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Wiki: Photo Pong

How to Play Photoshop Tennis

Photoshop tennis is a fun game to play on forums or through e-mail. It can be played with two or more players. Even though it’s called photoshop tennis (or photoshop pong) you can use any kind of image editor. A match starts with a single picture. The next person edits the picture, then someone else edits that picture, and so on. The only rule is that any post must be based on, or otherwise include, the previous picture posted in the thread. The more clever the alteration, the better your chances of winning and the more fun the players (and anyone who’s following along) will have!


  1. Lay out the rules. Here are some suggestions:
    • How many times will pictures be edited before the match is over?
    • How do you decide who wins?
    • A picture can’t be edited by the same person twice in a row.
    • What isn’t allowed? (e.g. violence, pornography)
    • See more challenging variations and limitations in the Tips below.
  2. Look for a starting picture. Since you’re going to be modifying and posting the picture online, look for images that are licensed with Creative Commons (make sure it doesn’t have a no-derivatives clause), GFDL or in the public domain. You can find pictures on websites that focus on freely licensed media[1] or use the Find Free Photos tool in wikiHow.
  3. Edit your picture using any photo editing software. You can use open source software like GIMP or Paint.NET, or you can use commercial programs like Photoshop CS3 or Paint Shop Pro.
    • You can change the color, add effects, add text, or “remix” it with another picture.
    • Throughout the match, you can find creative ways to re-introduce the same image or pattern, like an object or person. Sometimes you can make another, more obvious edit, and add the repetitive item in subtly so that it’ll only be noticed on closer inspection.
    • A previous image can be seen in the object he’s holding

      A previous image can be seen in the object he's holding

      If you’re out of ideas, do a context switch. Take the entire previous image and place it in a completely different context, such as a piece of art in a gallery, or on a television screen.

  4. Upload your picture to an image hosting site. Your can use several image hosting sites to upload your picture. You can use sites like Flickr, Photobucket, and Tinypic.

  5. Place your image in the thread. For boards which use BBcode, use the code [img]the link to your picture[/img] to add your picture to the forum.

  6. Add the source where you got the picture from. If you have edited another image into your picture, as a courtesy to the author of the original image, link back to them. In boards that use BBcode, add links by using [url=the link of the pictures source]source[/url].


This video demonstrates a time lapse record of a photoshop tennis game that took place over a week with several different players.


  • Invent arbitrary rules to make the game more of a challenge.
    • restrict all image edits to a particular theme or color
    • specific software
    • only Creative Commons images
  • If possible, find some way to coordinate with other posters, such as IRC or instant messaging.


Things You’ll Need

  • Image editing software. GIMP is free and open-source, but there are many others, like Photoshop (which gives the game its name) and Paint Shop Pro, as well as another free one called Paint.NET.
  • Freely-licensed pictures, and plenty of imagination.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comments Appreciated!

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