Before And After Photoshops: Dartmouth Digital Forensics Professor Develops 1-5 Retouching Scale

There are a lot of people really worried about photoshop getting out of hand, you guys — and I’m not talking about me unnecessarily shopping first place mullet into photos without context. I’m talking about the kids surfing the web and reading the magazines and thinking the perfect people with the perfect skin and the perfect bodies they see are who they’re supposed to look like. A group of European feminist legislators — sounds like a tough crowd — are so concerned they have even proposed a labeling policy for all altered images. That’s where Dartmouth Professor Dr. Hany Farid and his trusty Ph.D. student sidekick, Eric Kee, stepped in to solve the problem with science:

The algorithm developed by Dr. Farid and Mr. Kee statistically measures how much the image of a person’s face and body has been altered. Many of the before-and-after photos for their research were plucked from the Web sites of professional photo retouchers, promoting their skills.

The algorithm is meant to mimic human perceptions. To do that, hundreds of people were recruited online to compare sets of before-and-after images and to determine the 1-to-5 scale, from minimally altered to starkly changed. The human rankings were used to train the software.

So in the future when you start drooling over an online photo of a budding young model and future Mrs. You you’ll be able to pull up this software, discover her flaws immediately, and erase the illusion of perfection from the beginning! And the kids will be saved as well!

What’s that? You’re here for the Before & Afters? Gotcha. Click to enlarge and keep in mind they exhibit the 1-5 scale (left to right), except for the last slide, which is intent on reminding you Fergie did meth. Enjoy!

New York Times & Dartmouth Study via Buzzfeed