Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?

The news is not exactly fresh, but has been recently bounced again: Adobe’s Project About Face should make Photoshop able to detect human face editing and revert the image to its pristine condition.

As Adobe states on its website,

This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations. Past Adobe research focused on image manipulation detection from splicing, cloning, and removal, whereas this effort focuses on the Face Aware Liquify feature in Photoshop because it’s popular for adjusting facial features, including making adjustments to facial expressions. The feature’s effects can be delicate which made it an intriguing test case for detecting both drastic and subtle alterations to faces.

The first reaction would be something along “who cares? There are plenty of tools to create my deep fakes, so… screw Adobe!” But that would be a rather dull conclusion, as by developing these technologies (assumed that they work properly) Adobe is creating a (big and wide) market niche.

Images are a fundamental part of every business and the first “go to” for committing a fraud or deliver misleading information. Think, for instance, to scientific misconduct cases, where altering the images coming from the imaging system is the basics “trick” ran by unscrupulous researchers; if the use of About Face powered Photoshop was mandatory, than altering the imagery systems’ output would be very hard. ? And, if you live in a Country – such as Italy – where companies faces criminal charges for not having respected the legal duty to prevent copyright infringements, Photoshop might be the only viable choice (the explanation is rather complex for non-Italian law cognoscenti, so trust me on that.) ?

This “About Face” feature, coupled with the other “forensic oriented” that Adobe promised to deliver, might actually turn Photoshop into the only tool that can be used in a corporate environment. Not bad as a marketing move! ? But as “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, we can only wait for About Face to become real and see if (and how) it actually works.

Only then a more informed opinion would be possible.



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