Adobe will let some Adobe Creative Cloud customers try a tool that builds trustworthy attribution directly into a picture. As part of a bigger software update, Adobe is moving forward with the Content Authenticity Initiative, a system it proposed last year. The tool adds an extra panel to Photoshop, and using it attaches metadata that’s supported by Adobe-owned art sharing site Behance.
Adobe lays out exactly how the process works in a video. The system lets users toggle four kinds of metadata: a picture thumbnail, the name of the person creating the image, some broad information about the types of edits that were made, and the original assets used to create the image. These are then cryptographically signed so it’ll be evident if anyone tampers with them.
If the picture is uploaded to Behance, users can see all that information as a pop-up panel, or they can click through to a dedicated website. The CAI panel is coming to “select customers” in Photoshop’s beta release over the next few weeks.
Adobe’s demonstration video hints at how the system might be useful. If one of a composite photo’s original assets also used CAI, for instance, you can click through and see the full details for it as well — essentially giving artists a one-click attribution tool when they’re building on other people’s images. As we’ve discussed before, CAI isn’t designed to stop determined trolls from faking an image. But if you’d like to make clear that you’ve Photoshopped an image, CAI is also a simple and low-key way to do so.
Adobe eventually wants lots of apps, websites, and even cameras to support the CAI — likely hoping to make it a de facto standard for image attribution. CAI’s effectiveness ultimately depends on how much buy-in it can get across the wider internet, and Adobe has named a few high-profile partners like Microsoft, Twitter, and The New York Times Company. For now, though, Adobe is going to see how the option works within its own ecosystem.