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!)
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!)