Monday, 30 May 2011

Photoshop – The Weight Loss Wonder Drug

Have you ever seen a weight loss advert for a new drug, machine or “herb” that'll make you lose weight, all promoting how fast they work and how well they work. Showing pictures of women who lose 10 – 20kgs in just a few weeks. Well I can get those same “results” in just a few minutes with Photoshop.

This is not to say that some of these methods or treatments don't work. However, this will prove that seeing is not believing. Just because you see a man or woman standing in a pair of pants that are pulled 30cm from their waist doesn't mean they actually lost that weight.

Same goes for those beloved before and after pictures where, before, you have a sad, frowning woman slouching in a dark room while someone takes a rather blurred picture. While, after, you have a bright looking woman with make-up on standing tall and proud after losing a bunch of weight.

Now I would like to show you how easy it is to deceive the eye and make it seem as though someone has lost weight and toned up.

I searched for images on Google and found the above image on the left. I used this picture to illustrate the ease at which I changed the photo. The “before” image on the left is where I started and the “after” image on the right is after a short 5 minute trip through Photoshop.

Shadows, shapes, highlights etc., are things that allow the eye to conceive size, proportion and so on. So by removing certain folds in the skin and lightening darker areas you give the illusion of smaller size. That is how I was able to manipulate the image.

Let me show you how:

Here is where I started

The first thing I did was remove the folds in the skin on her back.

Then I tightened up key areas using a very simple to use tool in Photoshop. I chose areas like her back and thighs to give her body a distinct curve as well as tightening up other areas to keep her body in proportion.

Then I lightened up and removed dense looking areas of skin under her arm. By doing so you give the skin a smoother look and eliminate any folds in the skin.

Then using the same tool I used with the thighs, arms and back I give her a small tummy tuck.

Then again, keeping her body in proportion, I gave her a boob lift and slight reduction to keep her body in proportion.

After that I added highlights and a bit of texture to the arms, legs, tummy and chest to remove cellulite and shadows. By removing the shadows you give the illusion that her stomach is flat and the sense that her legs aren't bulging because the shadow is so subtle.

All of this took me 5 minutes, imagine what I could do with an hour.

The same goes for skin care products that advertise fast, miraculous results for stretch marks, pimples, blemishes and so on.

Again we see those lovely before and after photos:

Both of these taking me just a few minutes each. Even better than that is the fact that tutorials are available on Youtube giving simple instructions so that even the newest Photoshop users can get fantastic results.

So the next time you're considering sinking money into that wonderful new product, look past the before and after photos and dig a little deeper to see if that product is really for you.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lines and Shapes: Their Emotion and Meaning

Lines and Shapes: Their Emotion and Meaning

A very important aspect to your logo, design or art work is the subject of lines and shapes, what they mean and more importantly, what emotions they evoke.

There are definite emotions that colours and the flow of lines can create, but as a whole your design must be able to stand alone and be understood. It is also essential not to get too immersed in the strict application of all the rules of design. At the end of the day you want a product that communicates a clear message, even if that message is uniformity in that it never changes in terms of design (branding).

Let's get started. Because we read from left to right, there is an automatic assumption that motion is left to right. That is at least true in the realm of print and web design.

Here's an example:

The first image expresses a decreasing or contracting where as the the second image expresses increasing or expanding.

Other directions like up and down can also create a profound effect on motion. While left to right is the motion of the eye when reading, other directions, up and down, have their own assumed meaning. Usually when something is going up it immediately implies that something is successful and happy whereas a downward direction tends to the opposite.

Using these directions in conjunction with left to right motion can enhance it's meaning and evoke different emotions and create new meaning.

Where the first image expresses a rising, successful, optimistic and happy tone, the other is falling, pessimistic, defeated and depressed.

We also assign meaning to something because we associate it with something familiar to us in everyday life.


The first image represents growth and development where as the other image conveys structure, plan and logic.
Thickness of lines can also determine mood. For instance, thicker lines can represent something bold or strong but it can also be used to show anger or aggression. Thinner lines can express softness. Thick and thin lines can also be used in conjunction with one another to convey completely new emotions. For example, a thick line becoming sharply thinner could be used to put across speed or, as in the first example above, a decreasing in emphasis or pressure. All of this is also very useful when choosing a font for your website or promotional piece.

