Adobe adds CAI ‘Content Credentials’ to Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop


This post is by Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) from Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

Raw file edited in Adobe Camera Raw with Content Credentials appended

Photo: Richard Butler

Adobe is in the process of adding the ability to provide CAI-compliant Content Credentials with the images you create. Options are being added Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop itself, but there are some significant differences in the implementations, at present.

The system is intended to provide an industry-standard means of providing transparency about an image’s source, its edits and whether any AI elements have been added.

ACR / Lightroom

In Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, the Content Credentials feature (that we won’t refer to as ‘CC’ to avoid confusion with Adobe’s ‘Creative Cloud’ branding) is described as being an ‘Early Access’ feature. A spokesperson says the intention is “to get feedback from the photography community.”

The feature, which can currently only be applied to JPEG output, keeps track of the edits you’ve made, and either embeds the details alongside your image or uploads them to a central database, allowing people further down the workflow to be able to check the authenticity of the image. There’s also the option to both embed and upload the data, to maximize the likelihood of the workflow being traceable.

As well as the option of whether to include your name as the creator, you can also embed details of your social media accounts, such as your Instagram handle, to help prove authorship. Adobe tells us: “We will be expanding to support more file formats.”

Photoshop

The option in Photoshop is described as a beta. To enable the feature, you currently need to engage it for each image as you open it, before you make any edits. The CAI metadata about the types of editing you’ve made is then added to the file if you use Photoshop’s Export dialogue.

The Content Credentials palette can be found under the Windows menu in Photoshop. Once you press the ‘Enable’ button, you can choose which settings are shared, and how (middle tab), and preview the metadata that will be associated with your file (right-hand tab).

Unlike the ACR implementation, Photoshop can add metadata to JPEG or PNG images, but you only have to option to embed or upload the metadata, not both.

In practice

Raw file edited in Adobe Camera Raw with Content Credentials appended.

Photo: Richard Butler

We tried adding content credentials to a Raw conversion made from a recent sample gallery and, in this instance, it added 132K to the file, representing a 0.5% increase in size on a 26.7MB photo. The history of this and the story’s lead image, can now be examined using the Content Authenticity Initiative’s ‘Verify’ tool, by dragging and dropping the file.

However, as things stand, ACR and Lightroom do not pass details of their edits across to Photoshop, if your workflow involves making edits in both. So we can save an image with details of the changes made in ACR or we can export from Photoshop with information about its edits, but with no knowledge of what was done at the Raw-conversion stage.

The only way to build and maintain a complete history of the workflow would be to save a JPEG from ACR or Lightroom and use that as the starting-point for your work in Photoshop.

Needless to say, this idea of using a lossily-compressed intermediate step in your workflow isn’t the long-term intention. “As we expand support for Content Credentials, we’re exploring support for interoperable workflows such as editing in ACR, Lightroom and Photoshop,” the company says.

In future

Camera makers are already working to offer cameras that create cryptographically-signed Content Credentials at the point that the image is created, so it should soon be possible to provide evidence that the image derives from an original photo and then show what adjustments have been made to the image in ACR, Lightroom or Photoshop, and whether generative AI has been used.

We will continue to monitor the development of Content Credentials options over the coming months, to see whether we can incorporate it into our review workflows, so that you can always check how the file has been handled between us taking the photo and presenting it on the site.

Given DPReview.com’s core mission to provide a trustworthy means of assessing cameras’ output, we like the idea of being able to include evidence of the extent of the editing applied to those test files that aren’t straight-out-of-camera JPEGS.