Angelina Jolie rinkle free? Penelope Cruz a D-cup? Not anymore. Scientists have come up with a way to detect if photographs of celebrities or models have been airbrushed or not. Now they hope it will be used to provide a universal “health warning” on magazine images.
Professor of Computer Science Hany Farid and doctoral student Eric Kee, from Dartmouth College in the US, analysed 468 sets of unedited and retouched photographs of models. They then created a computer program to highlight the differences between a natural and retouched picture, using a mathematical description of augmentations. Each altered photograph was then judged on a scale of 1 to 5 – with 5 signifying heavy retouching.
Check out the gallery of before and after pictures here
Prof Farid and Mr Kee then asked 50 people randomly to compare the photographs against their own ratings and found the scores matched closely. “Now what we have is a mathematical measure of photo retouching,” Prof Farid wrote in study titled: A perceptual metric for photo retouching.
“We can predict what an average observer would say.” Prof Farid said he undertook the research to provide consumers with more information on Photoshopped images. “Impossibly thin, tall, and wrinkle- and blemish-free models are routinely splashed onto billboards, advertisements, and magazine covers,” Prof Farid wrote.
They said these highly idealized images have been linked to eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction in men, women, and children.
Kee E, & Farid H (2011). A perceptual metric for photo retouching. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America PMID: 22123980