I know you were expecting a nice shiny shot of some fantasticaly plastic do-dad. Hey, so was I, but alas, it was not to be. I'm a little behind. But on the upside, you get to see me go full force nerd.
By now you've probably heard about a little upgrade called Photoshop CS4. You may also have seen their content aware scaling (there are plenty of Youtube videos out there in case you haven't). I'll admit, when I saw it, I wasn't terribly impressed. Being more of a photojournalist than I like to admit, I didn't see any real application to it. It really screws with the old adage of capturing in camera. But, being the dork I am I became more interested in how it worked.
I once learned that elevators worked because giants used to push the building down or pull it up and the elevator stayed in the same place. Content aware scaling doesn't work like that. In the simplest terms, it literally removes (or adds) a "pathway" or "seam" of pixels from parallel edges (top/bottom, left right). Through this method, "seam carving" is able to rescale an image without distorting the content. What's even more impressive that it is able to do it in a non-uniform manner. Taking the seams in a uniform manner likely wouldn't generate too many artifacts, but the insertion would likely create essentially a poorly cloned portion of the image.
In short, the science behind the application is pretty impressive. I don't know if Adobe is using the same algorithms as is demonstrated here, but it can't be too far off. I'm sure they've upped the effeciency. I mean, it's what they do. So, to all of my computer science friends: you should consider applying to Adobe. I'm not just looking to score some free swag (stuff we all get), I'm looking out for you!
Anyhow, after seeing that little explanation, the whole application made more sense for use on webpages. And I suppose that it would apply to a lot of advertising projects. My only concern, remember that I haven't actually tried it yet, is how much artifacting is visible on a print resolution image that magazines, catalogs, etc would use. I'm sure it's minimal and results in little additional retouching, but if I don't ask the questions, I will not get a gold star.
And to close out, I did download and read the journal paper, but I also picked up The Ting Tings on vinyl. So far I'm liking it and I think it will grow on me, but it's not one that I would have rushed out to get. But who can say no to records on sale? Yep, I am surprisingly analog.