Photo manipulation involves transforming or altering a photograph using various methods and techniques to achieve desired results. Some photo manipulations are considered skillful artwork while others are frowned upon as unethical practices, especially when used to deceive the public, such as that used for political propaganda, or to make a product or person look better.
Manipulation for photo restoration or enhancement. This can involve the adjustment of colors, contrast, white balance (i.e. gradational retouching) and sharpness, and the removal of noise, elements or visible flaws on skin or materials.
Used as an art form or for commercial use to create more sleek and interesting images for advertisements. Creative retouching could be manipulation for fashion, beauty or advertising photography such as pack-shots (which could also be considered inherently technical retouching in regards to package dimensions and wrap-around factors). One of the most prominent disciplines in creative retouching is image compositing whereby the digital artist uses multiple photos to create a single image. Today, 3D computer graphics are used more and more to add extra elements or even locations and backgrounds. This kind of image composition is widely used when conventional photography would be technically too difficult or impossible to shoot on location or in studio.