techdirections December 2012 : Page 13
Teaching Photo Manipulation Simple Photoshop Project Puts Students in Your Living Room 9qÛ<\oYj\ÛAÛCYrYjgk firstname.lastname@example.org P HOTOGRAPHS used to be, for the most part, very trustworthy evidence of the visual truth. With the current ready availability of affordable digital photography and image-altering software, that is no longer the case. To be fully technologically liter-ate, today’s students should know something about the history of photo manipulation and the current process for doing it. In this activity, students will learn about how to use Adobe Photoshop, along with some attributes of design. Speciﬁcally, given an instructor-provided image of a living room scene, they will learn to use Photoshop to alter the image in a realistic way. 9Y[c_jgmf\Û Visual information has an enor-mous inﬂuence on human memory and perception. Up to 50% of the human brain evolved to handle vi-sual cues. In the past, photographs were presented as unquestionable evidence by, among others, private investigators, courtroom attorneys, and ﬁshermen proudly displaying a trophy catch. Public revelations of photo manipulation in the media have created a good deal of skepti-cism. Commonly available image-altering software has made photo Edward J. Lazaros is assistant pro-fessor of technology and coordinator of the online Master of Arts in career and technical education, Department of Technology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN. forms. The ﬁrst relates to the com-manipulation far easier than ever position of a photograph and the before. meaning it conveys. Photojournal-Manipulation of photographs is ists working for the Associated a practice as old as the medium of Press must adhere to rigorous photography itself. Henry Farid, the head of the image science labora-tory at Dartmouth College has writ-ten, “People have doctored images since the beginning of photography. But the techniques needed to do that during the Civil War . . . were extremely difﬁcult and time consuming. In to-day’s world, anyone with a digital cam-era, a PC, Photo-K`]Û]f\Ûhjg\m[lÛg^Ûl`]Ûklm\]flÛhjgb][lÛ[geZafaf_Û shop, and an hour’s three photos into one worth of time can standards for authenticity and ac-make fairly compelling digital forger-curacy. Events sometimes call into ies.” question the effectiveness of those Examples of past fakery include standards. For example, a recent portraits of important people like controversy arose in a war zone in Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Stalin, Lebanon in which a photo showed and even photos purported to show a child’s toy in the midst of a scene evidence of supernatural phenom-of horriﬁc death and destruction. ena. These older fakes were gener-Critics questioned whether the ally created by combining elements photographer placed the toy in the of two different photos or deleting scene to make a particular state-certain elements in one photo using ment. This question of meaning and dodging and burning techniques. message in photo composition has The progression from ﬁlm to digital long been an issue with war photog-cameras brought with it an abun-raphers. dance of new and easy-to-use tools The second form of analog ma-for altering photographs. Today, nipulation is taking a photograph there are two approaches to photo shot on ﬁlm and cutting, adding, manipulation: analog and digital. or otherwise altering it. These pro-Analog manipulation takes two www.techdirections.com COMMUNICATION Û~
Simple Photoshop Project Puts Students in Your Living Room
Edward J. Lazaros
<br /> PHOTOGRAPHS used to be, for the most part, very trustworthy evidence of the visual truth. With the current ready availability of affordable digital photography and image-altering software, that is no longer the case.<br /> <br /> To be fully technologically literate, today’s students should know something about the history of photo manipulation and the current process for doing it. In this activity, students will learn about how to use Adobe Photoshop, along with some attributes of design. Specifically, given an instructor-provided image of a living room scene, they will learn to use Photoshop to alter the image in a realistic way.<br /> <br /> Background<br /> Visual information has an enormous influence on human memory and perception. Up to 50% of the human brain evolved to handle visual cues. In the past, photographs were presented as unquestionable evidence by, among others, private investigators, courtroom attorneys, and fishermen proudly displaying a trophy catch. Public revelations of photo manipulation in the media have created a good deal of skepticism. Commonly available imagealtering software has made photo manipulation far easier than ever before.