One popular use of Photoshop on the Internet has developed into a favorite pastime of amateurs and professionals alike. It is a game called “photoshopping,” and it involves using Adobe Photoshop software in order to create a sort of visual prank or joke. In a way, it is a form of creating cartoons, but without the need of producing original drawings. Instead, the faces of celebrities are often applied to nude or pornographic images, misleading people to believe that the photographs are authentic. Pink elephants are shown dancing across fields. One hoax that received a lot of media attention featured a shark attacking a helicopter.
The photograph circulated widely on the Internet, until it was revealed that it was actually comprised of two separate photographs spliced together by a clever designer in Photoshop. But generally, it is clear from common sense that a photograph has been altered. In fact, the fact that an image has been “photoshopped” often forms a major part of the punchline. MAD Magazine often uses Photoshop to “rebrand” a product, thus presenting it in a new satirical light. This kind of “photoshopping” is highly professionalized, however, as it requires type design skills in order to draw up a copy that closely resembles the original logo.
Photoshopped gags are often circulated via e-mail. Remember the famous image “Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten”? That’s one popular example of a photoshopped item. There are even photoshopping contests that encourage this kind of humorous use – or misuse – of the software. Generally, these start out when a user posts a starting image and invites others to begin “photochopping” away. Not just Photoshop is used – some users prefer to use Corel Photopaint, GIMP, or even Microsoft Paint. In keeping with the anarchic spirit of photoshopping, the contest involves altering the image in a humorous vein or according to a given theme. After all the participants have submitted their rehash of the original image, they get to vote on their favorites. Whoever receives the most votes wins the contest.
The humor found in photoshopping contests often revolves around the use of clichés. Popular photoshopping clichés include the image of James Brown looking out of it; a tourist standing on the
While Adobe officially discourages people from using the word “Photoshop” as a verb – they are afraid that it will undermine the trademark – one thing is for certain: Photoshop – and photoshopping – continues to alter the way we view the world.