Dear Adobe Photoshop…

Jul 14, 2017

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Dear Adobe Photoshop…

Jul 14, 2017

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Dear Adobe,

We need to have a talk. A come to Jesus moment, if you will. Allow me to begin by saying how much I love your product. I’ve used Photoshop since the beginning of Photoshop. Prior to your creation, I retouched images and negatives the way every print artist did: brushes, dyes, pencils. You should have seen my recipe for “flesh tone.” It was a thing of beauty. But, it had its flaw, namely, each print had to be worked individually. And I sure as heck didn’t like those damn lacquer sprays, the spray booth, or the fact I had to don a breathing mask to apply them. I felt like the Darth Vader of print retouching, but without any of the fun mind control powers.

So when your product came along, I was a bit excited. Sure, I had ZERO idea how any of it worked. Although I had been a print retoucher for years, trying to figure out your program was impossible on my own. I had a better chance of getting a rocket into space then I did of understanding Photoshop. So, I enrolled in an “Intro to Photoshop” class at my community college to get the basics and understand how it all worked. Best $60 I’ve ever spent.

And as the years went by, I watched the versions update; the tools expand; the abilities of the program increase. And I marveled (still do) at the minds that make this happen. The vision and knowledge necessary to make a product such as Photoshop, much less continue to improve its features, is kind of amazing. (And I rarely use the word “amazing.”) I still don’t know everything there is to know about Photoshop, and to be honest, I don’t want to. Unless it’s applicable to what I do, I don’t need to know it. There’s only so much room in my brain, Adobe, and at this point, when info comes in, something might need to leave. It’s kind of like my closet. For this reason, I try to fill it with only the important things.

But when Photoshop entered the subscription phase with Photoshop CC, I raised an eyebrow. Not that I had to purchase a subscription, but because I wasn’t pleased with one tool: the healing brush. It simply didn’t work the same way. Yes, yes, of course, I clicked “use legacy brush,” but still, not the same. So, I held out with my Photoshop CS5. I upgraded my computers and operating systems, but clung firm to my CS5 like a drowning woman to a floating piece of wood. But alas, I was like Leonardo DiCaprio and you were Kate Winslet, and with my most recent iMac purchase, you shoved me off the wood. (THERE WAS ROOM FOR ALL OF US ON THAT WOOD, ADOBE)

Begrudgingly, I began to use Photoshop CC 2017. Maybe I cried over it, but you’ll never know for sure. And all was going well until last night, when I went to use the liquify tool to smooth the arms of a subject just a wee bit. I opened liquify and there, in front of me on my screen, were expanded liquify features. So expanded, that I sort of freaked out. And by sort of freaked out, I yelled, “WHAT THE HELL?”

I scared the dog, Adobe.

Now, it’s not enough just to give a gentle nudge with liquify—oh no. Thanks to the face recognition feature, you can COMPLETELY CHANGE someone’s features.

And I have to ask…WHY? In what photography universe is this okay? Why is this necessary? What has portrait photography become if THESE Photoshop features are needed? Forget fake news…these sliders have the power to easily create FAKE FACES. This feature could have its own 24 hours news channel.

You see, people will use this for evil, Adobe. You know they will. Sure, people have have been manipulating features since the advent of Photoshop, but this makes it so easy that I fear people will assume this is the norm. And really, what’s next? Boob Aware? Will there be “Perky” sliders? “Lift” sliders. Will it extend to Booty Aware? Hips Aware? Teeth Aware? Hair Aware? This does not bode well for portrait photography. I mean, just because we can doesn’t always mean we should. THINK ABOUT JURASSIC PARK, ADOBE!

I’m a little emotional right now just thinking about it.

via GIPHY

I’m beginning to wonder if it might get to the point in the near future where the finished image is so far removed from what the client actually looks like that we won’t even bother photographing a client…we’ll just create them in Photoshop.

About the Author

Lynn Cartia (AKA Missy Mwac) is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: FacebookTumblr. This article is also published here and shared with permission.

