LiquidScale offers ‘spatially aware’ picture resizing on iPhone

Marco Tabini
10 February, 2010
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A newly-released iPhone app allows you to perform a “smart” resize of images, eliminating unimportant elements and preserving significant ones without the use of complex photo-editing tools.

LiquidScale, published by Berlin-based Savoy Software and available from the App Store for $2.49, uses a technique called “retargeting” to discover the important portions of an image and progressively eliminate them as the picture is shrunk, or dynamically rescale them if it is expanded.

The app analyses the spectral luminosity of the image—essentially calculating how light or dark each pixel is compared to its neighbors—to determine which pixels are to be eliminated or duplicated when scaling. This results in pixels being altered along non-linear paths instead of a straight line. That means you end up with a final result that looks much more natural (and interesting) than the typical cropping or resizing operations offered by most image editors.

Rather than leaving decisions up to the software, LiquidScale also allows the user to specify which areas are important (or unimportant) in an image by “painting” them with a finger—undoubtedly useful for keeping unwanted political enemies from embarrassing state photographs.

LiquidScale works with any iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.0 or later.

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