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shenhua
02-06-2016, 03:08 AM
Hi

I got wondering about this recently while watching this set of photos from Mars on NASA's website.

http://mars.nasa.gov/multimedia/interactives/billionpixel

I will say this up front - I'm not conjuring up any conspiracy theories here. I am simply fascinated by space exploration (in a layman way) and I feel this forum is filled with great graphic geniuses so I thought I'd ask this.

So... if someone would be looking for some phony parts in the image (which here is obv processed and stitched together) what would be the not-so-obvious indicators that the photo was fake or simply altogether a render?

erikals
02-06-2016, 03:38 AM
... but they are...!

everyone down to earth knows that flying to Mars couldn't possibly be done with today's technology.


...and where the hell is my tinfoil hat?
...damn CIA, always lurking in my damn apartment whenever i try to take a nap!

shenhua
02-06-2016, 03:52 AM
Hi, Erikals

I wouldn't call being skeptical tin foil hat, erikals. (and yes, I got the sarcasm ;) )
There are many conspiracy theories that turned out true and more than enough scheming out there in the open. Population has no memory, like a goldfish.

I wouldn't dismiss anyone for making "unbelievable theories" up when powers that be are involved. There's a lot of deception, misinformation and purposeful false flags to throw us off.
In fact I'd probably feel more comfortable talking with a skeptic/denier/conspiracy theorist even on the level of flat earth folks - than with someone trying to suppress discussion by calling others names in a hive mind behavior.

Me, myself. I have not enough evidence nor expertise to really say things with certainty about Moon/Mars landing. I like to believe them to be true, because I wish our civilization to succeed. If I turn out to be naive - so be it. If someone has a different opinion - that's his prerogative and I do understand completely, why people are distrustful and I am all for questioning our reality vs blind cult fellowship.

That said, let's see what ideas we will gather here on how to technically approach this issue from the photo editing perspective itself.

meshpig
02-06-2016, 04:07 AM
Like with phony emails the "parts" would be either lexical or grammatical in essence. It's contradictory though to ascribe real and copy values to a digital image whilst disclaiming conspiracy, as it were. e.g. in Linguistics the idea of the Signifier (that which does the representing) in a given sign is that it refers to every other in the signifying chain; i.e. the moon landing.

Render wise, same argument. You'd spot it straight away whatever it may be but only after the event. Trick of the eye stuff.

erikals
02-06-2016, 04:14 AM
Hi, Erikals
I wouldn't call being skeptical tin foil hat, erikals. (and yes, I got the sarcasm ;)

Hi, no sarcasm, the idea behind the comment was more related to "nothing can be proved"   http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/smile.gif

anything can be faked, if you are smart enough, or your audience is not.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ocGqzruS1qA/TV6c8TD86VI/AAAAAAAACSY/aiWQxeIVgkw/s1600/alien.jpg

meshpig
02-06-2016, 04:27 AM
Hi, Erikals

I wouldn't call being skeptical tin foil hat, erikals. (and yes, I got the sarcasm ;) )
There are many conspiracy theories that turned out true and more than enough scheming out there in the open. Population has no memory, like a goldfish.

I wouldn't dismiss anyone for making "unbelievable theories" up when powers that be are involved. There's a lot of deception, misinformation and purposeful false flags to throw us off.
In fact I'd probably feel more comfortable talking with a skeptic/denier/conspiracy theorist even on the level of flat earth folks - than with someone trying to suppress discussion by calling others names in a hive mind behavior.

Me, myself. I have not enough evidence nor expertise to really say things with certainty about Moon/Mars landing. I like to believe them to be true, because I wish our civilization to succeed. If I turn out to be naive - so be it. If someone has a different opinion - that's his prerogative and I do understand completely, why people are distrustful and I am all for questioning our reality vs blind cult fellowship.

That said, let's see what ideas we will gather here on how to technically approach this issue from the photo editing perspective itself.

Oh FFS, I watched the Apollo landing on TV as a kid but also knew many scientists tracking the whole thing. I've touched moon rocks etc. Get over it, the moon landing happened but sure too its a kinda unknowable point in history amongst many.
Why would you bother when you can do the same every day on SM?

shenhua
02-06-2016, 05:01 AM
So far so good, thread-wise.

