Consumer Image Manipulation: Deep Fakes or Yes, That Is Granny!

September 7, 2022

I find deep fake services interesting. Good actors can create clever TikTok and YouTube videos. Bad actors can whip up a fake video résumé and chase a work from home job. There are other uses as well; for example, a zippy video professional can create a deep fake of a “star” who may be dead or just stubborn and generate a scene. Magic and maybe cheaper.

I read “Use This Free Tool to Restore Faces in Old Family Photos.” The main idea is that a crappy old photo with blurry faces can be made almost like “new.” The write up says:

This online tool—called GFPGAN—first made it onto our radar when it was featured in the August 28 edition of the (excellent) Recomendo newsletter, specifically, a post by Kevin Kelly. In it, he says that he uses this free program to restore his own old family photos, noting that it focuses solely on the faces of those pictured, and “works pretty well, sometimes perfectly, in color and black and white.”

The service has another trick amidst its zeros and ones:

According to the ByteXD post, in addition to fixing or restoring faces in old photos, you can also use GFPGAN to increase the resolution of the entire image. Plus, because the tool works using artificial intelligence, it can also come in handy if you need to fix AI art portraits. ByteXD provides instructions for both upscaling and improving the quality of AI art portraits, for people interested in those features.

Will it work on passport photos and other types of interesting documents? We will have to wait until the bad actors explore and innovate.

Stephen E Arnold, September 8, 2022

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