<br /> <br /> Manipulation of photographs is a practice as old as the medium of photography itself. Henry Farid, the head of the image science laboratory at Dartmouth College has written, “People have doctored images since the beginning of photography. But the techniques needed to do that during the Civil War . . . were extremely difficult and time consuming. In today’s world, anyone with a digital camera, a PC, Photoshop, and an hour’s worth of time can make fairly compelling digital forgeries.”<br /> <br /> Examples of past fakery include portraits of important people like Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Stalin, and even photos purported to show evidence of supernatural phenomena. These older fakes were generally created by combining elements of two different photos or deleting certain elements in one photo using dodging and burning techniques. The progression from film to digital cameras brought with it an abundance of new and easy-to-use tools for altering photographs. Today, there are two approaches to photo manipulation: analog and digital.<br /> <br /> Analog manipulation takes two forms. The first relates to the composition of a photograph and the meaning it conveys. Photojournalists working for the Associated Press must adhere to rigorous standards for authenticity and accuracy. Events sometimes call into question the effectiveness of those standards. For example, a recent controversy arose in a war zone in Lebanon in which a photo showed a child’s toy in the midst of a scene of horrific death and destruction. Critics questioned whether the photographer placed the toy in the scene to make a particular statement. This question of meaning and message in photo composition has long been an issue with war photographers.<br /> <br /> The second form of analog manipulation is taking a photograph shot on film and cutting, adding, or otherwise altering it. These pro-cesses are carried out in a darkroom, where “burning” and “dodging” are techniques used to alter the contrast of lighting in a photograph. Both techniques allow for putting emphasis on certain elements. Airbrushing is another analog tool, used, for example, by Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini to remove disavowed contemporaries from propaganda photographs. Doctored photographs may also include combining elements of two photographs together. For example, a photograph of Abraham Lincoln standing with a particularly imposing posture is actually Lincoln’s head imposed on another man’s body. These analog forms of manipulation required considerable skill and time.<br /> <br /> Digital manipulation, on the other hand, is cheaper, faster, and, as a result, more widespread. Photos can be altered in several ways, in some cases using techniques adapted from traditional analog methods. These include cloning of elements, altering contrast, and removing elements of a photograph. Airbrushing, while possible in analog, is easier and more effective with digital tools. It is often used to remove wrinkles or unwanted physical attributes from subjects’ faces and bodies in the media and advertising.<br /> <br /> Some people say that digital photo manipulation has increased distrust in photography. Many sectors of today’s society—such as politicians, the news media, even academics—have been revealed to manipulate photographs for particular purposes. Uses of digital manipulation range from minor, relatively inoffensive alterations in physical appearances to the creation of entire scenarios.<br /> <br /> LaCorte explains one reason for digital photo editing in the political arena: “[M]ost congressional campaigns can afford only one or two professional photo shoots, in addition to amateur shots from the campaign trail. That means a consultant often has a limited number of good photos to choose from, and photo alteration dramatically expands options.” Edited photos can produce a more attractive candidate for voters.<br /> <br /> Photo editing can also be used as a malicious political tool. In 2004, a photograph of presidential candidate John Kerry circulated on the Web that purportedly showed Kerry and activist Jane Fonda together at an anti-Vietnam War rally in the 1970s. Some voters were enraged by the thought of a potential U.S. president associating with Fonda’s brand of anti-war sentiments. The photo—a composite crafted from photos taken several years apart—was actually a forgery released by Kerry’s opponents to drum up opposition to his campaign. Unfortunately for Kerry and other victims of similar acts, this sort of photographic meddling often makes an unalterable mark on a target audience.