Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017: The year in Five-Minute Photoshop. Yes, it's that time of year when I glory in a year's worth of stupid sweded imagery. I'm actually surprised how little of it I did this year, compared to previous nonsense-filled years. I guess this is growing up? Nah.

Here's the original Five-Minute Photoshop post, from March 2012. Then I decided to make it into an annual tradition: here's my round-up of 2013 in Five-Minute Photoshop, 2014 in Five-Minute Photoshop2015 in Five-Minute Photoshop, and 2016 in Five-Minute Photoshop. Okay, get ready for greatness…

The film A Street Cat Named Bob is about a homeless guy who turned his life around with the help of this very handsome ginger cat (the real Bob actually starred in the film):

But I always saw the title as A Streetcar Named Bob.

"Bob! Hey Bob!"

This is a 1945 aerial map of Carlton, which I annotated to show the streets that were bulldozed when the Commish was built in the 1960s. Look especially at the diagonal line of Neill Street, part of which only survives today as a park-like pedestrian throughway from Rathdowne to Lygon St. And look at Drummond Street, which originally ran north-south from Princes Street to Victoria Street but now breaks off at the Commish and picks up again at Palmerston Street.

Here's the same location today. The point of my doing this was because someone on Twitter was talking about the 'ghost streets' that show up on aerial maps, where the shapes of buildings, parks and other uses of urban space reveal where streets used to be, even though those streets have now vanished. Interestingly, now that the old Commish walk-up flats have been replaced with bourgie apartment buildings, the old street names have been reinstated because people need to drive through the new developments.

Earlier this year there was a lot of fuss made about FaceApp, an AI-based app that alters photos in varying ways – to make you look older or younger, or swap your gender, or add a smile when you weren't smiling in the original pic.

Chad does not smile in these terrifying, dead-eyed selfies he takes of him trying on clothes, which he then sends to his wife Zoe for her opinion. Instead she is unsettled, and she posted a whole bunch of Chad's serial-killer pics and then FaceApped him to add this creepy smile. I then thought, "How can I make this photo creepier? I know – make Chad into Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It."

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is all about this provincial life. I took a lot of trouble to get the sparkles right – you can't go overboard with them or it looks ridiculous, but you want them to look really blingy. I also offset two identical layers of the text to create the embossed gold effect.

I'm still unsure the extent to which this US local news report was engineered by the journalist, who is reporting from the scene of a wild cougar sighting, but then the camera zooms in to an ordinary cat sitting in the background of the shot. Obviously I sweded up a version featuring my own large cat. The hardest part was the bottom right-hand corner, which was the background of the original shot, but the grass was much browner than my garden so I had to green it up, but also not ruin the blue gradient effect on the banner.

I really thought people on Cool Cat Group (an excellent Facebook group that is basically lots of pictures of members' cats) would find this joke funny, but the admins mustn't have known about the meme, because they didn't approve my post. They must have thought I was just posting an actual screengrab and not a picture of my own cat.

This one tangentially features Graham as well. It is very spiritual. I sometimes like to imagine Ghost Obi-Wan giving me life advice.

I threatened to draw Omar like one of my French girls, hence the Heart of the Ocean round his neck. It is basically a joke about how he would always post these moody thirst-trap selfies of him reclining. Of course, now he has a girlfriend all his Instagram pictures are smoochy pics of the pair of them cuddling. Look, on one level I'm glad Omar is happy.

I always wanted a reaction pic of this Star Trek moment in which Spock mind-melds with a wounded alien – I have the dance remix and I listen to it all the time. It is the soundtrack to my own performative agony and aversive feelings.

This year I co-hosted a freelancers' work Christmas party. I think I chose just the right Santa hat to look as if it's part of the original comic, which of course is emblematic of the experience of being a freelance writer.

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