@meshpig

SM? I'm not really into that stuff... ;)

But yeah, I get where you're coming from. Like I said. Not really trying to debate whether the events were real or fake but something technical from the photos themselves. The main point of that previous post is that I get why people are in either camp or on the fence.

@erikals

anything can be faked, if you are smart enough, or your audience is not. - I'd agree with that. So I wonder what a smart way to fake it be, let's see if we can collect some ideas here (without much classified data : <) .. :)

erikals
02-06-2016, 05:34 AM
So I wonder what a smart way to fake it be, let's see if we can collect some ideas here
the best way to fake Martian landscape imo would be to (shortly explained)

- make fake rocks, place 10 million of them until they reach the horizon.
- smaller rocks could be colored real rocks.
- fake the horizon 'fog' with cgi

would require an enormous area, and tons of work, but could be done.

inkpen3d
02-07-2016, 05:39 AM
How would you tell if Mars pics are faked or not? Obvious - ask a Martian! ;)

Seriously though, I have no truck with all those brainless conspiracy theory sheep who think the Apollo moon landings were faked - the evidence that they happened is overwhelming and to pretend otherwise is an insult to the many thousands of people who were involved in the space program as well as the astronauts who sadly died in the process. I avidly watched all the moon landings as a young lad and they were an inspiration for me to pursue a career in science.

To get humans to the moon is not really that difficult - even with the technology that was around during the 60s. The fact that we haven't been back to the moon is a testament to the short sightedness and timidity of politicians and the disinterest and inward looking attitude of a public; both groups being collectively pretty much totally ignorant of all matters to do with science without which we would still be in the dark ages!

shenhua
02-07-2016, 05:47 AM
Well, this is the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid. But I guess the topic is too hot to not end up this way. Anyway, if anyone has anything rather technical to say, please go ahead.

Meanwhile I will make a mental note to self that next time I will just use "fake selfie" example instead of mars photos (which I thought would be more interesting hence the choice).

ianr
02-07-2016, 07:08 AM
[QUOTE=shenhua;1465042]Well, this is the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid. But I guess the topic is too hot to not end up this way. Anyway, if anyone has anything rather technical to say, please go ahead.


NASA are big Wavers, so LightWave has travelled check out

Mr. Mass's great 2010 LW MARS ROVER Anim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV3JeupRJbs

Also NASA have a FREE: ISS mesh anyone can privately use NOT Commercial on

http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/detail/iss-hi-res


If you are considering building worlds then I would consider

Advanced Placement. p Plugin for doing the 'heavy lifting' on Boulder instances

erikals
02-07-2016, 07:19 AM
also see >


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoWpEY6RjkI


Location > Wadi Rum in Jordan

shenhua
02-07-2016, 09:55 AM
thanks guys, I'll have a look. Seems interesting and dang I had no idea that NASA had a free ISS LWO giveaway, that's cool.

spherical
02-07-2016, 05:56 PM
Well, this is the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid. But I guess the topic is too hot to not end up this way. Anyway, if anyone has anything rather technical to say, please go ahead.

From the first post:

So... if someone would be looking for some phony parts in the image (which here is obv processed and stitched together) what would be the not-so-obvious indicators that the photo was fake or simply altogether a render?

Well, ya gotta admit that when starting out with the above, that there would be some amount of weight placed upon your thinking that they were faked; whether you said to the contrary or not, purely because fakery of Mars imaging is the core topic.

The second thing about this is that the question is asking to prove a negative. IOW, unless there is known evidence of image manipulation, finding it is pretty much moot; especially when we are dealing with another world entirely where things are way different from Earth. There are, and will be many more, odd and completely new phenomena that occur on another planet that came to form in another part of the Solar System. Discussing how to fake imagery requires first identifying phenomena that are faked and then figuring out how it was done. It is a Mobius Strip endeavor. You keep ending up where you started, having looked at both sides of the situation, and only learned that the path taken was twice as long as it would seem.

That said, digital imagery is easier to manipulate than film. I worked with a film retoucher years ago, before the advent of digital techniques that eventually put him out of business. I can do retouching with far more accuracy and finesse than he could; and he was amazing. Worked directly on transparencies, no less, using bleaches and dyes. Seriously cool and way more risky.

