How to Detect AI Images With High Accuracy

A close-up of a person's face thorugh the

In this post, we'll take a look at:

In a world where an image can be digitally altered or synthetically generated with just a few clicks by artificial intelligence (AI), it is impossible to trust what you see at a glance.

While it may be appealing to create AI art or edit images for humor, it’s important to note that scammers and other malicious individuals are using advanced technologies to empty your pockets or create deepfakes to spread misinformation and influence your opinions.

Therefore, it is crucial to know how to protect yourself in the age of AI.

In this article, we will explore how you can detect AI images with the highest accuracy possible. We will examine two detection techniques—manual and tool-assisted methods—for identifying such images.

By combining these two approaches, you can be confident in determining whether what you are looking at is real or not.

Manual Image Detection: Take a Closer Look

AI-generated or altered images often appear flawless at a glance. However, most have subtle traces left behind that are easily identifiable if you know what to look for.

Here are six straightforward ways for analyzing an image:

1. Gibberish Text

AI generated NYSE floor, outside and with gibberish text

Does the image contain any text, such as street signs, shop signs, or other elements? AI often struggles with text, and most of the time, the visible text is gibberish unless it is specifically prompted to spell something correctly. In our example image, some of the characters aren’t even real letters.

2. Weird Items

AI-generated image of a public park

Are there any items in the image that don’t make sense, such as a telescope in a dentist’s office, or items that don’t even exist in the real world?

For example, we generated an image of a public park and received an image that includes something that is half tree and half lamp post — clearly impossible, right?

3. Lack of Symmetry

AI-generated image of a supercar

This one requires a closer look. Human design generally exhibits symmetry—we wear matching gloves, and our earrings typically look the same on both ears, etc. However, when an image is generated by AI, symmetry is not always maintained. 

While modern AI can accurately render larger items, such as car rims, it often falters with smaller details. For instance, in the image we’re examining, the AI has mismatched the wing mirrors and inconsistently designed the corners of the front bumper.

4. Texture Continuity

A ship deck image generated by AI

People appreciate consistent textures. Bricks in a wall generally look alike, and floorboards typically appear uniform in size. 

However, when we tasked the AI with generating an image of a ship deck, it missed the mark. As you can observe in the bottom right corner of the image, what appears to be a literal hole in the floor is actually a significant texture mismatch.

5. Smoothness Everywhere

AI-generated beautiful nature, although too smooth to be considered as real

AI-generated images sometimes appear excessively smooth, as if someone has used the blur tool in Photoshop extensively. While this effect was popular a few years ago when people heavily edited their photos, in 2024, such smoothness should raise suspicions.

6. Reflections and Shadows

AI-generated rainy street image with wrong reflections

Another aspect that AI often struggles to replicate is reflections and shadows. In real-world scenarios, reflections and shadows behave logically; however, in AI-generated images, they often do not. 

We asked the AI to generate an image of a rainy street during the evening. As you can see, the reflections of the headlights appear to come from nowhere and do not match the car.

If the image features a person, here are some additional methods to verify whether the individual in the picture really exists:

7. Outlandish Eyes

AI-generated female face image with inhuman irises

Most of the time, AI gets the human eye very wrong. More often than not, the pupils look simply weird, usually more cat-like than human. Also, the irises are often oddly shaped.

8. Butter Fingers

AI-generated image of people shaking hands, however, the hands are not realistic

You know the snack, right? Well, AI still tends to depict human fingers as such.

It’s not as blatant as it once was, but years later, this is still an issue. Also, make sure to count the fingers; you might find that some of the beautiful people you are jealously admiring have more than we as humans are usually born with.

Tool Assisted Detection: AI Image Detectors

A close-up of a digital woman's face

AI image detectors are tools that utilize AI to determine if images are authentic, AI-generated, or altered.

While the concept isn’t new, these tools are continually evolving to keep up with the latest AI image generators, becoming more reliable and accurate as they train on more images.

These tools analyze image details and metadata to identify artificial origins using various methods. These include machine learning models that distinguish between real and artificially-generated images, examining pixel patterns and image noise for irregularities, analyzing unusual compression methods, and checking metadata for inconsistencies.

While AI image detectors are quite accurate in detecting fully AI-generated images, they sometimes fall short when it comes to detecting AI-altered images. For such cases, the manual image detection techniques introduced earlier are beneficial.

However, after testing a plethora of AI image detectors, we found that some can handle almost all cases. For non-professional use, tools like Fake Image Detector and WasItAI stand out as they can even detect slightly altered images. For more detailed image analysis, AI or Not is a strong option.

Of course, there are other good options as this field is continuously developing. Make sure to check out all the AI image detectors we have listed in our wonderful directory.

If you are interested in understanding how these tools work in detail, check out our post “How Do AI Image Detectors Work and Are They Accurate?“.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Every day, we encounter AI-generated or altered images without even realizing it.

However, there are times when it’s crucial to know whether the image we’re viewing is real or fabricated. The two techniques—manual and tool-assisted—for detecting AI can help you uncover the truth.

While you could rely solely on an AI image detector, incorporating some manual detection work ensures you’re completely certain about the image’s origins. Knowing what to look for makes manual detection quite straightforward.

We firmly believe that combining these techniques yields the best results. So don’t hesitate—enhance your manual detection skills and also explore the AI image detectors listed in our directory.

Happy detecting!

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