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Computing That Serves

Image Processing

Dr. Bryan Morse

Students working with Dr. Bryan Morse in the Image Processing Lab are creating contour-based image tools, a new alternative to traditional pixel-based tools.

Traditional photo-editing tools rely on manipulating images as arrays of pixels. But people don't see arrays-they see outlines, contours, and shapes. If an object's contour is overly pixilated, the average user doesn't look at it and say, "those pixel values are off." He or she looks at it and thinks, "that contour is jagged." A user wishing to smooth those contours or to move an object's boundary doesn't think about how to change the pixels; he or she thinks about how to move the contours. Thus, traditional editing tools can be frustrating and difficult to use for those with only a limited understanding of computer graphics.

Contour-based image tools, by contrast, have the potential to provide tools for photo enhancement and editing that are both much more powerful and much more intuitive for a non-technical user.

Dr. Morse and his students have made use of differential geometry, level-set methods, and partial differential equations in their suite of tools for image magnification, contour smoothing, sharpening, and contour nudging; however, they hide the complexity of these underlying computations from the user, ensuring that any user, regardless of technological savvy, has a positive experience.