This isn't to say that the imagery returned from spacecraft is faked; whether it is more easily done now or not. There are too many eyes on everything that happens. I have worked on missions and know directly what goes into designing, building and launching a spacecraft, then receiving its data or samples and examining them. I was in the Blue Room when Galileo sent its first raw data downlinks from Jupiter. I've been in the Dark Room during missions. Many people at JPL are friends of mine; some working in the DIAL Lab where image processing is performed. Then there are hundreds of people working at aerospace corporations spread all across the country that contract with NASA to accomplish these missions. Hundreds more across the globe.

On the technical side of things, to keep this on-topic, here is one of a series of illustrations done for the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist. It is obviously fake, as it depicts the atmospheric entry sequence of the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator System similar to that which delivered the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover to the surface. All LightWave done by a small team. Aeroshell and Ringsail modeled full size. Valles Marineris altimeter data from various spacecraft employed to model the sector. Ozone layers created using a series of spheres. The crop shows the added surface detail accomplished by a series of procedurals controlled by elevation gradients to populate the surface outside of crater floors with rocks of varying size to add more granular detail. A very interesting project; one that I am honored to be part of; as I am with all of the missions I have contributed to in some small way.

132275 132276

meshpig
02-08-2016, 01:50 AM
So far so good, thread-wise.

@meshpig

SM? I'm not really into that stuff... ;)

But yeah, I get where you're coming from. Like I said. Not really trying to debate whether the events were real or fake but something technical from the photos themselves. The main point of that previous post is that I get why people are in either camp or on the fence.


I know but the thing is, technically "fakes" are never as good as the real thing :)

djwaterman
02-08-2016, 04:21 AM
Sure you can fake it, and you will have a fake, which might fool some people not qualified to judge it. The crucial difference here is that the real photos from Mars, Moon or any other places humans have sent cameras is that the resulting images have new information in them that tells us things we didn't know, that's something that can't be faked. To the casual observer Mars might seem familiar, but it's cold thin atmosphere and different gravity ensures that it's geology is going to look different and those are the things that can be detected in the images that you won't see on Earth, and no CGI artist or model maker has the expertise to know what that should look like, certainly their faked images would not deliver any useful information.

safetyman
02-08-2016, 05:50 AM
I think some of these conspiracy theorists are insanely naive, thinking that the gov't is hiding things or covering them up when it comes to Mars pictures. Why would you spend billions of dollars to send a probe there, then hide images or information from the public? Let's say the rover came across some ruins, or better yet, a cave with some Martians living in it -- what would the gov't hope to gain by hiding that? Mass panic? Heck, it would probably behoove them to actually find something and release that information... it legitimizes spending the tax dollars on these missions.

As far as faking things: I used to work at a NASA facility (mainly concerned with Earth science), and the scientists I worked with had a group of folks who used Lightwave for their visualizations... that's where I learned LW. If someone in that group had even attempted to pass off a fake as something real, the entire program would have been defunded putting hundreds of people out of a job and unneeded negative scrutiny from the higher-ups. Government programs like the one I was involved in are extremely careful about not doing something that will harm next year's budget. Bottom line: Did the photo come from NASA? If yes, then there's nothing nefarious going on. So if NASA posts a photo of Mars with a Martian photo-bomb, then it's not a fake.

50one
02-08-2016, 07:26 AM
Whether you believe it or not, the real question is why so many photos were edited - some of them as poorly as Obama's birth certificate n PDF format lol.

dickbill
02-08-2016, 07:29 AM
Due to the smaller diameter of the planet, the horizon, aka the point where the planet's curvature is hiding what is behind, like a ship's sail disappearing, should be nearer to a given observer.
Of course we can see farther if we stand higher from the ground. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon
For an observer standing on the ground with h = 1.70 metres (5 ft 7 in) (average eye-level height), the horizon is at a distance of 4.7 kilometres (2.9 mi) on Earth.
For an observer standing on the ground with h = 2 metres (6 ft 7 in), the horizon is at a distance of 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) on Earth.

