Fake Your ID Photos – The 3D Way

Photographs for identification purposes have strict requirements. Lighting, expression, and framing are all controlled to enable authorities to quickly and effectively use them to identify individuals reliably. But what if you created an entirely fake photograph from scratch? That’s exactly what [Raphael Fabre] set out to do.

With today’s 3D modelling tools, human faces can be created in extreme detail. Using these, [Raphael] set out to create a 3D model of himself, which was then used to render images simulating a passport photograph. Not content to end the project there, [Raphael] put his digital doppelgänger to the test – applying for a French identification card. He succeeded.

While the technology to create and render high-quality human faces has existed for a while, it’s impressive that [Raphael]’s work passed for genuine human. Obviously there’s something to be said for the likelihood of an overworked civil servant catching this sort of ruse, but the simple fact is, the images made it through the process, and [Raphael] has his ID. Theoretically, this leaves open the possibility of creating entirely fictitious characters and registering them as real citizens with the state, for all manner of nefarious purposes. If you do this, particularly on a grand scale, be sure to submit it to the tip line.

We’ve seen other concerning ID hacks before, such as this attempt at hacking RFIDs in Passport Cards.

43 thoughts on “Fake Your ID Photos – The 3D Way

          1. Passports are not the customary form of ID in the US. In California, driver’s license and ID card (which *are* the customary forms) photos are only taken by the DMV, and I suspect it’s the same for the rest of the states.

          2. That’s just insane, in this EU country you get a photo made, take it to the city’s offices and they scan it (and return the picture to you) and take your finger and thumb prints via an electronic scanner. All that stuff is put on the chip in the passport and a copy of the photo is printed on the passport which you pick up a few days later.
            They would never allow you to not be personally there for it.
            In some cases people can really not come to city hall for medical reasons and they still need a passport though, so for those rare special cases they actually have people come to your house to do the verification I’m told, but in no way could you ever avoid it.

            Meanwhile the whole reason they take biometric info and put it in their databases and in chips is because the goddamn US forces it on the world… and then the US says ‘you know what, we won’t do it’ but the rest of the world is continuing under the original force.

            And of course all the countries where the actual islamic terrorist mostly originate from the administration is a complete shambles and there is no issue getting 12 bullshit passports officially if you pay a few bucks, sigh.

            (And incidentally, talking of ID, in most of Europe, in fact all of it AFAIK, you also can’t vote without an ID, and it has been like that for forever. So it’s odd to see that’s so controversial in the US.)

          3. I just renewed the US PASSPORT. Took my own photo, cropped it to the proper size and bust dimensions then mailed it in. Since it was a renewal, the “old” PASSPORT was required, so I think they compare the new photo to the old photo.

          1. @nick true, but you don’t need to have your photo taken in person either. You can take the photo at home bring it to CVS/Walgreens etc, get it printed out as passport photos and bring with.

    1. I don’t know where you’re from but laws may be different. In France, the rules for the id photo are stricts. Your picture with an eye patch could have been refused. People got refused for less than that (hairs slightly out of picture for exemple, or smiling…).

    2. The thing is that when you go through US customs, they take a new picture of you using a kiosk…and if it doesn’t match I’m pretty sure that you’re not getting back into the country. I’m pretty sure that those kiosks use IR and UV light as well to check for facial prostheses.

    1. ID photos are more than a picture these days: If you have your picture taken by the passport issuer multiple shots in different wavelengths are taken also infrared. So skintone and subcutane veins are recorded. Passport photos are also encoded in the chip in the passport as biometric markers. i.e. the width of your eyes, lips distance between eyes, height of your ears, which makes fake passports only useful where manual checks by droopy custom officers is carried out. Faking your entire face from a 3d model is a political protest against big surveillance.

      1. My US passport photo was taken by a CVS photo kiosk, printed in a batch of four on photo paper, and butchered by me with a pair of scissors to get out just one before being mailed in. If any of those biometrics somehow got transferred through that convoluted and highly analog chain, I would be very impressed.

          1. Europe is tougher now, you are even photographed as you enter the gate for a US flight as a non US citizen. When I arrived in JFK ,my fingerprints were scanned in customs before I was allowed to catch a domestic flight! You americans can’t imagine how strict it has become for europeans travelling in Europe or elsewhere. This possibly for catching refugees, but you are treated like fresh meat arriving at the prison.

