Image forensics aims to detect the manipulation of digital images. Currently, splicing detection, copy-move detection, and image retouching detection are attracting significant attention from researchers. However, image editing techniques develop over time. An emerging image editing technique is colorization, in which grayscale images are colorized with realistic colors. Unfortunately, this technique may also be intentionally applied to certain images to confound object recognition algorithms. To the best of our knowledge, no forensic technique has yet been invented to identify whether an image is colorized. We observed that, compared with natural images, colorized images, which are generated by three state-of-the-art methods, possess statistical differences for the hue and saturation channels. Besides, we also observe statistical inconsistencies in the dark and bright channels, because the colorization process will inevitably affect the dark and bright channel values. Based on our observations, i.e., potential traces in the hue, saturation, dark, and bright channels, we propose two simple yet effective detection methods for fake colorized images: Histogram-based fake colorized image detection and feature encoding-based fake colorized image detection. Experimental results demonstrate that both proposed methods exhibit a decent performance against multiple state-of-the-art colorization approaches.
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