The relation should be different on Mars since Mars is smaller, more precisely the size of a 5'7" person relative to the planet's diameter is higher, this person acts like he was standing higher on the ground. Also, The planet's curvature is visible from a lower vantage point than it is for Earth. This was correctly mentioned in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy. Older sci fy movies of Mars are recorded outdoors on red-painted terrain and of course this effect is usually not reproduced. I don't know for the latest 'The Martian', when Matt Damon is sitting on the cliff and watches the horizon, I didn't see anything obvious regarding horizon curvature. Maybe that's the problem, I didn't see anything obvious, nor I was paying a particular attention to it, precisely because it had an usual look, like on Earth.

dickbill
02-08-2016, 07:36 AM
the best way to fake Martian landscape imo would be to (shortly explained)

- make fake rocks, place 10 million of them until they reach the horizon.
- smaller rocks could be colored real rocks.
- fake the horizon 'fog' with cgi

would require an enormous area, and tons of work, but could be done.
I think that's what they did for "Red Planet" (with Val Kilmer ) red latex painted everywhere, or was it for 'Mission to Mars' ? before that, I don't think they bothered, they just used red filters.

shenhua
02-08-2016, 08:21 AM
Thanks for all the amazing replies.

Again, just to make it clear. We are talking about ways to tell if pictures are fake or not.
I am not making any statements about realness of anything. The threat title of "faked photos" is for purely hypothetical reasons. A "what if" scenario, if you may.
I am very glad to have people who worked with NASA in this thread.
And if someone feels he's in the "tin foil" group - don't shy away either.
Let's see what we can compile here in terms of knowledge of how to doctor images and how to spot it. Focusing mostly on space photos - but other kind of photos are acceptable too, if someone wants to make a point.

shenhua
02-08-2016, 08:28 AM
[nvm this one]

shenhua
02-08-2016, 08:31 AM
[double post]

gerry_g
02-08-2016, 09:34 AM
ILA – Image Error Level Analysis, Google it heard about it some years ago it's a forensic way analysing Photoshop images thats supposed to be pretty foolproof

dickbill
02-08-2016, 09:36 AM
Then it is just a case of how to fake a real 'optical train' in a computer generated image. Everything can be faked, I believe, if you know what to fake. Using a Earth based picture is sure to fail IMO, CG is the way to go.
So let's say we are making a CG image, we have to reproduce:

Horizon curvature
Smaller apparent size of the sun in the sky
Reproduce a believable geology, of course down to the resolution that a real camera would provide. I believe that Terragen can do that.
Reproduce a believable lightening, haze, fog and atmospherics with a different gas composition made mostly CO2 and Argon.
White color balance off
Fake the imperfection of all the lenses in a real camera, ccd and electronic artifacts in very low temperature, signal noise, like a higher number of hot pixels due to higher number of cosmic ray impact (no atmosphere to shield), etc.

If all of that can be properly simulated and I believe it can, either directly during ray tracing or in post production, then it would be very hard to differentiate a CG picture from a real one taken from a rover. My personal opinion is that if you do all of that, you can't say the difference. So there is no way to say fake from real (say from a rover) IMO. Terragen with some added post production, is probably up to the job, but I don't have it, so I can't say for sure.

dickbill
02-08-2016, 10:03 AM
as an example, look at this image from Ryan Archer, found in the Terragen Gallery
http://planetside.co.uk/galleries/terragen-gallery
(Image 118, page 8)
I know some of you are going to say the atmospheric limb is too blue-ish, but I 've seen amateur's pictures of Mars taken with a 8" telescope, usually with many images stacked and treated, with the same blueish limb. The telescope picture is real though, as are the color treatment and artifacts. So the martian limb may actually cast a blueish hue, for real.
But other than perhaps the excessive blue limb, I'd say the altitude of a satellite needed to take a full frame picture of Mars, wouldn't provide that amount of surface details and contrast. I would expect more blurry surface details and not just because of fog surface.
I assume that Ryan Archer used a color map and an elevation map. The colors in the color map seems familiar to me. But anyways that's pretty close. If it wasn't from the Terragen gallery, who could say with certainty it's a fake?

EDIT: I saved the picture on my desktop to zoom in. The pixelization is obvious along with other defects (Olympus Mons on the top is way too sharp). All of that can be fixed with higher resolution color map and elevation map.

shenhua
02-08-2016, 10:23 AM
@dickbill
Nice analysis out there.

