Erase Tourists from Your Vacation Photos: Three Pesky Tourist Removal Techniques

Tourist Removal - Photos by Neene and Mohamed Abdulla Shafeeg

Lounging on a beach chair in Tipumungo, margarita in hand, the waves lap at your feet. The far-off sun wanes, painting everything in brilliant color. It’s a postcard-perfect scene that any photographer would drool over.

And then there’s Sunburnt Stan.

There’s nothing like a pesky tourist with a sunburnt nose to ruin a beautiful vacation shot. What’s a photo-loving vacationer to do? It seems like everywhere you go, Stan’s there too, wading into the sea with his arm floaties or building a sand-castle on the beach. (Stan’s a persistent chap, he is.)

Never fear! An ordinarily grim situation turns to triumph, with just a bit of techno-whoozical magic in the form of these three nifty websites/programs. Vacation photos will never be the same again.

Sorry, Stan – we love you, but you’ve got to go.

#1 – How to Remove Tourists from Your Photos –
Using layer masks (Photoshop required), photographer Darby Sawchuck shows how to combine the best of several vacation photos into one great photo, blissfully tourist-free.

#2 – – Tourist Remover
It couldn’t be simpler: take a batch of imperfect photos, run them through the Remover, and voilá – not a tourist in sight.

#3 – Microsoft Research’s Group Shot
Plug a series of photos into this free program, then select your favorite parts from each photo; in an instant, you’ll have a perfect composite photo with the best of the whole series.

p.s. The holidays are almost here, and our friends at Moo are running a holiday card design contest. Submit your favorite photos for a chance at $8,000 in prize money!

Thanks to Neene and Mohamed Abdulla Shafeeg for lending us photos.

Got a Spare Head Lying Around? Put it to Good Use! (The Great Detachable-Head Website Showdown!)

Talking Heads

Green and yellow, orange and blue! We like popsicles, yes we do!

The fantastic flavors, the clever riddles on the stick, the menagerie of colors (and how they turn your tongue red/green/purple too)… IOHO, popsicles are the best.

Plus, we always use the popsicle sticks after all is said and done to make nifty stick people with our photographs. Cut head out of photo, paste onto popsicle stick. Easy, see?

Well folks, you now have one more thing to thank the Information Superhighway for. No longer is licking, cutting, and pasting required to get your friends’ fine faces on something with which you can perform Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”

We’ve gathered of bucketload of shiny websites that let you use your photos to create talking avatars, dancing digital puppets, and singing telegrams — technology at its finest, yessir. Just don’t stop eating popsicles because of this — we’d hate that.

p.s. We’re very happy to have Kari, a Mom with a Camera, join the Photojojo team. Don’t be shy — Stop by and say hello!


Seam Carving, Magically Intelligent Image Resizing You Can Do Yourself!


The first time we saw seam carving in action, we thought it was an optical illusion. It isn’t.

For those of you who saw the demonstration video and academic paper (see links below) a month back, you know why we were so amazed. Alas, it was but a proof of concept at the time. But now you can finally use seam carving on your own images!

First, a quick summary of the technique: Typically, when you resize a photo, you just make everything in it smaller. Simple, right? Well seam carving is like a smarter version of resizing. Your computer analyzes the photo and figures out what’s important and what isn’t, then it eliminates the less important areas first as you shrink the image.

That means you can resize a photo to be half as wide without shrinking everyone in it, or even make a photo wider without making it look stretched. You can even pick areas you definitely want to leave alone, or areas you definitely want to lose, making it a super easy way to remove an ex or a stranger from a otherwise lovely photo.

Well, we’ve said enough. You need to give it a try for yourself. (Or watch the amazing demo video!)

Rsizr — Free seam-carving image resizing on the web

See also…
Picutel Smart Resize
$95 Seam Carving Photoshop plugin (PC-only)

Liquid Resize for GIMP
Free Seam Carving plugin for GIMP

Actionscript sourcecode and examples
For you Flash cowboys and cowgirls who want to build this yourself.

Seam Carving academic paper (PDF)
Dr. Ariel Shamir and Dr. Shai Avidan describe their technique in detail. (Fun fact, Dr. Avidan was hired by Adobe shortly after this hit the web… look for seam carving to pop up in a future version of Photoshop!)

Photo Slideshows are So Yesterday. ANIMOTO = Your Photos + MTV


Picture 487 of your Jamaican vacation photos fading by as some Caribbean muzac plays in the background. Yeah, photo slideshows can be kind of a snore.

The solution? Animoto!

Think of it as a little black box filled with film & TV producers, techies, indie rockers, and robots.

You put your photos and a song in one end, shake it up, and a photo music video pops out the other end… with pro-level post-production, animated cuts synced to your music’s beat, and oh-so-much style.

And it only takes a few clicks. (Really!) The robots do all the work.

The 30 second videos are free and they’re perfect for mailing to friends or posting to your blog, MySpace, Facebook, etc. Longer videos cost a few bucks. Special for Photojojo subscribers: Sign up for free by Sunday using this link and the swell lads at Animoto will put a credit in your account for one free full-length video. (It’s okay to tell your friends.)


p.s. Here’s a fun Animoto video we made from photos taken at a photobooth we recently set up.


Eternal Sunset — Watch Sunsets All Over the World, from Your Desk


When we were little, we hated going to bed more than anything.

Sweet slumber is a much more appreciated commodity nowadays, but we still find ourselves wishing there were more hours in each day. If only we could race across the skies in a private 767, outrunning the sunset and never seeing darkness.

