Checklist: Real vs. generated photos

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How can we spot differences between real photos and AI? A checklist from Casimir Rajnerowicz, author of the Human vs AI test.


Photos that are heavily photoshopped were usually taken by humans. The AI algorithms are mostly trained with repositories of unedited photos.

Unique or unusual elements

AI struggles with replicating unique or unusual elements. A specific makeup pattern, earrings, clothes (or lack thereof), hair highlights, or accessories are a dead giveaway.

Symmetrical Faces

AI-generates usually very symmetrical faces and both eyes are at the same level.

Sharpness and Details

Real professional photos are sharper and have more details while amateur photos are noisier—most AI-generated photos are neither.


If a photo is cropped and doesn’t show shoulders, hands, or the whole hairdo, it could be AI-generated. The AI does well at generating very specific elements with predictable structures (such as faces) but once there is a body (and countless unpredictable positions the cat body can take) the AI has no clue what’s going on.

Skin imperfection is not an indicator

Skin imperfections and eye reflections don’t make images authentic.

Hairs and Teeth

Sometimes AI-generated hair and teeth are messed up (but it doesn’t have to be the case).

Source: Human vs. AI test

Kazimierz Rajnerowicz created a test to see whether internet users are able to pick up on clues and recognize photos, artwork, music, and texts created by Artificial Intelligence.

Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship

This text was published in the frame of the project DIGIT-AL - Digital Transformation Adult Learning for Active Citizenship.






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