        1. Over here in this EU country you also bring your own picture, and I’ve never ever heard of some multi-wavelength nonsense, I don’t think the chip on the passports is even provisioned for that. Sounds like one of those stories.

          1. How can you not have heard af that? Could be regional differences. Google this: “airport photo face recognition” and there are numerous examples. What I’m saying is that these machines are are also used by the passport issuer where you also have your fingerprints taken, which also are encoded on the chip! Everyone in Schengen in Europe are treated with this. How long since you had your passport renewed?

          2. @tore As Dan said, it’s not true, and my passport isn’t that old.
            I also checked the site of the current requirements and you still need to bring your own picture.
            I fear your government is lying to you about the Schengen thing,. Maybe to ward off protest? The old shifting the blame falsely trick.

      2. Not sure how extra-visual photography helps you see veins. I used to take passport pictures and the special cameras have sonar only to indicate when you are taking the picture at the correct distance. Maybe that’s what you are thinking of? Also, there are markers on the viewfinder you have to line up with the subject’s eyes, nose, lips. Maybe that would be confused with biometric markers?

        @SloBro Hope we’re not the only ones waiting for the hand and forehead chip…

  1. He doesn’t say in his blog post, but I assume he used a 3d scan (possibly photogrammetry) and projected texture images onto the geometry created by that. This is, to be fair, not “artificial”, but a representation of the actual head/face, just like a photo is.
    The “fake” would start if you modelled the head from scratch OR if you introduced enough deviation from the original data (eye/pupil/nose/mouth corner distances and angles) to create FALSE data. I assume further that he didn’t do that because the ID would then not MATCH his actual face, so he might run into serious problems.

    In the end … this is a nice experiment, but not a hack.

    1. He could start-up with a model that is 100% accurate and then change the distance between his eyes for example (to fool facial recognition)… I think that would still be considered fake.

  2. I think there is a major point being missed here. With the 3D model, you might be able to subtly tweak the characteristics in a “photo” that facial recognition software uses to identify people, but would still be identified as “you” by a human when the card is examined. When your “photo” is entered into the system, the biometric measurements that the recognition software takes off your “photo” does not match you when used for surveillance identification.

    It would be interesting to try the reverse as well. Could you create a photo that has your biometric markers but doesn’t look like you to a human.

    1. You can tweak a passport photo also with photoshop. I’ve actually done that. I have changed the eye distance and position plus the mouth position, as I was interrested at which point a computer would tell me at a border that the person on my passport is not me. I passed already several automatic border controls with that passport and the computer always recognized me.

  3. Just so that things are clear here, the guy did not in fact get a French id card for a fictitious person. It is just that when you apply for an id renewal, you need to give a photo of yourself. He gave a photo of his virtual self. That is cool. But he had to put his own hands on the fingerprint machine, not fake ones.
    So this is totally useless for Nigerian scammers.

  4. This story is basically encouraging criminal behaviour. It may be easy for you to go on about whatever principles you think you are defending but at the end of the day some naive person could have their reputation ruined by acquiring a criminal record, because you encouraged them to do something that amounts to identity fraud. It is stupid and not even very original. I’ve seen equally elaborate fictional faces done manually last century by professional photo retouchers, with ink and paint on large photos that were then rephotographed. Remember the airbrush, that thing people who could actually draw used to produce photo-realistic images?


    1. “I had taken a break and was walking back into the studio. Looking at the painting, I realised that a highlight in one of the eyes was too bright. And I said, ‘Damn it, now I’m going to have to take his glasses off’. But when I realised what I had said, I pivoted on my heel and walked out leaving the lights on, the compressor on and the airbrushes full of paint. When you start believing in your own illusion, you’re in serious trouble.”

      Chuck Close.

  5. In the UK, you can renew passports online with a self-taken and emailed photo. (Fun: they say it has to be a digital photo… so I can’t scan a film one?) and if your face hasn’t changed much, that’s ok. If it has, you have to get the photo countersigned by someone ‘trusted’ (like Your local GP, Dr Muhammad Al-jihaddi – there may be a flaw in this concept that doctors can be trusted!)

    1. Being British and lazy, I sent of my passport application 22 or so years ago with a newly taken photo booth photo, so I had 3 left, obviously after 10 years it expired so I renewed it, so then I had 2 photos left……… now I only have one photo left and my gray hair does not match the black haired youngster on my passport.
      Also I have very little faith on the system.

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