Remove people, objects and other annoyances from your photos, quickly and easily, without leaving anything obvious behind. Seam Carving GUI is a simple app for doing this and resizing images in a way the human eye can’t detect. It’s completely free, and a tool amateur photographers not willing to pay for Photoshop should keep around.
You’ve done it before – taken a perfect photograph only to realize something’s in the way of your shot. Or maybe you needed to fit your photo into a certain place in a design, but would prefer not to crop or stretch it.
In either case, seam carving is the technique you’re looking for. Developed by Shai Avidan, this technology is today built into Photoshop CS4 using the name “Content Aware Scaling“. You don’t need to break the bank to use this technology, however. Simon’s article about seam carving includes three ways to use seam carving, including a GIMP plugin. It also outlines nicely what Seam Carving is good for, but you can also check out seam carving on Wikipedia if you want a really good idea of what this technique is and what it’s good for.
Seam Carving GUI is another simple program for taking advantage of seam carving. It’s simple to use, and works on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
Using Seam Carving GUI
Screw peacocks. No, seriously, screw peacocks. They think they’re so great because they have feathers and stuff. Look at this one my wife photographed in Hamburg, Germany:
Standing in front of that building like he owns it, just because he’s among the most majestic creatures on the planet. I’m going to wipe his record from the earth, Soviet style.
The first thing I need to do is cover him. This isn’t hard. I check “Mark area for removal” in the right panel, then simply color him in, MS-Paint style.
When I’m satisfied with the degree to which I’ve covered the peacock, I click the “Clear Marked Area” button in the right panel. It takes a while, but I’m rewarded for patience with a new image.
Oh man, I forget to remove his shadow, and the picture does look a little warped. It only goes to demonstrate the limitations of this program.
Still, it doesn’t look bad. And there are plenty of examples of this program in action for you to check out, most of which better than mine. I mostly wanted to show you how easy this program is to use, and to get that freaking peacock out of my picture.
Check out Simon’s article about seam carving for a more mature, peacock-free look at what this technology can do. Play with this software and you’ll get results way better than mine.
Download Seam Carving GUI
You can download this program at the Seam Carving GUI website on Google Code. You’ll find binaries for Windows and Mac (universal), and the source code for Linux users. I can’t seem to find easy-to-install packages for Ubuntu or other distros. Sorry Linux users, you’re on your own in compiling this.
This is a simple tool that gives everyone access to seam carving, regardless of whether they’ve paid for a Photoshop license or taken the time to learn The Gimp.
What are you using this technique for? Feel free to share with me in the comments below, or to suggest other uses for seam carving. I’d love to hear from you.