Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the latest version available right now. We're pretty sure it's expensive, but since everyone just downloads pirated copies of it, no one is really sure.
Photoshop is an image manipulation tool. Just about every single image you see in print or online has been photoshopped at least a little. Most of the time you can't even tell. Photoshop CS 5 (Creative Suite 5), is the latest version of Photoshop. It has even more tools to trick people into thinking that your fakes are real.
You know that in the movies, actors use CGI to make their junk big and their boobs post-partum sized (see article: CGI Boobs: 7 Special Effects Stars Want to Keep Secret). Well, that takes a lot of video editing. In print, thanks to Photoshop, it's WAY easier, and therefore, happens ALL THE TIME.
If you look closely, you'll see that Keira Knightly actually does not have a tribal facial tattoo.
Most people can't tell fake photos from the real ones. Check out Cracked article The 15 Most Shameless Fake Photos Ever Passed Off As Real for some examples of the tomfoolery that Photoshop has wrought on us.
In 2006, Reuters was fooled by their own photographer, who added more smoke (using the clone tool, infra) and made the smoke blacker using the Time Magazine Tool:
The FBI and Photoshop:
The FBI released this photo (the center photo) of what Bin Laden might look like with gray hair, now that America has blown up everything around him:
The first photo is what bin Laden looked like a long time ago. The middle photo is what the FBI thinks he might look like now. The photo on the right is taken from Spanish politician, Gaspar Llamazares's, campaign photo, and it was used to Photoshop-age Osama bin Laden because under J. Edgar Hoover Directive Number 3, all colored people are the same.
Working with layers is one of the most basic tools in Photoshop. Layers allow you to cut and paste other images into your working image and put them in the foreground or background. It also allows you to manipulate different parts of your image separately.
We Photoshopped in red underwear on Scarlett Johansson.
The clone tool is great if you are only 17 and can't get steroids, but still want yourself to look as buff as a gay model on your movie poster. The clone tool lets you borrow patches from one section of an image and use it in another section.
Ahh liquefy filter...the many uses you have. There are several modes of the liquefy filter. One use, the bloat tool, will expand round things. This has many, many uses, like... if you took a picture of a ball, but want it to be bigger and rounder and... more mature.
There's also the warp tool, which lets you push and pull on images to smudge them in one direction. This is primarily used for giving things boners or making girls skinnier.
There are literally hundreds of tools and thousands of settings in Photoshop. Once you master the basics, you can work on really tweaking photos to make surreal compositions. Here some examples of what you can do (click on the photos for links to the respective pages):
40 Mindblowing Photo Manipulations:
Fantasy and Surreal Photo Manipulations:
So you've mastered the basics and now you are ready to create some fake nudes of your own or you want to make yourself into a centaur or something. You're going to need some tools - stock images, brushes, texture files, etc. Here's where you get them for free:
DeviantArt - great resource for stock photos and brushes.
PSD Vault - various tutorials and tools for creating neat looking photos.
Photoshopsupport - more brushes and tutorials and resources.
Advanced Photoshop/Photoshop Creative - Advanced Photoshop/Photoshop Creative site has a lot of user galleries that you can use for inspiration. The print magazines (about $15 an issue) are amazing and come with a CD with resource files and tutorials and stock images.
Photoshop on Facebook - The fan page for Photoshop has occasional news and tutorials and photo samples to look at.
Looking for more? YouTube has almost as many Photoshop tutorials as it does funny cat videos. Also, there are tons of other sites out there with tutorials and resources. Google is your friend with this regard.
In case you hadn't noticed, we run a weekly Photoshop contest. The results are published every Wednesday on the front page of Cracked.com. At the end of each results page is a link to participate in the current contest. You can view the whole archive of Photoshop contests here. Or, you can just go to the Cracked forum and enter here. The current Photoshop contest is stickied at the top of the page.
Here's an image from the Office Supplies too Awesome to Exist contest:
Don't have any skill or imagination or senses of humor, but you do have an image manipulation tool? You're not alone. Cracked columnist Daniel O'Brien pulled out the eight worst entries into the contests ever and commented on them here in his article: Genius or Lunatic: 8 Rejected Cracked Photoshop Entries.
While you're reading the rest of this, download the full version of Photoshop CS5 Extended (30 day trial) here.
Maybe not quite. But, CS5 does have some sweet new features. One of the most anticipated features is the content aware fill, which allows you to delete a portion of a picture and, instead of leaving white space, it fills in the background. How does it do that? Demons. Demons and black magic. Check it out:
Puppet warp is another rad feature. It allows you to set anchor points in a picture and then bend it without cutting and pasting and patching the image. Check out this quick video:
Here is a link that explains all of the new features with the help of video tutorials.
And, of course, don't forget the manufacturer's web page, Adobe.com, for an explanation by people who actually have the software.