Spot Faked Photos Using Light Sources, Eye Positions

With all the Apple fakes being tossed around the internet in the hours leading up to WWDC, how can us unassuming consumers figure out what's real and what's not? Luckily, Scientific American has got our backs with several ways photo editing masters spot a fake photo.

The first thing to look for is lighting, an always difficult element for fakers to get right. Shopped photos usually have light-source directions that don't match. For instance, in the picture below, the ducks are obviously glowing from a different time of day than the riot police.


The next thing to check out is the eyes. Eyes have very consistent shapes, and a person can approximate how eyes are supposed to look by tracing rays of light running from them to a point in the camera's center. If two people's eyes orient at different centers, then it's possible that the photo's been altered.

Related to the first two points, specular highlights—that white dot on the eye in pictures-can also tell you a lot about lighting. If people in the picture have different specular highlights, then the photo is faker than your office manager's toupee.


On second thought—while interesting, these techniques won't help us figure out if that second coming of the Jesusphone ad is real or not. Darn! Foiled again! [Scientific American via Lifehacker]


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