132298

It looks great indeed... but what about the... not sure what it is... (I am trying to be picky here, so bear with me ;) ) the contrast/exposure where you have the color fade into black so fast? From the orange surface to the shadow on the right. But not really of the globe itself but the shadows of the terrain, that's where I feel it's too sharp, maybe. Is that because there's no actual ambient lighting out there and that's 100% how this should be? I assume he wanted to go for that kind of look.

Wiki's main entry pic also shows bluish tint on the atmo-limb. Although I didn't not expect that! And nor did I ever notice it before O_o.


@gerry_g
ILA – Image Error Level Analysis <- this is definitely something I WILL play with. I found this website as one of the first results on the Oracle called Google:

https://29a.ch/photo-forensics

Seems cool to play with! Will put some of my retouches through it... and see how obvious they gonna be xD

EDIT - I tried "noise analysis" on my most recent composition/retouch... and BOY! Was that obvious to tell compared to the source I worked on O___O this tool is awesome.

EDIT2 - but after trying some photos from different phones... I guess this also detects when the phone does some auto correction on taking the photo? So with poor quality picture you end up seeing what the camera has "enchanced" before anyone really touched it, or am I wrong here? (ofc there are other options there than the noise thing too, naturally).

dickbill
02-08-2016, 10:57 AM
yes the color map feels too contrasted to me too. About the day/night 'terminator' transition, it think it's ok. The biggest problem is the pixelisation. I used to have an online color and bump map 5700X2800 that had the same problem when I zoomed in.
132302
I did that with "Imagine 3d". It's not a match with Archer's picture cause there is no atmosphere and it shows pixelisation although I am pretty sure I used a 5700X2800 map and it is clearly not enough. You are not going to fool anybody with maps like that.

But I know there was higher resolution map somewhere, like a 23000X11000, because I had a Red-only jpeg "color" map of this size. I don't know why I didn't get the RGB and unfortunately I forgot where I got them, NASA I'd guess.

dickbill
02-08-2016, 11:15 AM
132298
From the orange surface to the shadow on the right. But not really of the globe itself but the shadows of the terrain, that's where I feel it's too sharp, maybe. Is that.
I think it's because the color map includes some shading, while it should not because the only shading should be generated by the bump map. Ideally the color map should be taken when the sun is straight at the zenith. Perhaps the now old Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MRO, can do that. But all the color maps of Mars I 've used were from Viking Orbiter and they had some shading, so you have to match them when you set the object in Layout.

shrox
02-08-2016, 07:33 PM
132314

dickbill
02-08-2016, 07:42 PM
Nice Shrox. Winds on Mars are overrated but perhaps the statics in the air could be a source of energy. Although I don't know of any Rover that pictured a lightning, even though a dust devil passed straight over one, Spirit of Oportunity.

shrox
02-08-2016, 08:58 PM
Nice Shrox. Winds on Mars are overrated but perhaps the statics in the air could be a source of energy. Although I don't know of any Rover that pictured a lightning, even though a dust devil passed straight over one, Spirit of Oportunity.

If there are people in the picture, it's fake.

Oedo 808
02-09-2016, 01:07 PM
http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=132337&d=1455048321

erikals
02-09-2016, 01:11 PM
Winds on Mars are overrated but perhaps the statics in the air could be a source of energy
more info > http://www.space.com/30663-the-martian-dust-storms-a-breeze.html

Kaptive
02-09-2016, 02:52 PM
http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=132337&d=1455048321


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qKcJF4fOPs

dickbill
02-09-2016, 05:17 PM
more info > http://www.space.com/30663-the-martian-dust-storms-a-breeze.html

A breeze, yes, but that's only taking into account the air 'gas' mass and velocity. Now during a dust storm, the volumic mass of air is significantly higher because it carries all this sand and dust and that means a lot of momentum. So during a dust storm, a Martian facing millions of tons of sand coming to him at 60mph will feel more than a breeze.

shrox
02-09-2016, 05:55 PM
http://forums.newtek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=132337&d=1455048321

No people, it's legit.

shrox
02-09-2016, 06:02 PM
more info > http://www.space.com/30663-the-martian-dust-storms-a-breeze.html

The wind gets to 150+mph in places and at times, and I can cite artistic license... The light is rather dim too, about half of Earth daylight on a clear Mars day.