Skinny image doctoring, or: How to stop being fooled by photoshop

bougainvilleas

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I've noticed quite a few discussions in the Instagram models thread and elsewhere about whether somebody's thinness is real or photoshopped. Personally, I naturally distrust any images posted on social media because of how very easy it is to commit skinny fraud, and I thought it could be helpful to discuss ways to spot an inauthentic image.

First, the simplicity of manipulation: Facetune is a breeze to use and it's safe to assume every celebrity has employed it—albeit to varying degrees of success—at some point. Apps like Spring and Retouch will lengthen legs and slim the body in one or two clicks; I know there are also apps that can do this for videos, though I'm not sure of their names.

I was unsettled to learn recently that body stretching is also possible right from the iPhone's native Photos app. Here is a video showing how quickly you can do it:


The above tutorial really explained a lot of pictures I've seen from influencers on Instagram that looked unedited but felt off in perspective, like they were shot from a lens that was somehow telephoto AND wide at the same time.

Some telltale signs of an edited image, below. Curious if anyone has other suggestions on what to look for?
  • Warped, wavy background
  • Uneven horizon / walls / railing / buildings
  • One hand is much bigger or longer than the other
  • One part of the image feels like it "bulges"
  • A familiar clothing item (e.g. Chanel handbag) looks longer or smaller than it is in person
  • A popular background (e.g. Dumbo bridge shot) looks taller than in other people's pics of that place
  • Person is standing on flat ground, but foreground floor looks a mile long
  • Doors or furniture are much taller than they usually appear from a phone camera
The Celebface Instagram also has some really good examples of both egregious and subtle editing.
 
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PattieBoyd

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I've noticed quite a few discussions in the Instagram models thread and elsewhere about whether somebody's thinness is real or photoshopped. Personally, I naturally distrust any images posted on social media because of how very easy it is to commit skinny fraud, and I thought it could be helpful to discuss ways to spot an inauthentic image.

First, the simplicity of manipulation: Facetune is a breeze to use and it's safe to assume every celebrity has employed it—albeit to varying degrees of success—at some point. Apps like Spring and Retouch will lengthen legs and slim the body in one or two clicks; I know there are also apps that can do this for videos, though I'm not sure of their names.

I was unsettled to learn recently that body stretching is also possible right from the iPhone's native Photos app. Here is a video showing how quickly you can do it:


The above tutorial really explained a lot of pictures I've seen from influencers on Instagram that looked unedited but felt off in perspective, like they were shot from a lens that was somehow telephoto AND wide at the same time.

Some telltale signs of an edited image, below. Curious if anyone has other suggestions on what to look for?
  • Warped, wavy background
  • Uneven horizon / walls / railing / buildings
  • One hand is much bigger or longer than the other
  • One part of the image feels like it "bulges"
  • A familiar clothing item (e.g. Chanel handbag) looks longer or smaller than it is in person
  • A popular background (e.g. Dumbo bridge shot) looks taller than in other people's pics of that place
  • Person is standing on flat ground, but foreground floor looks a mile long
  • Doors or furniture are much taller than they usually appear from a phone camera
The Celebface Instagram also has some really good examples of both egregious and subtle editing.
I love this thread!

I learned how to use Photoshop ten years ago when I was 14/15 and I still edit my photos there (I don't make myself skinnier, but I color correct and fix stuff like baby hair or anything similar... since I'm far from being a influencer, people know how I look, there's no point to edit my body). People would be surprised with how easy it is to change your face for example, especially since the 2018 version has a algorithm that identifies your features and you can change it just like The Sims (literally). If you do that it's really hard for people to realize it's Photoshop, since it doesn't smudge anything like the liquify tool does. It doesn't work for body parts, just face, and sometimes I use it to enlarge my smile and eyes, no shame.

I think in the future they're going to add this feature with body parts like waist and hips, so it would be way easier to edit photos and would prevent all the smudge and uneven background.

And about stretch legs: if somebody's feet look bigger then it should be, usually it indicates the person allongated their legs. Also, depending on the floor, you can see if the pattern gets allongated too.
 
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heize

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Thank you so much for this thread!
I came across tutorials on how to edit your videos to make yourself appear skinnier, which I think is shameful and wrong because it sets up unrealistic beauty standards. We all know that the skinny look is totally achievable, but a waist smaller than your head? Really? I'm sick of this trend and I'm sick of people praising this look, especially while giving skinny people hell.


 
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PattieBoyd

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Thank you so much for this thread!
I came across tutorials on how to edit your videos to make yourself appear skinnier, which I think is shameful and wrong because it sets up unrealistic beauty standards. We all know that the skinny look is totally achievable, but a waist smaller than your head? Really? I'm sick of this trend and I'm sick of people praising this look, especially while giving skinny people hell.


