College of Art and Design
Christye Sisson is Program Chair and Associate Professor for the Photographic Sciences program, a Bachelor of Science program in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences in CIAS. She is also the Ronald and Mabel Francis Endowed Chair for Photographic Technology.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Photographic Communications and a Master of Science in Information Technology, both from RIT. Her professional background is as a Certified Retinal Angiographer (CRA), a clinical designation for expertise in the eld of ophthalmic imaging.
Her current research involves her role as PI in Project Medisphere, a portion of a larger government-sponsored project in Media Forensics (Project MediFor) (https://www.darpa.mil/program/media-forensics). The project is aimed at creating a single, online tool for use by government and law enforcement agencies to detect if an image (or video) has been manipulated or altered, and how it has been altered. The project (called MediFor, short for Media Forensics) involves many universities, private organizations, and contractors from all over the world.
The recent advent of “fake news” and the sheer number of imaging devices in the hands of citizen journalists, combined with the ease of image manipulation, have meant that images in the digital era are losing credibility as public trust in imagery is eroded. Additionally, government and forensic agencies must often rely on third party experts to analyze images brought in as evidence, as many media forensic algorithms require expert application and “triage,” to determine what algorithm might best be applied for a particular image.
RIT and the Photographic Science’s role is unique in this project, in that we are providing the manipulations for the other teams to test their algorithms of detection. Eight undergraduate students from The School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and the School of Film and Animation are currently employed by the project. The project also involves the Imaging Science department at RIT to help “cover our tracks” to replicate what real life manipulators, with the intent to deceive, might attempt.
RIT’s primary task is journaling; which is the term used to describe creating and chronicling image manipulations. Manipulations are performed using HP sources and tools such as Photoshop, GIMP, Premiere, AfterEffects or some other editor. In addition to the manipulation itself, the manipulation is “journaled”, chronicling each step taken in performing the manipulation. This tool creates a visual map with masks of each step that acts as a “cheat sheet”. The whole file is then uploaded back to the same browser, where the students can instantly see how the manipulation fared against some standard algorithms of detection. This feedback allows the students to instantly see how well they did (or didn’t do) in escaping detection. Our overarching task is to create manipulations of a certain number, type and category; ranging from challenging to rudimentary; the goal is to mimic what is found in real life.
Christye has also recently completed a textbook, Ophthalmic Imaging: Posterior Segment Imaging, Anterior Eye Photography, and Slit Lamp Biomicrography. She has also was recently awarded a patent in “Automated Fundus Image Field Detection and Quality Assessment” (https://patents.justia.com/ patent/9905008) along with partners from the University of Rochester and RIT’s Imaging Science.
Program Chair and Associate Professor
RIT College of Imaging Arts and Sciences