Image Manipulation: From its history to its effects on society

Images play a major role in our lives. We are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis as we ride the subway, read a magazine, watch TV and surf the internet. While it is a well-known fact that almost all digital images have been photoshopped before being published, their distortion still creates an unrealistic ideal standard. For our final project we began by mapping the history of image manipulation and its many uses, both positive and negative. We have investigated the negative effects image manipulation can have on today’s youth, and also presented a few pro-active campaigns, aimed to increase positive self-image. 

Group: Shelley Haines & James Burns

Audience: Students in Toronto who are in the last few years of high school. They are accustomed to using social media, but they do not know how to get the most out of it, nor do they know about many of the challenges or security issues that we have learned about in class.

Our final project:


HDR Effect (Adobe CS5 Photoshop Tutorial)

HDR  Before & After:beforeandafter


This tutorial will show you how to add an HDR effect to your photos, using Adobe Photoshop.


1. Rename the “Background” layer to “Original”

2. Duplicate this layer, and rename it as “Black&White”

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3. Change the Blending Options of “Black&White” to Overlay

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It should look like this…


4. Go to Image > Adjustements > Desaturate



5. Invert Black&White: Image > Adjustements > Invert

Your photo should now look like this:



6.  Now, add a Gaussian Blur to the layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur). I chose 40px for this photo.

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7. Duplicate the “Original” layer, and place it above your “Black&White” layer. Rename this layer to “Linear Layer”

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8. Change the Blending Option of this layer to Linear Light

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10. Finally, reduce the opacity of the top layer

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Final product:







Lightbeam: Uncovering third-party interactions

Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that allows you see the third party sites that you interact with while you are on the web in real-time. In addition, Lightbeam reports  your relationship with these sites as well.  Today, I downloaded the app and monitored my activity. After just 20 minutes surfing online, Lightbeam shows revealed that while I only visited 12 sites, I was connected with 98 third-party sites!


As you browse the web, you are being tracked through “cookies” – which are essentially tiny bits of data that are stored onto your computer while you browse. When you return to the website, the cookies are sent back to the server to notify the website of your return and previous activity. In some respects, cookies can make your browsing more efficient, as it tailors relevant information based on your experience. However, the reduction in security through shared personal information is an obvious downside to cookies. As you have a private conversation, pay your bills and shop, third parties continue to collect your information – and it’s perfectly legal. Whenever you sign up for an account online you are agreeing to their term and conditions to allow the website and external sources to collect and share your information!

Find out who is watching you: