Retouching what you couldn't touch.
By Owen Parsons
COMPUTER SCREEN Photoshop is open on a photo of a guy and a girl at a party. They are posed with hands around one another, but his hand is subtly hovering a few inches from her shoulder. Onscreen title: "Hoverhands Tool Sneak Peek - Devin O'Neil - Photoshop Project Manager." The title fades as Devin speaks. DEVIN (V.O.) Hi, I'm Devin O'Neil. I'm a Project Manager here on the Photoshop team. In the past, I've shown you features like the Content Aware Fill, Red-eye-reduction, and Darth Maul makeup features. Today I'm going to show you the newest development we're working on: the Hoverhands Tool. To start, let's look at this photo of my friend Lewis at a party. We see here that his sissy balance is a little higher than I'd like. He zooms in on Lewis's hand. DEVIN (V.O.) Here's the problem: his hand is hovering above the girl's shoulder, almost as if he's never ever touched a lady before. Now in the past we might try cutting and pasting this, we could use the rubber stamp tool, but those are both kind of messy. He moves the mouse over to a new toolbar on the right. DEVIN (V.O.) So instead, we'll use our new Hoverhands Toolbar. You can select it here under tools, or hit control shift alt H to bring up the menu. For now we'll select the basic corrector. Just lasso the negative space between the hand and the girl. Now we'll let the tool chew through that distance and... A beat, and the girl is suddenly wearing a big thick parka. Just big enough to close the distance of the hoverhand. DEVIN (V.O.) There we go. Pretty dramatic difference. Before... He clicks back to the previous photo, then back. DEVIN (V.O.) ...and after. We also have some other options to fix hoverhands. Let's try another photo. A new guy/girl photo comes up; hoverhand is more dramatic. DEVIN (V.O.) Since this hoverhand is more pronounced, we're going to want to employ a subtler fix. Not a problem. I just have to lean a little more on my Hoverhands Tool. Just select our problem area here, and bring up our camouflage menu. He selects the hoverhand, then opens a "camouflage" drop-down menu on the Hoverhands Toolbar. DEVIN (V.O.) Here we can conceal the hoverhand entirely. Just... like... this... He checks the camouflage box. A random dude awkwardly appears behind the girl so that his shoulder fits into the nerd's hand DEVIN (V.O.) Much better. And there's a lot of flexibility here. We also have a sliders to adjust the situation depending on how much attention you want to draw to the hand. His mouse grabs a slider and starts moving it. As he does, the described situations appear to cover up the hoverhand. DEVIN (V.O.) We can go from subtle fixes, like pushing away some drunk jackass, or handing a first-aid kit to a nearby orphan; to higher profile scenarios like spinning a DJ table at the club, or protecting the girl from angry bees. Lot of options here. Let's move on. Another photo comes up, of a really super doofy-looking nerd clearly posing with a booth babe at a con. He's wearing an Adobe Systems shirt & his con badge reads "Devin." DEVIN (V.O.) Now, this is tricky. Here we see the hoverhand is greatly exaggerated by both the physical appearance of the nerd and the clear discomfort of the girl. Now we finally have tools that address these problems directly. We can use our Napkin tool to remove the sweat sheen from the man's forehead... He clicks on a napkin tool & dabs away the sweat sheen. DEVIN (V.O.) Our Popeye tool can give him a big manly arm... He clicks on a bicep tool and warps the arm to be full of muscles & cool sailor tattoos. DEVIN (V.O.) And our Slimmer can get rid of that baby fat. Let's just let it chew through this... He lassos the nerd's torso and waits. The tool takes an embarrassingly long time. DEVIN (V.O.) Few more moments. Lot of stuff to remove there. And... bingo. Nerd's torso is now svelte & muscular. DEVIN (V.O.) That looks great. Let's put a quick Bond filter on that... Great. He opens a filter drop-down menu, selects "Bond." Nerd's shlubby polo is replaced with a Bond-esque tuxedo. The cursor draws a lasso around the girl's hand. DEVIN (V.O.) We can also have the girl give the man a hoverhand, making it look like a cool inside joke instead of a virginity litmus test. He clicks her hand and drags it out so that both of them are hoverhanding. DEVIN (V.O.) We can also make it look like the girl is enjoying herself, rather than merely tolerating this contact. We can bring her all the way from active disgust, to indifference, to excitement, to happiest day of her life. Mouse clicks a tool submenu and adjusts a slider. She goes from looking grossed out, to bored, to excited, to smiling & wearing a wedding dress. DEVIN (V.O.) And we're good. If we want, we can even add additional scene filters, like Motorcycle... or Beastmaster. He clicks another filter & both are seated on a motorcycle. He clicks another filter & the motorcycle disappears, but now the ex-nerd's free hand is petting a snarling tiger, and a majestic hawk rests atop his hoverhand. He has long, flowing Beastmaster hair. DEVIN (V.O.) Perfect. No one looking at this photo would question this guy's suaveness. Let's just send this around and see what people think. Mouse saves the photo as-is to his desktop & opens up a mail client. He uploads the photo into a new message from DevinONeil@adobe.com, subject line: "Check out pics from our honeymoon!" & sends it out. A moment later, emails start popping back into his inbox saying things like "Wow, looking good, Devin!" and "She's sooo lucky!" DEVIN (V.O.) There we go. As you can see, we've fixed a really difficult editing issue with the Hoverhands Tool. Now you can use Photoshop to live the life you want. (sadly) Instead... instead of the life you were cursed with. END