Lines that are “off-center” can also be a problem. This can create an unsteady or unstable feeling and they can generally throw people off.

You will notice that most corporations have logos that are clean cut and simple. Because these logos are designed in this way they give a strong and structured emotional tone.

Here are some simple lines that you can incorporate into your design to enhance it's emotional meaning:

It is also valuable to know that a design, technically correct or not, is something that defines your business or product. Some might be greatly influenced by the effort that is put into choosing the best colour or creating the appropriate shape that expresses the correct image of what you are doing, but in the end, another may just look at the design merely as the symbol that represents the business or product he is interacting with.

I hope this information was helpful. Please feel free to leave your comments below and visit my Facebook page:

 More information on mood lines can be found in the Art Book written by L. Ron Hubbard.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Colour and Emotion

Ever wonder why restaurants like Mc Donald's, KFC, Nandos, Scooters Pizza, Burger King or Anat decided to follow a pattern of red in their logos instead of an attempt to be completely separate in colour from their competitors.

Mc Donalds's luscious red background and it's golden arches, a logo that summons the appetite unbeknownst to it's consumers.

The purpose of using yellow and especially red in their logos is to attract one's appetite. Just as music is known to affect one's emotion, colour can be used to achieve the same result. Understanding this is key in creating a logo and other promotional material that bring about the desired emotion to sell your product.

Colour is not the only aspect you need to understand to create a logo or promotional piece to attract your particular consumer. Things like mood lines, shapes and layout are also important but colour is nothing to be overlooked.


Stirring emotions of aggression, passion, strength, energy, desire, love, determination and danger. It's effects on emotion are more intense than other colours even enhancing the body's metabolism, hence it's use in restaurant logos, and even increased respiration rate. Red is the colour that calls forth the appetite of people.

And for these reasons red remains one of the more powerful colours, also due to it's ability to be strong and eye catching by reflecting a great amount of light without being too harsh on the eyes.


The combination of red and yellow, this colour can create quite a powerful emotional response. It is because of this combination that orange is considered a very hot colour. Happiness, creativity, attraction, determination, success, fascination, encouragement and stimulation. Because it's a citrus colour it works well, especially with green, to promote healthy food.


One of the more common “happy” colours; yellow is known to create feelings of positivity, joy, cheerfulness and warmth. Another colour that reflects colour well and used in combination with black can create and outstanding output of light that calls upon the eye for attention. Yellow is even known to increase mental activity. Light yellow can be associated with freshness and joy.


The most common colour used for health products, green is known as the colour of nature. You can expect harmony, tranquillity, fertility, vitality, safety and health as emotions that will be aroused by this colour. Because it is associated with safety it can also be used to show that a product can be trusted. Darker shades of green are also linked to money and ambition.


Stability, security, influence, faith, truth, loyalty and wisdom. Blue is the more common colour used for corporate logos as it provides a sober outlook in work and business. Blue, unlike other warmer colours, can suppress the appetite creating a calmer response to a product. It is also for this reason that it is linked to expertise. Because blue does not reflect light as sharply as red or yellow, it gives off a calmer emotional tone. Lighter blue can also add a more tranquil and softer aspect to your design where a darker blue will give it a more knowledgeable and powerful emotional tone.


Combining red and blue, purple conveys power, nobility, luxury, extravagance, ambition, wealth, wisdom but also mystery, magic and creativity. Containing the flare of red and the serenity of blue, purple is a good colour to use when creating something attractive to the eye but calming enough to be appreciated.


Containing some of purple's flare, pink is more commonly known as a feminine colour with emotions of purity, softness and health. Because of it's feminine quality it can also be used as a colour to evoke romance.


Light, goodness, purity, innocence and perfection. White is associated with cleanness. Use it with blue to increase it's sober aspect and green or orange to give the clean emotion to a colour linked with health.


Power, elegance, formality, mystery, death and evil. Used with dark purple it can become fearful and gloomy but used with pink or yellow you add it's elegance and power to enhance the others emotion. White and black are more commonly used in combination with other colours to make them seem brighter and therefore enhance their emotional output.

The above is a useful article on on picking colours that best identify the product, business or even artistic piece that you're are wanting to create.

Please leave your comments below.

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