How to Tell if an Image Has Been Photoshopped.
We all know the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Now imagine what happens if this image is fake or tampered with. Photoshop is undoubtedly the best photo editing software. And with Photoshop tutorials on YouTube, photo editing is no longer just for experts. Anyone can learn the basics of Photoshop in just a few hours. But like anything useful, Photoshop can be used with the wrong intentions. Most “Photoshop fakes” are harmless. But sometimes Photoshop can be used to forge documents, manipulate images to change context, and other illegal activities. Image: Huawei
If the person manipulating the image is not an expert, he or she will leave enough traces. We can look for these footprints and check if the image is photoshopped or not. So let’s see how we can do this.
Also Read: 10 Best Ways to Open and Edit PSD Files Without Photoshop
How to spot Photoshop Fake
1. Look for signs of image compression
This technique is best for detecting fraudulent documents. If you are in doubt as to whether a document has been changed or not, you can use an online tool called FotoForensics. Start by uploading an image that you think is fake and click the Upload File button. It will run some tests on the downloaded image and display the “compression heatmap” as output.
For example, if the final image is in JPEG format, then the entire image should have approximately the same compression level, however, when part of the image is edited later, that particular section will have a different compression level, i.e. will look brighter. than the rest
If so, the image can be changed. However, this may not be the case in all cases. In such situations, follow their detailed tutorial and video tutorial on how to parse a compression map to assess whether the image you uploaded is photoshopped or not.
2. Check Metadata or Exif Data
When you shoot an image with a camera, additional metadata is automatically added to it, such as date, time, camera model, geolocation, etc. In some cases, the metadata may also contain information about the software that is used to edit or manipulate the image.
While this information cannot be viewed directly, we can use the online image metadata viewer and photoshop edit detector to get all the metadata. If the metadata tells a different story than what the image provider has to say, then this might be a possible case of image manipulation.
However, this method is not complete proof. More often than not, you need to process real photos to remove background objects and improve their appearance. So just because the metadata says an image was edited with Photoshop doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fake. Moreover, if a person has enough skill to manipulate the image with Photoshop, they can easily modify and hide the corresponding Exif data.
3. Look for shade
If the image is of some kind of landscape or something similar, always look for shadows and mismatched lights. Controlling shadows is one of the most difficult tasks even for a Photoshop master. Often times new to Photoshop can’t create the perfect shadow and angle of view. This leaves a blind spot for determining whether the image is photoshopped or not.
Read: 5 Best Free Online Image Editors Like Photoshop
4. Pay attention to the size of the image
An image or pictures tampered with in Photoshop are often too large compared to what should be average. This is because Photoshop works with layers, and when an image is heavily photoshopped, the image tends to increase in size due to all the layers and additional content. However, remember that you can easily compress an image to reduce its size. Thus, this method is not as reliable, but should be kept in mind when looking for fake photos made in Photoshop.
5. Use common sense
The best way to determine if an image is being manipulated is to use common sense. For example, what do you think when you see images of “Aliens eating sushi in a Chinese restaurant” or “giant cobra swallowing an adult.” Fake Photoshop, that’s all. Likewise, if you think the recipe is being counterfeited, just call the store and ask if such a purchase was made.
To find out if an image is a “Photoshop fake” or not, just ask “who is editing”. For example, if the editor is less experienced, it will leave enough traces. However, if the suspect is an expert, you also need an expert. And that’s why we have people working in the photographic examination department.