New Photoshop Detector Shows Where Images Have Been Altered

The new Photoshop detecting tool points out changes made to images of Fergie.
The new Photoshop detecting tool points out changes made to images of Fergie.

In the past we've loved pointing out obvious uses of photo retouching tools, but the sad reality is everyone uses them. Many photos we see of models and celebrities have been altered in some way. With new programs and easy-to-use Apps, people are airbrushing and Photoshopping their own every day digital photos. Some say, just accept it and move on, while others (like us) long to see realistic images in the media and are on a quest for photo justice. And now we may have one!

Image forensics researchers at Dartmouth College have successfully created a photo analyzing tool that highlights any Photoshop-style modifications and tested it out on magazine covers and advertisements. The results are fascinating.

"Publishers have legitimate reasons to alter photographs to create fantasy and sell products, but they've gone a little too far," image forensics specialist Hany Farid of Dartmouth University told Wired. The new tool can show any changes to photos on a 1-to-5 scale from minor changes to massive overhauls.

So while magazines, retailers, and beauty companies may continue to airbrush their images, it will now be obvious just how much these photos are adjusted and we can stop looking up to unrealistic portrayals. Farid told the New York Times this may discourage retouching altogether. "Models, for example, might well say, 'I don't want to be a 5. I want to be a 1.'" It may be wishful thinking, but we'd love to see airbrushing disappear. "You can't ignore the body of literature showing negative consequences to being inundated with these images," Farid told Wired. It's true. No matter how many times we hear images are distorted, it's hard to not compare ourselves to them. Now we're just hoping these Dartmouth researchers can turn their mathematical model into an App for consumers. We're pretty confident we could spend hours using this thing.

Assuming that these scientists go forward with their research we've come with 5 great uses for the new Photoshop detection tool.

1. Online dating sites. That guy is way too hot to be on OKCupid. Let's see if he's had a little help with the airbrushing wand.
2. Beauty ads. How well does that mascara or cellulite cream really work, and how much of it is retouched? Now we'll know if the desired effect is unattainable. (On the other hand, the jig is up if you've gotten rid of red eye. And red pimple. And crows feet. And muffin top.)
3. Retail websites. Do those jeans make that model's butt look great, or was that the job of a crafty photo editor?
4. Celebrity photos. We may never know which stars have had plastic surgery, but if we know how much their cover photos were airbrushed that's a start. And then we can stop comparing ourselves to unrealistic images. (Celebs, consider yourselves warned. Forget, soon there will be sites devoted to the stars who require the most airbrushing.)
5. Facebook. You just KNEW that one girl you went to high school with had been enhancing her album full of glamour shots. Now you finally have proof.

What do you think of the new Photoshop detecting tool? Would you use it?

Related links:

L'Oreal ads of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington banned for airbrushing
Before and after: Britney Spears releases unretouched Candie's ads
Demi Moore defends her W cover photo, says photoshop was not used
Why airbrush makeup can kick your makeup's butt any day