote in 1997 about a multitude of falsified images used by Stalin in court to have it swayed in his favor. “There must have been a whole Soviet industry, perhaps a government ministry, specializing in doctoring photos to order.”

Governments like the Soviet Union are not a picture of truth, but as economies and countries become desperate, the amateurish ways of Iran may become more skillful as they see digital manipulation as profitable.


Truth Behind Pixie Dust

Mass communication businesses have a list of ethical requirements for their employees to follow. The professionals getting information out to the public carry with them a responsibility because the damage they can cause could affect the whole world. Advertisers also have a set of ethics directed to them, but when we combine the technology of digital manipulation to the mix, the gray areas multiply.

The American Advertising Federation’s first rule of ethics is “Advertising shall tell the truth, and shall reveal significant facts, the omission of which would mislead the public.” Photoshop is an excellent device used to add and subtract facts from images.

A publication in the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, If Looks Could Kill: Digital Manipulation of Fashion Models, says, “At fashion magazines it has long been standard to throw in a little digital pixie dust to make a model’s eyes bluer, her teeth whiter, her legs slimmer. Periodically, such highly tweaked images stir controversy, proving that the retoucher’s skill is still viewed as something of a dark art.” But, how much “pixie dust” makes a lie?

The second rule of ethics says, “Advertising claims shall be substantiated by evidence in possession of the advertiser and advertising agency, prior to making such claims.” However, the evidence required to back up these claims can also be doctored to provide support for the company.

With all of the technology of today, industries like advertising have a hard time convincing people of an ad’s validity. Yankelovich, a consumer research company, found that 75 percent of people don’t believe that companies tell the truth in their advertisements.

This statistic is a clear indicator that the viewing audience has little faith that advertisers are following these ethical guidelines.

The mistrust of advertisements is caused by the expected skepticism from their viewers. Campaigns like the Campaign for Real Beauty by Dove educate children of the lies broadcasted by beauty ads.

The black magic photo editors could be compared with good fiction writers. They write such beautiful lies. Children love the fantasy, but as adults we have to remind ourselves, we won’t grow up to be princesses.

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