August 19, 2007

“Holy crap”-worthy imaging technology

Wow–now this I haven’t seen before: Israeli brainiacs Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir have created a pretty darn interesting video that demonstrates their technique of "Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing."  When scaling an image horizontally or vertically (e.g. making a panorama narrower), the technology looks for paths of pixels that can be removed while causing the least visual disruption.  Just as interesting, if not more so, I think, is the way the technology can add pixels when increasing image dimensions.  Seriously, just check out the video; I think you’ll be blown away.  (More info is in a 20MB PDF, in which they cite work by Adobe’s Aseem Agarwala–the creator of Photoshop CS3’s Auto-Blend Layer code.) [Via Geoff Stearns]

I hope to share more good stuff from SIGGRAPH soon.  While I was being stuffed with ham sandwiches by kindly Irish folks, a number of Adobe engineers were speaking at & exploring the show.  Todor Georgiev, one of the key minds behind the Healing Brush, has been busily gluing together his own cutting edge optical systems.  More on that soon.

Posted by John Nack at 11:43 PM on August 19, 2007


  • heathrowe — 7:50 AM on August 20, 2007

    heck, everything Photoshop aspires to be is in that little algorithm :)

  • Pedro Estarque — 9:24 AM on August 20, 2007

    damn this is great. I simulate this in image wrap all the time (that’s why I always wanted to be able to use shift-option-command, and maybe have more control points) for example, shrinking the middle of the image while protecting the borders.
    Have you seen this scene completion algorithm ?
    If it works as well as it seems I know many “Photoshopers” will be out of job.
    [Nah–they’ll just spend their time doing more other stuff. (Doesn’t it seem that “time-saving” features never result in less time spent? –J.]
    Is it just me or has there been a sudden burst of creativity in this area? Is it because multicores are now standard?
    [My layman’s impression is that some key algorithms (e.g. graph cut) have enabled lots of new goodness. –J.]
    I hope Adobe continues to both develop great in-house algorithms and embrace and optimize this state of the art ideas in image research, cause there are some truly amazing stuff in the pipeline. Looking forward to see the result of Todor Georgiev’s work.

  • Trevor Morris — 11:19 AM on August 20, 2007

    Wow! That is *so* cool. Thanks very much for passing that along, John.

  • Klaus Nordby — 4:12 PM on August 20, 2007

    This is wonderful technology, thanks for featuring this, John! Now it’s time for some Adobians to run, not walk, to their coding rooms . . . or for some smart one-man operation to bring this stuff to the table in a brand-new app, which I’d buy in a jiffy.

  • John Dowdell — 7:11 PM on August 22, 2007

    Drawing big interest on Digg today, too.
    [Yep, and guess what? Shai Avidan just joined Adobe on Monday. :-) –J.]

  • Chad — 5:27 AM on August 24, 2007

    And Shai Avidan is now locked in a little room adding this to a tidy new plugin to be added to PS CS4. ;-)
    [One can only hope. ;-) Seriously, I have no idea & obviously can’t promise anything. Good to see the ongoing brain-gain, however. –J.]

  • Chris Charlton — 3:55 PM on September 04, 2007

    So where’s the AS3 class for this now. ;)
    [Check this out. –J.]

  • Grant Freeman — 8:13 AM on September 05, 2007

    This is great stuff. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Mikael Peterson — 3:02 PM on September 06, 2007

    This technology is now available as a Photoshop plugin:
    We are very excited about this. :-)
    [Cool; I’ll check it out. –J.]

  • Michael Binek — 3:21 PM on September 11, 2007

    Really impressive stuff – hope we would see more from this geniuses

  • Peter — 2:34 AM on September 19, 2007

    I have implemented parts of the algorithm in C++ (Windows only so far), so if anybody wants to give it a try with their own photos, you can download it here:
    I modeled the UI after Photoshop’s “Image Size” dialog box, so the Photoshop users out there should feel right at home.
    And Kudos to the Adobe Engineer who wrote that dialog box in Photoshop, now I have a rough idea how much work must have gone into keeping all those input fields in sync without annoying the user…

  • Irmgard — 10:03 AM on September 19, 2007

    If you are looking for a software to try out seam carving, take a look at
    The program that you can download there (for Windows and Linux, and free) is already highly optimized concerning speed, and apart from enlarging or decreasing image size you can also use masks to protect or delete certain parts of your image.
    Have fun,

  • Chris — 6:37 AM on September 25, 2007

    This is some really amazing technology!
    I dont really understand it though. Maybe you can help me understand? How does the program allow you to delete something without it being obvious?
    Any idea when we can expect to see a more advanced version. The links on this page are cool, but they’re still very simple and basic programs and the results are not very good.

  • Will — 9:29 PM on September 28, 2007

    Check out for a Flash-based implementation of seam carving that lets you resize images, both in height and width simultaneously, in real time. (You can rescale and crop images too!)

  • Ditrich — 5:36 AM on November 05, 2007

    Very interesting algorithm of reduction of photos

  • Gas13 — 10:45 AM on November 25, 2007

    Thats some interesting technology. I wish I found it earlier.

  • Simple — 4:30 PM on December 22, 2007

    This is very very interesting technology :))

  • Resizerimager — 2:11 PM on May 01, 2008

    This new technology is fantastic. I guess it will be implemented in Photoshop, but I just wish people at Adobe would make things easier for the rest of us. Right now some of us find it very hard to use Photoshop because of it’s difficult interface .For those of you who think like me I suggest you should use reshade.I was amazed by this tool and by the way people at Reshade made things so simple and the results were even better that with Photoshop.

  • André Zimmer — 1:02 AM on May 02, 2008

    This is really intresting stuff. I hope, we see more of this.

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