Always wanted to know what celebrities look like without Photoshop? Research from Adobe and the University of California, Berkley makes just that possible. Because the so-called Fal Detector uncovers manipulated images.
Adobe Photoshop has become a popular tool for both professional and amateur photographers since its release in 1990. The possibilities to express yourself creatively are almost limitless thanks to the tool.
But at the same time, the photo editing program had a strong influence on society – especially in the way we perceive beauty.
Celebs and Photoshop: Changing Reality
Because in recent years, reports have accumulated that celebrities in particular use Photoshop to change the representation of their bodies and thus appear unrealistic.
With this topic Adobe itself also sat down. That’s why Adobe researchers Richard Zhang and Oliver Wang developed one together with colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley method to recognize edited images.
The goal: The use of new technology, such as artificial intelligence, “to increase trust and authority in digital media”.
Fal Detector: This tool recognizes edited images using artificial intelligence
The newly developed method is called Fal Detecor. The artificial intelligence recognizes images that have been modified with the Photoshop function “Face Aware Liquify”. During development, the researchers focused primarily on image manipulations that were used to adjust facial features and expressions.
The Fal Detector is intended to be a tool to detect this type of image change more reliably than a human. He should also decode the specific manipulations and, if necessary, reverse them.
Celebrities and Photoshop: This is how the Fal Detector unmasks manipulated images
By training a convolutional neural network (CNN), a form of deep learning, the research project is able to recognize changed images of faces. The scientists created an extensive training set of photos by programming Photoshop to apply Face Aware Liquify to thousands of images from the web.
In addition, the expert team randomly selected a subset of these photos for training. In addition, they commissioned an artist to alter images, which they then merged into the dataset.
Then the Fal Detector creates a heat map of the places on the face where the Photoshop function was previously used. The closer the color red is to the heatmap, the stronger the manipulation of the image at this point.
Photoshop: Changed celebrities 50 percent of the time
The magazine Within Health used the Fal Detector to examine 20 magazine covers that showed Jennifer Aniston with a close-up of her face. In 50 percent of the cases, the images showed clear changes. Examination of other celebrity images also yielded similar results.
For consumers, this is particularly problematic in relation to mental illnesses such as eating disorders and body dismorphophobia. According to the researchers, new technologies such as the Fal Detector should therefore help to check the authenticity of digital media created with Adobe products and to identify and prevent misuse.