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14 responses to “Dear Adobe Photoshop…”

  1. DUCK! Avatar
    DUCK!

    There was a need for some correctional tools with digital photography, the sensor can get dirty and one might need to pick bits off of the output, so a tool that does that is very useful, but lets not go all Steve McCurry!

    Iridient Developer is an example of a great raw editor, but it suffers from the opposite affliction, namely you cannot account for a dirty sensor, or the odd lenshair, with a simple tool to clone a few neighbourly pixels.

  2. Margaritas Ante Porcos Avatar
    Margaritas Ante Porcos

    I hate how Photoshop starts, stealing all screen space for almost a minute. HATE IT. And it is getting worse with each new update. Adobe, sadly, couldn’t care less.
    But what concerns features, I welcome them all. Adobe genius is pushing our skills forward. I applaud to Adobe for all the work they do.

  3. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    THIS IS ABSOLUTE PROOF YOU HAVE TO KEEP ENGINEERS LOCKED UP AND FOR GODS SAKE DON’T LET THEM PRACTICE OR TRAIN THEM ON STUFF LIKE THIS!! ENGINEERS ALWAYS SCREW UP A GOOD THING!!

    1. Roberto Avatar
      Roberto

      Yeah. Especially that computer you typed that message on. They got the caps key all stuck.

  4. Stereo Reverb Avatar
    Stereo Reverb

    Just a heads up- anytime you make any changes to an original SOOC photo you shot and then took into Photoshop, or any editing software, you are modifying the original as-shot photo…. thereby creating a fake, as you call it, photograph. Saw you stated you use the liquefy and healing brush, meaning you’re again faking a photo that did not originally look like that on the original image capture (smoothing something just a wee bit, counts too).

    So while you have strong have moral issues with Adobe’s inclusion with additional tools to modify images, aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black? Just using your own logic here. :/

    1. Suz Avatar
      Suz

      Retouching slight flaws, stray hairs or dirt/dust is hardly the same as completely changing the facial features or giving a new body to your subject and nowhere near creating a “fake” image.

      1. Stereo Reverb Avatar
        Stereo Reverb

        You’re still changing the original photo, whether you remove or change just a little or a lot in a photo- that’s why photo competitions and major publications are starting to require photographers submit their entries in RAW format, to prevent alteration to the original photo. What you consider ‘slight’, may be considered major to someone else. If you use the liquify tool to nudge just a portion in, you’re definitely altering someone’s body, which in reality, does not look like that. You’re right, it’s not creating a fake image- it’s *faking* an image.

        1. Roberto Avatar
          Roberto

          So would taking a photograph with Portra instead of Ektachrome be altering the photograph? They have vastly different colour/contrast profiles. Which one would be the ‘real’ image? Or maybe it should be just black and white? An undeveloped RAW is just that, until the colour and tone development has been applied to bring the photographer’s vision of the photograph to life.

  5. CanonMinolta Avatar
    CanonMinolta

    The thing i hate about adobe is their total lack of customer appreciation. Yes, there are other examples of this, but Adobe is one of the worst at disregarding it’s customer base. With a Adobe quarterly revenue of $1.40 billion, one would think that Adobe would appreciate it’s source – but no it doesn’t.

    The first time was when Adobe abandoned the box. Understanding that Adobe is a business designed to make a profit, still wondering what the box isn’t still available for the customers that prefer/need it. But the money come first over those customers. The attitude was – Adobe doesn’t need you because the others will make up for it … and we did

    The example of the liquefy tool in this article is another way that Adobe devalues it’s customers. Just because you “can” do something, doesn’t mean that you “should” do something. This was an obvious attempt to show off. instead of providing new, useful things, Adobe gives its users something that will only cause problems in the long run – because they could. No consideration of making the tools work similarly across it’s products … nope, that would be something we need/want. An example is how lousy the pen tool works in PS compared to how it works in IL. At an Adobe conference, I asked where the LR people were … the answer was “oh, we don’t talk to them” and it is obvious.

