September 7

How to Spot an AI-Generated Photo of an Animal

By Marlin Clark on
September 7, 2023
Spotting an AI-generated photo of an animal can be challenging. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has advanced to produce highly realistic images. However, there are a few techniques and considerations you can use to help identify whether an image might be AI-generated.

1. Unusual Characteristics

Wildebeest and zebras, AI generative

A wildebeest crossed with a giraffe? This can't be right, so it must be AI-generated 

Some images might exhibit unusual or unrealistic features that you won't easily find in natural photographs. So, be on the lookout for oddly shaped body parts, unnatural colour combinations, or unrealistic proportions. For instance, if an animal has an extremely long neck or abnormally large eyes, it could indicate that the image is AI-generated.
Rhino and pink flamingo background in Africa, AI generative

A rhino and what clearly looks like pink pigeons, not flamingos, which means it must be AI-generated

AI-generated images might combine elements from different animal species in unusual ways. So, if you see an image with features from multiple animals that don't naturally belong together, it could be an AI-generated photo.

2. Odd Combinations or Mutations

Unusual-looking elephant, or is it a zebra?

Sometimes, AI-generated images might blend features from different animal species, leading to improbable combinations or even mutations that wouldn't occur naturally. Therefore, these images can often appear surreal or unsettling upon closer inspection.

3. Quality of Details

Is this really a wildebeest?

AI might struggle to capture fine details accurately. Look closely at the texture of the fur, feathers, or scales. If there are inconsistencies or a lack of realistic texture, it could be a sign that it's an AI-generated image of an animal.

4. Strange Body Proportions

The giraffe in the middle doesn't look right at all

If the animal in the image is in an unusual pose or performing atypical actions for the species, it might be a sign of AI-generated content. That's because AI models may not always understand the natural behaviour of animals.

5. Contextual Awareness

Spotted Hyena

Remember, AI technology is rapidly evolving, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between AI-generated and real images. What might be true today could change in the near future as AI algorithms improve and become more sophisticated.

Remember to always approach any information or images with a healthy dose of scepticism and critical thinking.

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About the author 

Marlin Clark

Marlin was born in Johannesburg, but moved to Cape Town at the age of five. Growing up, he's always been fascinated with colours and shapes - the Lego blocks he was obsessed with as a kid are now repurposed as stationary holders on his desk. Marlin is inspired by all things beautiful, has a positive outlook on life, and is driven by a desire to make things that matter. In his spare time he enjoys expanding his knowledge on all things design-related, loves to travel, and find opportunities to improve his outdoor photography. He'll never pass up a good cup of coffee.

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