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Information Technology. Photo-retouching


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Projects and extension

 Photo retouching

Paint programs use pictures made from pixels.

The first picture shows an enlarged version of a small area of a picture taken at an event in Scotland. the pixels are visible as squares of different colours. With the right tools each pixel or group of pixels can be changed.

The second picture is enlarged, though less than the first. Now we see more clearly that it is the Scottish (St Andrew's) flag. The pixels still make this enlargement rather ragged, as if made from blocks.

The next picture is of the whole original photograph. You can see the Scottish flag in the background at normal size.

Note that there is a loudspeaker in the background which appears to come from the man's head. The blue screen in the foreground is distracting to the eye and another person sitting next to the man makes the shape of the back of his head unclear

  We can however "clean up" the photograph by deleting the pieces we don't want and replacing them with pieces from the rest of the photograph.
In the final photograph you can see the blue screen has been replaced by pieces of grass copied from the grass in the foreground. The loudspeaker has been deleted and replaced with cloud and sky and the second person has been replaced by pieces of background.


This is may produce a more attractive picture, but it could lead very easily to dishonesty and could mislead the viewer.

Some retouching software has specialist semi-automatic tools for deleting "red eye" caused by flash guns, or deleting spots and stains on old sepia photographs. This certainly enhances the original. However deleting a person from a photograph could be deliberately changing the truth.

Deleting and moving people in a picture was frequently done in the USSR to persuade viewers of a different "truth." It has also been done in recent times by UK national newspapers.

Improving or misleading? | Draw | Paint