What is Photochopping?
Photochopping means to use software to manipulate images beyond basic retouching and effect application. When you smooth the crows feet on your Aunt Betty’s eyes, that’s retouching. When you alter the photo so it looks like she’s dirty dancing with John Travolta, that’s photochopping! Just applying an effect to a picture is not photochopping, and merely captioning a picture is also not photochopping, no matter how clever your caption is. To photochop, you need to chop — you need to combine photos, take material from one to put into another, or make non-trivial changes to an original.
What to Use to Photochop?
To photochop, you need a software application that lets you manipulate images. There really aren’t that many choices. The 800-pound gorilla is Adobe’s Photoshop. The last fully desktop version was Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Creative Suite v6), released in May of 2012. Adobe has since released a CC version (Creative Cloud), where you apparently rent the software. Either way, it’s quite expensive, so if you’re not a professional, you probably won’t use Photoshop. What else is there? You can use Corel’s Paintshop Pro. It’s up to version X6, which I think is like version 16, but lots of people are perfectly happy with older versions. It’s under $100. You can also use GIMP, an Open Source project. It runs under Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
There are other programs you can use. If you go to download.com, you can search and download various lesser-known photo editors, but seriously, unless you’ve got lots of money, it comes down to a choice between Paintshop Pro and GIMP.
Here are three websites where you can participate in photochopping contests.
fark.com has various features, among them an ongoing photochopping contest. Sign up, post your contest entries, and see how many votes you get. It’s an irreverent, fun community. They run three contests per day, so it’s always busy. There’s a $5 monthly paid option that lets you enter the contests before unpaid members.
photoshopcontest.com runs a new contest every two days and has three open contests at all times. It actually offers paid prizes of $50. These people are less irreverent and more artistic. They take their work seriously. As with FARK, you can pay to gain access to contests before the rest of the membership does.
pxleyes.com is the third site I know about. Here, contests last even longer, about a week, but there seems to be a new contest every day, so there are always several contests to participate in.
Start photochopping! 🙂