The first one is so bad, I can't. Maybe it fools some people, but anyone that looks closely can see it's a terrible editing... the fence behind her looks off even after correcting it.

Also, she had huge thighs and hips before and she made them even bigger? That's a thing?
 
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bougainvilleas

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especially since the 2018 version has a algorithm that identifies your features and you can change it just like The Sims (literally). If you do that it's really hard for people to realize it's Photoshop, since it doesn't smudge anything like the liquify tool does. It doesn't work for body parts, just face, and sometimes I use it to enlarge my smile and eyes, no shame.

I think in the future they're going to add this feature with body parts like waist and hips, so it would be way easier to edit photos and would prevent all the smudge and uneven background.
Thanks for noting this—I had no idea it existed! What is the tool called? I pray Adobe doesn't go the route of creating such a feature for body parts. If the fat-loving HAES crowd is ever good for anything, hopefully it'll be to drum up enough online outrage to cancel an auto-slimming Photoshop option :spazrun:
 
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PattieBoyd

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Thanks for noting this—I had no idea it existed! What is the tool called? I pray Adobe doesn't go the route of creating such a feature for body parts. If the fat-loving HAES crowd is ever good for anything, hopefully it'll be to drum up enough online outrage to cancel an auto-slimming Photoshop option :spazrun:
It's the classic liquify tool, they added a lot of new features to make it easier to edit! And the face option is amazing, it really does an amazing job.

images.png
 
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abominable_princess

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Can I add to the list of telltale signs “elbows that are unnaturally wide”? It’s often a sign that the waist has been photoshopped to look smaller. It’s one of the slightly less obvious ones sometimes but once you start recognising it it’s everywhere.

some examples: 821F9217-A2C1-44E4-B24A-BD810F3B6B18.jpeg9900C500-22E9-483A-AE07-22BEF3D33B39.jpegB4E10E85-5EC1-49E3-B74E-09A1EA4C4486.jpeg
 
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PattieBoyd

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I did this Photoshop edit in 10/15 minutes. In the end Bella doesn't look SG skinny, but I wanted to show how you can manipulate an image without the more commom mistakes described above and still look like "yourself". If Bella posted the photoshopped one, I think people would believe her.

However, this is not the kind of photo that goes well being edited in facetune for example, since there's some parts that are quite hard to fix and mantain it's shape. Maybe later I'm gonna try to edit it in some app to see if it's possible to make it look nice.

Gif.gif
 
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PattieBoyd

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Now this one I made in a random edit app called AirBrush. I tried to be careful, but in my opinion the proportions don't look good and some parts look off. For example, I gave her skinnier arms but I couldn't fix the armpit fat on the left.

ezgif-6-7979121fadd0.gif

It was waaay quicker and easier in my opinion. But I prefer to use Photoshop.
 
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PattieBoyd

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I really like this video, it shows how far you can go without looking too fake...

 
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vie

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how videos can be photoshopped
God I hate this and I really think Snap/IG filters have normalized it so much. I know girls who won't post a single story without wearing one of those drastic filters that reshapes their entire nose, chin, eyes, lips, and hairline and don't even seem to mind that you can clearly see it's called "Catfish Perfect Big Lip Cat Eye Nose Job Filter" in the upper left corner. The natural next step feels like accepting full-body video photoshop (for 'normal' girls / low-list influencers, not just Kardashians who've long embraced CGI fakery).
 
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atxwaif

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I really like this video, it shows how far you can go without looking too fake...

I like how one of the first crew members you see on the scene at the beginning of the video is... you guessed it... an obese woman.
 
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heize

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Since everyone on social media is obsessed with those Tik Toks of tall, thin Chinese people "seemingly taken out of Fashion Week" (yeah, sure), here's a video explaining how they edit their videos and how easy it is.
People editing themselves to look abnormally tall and thin is one thing, but believing that they actually look like this when not even fashion models do is just plain stupid.
 
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bougainvilleas

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Since everyone on social media is obsessed with those Tik Toks of tall, thin Chinese people "seemingly taken out of Fashion Week" (yeah, sure), here's a video explaining how they edit their videos and how easy it is.
People editing themselves to look abnormally tall and thin is one thing, but believing that they actually look like this when not even fashion models do is just plain stupid.
I feel like the culprit for this one may be people’s static/forever-lagging awareness of “what’s possible with technology.” My knowledge of photoshop comes from playing around with it as a teenager, and I never realized it could later develop tools like the auto face feature @PattieBoyd mentioned above. Similarly, I think a lot of people don’t realize that video manipulation exists because the common knowledge used to be “you can lie in a photo but not on video - it’s just not possible.”

While those who work in graphic design or other aesthetic realms may be up to speed, the masses learn much more slowly and usually by word of mouth.... so we’ll probably reach widespread awareness of fake video skinniness in 2030, by which time I’m sure an even worse new editing app/trend will sweep the world :facepalm:
 
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