I saw a documentary a few years ago (about 5) demonstrating a photographic manipulation formula, which can reduce the width of an image, without stretching, or cropping. It would do this by calculating the paths of least resistance (low contrast) from the top to the bottom of the image, and removing those lines one at a time until the image had shrunk enough. The effect is that objects with well defined boundaries are left untouched, and larger less well defined objects have strips removed from them.

Does anyone know what this technique is called? Are there any implementations of it?

  • I'm not sure you are describing your question very clearly. Is the end result a cropped picture - where the cropping is determined automatically? Or is it something. Maybe you can manually show us a small example. – martyvis May 6 '12 at 12:10
  • Apparently I was trying to describe Seam Carving which is amazing, and implemented in many circumstances already. Happy days ,~) – Billy Moon May 6 '12 at 15:36

It seems to be called Seam Carving, and the Gimp has this feature as Liquid Rescale. You're right -- it collapses out parts of the image with less detail where you won't notice it. Liquid Rescale also has options to mask parts of the image you want to preserve and parts you want to eliminate. There's a great demo in Episode 14 of Meet the Gimp

  • That's great - I never would have found that on google - would have no idea what to search for. I knew I just had to wait a few years after that documentary until I could use it myself sometimes. Happy days ,~) – Billy Moon May 6 '12 at 14:35
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    Also, it is implemented in Photoshop CS4 and above as Content-Aware Scaling in the edit menu. – Billy Moon May 6 '12 at 15:06
  • And it is very clearly explained (how it works) on wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seam_carving – Billy Moon May 6 '12 at 15:06

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