Monday, 22 February 2016

Photoshop vs Editing Apps

This design study is brought to you in part by: the classic "less is more" motto. In the middle is the original photo. The left image is edited with a selfie touch up app (InstaBeauty). The right image is edited by me using Photoshop.

Leveling the Playing Field: Alright so to make things fair, I willingly over edited the Photoshop image WAY too much. Normally I would not have added makeup, or removed every single pore that exists on human skin. (Personally the original photo is my favourite of all three.) And it's also important to note that there are slightly better apps than InstaBeauty out there, like Airbrush. But as you may or may not agree with, I still think it looks like a short cut.

The Editing App: Besides the hilarious option to GROW your eye balls, overall I found the editing app grounded, but poor in execution. Looking at the picture, in order to achieve most effects, the app just blurs everything. Though it was cool to add eyelashes, and extra makeup, in the end it just looks really fake. I basically stuck to smooth skin, and chose a makeup look from their list of "looks". It seemed to ignore my neck. And that's the problem with filters for editing something either than colouring. Filtering eye shapes and makeup types just leaves your face a mucky fuzzy mess (and not in a classy glamour shot kind of way either).

Photoshop: What's the difference between a set app and photoshop? Two things: layer masks and sharpening. I used classic photo-editing techniques, and scaled it all back. Smoothed the skin with a surface blur (masking out the eyes, nose, hair and mouth). Then removed blemishes and straggly hair on a new layer. I even fixed the gaps in my eyebrows by individually painting in the hairs. After "contouring" with the dodge and burn tools, whitening teeth and eyes, I merged everything together for a final overall sharpening. In the end it's obviously more time consuming, but that precise work is what makes it more "realistic".

Conclusion: Photoshop pretty much wins. With it's ability to layer mask, it removes the "gausian blur" look of the app. Though the editing app allows for lighter opacity, it still can't get precise enough to make sure my nostrils stayed in tact. And let's not even get into the growing eye balls effect (this isn't a Snapchat Filter here).

Apps like Airbrush can come close to the options Photoshop offers, but in the end, it really comes down to over-editing. No matter which you use, straying too far from the original photo ends up looking fake. Plus most of the time, an overall photo filter for colour is enough to smooth out any blemishes. I personally love photos with imperfections. It's more important to have good lighting and a decent camera, than an after thought fix-up. So when you're having fun with your selfies, remember:

Less IS always more, scale it back (just a tad), and no filter can change the fact that you're beautiful either way!

Happy retouching,