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How to Сheck if the Stock Image Is AI-generated: 7 Workable Ways

5 minute read

AI-generated images are becoming more common, even in stock image libraries you can use. With the development of technology, these photos are becoming more and more sophisticated, and sometimes, it is difficult to determine the origin of the image at a glance.

However, there are still ways that will help you detect these images almost with 100% accuracy. Keep reading to learn how to check if the stock photo is AI-generated using your attention to detail and special tools.

To check or not to check stock images for AI?

On the one hand, AI technologies are great assistants in indie authors’ daily routines. Writers can use such tools for brainstorming or getting visual references.

But today, stock image websites are overloaded with AI-generated images that authors pass off as manually created. Thus, if you want to buy and use such a photo in your book cover design or for promotions, you must know its origin for the following reasons.

First, AI-generated images have different rules for copyrights than pictures taken by people.

Secondly, the effort required to make an AI-generated image differs, but some creators can sell them at a higher cost, like an image created by a human. Indie authors are often on a tight budget and are unlikely to pay an unreasonable price.

Moreover, some self-publishing platforms, like Amazon, detect and mark books with AI-generated content, including text and images. You can receive such a label without even realizing that you have accidentally included such content in your work. However, this can affect your potential readers’ loyalty. Not all people want to read and pay for it.

1. Analyze the descriptions and tags on the website

Start with the basics. Often, stock image websites categorize their content clearly. You should look for descriptions or tags associated with the image. AI-generated images might be tagged with terms like “digital creation,” “AI-generated,” or similar phrases.

Usually, authors who add images to a website must provide information on how they created the image. In addition, platforms perform additional verification and can put labels on photos to warn about AI-generated content. However, not all websites do this, so you may need to dig deeper.

2. Check metadata if possible

Each digital image has metadata. It can provide information about the camera used, settings, location, date, and even the software that processed the image. AI-generated images often lack this detailed metadata or have generic, software-related information.

You can check metadata using such tools as:

However, keep in mind that image authors can also take care of removing or changing metadata to meet their intentions.

3. Search for images in reverse

If you don’t find any similar images, it could mean an AI made the image, as it tends to create brand-new pictures unlike anything else on the internet. Also, reverse image searches can sometimes show you the original photos that AI might have used for inspiration. 

Plus, you might stumble upon online discussions where people have already pointed out that the image is AI-generated.

You can use reverse image search engines like Google Images or TinEye.

4. Look for anomalies

Artificial intelligence isn’t perfect, and it still often makes mistakes in image creation. You can look for anomalies in stock images, such as irregular patterns, unusual shadowing, or distorted elements

For example, if we take pictures of people, AI can struggle with fingers, generating too many, too few, or unnaturally bent fingers. Besides, this technology often has problems with creating the proper look of eyes.

5. Examine the background

The technology focuses on the foreground and central characters or objects when creating an image. It pays little attention to the background.

That’s why AI-generated photos sometimes have vague or overly chaotic backgrounds. You should examine the background for odd patterns or inconsistent lighting. You may also find incomprehensible combinations of items. Real photos tend to have more cohesive and contextually logical backgrounds.

6. Pay attention to text elements

When figuring out if AI makes an image, looking closely at any text in the picture is a good idea. This could be writing on signs, products, clothes, books, etc. This technology often has trouble with text, leading to some easy-to-spot mistakes. 

For example, the words might be a jumble that doesn’t make sense or might not fit the picture’s setting. Sometimes, the letters are spaced weirdly or are in different sizes that don’t match. You might even see a mix of different fonts in the same word or text that’s not lined up right with things like signs or book covers.

Also, AI can mix languages in ways that wouldn’t normally happen. If you notice any of these things with the text in an image, there’s a good chance it might be AI-generated.

7. Use special tools

Finally, there are special tools that can help you. They analyze the image and give you a score that says how likely it is that an AI made the image.

But it’s important to remember that they’re not always right. Sometimes, they might say an image is AI-generated when it’s not or miss an AI-generated image. They’re getting better all the time, but they’re not perfect yet.

Here are some tools that can help to detect AI-generated photos:

Summing up

Since AI-generated images begin to appear everywhere, it’s crucial to be able to distinguish between these creations and those made by humans. Thus, you can avoid additional undesirable consequences.

We’ve provided seven effective ways to help you check if the image is AI-generated:

  • Analyze descriptions and tags under images
  • Check metadata
  • Try reverse image search
  • Look for anomalies in pictures
  • Examine the background chaotic patterns
  • Inspect text elements
  • Take advantage of specialized tools.

What is your attitude towards AI-generated images? How do you use them in your writing career? Share your opinion in the comments.

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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