Talking tech since 2003

File this social campaign as just downright dirty.  In an effort to promote what Dove is calling “real beauty,” the company created a Photoshop Action (a script that performs a task) that reverts all of the changes made to a particular photo in Photoshop, making all of your hard work disappear in a matter of seconds.  If that’s not bad enough, the Dove social team marketed the Photoshop Action to the masses in the sub reddit r/photoshop (a popular sub reddit for photo retouches and graphic designers), as an action that adds a glow to a person’s skin (before and after), which it clearly does not.

Why did Dove do this?  Well, if you believe their video (see above), it’s because they wanted to make a point to the people that are “manipulating our perceptions” of beauty. Thankfully for the photo retouching community, the campaign never gained any traction on Reddit (the video was posted on March 3) and most people weren’t duped into installing the rogue Photoshop Action.

Quite frankly, I think this campaign is wrong on many levels.  Not only are they deceiving people into downloading a rogue Photoshop Action, but they could be potentially costing people a lot of time and money.  There are people who retouch photos for a living, and I know first hand (my girlfriend Mandy does a lot of photo retouching), that it can take hours and hours of painstaking work to get that photo just right, especially if you use proper techniques such as dodge and burn.

Could you imagine if someone who was doing work for a paying client suddenly had their entire project undone in a matter of seconds?  How terrible that would be.

Nonetheless, since I have nothing to lose, I downloaded the Photoshop Action to test it out for myself.  Once I loaded the action into Photoshop, I edited a photo of myself and then ran the action script by Dove, sure enough my changes were gone within a matter of seconds.  That being said, the action script appears to only be able to undo changes that are from the current session.  I tried to run the action script after I made changes, closed Photoshop, and reopened it and it didn’t appear to work.

Ok, so it’s not the most complex action script, but still, pretty malicious.  Shame on you, Dove. Shame on you.

By the way, this isn’t Dove’s first attempt to start this fight to display “real beauty,” they had a similar campaign back in 2006.

I’m not denying that some photo retouching can go a bit too far, but if you use it to enhance people’s already existing beauty, I don’t see the problem with that.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to show the best side of yourself.

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