Worth 1000

Worth 1000
I love living in the digital age. I truly do.

Not only do I get to use the internet, paint with electrons and listen to a huge selection of music, I get to reap the benefits of other people indulging in the use of digital image editing tools.

Most often that means professionals creating digital paintings or wonderful CGI images, but occasionally it means amusing experiments by people with some degree of image editing skill, a bit of imagination and way too much time on their hands.

The bizarre fruits of these labors are often on display at Worth 1000, a “creative competition” site, the highlight of which is a showcase for outlandish image manipulation.

If you enter the home page of the site, you’ll immediately encounter the most recent Photoshop contests, a series of themed collections of manipulated images in which people attempt to illustrate a topic, like “Invisible Objects”, “Celebrity Time Tavel”, “Bizarrchitecture”, “Levitations” or “Visual Puns”, by manipulating or compositing existing images in an amusing way.

It will come as no surprise that my favorite topics are the Photoshop composite mashups of famous paintings, combined with modern elements or otherwise altered in ways that are often hilarious and occasionally very skillfully done.

There are several series built on the theme of “Counterfeit Art: Signs your fine art might be fake”, and “Modern Renaisssance”. I list some other categories below that deal with famous images from art history.

Counterfeit Art
Out of bounds art
Escher Blowout
Work-safe Art: Making Art Safe for our Children
Modern Renaisssance
Robot Renaissance

The compositing and manipulation is sometimes overt and even clumsy, but occasionally very clever and subtle, at times requiring either an intimate familiarity with the original or a side by side comparison to pick up on the joke.

The manipulated images are usually linked to a larger version and sometimes accompanied by a link to a posting of the original, unaltered image or images.

If you want to participate, there are instructions in the beginning of the inidvidual “Active Advanced Photoshop Contests” that tell you how to submit.

While I haven’t participated in the Worth 1000 contests, I’m certainly not above the allure of manipulating favorite artworks with digital editing tools, as some pages from my webcomic back in the mid-90’s will show.

Time sink warning: if you enjoy this kind of thing, the Worth1000 site can be a time sink black hole. If you have to get something done today, you may want to postpone your visit for a rainy bored afternoon.

If you can stand the “my mother was scared by a graphic designer while carrying me” layout and the “ads in your face” arrangement of the pages, you can spend quite a bit of time flipping through the galleries.

Note: The paticipants occasionally get, um… carried away, and the site is not recommended for those who are squeamish or easily offended.


11 Replies to “Worth 1000

  1. “Site Quirks: Site navigation is not good and terrible graphic design doesn’t help.”

    I found the site navigation easy to understand and very intuitive. is

    As far as the “terrible graphic design”, I’m in the dark on that comment. Worth1000.com has one of the best, most clean designs I’ve seen. Maybe it’s not your cup o’ tea, but “terrible” is way off-base.

  2. RatBomb, Obviously I disgree, but I respect your opinion and appreciate your comments.

    I find the design to be an example of bland mid-90’s lack of style. I think it’s cluttered and disorganized, with poor use of space and typography.

    Other readers should, of course, follow RatBomb’s lead and make up their own minds. My opinion is just simply that – an opinion. I just call ’em like I see ’em.

  3. I’m a long time user of Worth1000 so navigation on the site is second nature to me, but I imagine that the wealth of sections could be a bit confusing at first, but the bulk of the content is well covered by a very good help and FAQ section and there are always plenty of people who are willing to help out the new users.

    I am, however, very surprised and dismayed about the comment “the site is not recommended for those who are squeamish or easily offended.” Worth1000 contests are rated for mature content where necessary and obscene/offensive material is removed very quickly in the rare occurence where it is found and the forums are moderated with a firm but fair hand. I challenge you to show me an image or comment that you find offensive. You have my contact details, I await your response.

  4. First, I want to thank everyone for their comments. I know that sites like Worth 1000 are favorites of many people, and some will feel bound to defend them from what they perceive to be an attack on my part.

