Political Expression

While most photo editing programs give you plenty of tools to "touch up" your photos and make them look better, few, if any, give you the tools to "deface" photos.

By DAVID SHAMAH
December 28, 2005 12:36
4 minute read.
grafit art 88

grafit art 88. (photo credit: )

All this talk of politics and elections has inspired me - I hereby announce that I'm running, too! The name of my party is Truth in Politics, and my platform has a single issue - exposing all the other politicians for what they really are! See, I'm not actually interested in getting elected to anything; I just want to make sure everybody knows exactly what they're getting when they vote for someone else! I've got my propaganda machine all in place, along with a staff of marketing people who are going to take aim at all the various party bigwigs, putting together a campaign that will take into effect the records of all sitting Knesset members, as well as profiles of all the new people. We've got the real dope on the parties, the legislators and the platforms - not for any personal gain, but for the good of the voting public. Sounds great, right? Well, the Knesset committee that funds political parties didn't think so. You'd think that all this talk of the need for clean government that we're always hearing about would make this sound like an attractive idea, but I guess it hits too close to home for some people. Well, who needs them? I don't need their money for a big publicity campaign; all I need is an e-mail account (plenty of free ones out there), a Web site (ditto) and a copy of the nearly-free Photo Graffiti, a fun program that will supply you with hours of fun - and is, as well, the perfect piece of software for political muckraking and mudslinging. While most photo editing programs (like Photoshop) give you plenty of tools to "touch up" your photos and make them look better, few, if any, give you the tools to "deface" photos. What do I mean by "deface?" It's like when Bugs Bunny paints a mustache on a poster of Elmer Fudd in the classic "Bunny Buffoons Fuddy Duddy Buddy" cartoon (one of my personal favorites!). And while you can use any drawing program to open up a Jpeg photo and use available tools to draw a mustache, drawing a pirate hat, bib, cigar, a teddy bear, a bouquet of flowers and dozens of other full color graphics would be a much harder project. But with Photo Graffiti, all you need is a vivid imagination and an ability to see deep inside a victim - I mean subject - and give him or her an appropriate "look." With Photo Graffiti, you get ready-made clipart categories for faces (in the free demo version you get glasses, cigar, big tongue sticking out of a mouth), heads, hats (turban, sheriff, etc.) and body parts (tie, elephant feet, etc.). There are also dozens of other pieces of clipart that can be placed anywhere on a photo, in about 10 categories, like a shark fin, baby bonnet, Hawaiian lei, beer mug - too many to describe, but all funny. The free demo version gives you three or four clipart items in each category, but the pay version (the full version of Photo Graffiti costs $19.95) has dozens more pictures as well as on-line galleries with even more pictures you can download. Each piece of clipart automatically "sticks" itself to your original picture, which you can then save or e-mail directly from the program. There is also a cartoon "balloon" where you can add text (the demo version has a "talking" balloon, while the full version has balloons for thinking, signs, banners, etc.). The program also comes with layering tools (to move cartoons to the appropriate layer), as well as tools to flip, rotate and resize graphics, to ensure that your "subject's" design is the funniest possible. Which makes Photo Graffiti the perfect program for my little political spoiler. For 20 bucks I can have a propaganda machine that will be the envy of campaign managers across the country, if not around the world. Imagine the impact one of my anti-campaign pictures will have on potential voters who will get to see, with their own eyes, the true nature of the person they were planning to cast their vote for. I say "were planning" because once I get finished with my muckraking project and show them what their political leaders - and potential leaders - are really like on the inside, these characters will be lucky if their own mothers vote for them! Of course, I'm not going to name names here, but I've got my list of who to "feature" in my anti-campaign - just about everybody running for anything! Finally, we'll have some truth in political advertising. I can't give you too many details about my campaign just yet, but I promise you this: I will run a fair campaign that will treat each party's candidates with the dignity they deserve. Download Photo Graffiti from http://www.wihlborg.se/photograffiti/index.htm. For all Windows systems. ds@newzgeek.com


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