Here’s new technology for manipulating photos that’s very cool – you’ll enjoy watching the demo even if you don’t have a clue what’s going on or whether you’ll use it.

Rsizr is a web-based tool that can resize your photos without losing perspective and detail. In other words, you can squash or stretch a photo and the result doesn’t look squashed or stretched. 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.

The best way to understand the magic part is here, where there’s a YouTube demo of the underlying technology, “seam carving,” that’s jaw dropping stuff. Watching a picture get narrower without any noticeable change in perspective – no squishing – is just great stuff. There’s more examples in the Rsizr gallery.

At the Rsizr web site, the controls are a bit odd. Upload a photo and drag the sliders at the left and top to some middle point. The web site will begin to analyze the photo, with little lines flashing around. Sit back! When it’s done, the original photo will reappear – and now the sliders will give you the interactive ability to resize your image and Rsizr will attempt to maintain perspective and detail.

The developer of seam carving has reportedly been hired by Adobe, so this may be integrated into photo programs in the future.

It’s easy to see why digital forensics – analyzing photos for signs of manipulation – is a fast-growing science, and an ever-more difficult one.

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