Recreate The Reuters Photoshop Scandal

In this tutorial we will show you how to recreate the image from the Reuters photoshopping scandal of the Beirut bombings. Learn step-by-step techniques and finish up the tutorial by also adding Godzilla.

Hello and welcome to the Reuters tutorial, soon to be taught to photojournalism photographers worldwide. In case you aren’t up to date, this recreates one of the images from the recent Reuters scandals that have been exposed to the world.

Reuters released a press release on August 6th 2006 saying they are no longer going to work with Adnan Hajj (the photoshop artist & photographer behind this image). The credits for this go to the Little Green Footballs blog that first uncovered the story.

Okay, let’s start by analyzing both images – the left one being the original image and the right one being the ’enhanced’ one. You can clearly see the repeating patterns in the bigger puffs of smoke which was the result of repeated clicks from the same source with the clone tool.

We’ll have a nicer smoke and will try to enhance it even more, mkay?

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Let’s first start by doing some curves adjustment to bring up the same colors and contrast as the enhanced image has. Do that by hitting CTRL+M and make the “Famous S Curve” ( check out the detailed tutorial for this technique). On to the next step…

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Okay, now pick the clone tool. Do that either by clicking on it’s icon (shown in the screenshot) or by hitting the S key.

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The clone tool works in a very intuitive fashion. First you will need to pick a place to sample from – you do that by holding the ALT key and clicking on a piece of image (my suggestion shown below).

Remember – if you don’t want to have such a bad result as the photographer Adnan Hajj got, I suggest you don’t have “aligned” checked in the menu (above the image)

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Alrighty – now the fun starts. Find a place to start cloning and click n’ drag until you get some interesting results. Repeat the sampling and cloning process once you get a satisfactory result.

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Now let’s make another smoke on the right part of the city…

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And some smoke up in the sky…

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And why not go to google images and google for some burning buildings?

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And why stop there? Surely Reuters would also publish a picture of Godzilla attacking the city…

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Let’s also add some smoke coming out of Godzilla’s nostrils to make it a bit more believable. To get this type of brushwork open up the Brush palette (F5) and play with the “scattering” settings.

My strokes were done at 20% opacity and the scattering mapped to the tablet pressure. Here’s the final result.

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Alrighty, this concludes our tutorial. Hope you had fun and if you want to have a bit more, check out this remake of the “All Your Base Are Belong To Us” parody called “All Your Fakes Are Belong To Us”…