In today’s world pictures are taken, posted, and shared on the internet by most people, but how can a person know if the picture is in its original form or if it has been morphed? Thanks to the top quality phones, cameras, and gadgets out there as well as great Photoshop editing tools and apps, image creation and photo editing have become commonly used by most people on pictures they post and share.
What is a Morphed image?
A morphed image is one in which special effects and processes have been applied to help the image of the object change in shape or form. Morphing most times is applied in animation or moving pictures to smoothly change the form or shape of the object or image.
In some cases, the edits or changes made to the pictures are visible at a glance, while in some other cases the morphed images cannot be detected by mere looking at it with your naked eyes and this is where the DEEP-FAKE comes to play.
Fake Photos and videos are not new to the world as photographers and various individuals who are great at editing or photoshopping have been forging photos and videos to either entertain or create an abstract presentation. But in today’s world, other than just editing and photoshopping images or videos, there are machines that create fakes that are next to impossible for most people to differentiate between real and fabricated images.
In this post, we will be looking at how to find out if an image is morphed or not. But first, let us talk about the DEEP-FAKE.
What is Deep Fake?
Deep fakes or Synthetic Media are outstanding forms of fake imagery or video content that are digitally generated and have been designed via very well-compounded software but made to seem like an original or actual image, video, or content.
You can generate non-exist human images from ThisPersonDoesNotExist
Deep Fakes have been in existence for a while now, though a good number of people are not so aware of it. It has been used and is still in use to reposition body parts especially the face/head of celebrities in photos, public videos, and even porn videos. Deepfakes have the ability to convince their viewers that the image or video they are looking at is real and not fabricated.
Why is it important to know if an image is morphed?
1. A good reason why you should verify images you receive online is to avoid being deceived. A lot of people out there use photoshopping applications and other editing tools and software's to fabricate or edit photos they post and share online. This gives other people online a different perspective of how the person looks from the actual way the person actually is in real life. This can be very deceiving and it is common with social media sites such as dating sites.
2. Another reason is to help reduce the risk of being defrauded. These days a lot of transactions are carried out online. People buy and sell things as well as send money to others for various reasons. verifying images of things your online retailer or dealer sends to you as proof is a good way of verifying if the picture is original or morphed. This can help reduce the risk of being defrauded online by fake and unreliable retailers.
3. Checking to know whether an image is in its real form or if it has been altered also helps to save you from the widespread culture of unrealistic perfection painted by the regular and common use of morphed images by most people across the world.
4. A lot of people have been made to believe that they are not perfect and cannot post regular pictures of themselves because they feel like they do not look good enough. As a result, a high level of low self-esteem is spreading around. Verifying photos you come across online will open your eyes to seeing how fake and fabricated a lot of pictures you tend to come across are.
How can you tell if an image is Deepfake/morphed or not?
Just as technology is great at creating software to morph images, so also it is great at creating ways to detect if an image is morphed. Doctored images can be discovered in a good number of ways and below are ways you can find out if an image has been tampered with.
- Meta Data / EXIF Data
- Digital Forensics
- Shadows & Lightning
- Reverse Image Search
- Pay Careful Attention
Let’s now have a look at each method in detail.
1. MetaData / EXIF Data
When the Metadata of an image is tampered with or removed either by an editor, photoshopper, or a photographer, it still gets to retain certain information about the original image. Information such as the camera that was used to take the picture, the date the image was created, and finally when it was modified. Such information can help you determine whether the image is morphed or not.
2. Digital Forensics
Digital forensics covers the processes involved in interpreting electronic data. The major purpose of it is to preserve or detect evidence (which in this case is the deep fake or morphed image) in its original form while performing a proper investigation or testing by collecting, identifying, and validating the digital data. A common and free forensics site you can use to check whether an image is morphed or not is Fotoforensics.
Fotoforensics is a special web service that supplies accurate information about morphed or doctored images. The site was developed with a certain type of algorithm that helps to detect if an image is fake, doctored, or photoshopped.
The website operates by providing certain types of information which will help you figure out if a photo is morphed or not. Below is some of the information the Fotoforensics site provides.
