"Bullshots" are nothing new for gamers. Penny Arcade coined the term a few years to describe game screenshots that looked too good to be true — and are. Photoshopping and CG graphics are nothing new to the game world — hence gamers general suspicion about pretty and shiny things — but are finding use larger than game PR. Issues like governmental state PR.
Take the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Those 29 giant firework footprints that made their way to the Bird's Nest National Stadium from Tiananmen Square were actually computer graphics. Apparently, the Beijing Organizing Committee was worried it wouldn't be possible to capture the fireworks over Beijing. According to The Oregonian reporter Jon Canzano:
I was in Tienanmen Square on Friday evening, reporting and writing a column on the tens of thousands of jubilant Chinese citizens who gravitated there to celebrate. Those people saw two tiny flarelike blasts pop in the sky, followed by a lot of nothing, and they were probably baffled by the widespread reports of the lit-up sky, exploding footprints and brilliant fireworks. And today, I'm thinking those people are relieved to learn they're not losing their marbles.
...You don't mislead the public. You don't Photoshop the goods, or use a computer generation, in an attempt to create events that aren't there, especially when you're presenting an event to the public as if it's a true happening.
It took something like a year to create that CG fireworks sequence. The ceremony's visual effect team head, Gao Xiaolong, said: "Most of the audience thought it was filmed live — so that was mission accomplished."
This isn't the first instance of a government doing this. Heck, Iran recently PhotoShopped missile test pics to make them look more impressive. And no doubt, these two countries aren't the only two using CG and Photoshop to make their countries look good. This is something gamers have been dealing with for a while now, but here, the stakes are higher than a US$70 game, much higher. Frighteningly, so.
Joe Q. Public, look at everything with a raised eyebrow and discernment, because nothing that looks that nice looks that nice. Not even Olympic fireworks in the Beijing night sky.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is [The Oregonian]
Giant footprint fireworks in Beijing Olympics opening ceremony 'faked' [Mail Online]