Images talk. Images can convey information. The information can be pleasant or disturbing, nice or ugly, inspiring, or fearful. But it is for sure that all images say something.
But what is image manipulation? A process to change an image to make it more attractive or give a completely different view from the original one. You cannot normally figure out actually what it was before. Normally this process is applied for business purposes and often in social media.
We all like to see the picture that is pleasant to watch. Even, sometimes we like to see the pictures of products which we like to possess or buy at a later time. The more appropriate a picture is the more clearly and loudly it can convey its message.
Digital image manipulation is widely used for e-commerce websites. They need to show the product neat, clean, and brightly in their e-stores. If distracting backgrounds, objects, shades are present in their product images, it fails to convey the details of the products to the customers. The same thing happens when the image is underexposed, overexposed, or imperfectly composed while photographing. A visitor generally becomes unimpressed with these types of images. They tend to skip those products to take into consideration. But it is possible to remove these flaws with the various techniques of digital image editing or image manipulation.
We generally need the following types of manipulations –
Most of the time a product looks better when it is placed on a clean white background. If white is not so contrasting to the product color black or other colored backgrounds may be used. When the product background is replaced with simple white color the more details become easily perceivable to the customer. This gives the customer more confidence to go for buying the product. E-commerce websites can benefit more if they make their product images more clear by removing the distracting background.
Suppose you have two or three objects/products/models in separate photographs. But you need to bring those in a single background. You can easily achieve this by making clipping paths for the objects and putting them in a single place by cutting out those objects from their original image. In a personal case, imagine you got a nice picture of your family, but your eldest son was away from home when the photograph was taken. The family picture is not complete to hang on the wall. You can hire a graphic design firm, and they can put your son in the picture by cutting his face/body from another photo.
After clearing the background, most products look great if some kind of shadowing is applied. The kinds of shadows normally applied are –
Natural shadow is the kind of shadow that we can get when lights from a light source fall on an object. We can create these types of shadows using Photoshop.
Drop shadow is Photoshop’s built-in shadow making process. It gives the object and the picture more depth. It is not suitable for creating the shadows described above (natural shadow, reflection shadow). That shadow making requires a bit more expertise.
We can see reflection shadows if we place an object on a glossy base. Using Photoshop we can apply this effect. Almost all mediums of advertisements like online shopping websites or e-commerce websites, e-catalogs, fashion web catalogs, e-magazines, product images of printed materials, billboards, etc., use some kind of shadows.
Neck joint or ghost mannequin is mainly required for garment products. Garments photographed putting it on a mannequin provides better information like the shape of the garments. We can see how the garment would look when worn. But this kind of photograph contains one distracting element, the visible parts of the mannequin. If we cut out the parts of the mannequin from the picture, the product will be more focused and look better. It will give us an interesting perception like the presence of a ghost mannequin inside the garment. To complete this technique of image manipulation we need an additional picture of the inner part of the neck of the garment. Then a professional graphic designer can join the neck part to complete the process. This technique is widely used in e-commerce websites to display the garments in such a way that a customer can have a better understanding and confidence regarding the garments they are going to buy.
It seems like there are trillions of effects and techniques the industry uses and applies for glamour retouching and human skin/body/hair/nails/lips/etc./etc. manipulation of the images. Following is a list of commonly used glamour retouching effects used:
You can convert a raster file to vector format, either by an automated procedure provided by software like Adobe Illustrator. The live trace procedure of Illustrator is applied in this case. The automated output you get may not be suitable for printing or other media. There are many automatic rasters to vector software or plugins available. But I did not find anyone of those that can produce the output that is cleaner to work with or that is appropriately close to the original diagram, drawing, or logo.
Very often, it is better not to employ the automatic process. Hand-made tracings from the original image can provide more close to the original and realistic outputs. You can provide more close gradients and colors to the various sections of your output. Of course, hand-made raster to vector conversion is a pro job and requires more skill and time. As for other types of files a vector file can be saved and converted into various types of formats like – DXF, SVG, CDR, AI, and more.
The requirement for digital image manipulation in pre-press desktop publications is enormous. From newspapers to magazines, fashion magazines, catalogs, posters, flyers all need a huge quantity of image manipulation. They require almost every type of image editing services mentioned above.
Basically, digital image manipulation is to make an image or a photograph to look better. For advertisement purposes, for example – billboards, posters, newspaper and magazine ads, etc.; it is very often required to manipulate the image dramatically in an entertaining way, to convey the message to the buyer. Most of the time, it is required to add/remove various objects to the new composition.
The requirement for digital image manipulation services is everywhere. For the personal requirement of correcting photographic flaws like exposures etc. and minor retouching, to the huge area of advertisement, show business, TV commercials, everybody needs image manipulation. If digital image manipulation is done ethically, it can be very useful for the advertisement, publication, and show biz industry. Prior to the different areas of photography, photographers usually would do it in the darkroom.
With the development of computers and image manipulation software, a different creed of professionals got involved in the image manipulation tasks. Because of the availability of graphic design houses and highly skillful Photoshop, professional photographers now can focus on their main job of photography more and self-marketing. The graphic design firms are capable of doing the job according to the instruction and requirements of their clients.