    Well, Adobe, there are now several companies that have arrived on the editing scene that will give PS
    LR a run for your money. And they listen to their customers.

  6. CanonMinolta Avatar
    CanonMinolta

    The thing i hate about Adobe is their total lack of customer appreciation. Yes, there are other examples of this, but Adobe is one of the worst at disregarding it’s customer base. With a Adobe quarterly revenue of $1.40 billion, one would think that Adobe would appreciate it’s source – but no it doesn’t.

    The first time was when Adobe abandoned the box. Understanding that Adobe is a business designed to make a profit, still wondering what the box isn’t still available for the customers that prefer/need it. But the money come first over those customers. The attitude was – Adobe doesn’t need you because the others will make up for it … and we did

    The example of the liquefy tool in this article is another way that Adobe devalues it’s customers. Just because you “can” do something, doesn’t mean that you “should” do something. This was an obvious attempt to show off. instead of providing new, useful things, Adobe gives its users something that will only cause problems in the long run – because they could. No consideration of making the tools work similarly across it’s products … nope, that would be something we need/want. A prime example is how lousy the pen tool works in PS compared to how easily it works in IL. At an Adobe conference, I
    asked where the LR people were … the answer was “oh, we don’t talk to them” and it is obvious.

    Well, Adobe, there are now several companies that have arrived on the editing scene that will give PS
    LR a run for your money. And they listen to their customers.

  7. Rob Avatar
    Rob

    People, People!! Get a grip!! Do you not realize by now that Adobe, in all it’s expansion and acquisition, is no longer a handy widget or editing tool – it’s a corporation? And as a corporation it has one goal: profits. Like any corporation, there is a room with a table in it, and around that table are people who discuss and manage ideas on how to increase profits on behalf of themselves, partnerships, and shareholders. They don’t care about a puny “healing brush” or “content aware” anything – they care about profits. The move to CC was a way to protect the software and regain control – period. The reason for annoying start screens and less-than-useful tools in CC is to keep control – period. They, like every other corporation, have a limited lifespan and are just using every technique out there to soak up profits – period. They’ve recognized the limited lifespan and the shift of the photography industry (and business in general), considering the closures of longs-standing institutions of Popular Photography and now Bowens. So now the real question is: just how limited IS their lifespan? Are there other tools out there that can replace Adobe? Is it possible to be productive and even profitable as an end user without being trapped by the big “A”? Waaay back when photography meant film, chemistry, and paper, Kodak was king. And where are they now? All but gone with the evolution of digital photography. This too will happen with Adobe, only much faster due to the exponential evolution of technology and business. So if you want a better widget, start simplifying your processes, living within your editing means, and supporting the upstart that will develop a fresh platform for the users, not the shareholders.

  8. Yo Momma Avatar
    Yo Momma

    When I had issues with LR (not CC) refusing to download updates on two different computers at two different locations , it took Adobe more than 30 days to answer my help request with…. “we do not provide support for LR except via forums…. try that.”

    Since then I’ve been looking to replace LR and ultimately Photoshop. Adobe built a giant corporation on the backs of all of us and then like it or not forced us to use their subscription.

  9. Dan Platon Avatar
    Dan Platon

    What is photography?
    Each infinite perfect reproducible image had to be distinct.
    The software is the single capable to make all the photos to look the same.
    By by personality. Welcome the machine or the software.
    As you said, personality has a flow, each image had to be worked individually.

  10. KC Avatar
    KC

    I so rarely use Photoshop on photos these days, I’m almost surprised when I load it up for some fine level retouching, something I can’t do in LR. And that’s the thing: give me LR and a Wacom tablet and I can do a lot – relatively fast and easy.

    I go back with PS to the early days, too. When it was a layout/compositing program, before digital cameras, when digital images were from scans. Adobe didn’t have a layout program back then.

    I’ll give Adobe credit: the newest version is a lot faster and more stable than previous versions. It’s still far from a straight forward retouchers program. Many times the “content aware” is hysterically oblivious to content.