Monthly Archives: September 2007

Seam Carving & Tiny First Person Shooters

My friend James was impressed by the Tilt-shift photography I mentioned in the previous post, and sent me some related material.

Seam carving is an image resizing technique which works by identifying horizontal and vertical seams with low information content and then removing them, rather than simply removing pixels according to a fixed scaling algorithm.

This means that the proportions of important items within the picture are maintained. The same technique can be adapted to increase the size of an image (especially in a single dimension) without making it look skewed. And more intriguingly, by first marking parts of the image as “low value”, you can seamlessly erase elements of a picture automatically — no Photoshop expertise required.

This YouTube video does a good job of describing it:

Not content with this, James also pointed me towards .kkrieger, a simple 3D shoot-em-up with an impressive twist: the executable size is less than 100 KB. (Yes, that’s Kilobytes). The program would have easily fitted onto a standard 170 KB floppy disk from the Commdore 64 era 25 years ago!

Despite this, the game has pretty decent graphics and sound, not dissimilar to Doom, as this screenshot shows:

Screenshot from .kkrieger

The amazingly small file size is achieved by generating all textures algorithmically at runtime. This leads to long, though not excessive load times.

To download the game or read more about it, visit the main .kkrieger website.

Tilt-Shift Photography

When I had a film camera 15 years ago, I took almost no photographs with it: about one roll of film per year, on average. Then I got a digital camera, and since then I’ve taken a ridiculous number of photos – currently around 36,000 and climbing.

So, while I wouldn’t call myself a big photography buff, I do have a passing interest in photography techniques and methods.

No doubt that’s why my friend Steve sent me a link to this website, which describes Tilt-Shift photography, a style that makes normal scenes look like they are in miniature:

We’re used to looking at photos where everything is in focus (to infinity) so when the depth of field is restricted, the brain is tricked into it’s a model scene. The effect is quite surreal!

Check out the website mentioned above for more information.