- Error Level Analysis (ELA): By indicating the error level on the photograph, it helps to detect if the photograph has been tampered with or not. If the photograph has been photoshopped or edited, then some colors will be shown in the photo analysis. But if the image is in its original form and has not been morphed by any software, a normal white color will be shown on the photograph.
- ORIGINAL: This segment displays the original copy of the photograph or image you uploaded on the site.
- JPEG PERCENTAGE: The JPEG percentage indicates the quality of the photo when it was saved last. If there is a decrease in quality, then, it has been morphed using the software. You can check and detect the ratio at which the image has been tampered with using the JPEG%.
3. Shadow and Lightning
A good way of marking out a doctored image is by thoroughly examining the lightning of the image. How the image communicates with other objects in the picture matters. For instance, a very common error you notice in morphed pictures is the absence of shadow of the photoshopped object. If an object or person does not cast a shadow in accordance with the reflection of light as at when the image was taken, then that is a red flag for a doctored image.
So also, the lightening of images or objects in the picture. If a particular object has its highlight different from the rest of the objects or images in the photo, then there is a very high tendency that the image has been tampered with.
Altering an image leads to its distortion digitally. Such a type of distortion can appear as a form of pixelation or an unbalanced coloring of the photograph. In very large photographs or motion pictures, such distortion can be less noticeable, but in smaller-sized photos, pixelation is quite common.
Signs of digital distortion in a photo or image are a good indicator that the photo/image in question has been altered or morphed.
5. Google Reverse Image Search
The Google reverse image search assists you in finding out similar photos across the web. All you need to do is to upload a picture from your computer or phone to Google images and search. It will trace and display related images on other websites if any, as well as various sizes of the image, uploaded.
Google reverse image search’s fast and it is a simple and easy way to discover the original copy of an image or find out if the image was stolen from the internet.
6. Pay Careful Attention
A lot of times photographers or those editing photos and images tend to pay less attention to some little mistakes and errors as they edit or photoshop an image. In some cases, you get to notice an image of a person having more than the regular number of fingers, or you see that the object being held in the picture is actually being held by an entirely different person’s hand.
Mind you, these errors and mistakes are not easily noticed at a first glance, you need to take a careful look at the photograph to actually notice such errors and these are all tell-tails that the image has been altered.
How do you tell if an image has been altered using Deepfake?
Below are some other ways you can verify a controversial image to know if it has been altered or not.
Image Size and Rough Edges
With a very close and careful look at the edges of a controversial photo, you can tell if it has been photoshopped. Most times if a magic wand tool is used to work on the image, the edges are rough and uneven around the image or object.
Also, the size of a photoshopped image is most times larger than the original. This is as a result of the picture size working in line with the layers of the image. The more the edit is complex, the more layers are required for the edit and this leads to an increase in the size of the photograph.
Signs of Warping
When an image is altered in a photograph, especially with a tool such as photoshop's liquify tool, the background objects tend to be displaced in shape and size. With a careful look at the photograph, you can be able to notice the warpings and irregularities in the image surroundings. Those who are great at using Photoshop tend to avoid this mistake but then again, a lot of photoshop users are still ignorant enough to make such mistakes.
Observing the Remains of Photoshopped Objects/Images
In an effort to photoshop an object or person out of a picture, a lot of photo editors end up leaving remnants or traces of the photoshopped objects or images. With proper focus and attention, these remnants can be spotted in the altered image and this is a way of verifying an image has been altered.
Reverse engineering using DEEP LEARNING
If Deepfake is generated from machine learning then you can use reverse engineering using Deep Learning to understand original and fake images easily. But it required heavy resources to process such operations. We hope in the future we will have some solid deep fake detection tools in the market.
Is there an app to check if a picture is Morphed?
A good number of sites and applications have been built for both smartphones and computers respectively, to help you detect if an image has been tampered with. Below are some common sites and apps that can help you verify photoshopped images.
- Photo Fraud Detector (For smartphones)
- Fake Image Detector (For smartphones)
- Photo Exif Editor Pro (For smartphones)
- Photo Sherlock (For smartphones)
Image morphing has been in existence since the internet came to be. Deepfakes is evolving in this. Photoshopped photographs have been created and shared for so long and this has affected a lot of people in different ways, some in a good way while others in a bad way. But with the help of this post, you can now be able to detect Deepfakes as well as morphed photographs.