TODAY | February 27, 2014
>> series now called love your selfie. how does a plain looking photo become a glamorous cover shot ? we decided to take a look at the process with cosmopolitan magazine to see how it's done. it happens in the blink of an eye but the end result can actually take hours. this is the art of photoshopping. from lena in vogue to popular online videos . the difference between photo shoot and photoshop is becoming more and more evident. computer programs can change eye color , skin color , hair length, even body shape . there seems to be no limit to what can be done.
>> hey, how are you?
>> how you doing?
>> we want your best selves to come out of this photo .
>> with a little help, we offered ourselves up as test cases.
>> this is where the magic happens.
>> to show just how much an image can be photoshopped .
>> we've all seen a hundred or a thousand photos of ourselves where every one of the features pops right out.
>> my tummy. if i could sort of fix something, that would be it.
>> i'd make my arms thinner, i'd take away a few wrinkles.
>> we'd take a little of the crow's feet around the eyes out. or if we maybe take circles under the eyes and take those away, i don't think anybody can complain.
>> you guys are doing a good job.
>> as soon as the camera stopped clicking, the selection process began.
>> no, no. that should go back. that's kind of nice. but it's a bit blah. let's mark that one.
>> we'll probably shorten his tie in this shot.
>> that's a nice shot . could you open al 's eye there. i think we have some stuff to work on here.
>> then the keyboard, mouse and tablet went to work.
>> in the magazine we're trying to present the best self of someone. you're looking for things that restore them as opposed to recreate them. the magic of technology one click at a time, real beauty or computer-generated perfection? if you change who i am as a person or anyone of us are as people, then it's ridiculous. you might as well have an artist in here painting a portrait because it's not realistic.
>> when a photo is so overly photoshopped , i think you're not doing a service to that person or to the people looking at that picture saying is this what have i to strive for?
>> someone can photoshop you and make you look different and make you look better, but you know who you are.
>> a lot of times a good picture is when someone is feeling happy inside and that just comes through and there's no amount of photoshopping that can do that.
>> the real you is the best you.
>> joanna coles is here. we're ready to see what her team has done to us. here is our untouched original photo on the screen here. let's see what happens with a little bit of touching. this is probably a cover photo that, joanna , you would approve, all right? let's take a look at the second one. that is the second one. and now with some extreme retouching.
>> oh, boy.
>> wow. wow, okay.
>> joanna --
>> are my boobs bigger because i think they are.
>> i'm just saying, that didn't look like me.
>> my smile and my hair, lordy.
>> how much work between number two and number three?
>> between the actual picture that we would use in the magazine there were 15 specific things that we did. and i call it really tidying up. what happens when you go into a studio is often the light slightly distorts things. so we made slight changes to the color of your roots, tidied up some wrinkling of your suit, but the big change we made was opening one of al's eyes. the photo was perfect except he had one eye slightly closed. when you have four people together, it's difficult to capture everybody's, you know, perfect moment .
>> you're familiar with the controversy. i mean, some people think that magazines such as yours, all these magazines photoshop so much it sets up an unrealistic expectation and makes people feel bad about themselves. what do you think about that?
>> it's a criticism i'm very aware of. you can't edit a magazine and not consider that. at cosmo we never edit somebody's body type . we will tidy something up if the light has distorted it. if someone comes in with a cold sore or with a zit, we might remove that. and sometimes when you're shooting a cover, they may be very stressed. you're so brilliant and in front of the camera, you live it. i don't have to say but most people are not that comfortable in front of a camera. even very well known actresses and they get very stressed about doing a photo shoot . they might get zits or cold sores so we take those out. we had a celebrity that was doing some cutting and was anxious the scars didn't show.
>> you're seeing all of the changes that were made.
>> this is for the extreme photoshopping. at cosmo you're very serious about where you draw the line?
>> i take it very seriously.
>> other magazines, lady gaga was in glamour magazine and she took the magazine to cast for overdoing it and creating an unrealistic photo of herself.
>> she seems to me as someone who has broken all sorts of extraordinary rules about putting themselves out there. it's unfortunate if a celebrity says they don't recognize themselves clearly. and i don't know what actually went on there. but you can see what you can do and here we chang the color of the background, we change the color of the outfits. matt, i'm afraid we gave you a little built more hair, took out everybody's wrinkles and gave everybody extraordinary white teeth . this is the fantasy version you wouldn't want to put out there.
>> i'm 54 years old. if i wake up at 4:00 in the morning for the last 30 years and if i take a picture and there are little circles under my eyes, i wouldn't mind if someone spruced it up a little bit.
>> from the first photo that gets photoshopped in the magazine, my editors know. people are much more savvy, everybody has a filter on instagram, pasting pictures on facebook and nobody wants a bad photo out there.
>> that wa noet but wi but will my heart be