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This is How You Can Tell if an Image has Been Photoshopped

This is How You Can Tell if an Image has Been Photoshopped

As our computers and mobile devices grow more sophisticated, so do their capabilities. Editing graphics, for example, has grown from an infrequently used specialized tool to a commonly relied on tactic. Most notably among magazines, advertisements, and entertainment, Photoshop has become a sophisticated and sleek way to quickly tweak photos. Though slimmer bodies and younger faces are constantly produced for the media we consume, sometimes an edited image is not superior. There are a range of scenarios in which it can be useful to determine if a photo has been photoshopped, and thanks to a growing body of tools and search features, finding out is easier than ever. The following six ways are the most helpful and successful in finding out whether a photo is the original or not.

Know what to look for 

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    Simply looking over a potentially photoshopped image is the first way to figure out if a photo has been manipulated. Certain visual characteristics are difficult to successfully duplicate and can be red flags that a photo has been tampered with. One such indicator is bent or liquid looking surfaces that should otherwise appear solid. Especially if the subject of a photograph has been changed, objects in the background might not appear as straight as they should be. Straight edges, corners, wood grain, and tiles are all difficult to keep in the right perspective when working with Photoshop.

    Pay attention to pixelation

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      Modifying a photo often causes digital distortion. Whether this distortion takes the form of pixelation or just imperfect coloring, it can be a good indicator of the photo’s validity. In extremely large photos, this degradation in quality is less prevalent, but in medium and small photos, pixelation is common. Spots of distortion are a tell-tale sign the image has been altered, especially if the photo is otherwise clear.

      Look at the light

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        Another way to spot a picture that’s been photoshopped is by examining the way light interacts with the objects in the photo. Shadows and highlights will appear to violate the laws of physics, especially when a subject has been removed or added to a photo. An object that doesn’t cast a shadow is one common mistake, as well as subjects with highlights coming from a different direction than the light in the rest of the photo.

        Find obvious errors

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          Another common Photoshop fail occurs when the digital artist neglects to catch obvious problems. Recently, various magazines and other ads have been caught with photos of people with too many limbs or otherwise impossible situations. These errors tend to hide in plain sight and can be surprisingly easy to miss.

          Reverse image search 

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            While not the most airtight method in discovering if a photo is doctored, a reverse image search can be helpful. Drag and drop a photo onto the Google image search bar to bring up all sources of an image. In the case of a photo that’s been manipulated, this can bring up the original image, or images that resemble the doctored photos, giving away a manipulated photo.

            Examine the data

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              A newer way to detect if a photo has been doctored or not is to use a photo analyzing website. Some of these services require that you have the original, RAW photo data, but many do not, allowing you to analyze a JPEG or PNG image. Some of these services even locate where in the photo the manipulation takes place, which can be helpful if the photoshopped image has been well done. Such tools include sites, like FotoForensics, which is a free and simple photo verifying service.

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              Alicia Prince

              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on November 3, 2020

              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

              Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

              There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

              This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

              What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

              Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

              • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
              • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
              • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

              1. Todoist

                Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                Download: Todoist

                2. 1Password

                  You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                  1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                  You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                  Download: 1Password

                  3. Bear

                    Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                    It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                    Download: Bear

                    4. Hazel

                      Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                      For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                      Download: noodlesoft

                      5. Alfred

                        Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                        For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                        It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                        Download: Alfred

                        6. TextExpander

                          TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                          For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                          An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                          Download: TextExpander

                          7. Backblaze

                            If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                            Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                            Download: Backblaze

                            8. Keyboard Maestro

                              Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                              Download: Keyboard Maestro

                              9. Snagit

                                There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                10. Bartender

                                  Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                  If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                  Download: Bartender

                                  11. Otter

                                  Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                  Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                  Download: Otter

                                  12. Flux

                                    Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                    Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                    Download: Flux

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                                    13. PDFpen

                                    If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                    PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                    Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                    14. OmniFocus

                                      OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                      It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                      A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                      Download: OmniFocus

                                      15. Franz

                                        It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                        Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                        Download: Franz

                                        16. MindNode

                                          If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                          The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                          Download: MindNode

                                          17. Focus

                                            The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                            This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                            Download: Focus

                                            18. CleanMyMac

                                              Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                              Download: CleanMyMac

                                              19. Grammarly

                                                A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                Download: Grammarly

                                                Focus To Do

                                                  Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                  There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                  Download: Focus To Do

                                                  The Bottom Line

                                                  These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                  Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                  More to Boost Productivity

                                                  Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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