Spot The Disaster: Houston, We Have A Problem

Here we see the new 2013 GMC Terrain Denali in front of the beautiful Houston, Texas skyline.  But wait… anyone who has ever seen the Houston skyline might notice that something’s wrong with this picture.  Can you spot it?


It seems someone took some creative liberties here.  This photo appears on the GMC site.  Apparently they didn’t think anyone would notice.

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  • richardginn

    So do we have too much water and not enough high rise buildings in the photo??

  • jdm8

    Is that some pier sex going on?

  • John Nevill

    Seems ok to me, besides the non-existent body of water, but they did a decent job with it, so no disaster.

  • Tim Hoskins

    Dunno. To me it just looks like they widened the river and took out some bridges. I wouldn’t call that a disaster. Maybe I would feel more strongly if it were my city they were editing.

    • Beverly Jenkins

      I know if some company added a giant canyon or a dessert vista behind my city (Boston), I’d think it was annoying and gratuitous. :)

      • OurJames

        So you’ve never been to Somerville?

  • André Goersch

    The whole point of “photoshopping” is to alter photographed reality. If the supposed disaster is that “oh, that place doesn’t look like that”, then you fail at picking PsDisasters. Good photoshopping is, by definition, not a disaster.

    • Beverly Jenkins

      So adding geological differences like a body of water in front of a well-known ( and well photographed) city skyline is acceptable? Okay.

      • Erick

        How is changing a city skyline any different than removing power lines from a photo or removing blemishes from the skin of a person? This is definitely a Photoshop, but since it’s done well, it’s not a disaster.

      • André Goersch

        Following that logic, any change to any image is unacceptable for it alters the reality behind the originals, therefore Photoshop should never be used on any photos. Nevermind that photographs are inherently different from the real object due to the need to capture a limited amount of photons from tridimensional objects and represent them into a two-dimensional surface.

        If those are your standards, fine, that’s your prerogative, however the purpose of this site is to point out Photoshop work of poor quality, not works that go against your particular idiosyncrasies. This work is, however distinct from the reality you might know, a good work of “special visual effects”, that successfully changes an original image into something that better suits the advertisement. Your dislike of it doesn’t make it qualify as a “disaster”.

    • Karen McKim

      Okay, allowed to choose my own words, I wouldn’t call it a “disaster,” but that’s the name of the website, and I’m glad this photoshop was shared here.

      If I was art director on this project, I would not have done this. The skyline is so recognizable and the fantasy river so out of place that the whole image is likely to have an undesired effect on a significant number of the people who view it. You want them to look at the vehicle and get an immediate sense of positive desire to be in that picture, not be distracted by the jarring, artificial juxtaposition.

      The photoshop artist appears to possess the skills necessary to mix up the buildings and maybe pull a few in from another skyline to create a fictional skyline to go with the fictional river. The ‘disaster’ is that he or she did not do that.

      • André Goersch

        So maybe this needs to go to the “philosophical disasters”. It still doesn’t belong to the Photoshop Disasters website.

        • Kevin VanOrd

          What belongs on this website is whatever the website’s owner decides belongs on the website. I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to presume to know better than the folks that maintain the site as to what belongs on it.

  • VictorSiu

    Can anyone tell me where is the disater? I can’t spot it out

    • Beverly Jenkins

      They’ve added a body of water that does not exist, and they’ve removed copious criss-crossing highway structures. It’s pretty ballsy considering anyone who has ever seen Houston (or pics of Houston) would notice these major edits.

      • VictorSiu

        Thanks for your reply.

  • Pierre

    I think that the buildings of the city are continuing on the right of the photo and and supposed to be reflected on the car

  • Metude
  • lodewijkadlp

    It looks pretty and could be internally consistent. Who cares if Boston provided stock material? This isn’t a mistake, doesn’t look weird, has no weird implications, it’s just a well made image. The only disaster is that it’s here.

  • Cliff Ingram

    The view of downtown Houston here is basically from the south-southwest. I-45 (The Gulf Freeway) and likely it’s interchange with US59 are missing entirely. There’s no water like this from this viewpoint for about 40 miles.

  • Pete Farmer

    Like, what’s the big deal?

  • Waldobaby

    So, if things are left in it’s a disaster, and if things are taken out it’s a disaster. Is there a point to this entry?

  • NonnyMus

    It shows a fantasy Houston, where clear waters are nearby and gas costs 59¢ a gallon, so it’s o.k. to drive a behemoth which gets 8 mpg. After all, Houston is probably the last best market in the U.S. for gas guzzling SUV’s! Even the folks in Alask have given up on them since they handle so poorly in snow and ice.

  • sfd
    • Waldobaby

      “How it should look like”

      No, how it DOES look like.

      • Karen McKim


        “How it does look,” or “What it does look like.”

  • Janet Cox Tuhey

    No PsD or even a dis on Houston. If it hadn’t been mentioned I would bet that the majority of the people who saw this never gave the background city any thought.

  • Andulamb

    See, here’s the thing. This is an ad for a Denali. The cityscape is just window dressing and is not meant to be accurate. The idea behind the composition is probably to convey the idea that the Denali is an all-purpose vehicle.

    The Nebraska license plate a few years back showed Chimney Rock overlapping a city skyline. Even we dumb hillbillies could understand that the image was not meant to be taken literally.

    I’m not sure where so many PSD visitors got the idea that every image incorporating photos must be true-to-life. Haven’t any of you seen those car commercials where the scenery keeps morphing, from city to country to mountains to swamp? Did you really think someone was trying to play you for a sucker?