Smart Image Resizing Cuts The Useless Out Of Your Pics


smart image resizingBy Evan Ackerman

Like it or not, most of the time when you take a picture, a significant portion of the image is (for lack of a better word) useless. Or rather, there are lots of areas of the image that aren’t conveying any important information. Obviously this excludes you artsy-picture types, but if you’re just trying to show and/or explain something (which most of the images on the Internet, excluding porn, are probably trying to do) wouldn’t it be useful if you could make images smaller by selectively removing the least important pixels? Ariel Shamir of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science in Israel has developed some software to automatically do just that, in realtime no less. Watch and be amazed:

So it’s obviously still a work in progress, but it’s already pretty clever and seems to have a working automated mode as well as a decent user interface. What with the population of itty bitty mobile devices capable of Internet browsing exploding like a rabbit warren underneath a Viagra factory, a little piece of software that can work behind the scenes to dynamically re-size images (in the same way that HTML dynamically re-sizes) could have a huge range of applications.

[ Content-Aware Image Resizing (PDF) ] VIA [ Neatorama ]


  1. Is this something that I need to download, or purchase… or is it something that we just use on the web? It would be neat to have image and video manipulation programs that were easy and quick to use. Thanks for the info about this.

  2. I wonder how expensive this algorithm is. Seems like it’s going to take quite a lot of processing power, what with averaging gradient density & calculating a gradient path. That would put it out of range of, say, an iPhone dynamically retargeting an image to its preferred size. (Until processors are crazy fast anyway.)

    But this technique is a shoe-in for image editing (photoshop / gimp / etc).

  3. That is completely sick. In a good way. This is amazing by itself, but combined with face recognition which could then be weighted with some kind of bicubic resizing you have what looks like it will be the “standard practice” within a few years.

  4. Very impressive it would be a very powerful After Effects tool. I’d really like to use this application it would make things like rotoscoping easier and in some cases unnecessary.

  5. This was incredible. And I don’t think it would necessarily take a lot of processing power. Didn’t he mention an indexing of paths? Such information could be contained in the image data for on-the-fly transformations. Sure, the file size increases, but bandwidth is no longer as bad of a bottleneck as it once was.

  6. The calculated paths and such could be contained in the image data, but another possibility would be storing it in a metadata file separate from the original. Compatible browsers could then selectively request the data. If this becomes popular, I can envisage a “package” image format, similar to the .app format on macs, containing the image and metadata, of which part or whole can be transmitted to the remote browser depending on the browser request.

  7. It makes things look weird. Like the example with the mom and kid. They’re proportioned oddly after the process. I guess I’m just old-fashioned.

  8. thats more than one word?

    Cool as hell though, all the time I have criticized movies where secret government agencies paint people out of security images with a single click, and this can do it dynamically. Amazing how simple the principle is, it does seem strange its not been done before. And yes software is a cool career !

  9. Hi,
    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,

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