Free tools to find out if a photo is fake and edited using photo editing programs like Photoshop
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The first tool we can use to find photos retouched with Photoshop is FotoForensics free online service.
This site uses an advanced error level analysis (ELA) algorithm to determine if an image is real or if it comes from computer retouching.
FotoForensics allows you to upload a photo from your computer and give, as a result, the analysis of the image to find out if it has been retouched after the shot or not. The site supports the .png and .jpg image formats and also allows you to analyze photographs on the web, without having to download them: it will be enough to provide the link to the internet page where they are located to perform the analysis.
After uploading the photo or inserting the link of the photo, click on Upload Picture and we await the analysis which can be studied according to the instructions provided. But how does the site work? Each re-encoding of the image decreases the quality of the image; if the image is completely real and has never been modified, the error level is identical for each pixel of the photo. If an image is edited, then each retouched area should have a higher potential for error than the rest of the image and the analyzer highlights this.
Another effective tool to find photos retouched with Photoshop is JPEGsnoop, a small program that can be downloaded for free for Windows.
By opening this program and uploading a photo or image in JPG format, it is possible to obtain a whole series of very technical information, difficult to interpret if we are not experts in digital photography.
Among the many parameters shown by the app we also find the item that serves the purpose of this guide: Assessment, which has a value in classes based on the likelihood of changes applied to the photos. The classes shown by the program are:
- Class 1 – Image is processed/edited: the photo has been retouched with programs such as Photoshop.
- Class 2 – Image has high probability of being processed/edited: the photo has probably been retouched with specific programs.
- Class 3 – Image has high probability of being original: the photo is most likely in the original version, without any modification.
- Class 4 – Uncertain if processed or original: the system included in the program is unable to understand if the photo is original or modified.
If we get Class 1 or Class 2 in the photo analysis, we have a very good chance of finding ourselves in front of a fake photo retouched with Photoshop; if instead we get Class 3 the photo has not been retouched with the programs (or has been retouched so well as to escape the application’s analysis system). If we get Class 4 we will never know if the photo is retouched or not since the system is not able to detect the type of changes applied or if the photo is original or not.
If the tools seen so far have not led to any results, we can try, as a last resort, to upload the probably retouched photo on a site like TinEye designed to find the origin of every photo on the web.
Once the site is open, click on Upload to upload the retouched photo (present on our PC) or directly insert the link to the photo in the text field in the center of the page.
With a little luck, you can find the original photo (or rather the first site that posted the photo we uploaded) and find out if it has been retouched in the meantime, by making a direct comparison between the photo in our possession and the photo found by TinEye.
This site is one of the best for find similar photos and similar images.
Finding out if a photo is retouched or not requires an expert eye and, most likely, only a professional photographer will be able to provide you with the answers on some absolutely perfect and flawless photos. Who wants to have fun a discover retouched photos you can try to use the two sites or the JPG photo analysis tool seen above, so that you can understand for yourself if the photo has been retouched with Photoshop or is in the original version.
Those who want to edit their photos directly online, without using any program, can try the sites seen in our guide to Photoshop online and similar free apps for retouching photos.