When traveling, I often pick up and flip through both the in-flight magazine and the always-entertaining Skymall magazine. I find that I’m very aware of bad Photoshop retouching of photographs, and magazines are the best place to find examples. I found two on my last flight, one a full-page ad that I forgot to tear out and now curse myself for, and the following:
*Lady not included
I love Tempur-pedic mattresses, though this seems to be a competing brand. Immediately I chuckled and imagined being the poor graphics dude or dudette who was given the job of taking two photos and compositing them so the lady was laying on the mattress. After all, what better way to sell a mattress than to have an attractive lady laying on it. It’s a common tactic I’ve noticed in other mattress ads, but these two photos should never have been paired.
The first thing to notice is that the figure was photographed in a similar angle as the bed so that the pose works well enough in terms of perspective. I might quibble about how tall she is relative to the bed—it looks as if were she to actually lay down she’d fill the bed head-to-toe and touch head and baseboards. At 6’2” that’s a problem for me in many beds, but most women are not 6’2”. Yet there are more glaring problems.
Contrasting light directions mean shadows are cast improperly
Lighting is the best way to tell a paste-up job. In this case the room is being lit by a bright warm light, one that leaves crisp shadows and clearly lights up what it hits. It is coming from a window that would be behind you and to the left if you were standing there. The lady was photographed in less-bright probably studio lighting. It is a cool highlight and doesn’t saturate the areas it hits. In fact it looks like she was photographed on a cloudy day, perhaps. The studio lighting was coming from the right side, and this is very much at odds with the room.
So, placing the figure into the environment presents two problems, the first being lighting. The other is the artist should paint in digital shadows to make the figure appear to sit within the existing environment. But this wasn’t done.
Arrows indicate light sources. I’ve indicated where her legs should roughly be casting shadows based on this.
Had the artist done this, it still would not have fixed the contrasting lighting problem because the figure itself has shadow areas that are opposite what they should be given the room’s lighting. What is in shadow on the figure should be lit, and vice-versa.
Lastly, it is always difficult to digitally cut out hair. The solution proposed here is among the least delicate.
Raggedy-Ann hair is a good indication that this photo was placed. Or that the model needs a new stylist.