What Happens When You PhotoShop an Ad Back to Normal?



A Victoria’s Secret ad run on Facebook after I used Photoshop to retouch back to what I thought were normal looking, physically fit females.


Top fashion brands like Victoria’s Secret have taken heat from consumers and media for manipulating the appearance of their models through both real diet and exercise regimes and also by using photo retouching techniques to make the models appear thinner, taller, and without skin blemishes.

I wondered what would happen if I used Adobe Photoshop to retouch a Victoria’s Secret ad seen on Facebook in the other direction. I wanted to make the models look more “average”, more like my impression of what physically fit females actually look like. Here are the results seen side by side.


The original ad on the left, my retouched version on the right. It took a lot of work to get rid of all that “thigh gap”.


The project took about 20 minutes in Photoshop, and I am not a skilled user. I used the “liquify” tool, the rubber stamp tool and the masking tool. For an expert in Photoshop the results would be better and quicker.

When I put the two photos next to each other I was struck by how truly bizarre the actual Victoria’s Secret ad looks. The two girls in the center with bare midriffs look truly weird in the real ad, and look a lot more realistic in my Photoshopped version.

The thing that struck me the most was that the ad I Photoshopped now looked pretty reasonable. The actual ad, before my Photoshop, looked freakish.

I don’t know how much (if any) Photoshop is done in an ad like this one for Victoria’s Secret. I do know it took 20 minutes of work to restore the image to my perception of a more normal, fit looking bunch of girls on the beach.


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