<br /> <br /> Digital Options and Career Possibilities<br /> When it comes to digital editing, the brand name Adobe Photoshop seems synonymous with the practice. But Photoshop is not the only product on the market. For educators with tight budgets, many programs are available free on the Web.<br /> <br /> -Patient.NET is a simple, free opotion. It is frequently updated by an online community and supports many plug-ins. Windows XP, Vista, and 7 are supported. (http://getpaint. net)<br /> -GIMP is an excellent open source solution. It runs on both OSX and Windows operating systems. (www.gimp.org)<br /> -Fotoflexer is an online image editor that allows for online storage of edited images. Images found on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and other social networking sites can be edited through FotoFlexer. (http://fotoflexer. com)<br /> -Aviary's Phoenix requires an account on the website, and offers many of the standard image editing tools. However, any image shared with the community is subject to promotional use by Aviary. (www.aviary.com)<br /> <br /> In terms of employment, careers that involve photo manipulation are incredibly varied. Graphic artists use photo manipulation, and as of 2008, the median wage for a graphic artist or designer was around $42,400. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasted an an expected annual increase of 13% for jobs in the field over the course of 10 years.<br /> <br /> Professional photographers also often use photo manipulation. According to the BLS, the median wage for salaried photographers was around $29,400. Approximately 152,000 professional photographers were employed in 2008, with an employment projection of 12%.<br /> <br /> With the growth and importance of digital manipulation, digital image forensics is an emerging field. Digital forensics experts investigate still images and video to detect manipulation.<br /> <br /> Learning Objectives<br /> 1. After learning about basic image manipulation tools, the student will be able to remove the background from an image of him- or herself and the background from an image of a pet.<br /> 2. The student will then be able to merge the image of him- or herself and the image of a pet with a provided image of a living room scene in such a way that the combined image looks realistic.<br /> <br /> Student Procedure<br /> 1. Your instructor will provide an image of a living room. (See Photo 1.)<br /> 2. Digitally photograph a pet, or, if you do not have a pet or access to one, download an image of an animal from the Internet.<br /> 3. Working in groups, pose one another in a position suitable for sitting on a sofa and take a digital photo. (See Photo 2.) An area with simple, blank walls should be used.<br /> 4. Transfer the digital images of yourself and the pet to the computer.<br /> 5. In Photoshop, under File, choose Open and open the digital image of yourself. Select the small preview of the image in the Layer tool box and right click on the image to duplicate it. Turn off the Eye option on the original image (listed second) (See Photo 3).<br /> 6. Select the Magic Wand tool and click on the background of the digital image. (See Photo 4.)<br /> 7. Use the delete key to remove the background. It may take several attempts with the Magic Wand tool to remove the entire background. The Eraser tool can also be used to clean up areas that the Magic Wand tool didn’t catch. (See Photo 5.)<br /> 8. Under File, choose Save As and save the digital image. (See Photo 6.)<br /> 9. Repeat Steps 5 through 8 with the image of the pet.<br /> 10. Open the image of the living room. Under File, choose Place and select the image of yourself that has the background removed. The image will most likely be very large when it is initially placed in the living room scene. (See Photo 7.)<br /> 11. Hold down the Shift key and select a corner of the image of you to reduce the size proportionally. Reduce the size until it matches the size of the living room scene. Position the image so that you appear to be seated on the sofa. (See Photo 8.)<br /> 12. Press the Enter/Return key to complete placing the image.<br /> 13. If necessary, use the Eraser tool to remove sections of your arm to expose the sofa to make it appear as though you are actually sitting on it. (See Photo 9.)<br /> 14. In the File menu, choose Place and select the image of the pet. Repeat Steps 11 through 14 to adjust the image of the pet so that it fits the scene and looks realistic.<br /> 15. Under Image, choose Adjustments, then Brightness/Contrast. (See Photo 10.) Use the sliders to adjust the brightness and contrast of the pet image so that it matches the brightness and contrast of the living room scene. Repeat this procedure for the image of you. (See Photo 11.)<br /> 16. Print the finished image and submit it to the instructor for evaluation.
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