In the world of facial recognition, things have gone beyond basic facial recognition and detection. Technologies that allow digital facial recreations have necessitated that an additional layer of protection be created, known as liveness detection.

This technology has advanced now to include two different kinds of detection, 3D and 2D. Both of these tools are used in the industry for different purposes. But when is 3D Liveness detection a better tool to use than 2D? Let’s discuss that in detail.

2D vs. 3D Liveness Detection

First off, it is important to differentiate between 2D and 3D liveness detection.

A face liveness check of course is the additional layer of security added to biometric facial recognition software to identify whether a live human being is the one providing the input.

Now let’s discuss its two types:

2D Liveness Detection

This is the more basic kind of liveness detection that is more often than not simply just referred to as facial recognition. The reason is that in this kind of check, a simple 2D image is used as input. 

The software or system then creates a facial map, through which it detects and identifies features of your face. It will then either approve or deny the user access to the system.

3D Liveness Detection

The more advanced form of facial recognition is the 3D liveness check. This kind of detection prompts additional input beyond just looking at the camera. This input usually includes some additional spatial action like turning or rotating their head, smiling, and so on.

The additional input allows the system to create a more complex facial map that includes depth perception as well. So in addition to checking and matching facial features, it also analyzes their position in space (distance between the eyes, for example).

What makes 3D checks better?

While 2D Liveness checks are not bad per se, 3D detection is a much better and more secure technology. It has become common for different spoofing techniques like printed photos and other digitally created media to be used to trick this software.

2D detection is also extremely dependent on the lighting conditions at the time of input, as well as the position of the user itself. In addition, the flattening of a 3D face to a 2D image adds a level of variability to the face liveness detection that can make it less accurate.

Because of the additional parameters that 3D detection checks, including facial movement, curvature, and more, it can provide a more reliable level of protection and security to the identification system. It also tends to be much more independent of external factors like lighting, and the angle that the person is facing.

When to use 3D Liveness Detection over 2D

The big benefit of 2D detection is that because it detects liveness at a much more basic level, it tends to work much faster than its more advanced counterpart. 3D detection can take much longer for a single check.

What this means in a practical sense is that it works much better for quicker use cases like face unlock on a phone, and other systems where there isn’t any major financial dealing.

In other words, in any place that involves an overall lower risk level, 2D detection should be sufficient.

High-Risk/High-Security Environments

Now comes the other end of the spectrum. There are many cases where biometric verification of the individual is required in a situation where either a significant amount of money is involved, or security is a major concern.

Here are some major examples:

Airport Security

Airports are a place where identification of the individual to the highest level of accuracy is always a major concern, especially when it comes to immigration, where verification of identities is paramount.

A 3D Liveness check allows you to more accurately identify individuals remotely or at an airport. Liveness detection can allow for smoother and more streamlined movement through major checkpoints.

Major Financial Transactions

Fraud and stolen identities are unfortunately common issues in the finance and banking sectors. People can spoof software and pretend to be someone else so that they can access and steal their money.

In the case of major financial transactions happening outside the bank, a proper 3D scan can help to make sure that the person making the transaction is the owner of the account.

Access to Secure Spaces

It is common for people to manipulate and/or access facility keycards for unauthorized entry. A 3D Liveness check can prevent illegal access to sensitive spaces in such cases.


While a 2D face liveness check works fine for most quick and low-risk use cases, the unparalleled level of security a 3D liveness detection provides makes it perfect for high-risk scenarios. Lastly, 3D liveness detection not only fortifies identity verification but also lays the foundation for future improvements to next-generation settings and has opened up a portal for further research in this domain. This will help businesses comply with the regulations pertinent to customer identification as well.

By Admin

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