    I should point out that when I take the trouble to comment on problems with a site’s interface, I do so primarily as a service to readers, who I feel will find it easier to check the site out if forewarned about the site’s interface quirks, not as a criticism.

    I will occasionally allow myself to complain or rant a bit about some sites, but that’s out of my own frustration with sites that have content that I like, but make it more difficult than necessary to get to that content. I wouldn’t even mention sites like Worth 1000 if I didn’t like them and feel they were worth recommending. I just wish some of them were better designed.

    I really don’t intend for my comments to be a critique of the site design, but in this case, I feel I’ve been given license (he said, grinning).

    Most web sites, even those with bad navigation and design, are much easier to get around once you are familiar with them. If you’ve been to a site several times, it will seem easy to navigate.

    The challenge of good navigation and site design is to make a site clear and easy to understand for someone who has never visited the site before (and this is my concern when recommending sites to readers of lines and colors).

    New visitors to a web site should immediately know “What is the nature of this site?” (Worth 1000: unclear, not only lacking an introduction but also no “About” page), “What is in the site that I might be interested in and how do I get to it?” (Worth 1000: unclear, no description of what you’re looking at until you drill down and actually see the contest pages themselves), “Where am I in relation to the other sections of the site?” (Worth 1000: unclear, navigation gives no indication of the site’s hierarchy).

    The Worth 1000 home page has no fewer than nine different locations for navigation elements, scattered about the page with little regard for clarity or relative importance. These are interspersed with advertisements that look very much like the content, are prominently placed and not very clearly identified. The page is a jumble of colors strewn across chunks of white space with no allowance for setting elements off from one another in meaningful ways (identifying the most important items, setting them apart and displaying the other elements in a way that makes their relationship to the whole immediately clear). The Worth 1000 pages are bland, color choices are poor and typography has been left to bolds and font sizes that do little to visually organize the page.

    If you want a site for comparison, where large amounts of information are controlled, organized and presented in a meaningful, easy to understand and visually pleasant interface, using elements of design, control of white space, color and typography, take a look at the Apple Computer site.

    Granted the two sites have different functions, but the Apple site is actually more complex than the Worth 1000 site and is many times easier to use. (If people can’t see that, I have to throw up my hands. I don’t have time to give an education in the use and intention of graphic design.)

    Responding specifically to MrNelson, I don’t mean to imply obscenity by “squeamish or easily offended”, merely forays into somewhat visceral displays of gore or deliberate (and fun) attempts to be disgusting. By “easily offended” I generally mean people who don’t react well to, for example, religious icons presented in unflattering ways. All in all pretty mild stuff, but I occasionally feel it’s polite to mention things that I feel some readers would rather not encounter when recommending a site.

    Bottom line, though, is that I like the Worth 1000 site and visit it as often as I can. I think the people who run it do a great job of organizing and presenting a wonderful source of creative participation and entertainment, I just think the site design and navigation are frustratingly poor, and new visitors may have an easier time knowing what to look for if given a little advanced information.

  5. Charley,

    Thanks for taking the trouble to explain your comments, I take your point with regards to the irreverent sense of humour on the site with regards to such things as religion (And bitter experience has taught those of us in civilised society what kind of problems can be caused by playing fast and loose with religious icons). I think the further explanation was warranted because there is (in my mind at least) quite a difference between the type parody/satire that prevails on the site and those types of images on the Internet which are posted with the specific intent of causing distress or offence.

    The distinction is important because I’m sure you’d agree that W1K is a world away from the likes of Rotten.

    Anyway, I’m rambling when I should be blending the head of George Bush onto a monkey…


  6. I agree. I would be unlikely to recommend a site like Rotten.

    Blending the heads of politicians onto the bodies of wild animals is certainly a WORTHwhile use of digital compositing tools.

  7. A picture speaks a thousand words! They say!
    I say “Putting ideas into images is one process and then how it is percieved is another!”

  8. I think the site probs are overwhelmed by the wealth of talent out there just waiting to be discovered!!!

    Its worth the time to see some very exellent 21st century art!

    What will they make of it all in time?
    Who knows!

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