2D vs. 3D

2D vs. 3D Face Matching

2D Matching will never have the accuracy needed for true Unsupervised Identity Verification & Authentication. There’s just too much variability in how the same 3D human face appears when flattened into 2D at different image capture distances. This variability creates significant overlapping similarity between the 2D features of different humans and confuses the 2D algorithms, preventing them from achieving highly accurate FARs at usable FRRs.

Apple, Google, and Intel understand this, so their 3D Face Matching systems use 3D infrared cameras, but that, of course, requires each device to include special hardware. In contrast, FaceTec securely performs 3D Matching from virtually any device with a 2D camera.


2D Software

3D Hardware


Axes X,Y X,Y,Z X,Y + Time
Vendors Aware, BioID, Daon, FacePhi, Idemia, iProov, ID R&D, etc Apple FaceID, Google Pixel 4, Intel RealSense® FaceTec + > 90 Channel Partners Worldwide
Purpose Face Matching Unlock Mobile Phones 3D Face Matching
Installed Base 10+ Billion Smart Devices (Android-85% + iOS-14% & Webcams) Only new iPhones have FaceID & Pixel 4 = < 12% of market 10+ Billion Smart Devices (Android-85% + iOS-14% & Webcams)
Portable Biometric Varies None, re-enroll on each device Cross-Device & Cross-Platform
Technology Legacy 2D Matching Software Hardware: Infrared Camera Array & Neural Network Chip Software: Real-time Computer Vision + 100% proprietary AI
Interface Varies Glance to unlock phone 3D Video Selfie: ~2 Seconds
Skin Tone Bias Most 2D Algos have bias at published FARs None-Reported None observable in the Lab or Real-World usage
Device SDK Info Varies No SDK possible, special hardware required Device SDKs for Android/iOS, web + Server SDK
Liveness Method Blink, Smile, Turn Head or Flashing Lights, etc Infrared dots + neural network chip determine if user is 3D Measures 3D Depth, skin texture, eye reflections, etc
Liveness Strength Fairly Weak Fairly Strong Very Strong
3D Depth Detection Weak Very Strong Very Strong
Intellectual Property Legacy tech, too old for meaningful patents 20+ infrared related patents acquired in 2013 20+ Patents on 3D process issued globally
FAR/FRR Varies, but 1/<75,000 at real world usable FRRs 1/1M - No FRR stated 1/125,000,000 FAR @ <1% FRR
Identical Twin Differentiation Very Weak “If you have a Twin, use a PIN.” High 1:1 FAR provides Best Possible Twin Differentiation
Liveness Testing Certifications No, only non-standardized conformances, no camera feed security tested No Official 3rd Party Testing Certified Level 1 & 2 Spoof Detection by NIST/NVLAP LAB - Liveness.com
Age Estimation 2D = poor Age Estimates Not Available "Better than Human" Face-only Anonymous Age Estimation
Match to Photo ID Low-detail & problems with aged photos = low match rates Not Available Up to 1/2,000,000 Match Confidence with 3D:2D
Password Replacement? Not secure enough, Liveness too Weak & FAR too low No, only used for convenience Yes, universal device support, highly secure & convenient
Spoof Bounty Programs? No, 2D is easily spoofed No, no motivation $600,000, SpoofBounty.com