A Photoshopping

By: Joesph Till

"Photoshopping" or simply "shopping", is an informal word or slang for the process of editing photos digitally i.e. with the help of computer. The origin of this term is from the well known professional photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop. Just like Google is widely being used as a verb carrying the meaning, 'to search', the term digital editing of the photos and images is being called 'Photoshopping' nowadays.

Adobe Systems, the company whose product is Adobe Photoshop, is not happy with the use of the term 'Photoshopping' and discourages its use. According to the Adobe Systems the make use of the term "photoshop" as in "photoshopping", as a verb may weaken the company's trademark.

Adobe Systems even explicitly states in its terms of use about the proper use of the Photoshop trademark. It says, "The Photoshop trademark must never be used as a common verb or as a noun. The Photoshop trademark should always be capitalized and should never be used in possessive form, or as a slang term." This can show the concern of the company regarding the use of the term "photoshopping" gaining momentum throughout the world.

The term "Photoshopping", in popular culture is also widely associated with photomontage which is a process of creating a new, composite photograph or image by cutting and joining many other photographs. Though professional refer to this process of combing images as "compositing", "Photoshopping" is a very widely used term for this activity. "Photoshopping" is actually associated with these montages, in the type of "visual jokes". Websites and even magazines are dedicated to this form of creativity. The changes made in the images, i.e. the final composite image can either be left unrefined on purpose, or they can be made to look seamless and extremely realistic. These completed images are then propagated to the general public either by using e-mail as the medium of propagation, making the process extremely fast and widespread or in some cases, as actual news.

Photoshopping, in its earlier stages was used for manipulating photographs aiming to deceive the common crowd which had a little or no technical knowledge. It was considered a mean-spirited trickery then. Today, with the idea spreading, the concept of use has changed mainly to create humor or sarcasm. Politics, films and celebrities are the major fodder for photoshopping nowadays. The images are manipulated and posted just for amusement's sake!

Photoshopping is a common activity on websites like fark.com. It won't be exaggerated to say that the website is dedicated to the job of photoshopping. They typically photoshop one image daily and visitors vote for their favorites!

This concept of doctoring images - or as its practitioners use the term "photoshopping", has become a really widespread, booming pastime on the internet for graphic designers and hobbyist. Many such altered images have become really famous and have taken their place in popular imagination with satirical text and political cartoons.

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