Well, we’ve found the next best thing.

Eternal Sunset is a website that tracks 250 webcams across 49 countries. At any given time, the sun’s setting somewhere, and Eternal Sunset will show it to you.

It won’t add hours to your day (quite the contrary) but if you’ve always dreamed of seeing the perfect sunset in Napoli, Egypt, or from atop Mount Fuji, park yourself in front of your ‘puter and watch that fiery globe fall. Over and over again.

Eternal Sunset

p.s. If it’s as beautiful in your neck of the woods as it is here, do yourself a favor and go out and shoot this weekend. Here’s a list of photo projects to get you going!

p.p.s. Amit’s in the midst of a move. Apologies in advance if it take a bit longer than normal to get back to you!

Find Out What Your Kids Will Look Like, It’s Just an Upload Away with MorphThing


Late night host Conan O’Brien has been combining celeb snaps to produce hypothetical images of their offspring for years.

Finally finally finally, we can do it with our own photos right at home — pictures of you and Dr McDreamy, you and your girl, or you and whoever!

Follow the image suggestions, upload a couple photos, and let your imagination run wild.

Advance warning: It doesn’t work with robots. We tried.

Combine two People with MorphThing

Upload your Photo and Try a New Hairstyle or Grow a Mustache, Virtually

makeover studio

Whether you prefer the presidential $400 cut, the corner barber shop, or something in between, chances are you’ve spent too many braincycles on those tendrils of dead skin cells emerging from your body.

Lest your next ’bout of hairy experimentation go awry, we offer two alternatives that will let you safely test your hairstyles before committing to them.

For the ladies (and men with ladyfriends), there’s Makeover Studio. Upload a photo, define your hairtype, and browse a library of hairstyles and colors to see how your favorite doo would look on you.

For dudes (and bearded ladies) in need of a stylin’ ‘stache, there’s the Mustache Maker. You know the drill: upload your pic, choose a mustache, and trim, groom, and wax your way to cowboy perfection. You can even make it sing when you’re done.

With an average growth rate of 0.44 mm a day, badly cut hair can be a long-lasting mistake.

Makeover Studio [via PJ friend Rachel Clarke]

Mustache Maker [via Photojojo Uncut]

p.s. Maybe you’d prefer a beard?

We’re hiring! Are you a superb writer & editor & DIYer who loves photography?
(If you’ve applied and haven’t heard back, please be patient. We’re wading through 100+ applications so far…)

Upload a Photo to Create a Simpsons Character with Simpsonize Me

In the world of flashy big-budget blockbuster viral marketing ploys, there are winners and there are losers. (We had high hopes for the Conan O’Brien-style “If they made it” babymaker game for Knocked Up. Alas, it disappointed.)

The new site promoting next week’s silver-screen Simpsons debut? A winner.

Upload a frontal portrait, push some buttons and pull some levers, and facial-recognition software goes to work. Soon enough, your fleshy visage is converted into a flat, yellow, cartoon version of yourself!

Note: The site’s quite busy. We needed to visit several times to get it to work.

Still, it’s the easiest way to find your way to Springfield. Unless you already live there.

The Simpsonizer

p.s. Visit the forums today for a fun secret giveaway. (We’re not gonna give you any hints… Ok, maybe just one… Mooooooooooo…)

We’re hiring! Wanted: One (1) superb writer & editor who luvs photography. $1000/month, part-time, and you get to have fun with photos all day. Tell your friends!

Hot in the Forum…
+ What am I Wednesday #2
+ Good camera under $200?
+ Advice wanted for photography in the rain
+ What are the best Photoshop tutorial sites?

Track the Worldwide Photographic Zeitgeist with Flickrvision

flickrvisionAstronauts have it tough. Sure, they get to float in Zero-G and wear cool spacesuits and drink all the Tang they want. But we all know it can be lonely out in space. We feel for you, space men. (And women.) So we’ve thought of something that would help: giant binoculars. You know, so you can see us down here waving at you.

Fortunately for those astronauts, we’re not the only ones down here trying to make the world a little less lonely. Flickrvision swoops around the Google globe Superman-style, pausing every few seconds to show a photo that somebody, somewhere in the world, uploaded to Flickr just minutes ago.

People all over the world take photos, and Flickrvision tracks the worldwide photographic zeitgeist.

Our recent world tour showed us an adorable couple at the Great Wall, mermaids on parade at Coney Island, an Italian castle, and a hummingbird in Ohio. Wouldn’t that make the cold, vast, emptiness of space feel a little bit more warm and cozy?


p.s. Turn Flickrvision to 11: try the new 3D version and hit the full-screen button.
p.p.s. From the makers of Flickrvision, comes Twittervision!
p.p.p.s Make Flickrvision your screensaver!

Hot in the Forum…
+ Home-made Cameras?
+ Tripod recommendations
+ Photo tips for a newbie?

Put Words in Anyone’s Mouth with Blabberize

talking alpacaNo longer will crudely-drawn talking heads the likes of which you’ve seen on Southpark and Homestar Runner be the sole province of animation sweatshops in Asia.

Yes friends, two enterprising young go-getters have finally cracked the code.

Surf on over to Blabberize, upload a photo of a human, animal, or your favorite anthropomorphic object, and carefully select the lower jaw with the tools provided. Next, hit record and speak some words of wisdom. A click or two later and your photo comes to life and repeats your words right back at you.

Share it with friends, embed it in your blog, you know the drill. Check out blabberized Alfred the guinea pig and Michael Arrington for a taste, then get to work!

Blabberize [via Lifehacker]