AEGAN : Generating imperceptible face synthesis via autoencoder‐based generative adversarial network

Aolin CHE, Jing‐Hua YANG, Cai GUO, Hong‐Ning DAI, Haoran XIE*, Ping LI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Face recognition (FR) systems based on convolutional neural networks have shown excellent performance in human face inference. However, some malicious users may exploit such powerful systems to identify others' face images disclosed by victims' social network accounts, consequently obtaining private information. To address this emerging issue, synthesizing face protection images with visual and protective effects is essential. However, existing face protection methods encounter three critical problems: poor visual effect, limited protective effect, and trade-off between visual and protective effects. To address these challenges, we propose a novel face protection approach in this article. Specifically, we design a generative adversarial network (GAN) framework with an autoencoder (AEGAN) as the generator to synthesize the protection images. It is worth noting that we introduce an interpolation upsampling module in the decoder in order to let the synthesized protection images evade recognition by powerful convolution-based FR systems. Furthermore, we introduce an attention module with a perceptual loss in AEGAN to enhance the visual effects of synthesized images by AEGAN. Extensive experiments have shown that AEGAN not only can maintain the comfortable visual quality of synthesized images but also prevent the recognition of commercial FR systems, including Baidu and iKLYTEK.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2160
JournalComputer Animation and Virtual Worlds
Issue number3-4
Early online date9 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University under Grants P0030419, P0042740, P0044520, P0043906, and P0035358.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • autoencoder
  • face image protection
  • face recognition
  • multi-head attention


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