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removing objects from photosRemove 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 Edit Your Images In A New & Better Way With Seam Carving Edit Your Images In A New & Better Way With Seam Carving Read More 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:

removing objects from photos

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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.

removing objects photos

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.

removing objects from photos

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 Edit Your Images In A New & Better Way With Seam Carving Edit Your Images In A New & Better Way With Seam Carving Read More 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.

Conclusion

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.

  1. Myda
    May 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Has everyone grespad the magnitude of what seam carving does to photography? It will become very difficult to be able to trust another photograph again. When he demonstrated the speed and simplicity of removing the shoes from the shoe rack, I got very nervous. As a designer, and casual photographer, this presents huge benefits, but consider those who would use this in a negative way.I realize these things have been possible with Photoshop for some time now, but seam carving is making the next quantum leap in photo manipulation.

    • Justin Pot
      May 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Stalin had people retroactively removed from pictures a half-century ago. So long as there is technology, people will find ways to abuse it. It's true of anything.

  2. Glynn Sole
    April 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

    DELETED. SPAM

    • Justin Pot
      April 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      That tutorial seems to be for doing something different entirely. Mine is for removing objects and scaling in a way that looks natural to the human eye, and your link explains how to remove the background from an image.

      • muotechguy
        May 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

        And that, my friend, is why you do not respond to spam ;)

        • Justin Pot
          May 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

          Good to know. I was afraid someone was actually that stupid...

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