Adobe previews software to detect photo manipulation of faces

Adobe shows a sneak peek of ProjectAboutFace, software that can detect and undo face manipulation. The technique works with an algorithm trained to recognize edits made with the Face-Aware Liquify tool.

The software tool is based on research by scientists from Berkeley University and Adobe Research. The software specifically looks for whether pixels have been stretched or compressed. Those edits are the result of the Face-Aware Liquify filter. That tool is included in Photoshop and is also widely used in, for example, fashion photography, to adjust faces.

According to Adobe, the software can recognize operations that are not visible to the naked eye. The tool indicates with a percentage how likely it is that manipulation has taken place and shows where adjustments have been made with a heat map. There is also an undo function, which attempts to undo the edits made.

In the demonstration Adobe gave during its MAX event, that works convincingly. The researchers note on their own site that there are several limitations. For example, the tool is specifically trained to recognize manipulation with the Liquify filter. Other operations are unlikely to be detected.

It is not yet clear whether and when the functionality will be available. Adobe provided the demonstration as part of a host of sneak peeks of new features and capabilities the company is working on. Such features may find their way to Adobe software in the future.

Earlier this year, the scientific researchers who made the software already put a video online with more information about the technology. Its operation is described in the paper Detecting Photoshopped Faces by Scripting Photoshop.