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November 08, 2010

Software Edits Huge Images in Seconds Instead of Hours


Using sophisticated new software named ViSUS, it took scientists at the University of Utah only seconds to produce a seamless, evenly exposed preview of the full panorama of the Salt Lake Valley. It looks almost as good as the full, 3.27-gigapixel panorama, even though it contains only one-3,600th as much image data

University of Utah computer scientists developed software that quickly edits "extreme resolution imagery" - huge photographs containing billions to hundreds of billions of pixels or dot-like picture elements. Until now, it took hours to process these "gigapixel" images. The new software needs only seconds to produce preview images useful to doctors, intelligence analysts, photographers, artists, engineers and others.



By sampling only a fraction of the pixels in a massive image - for example, a satellite photo or a panorama made of hundreds of individual photos - the software can produce good approximations or previews of what the fully processed image will look like.

That allows someone to interactively edit and analyze massive images - pictures larger than a gigapixel (billion pixels) - in seconds rather than hours, says Valerio Pascucci, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Utah and its Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute.

"You can go anywhere you want in the image," he says. "You can zoom in, go left, right. From your perspective, it is as if the full 'solved' image has been computed." [This is similar to the Blade Runner scene of moving around in a high resolution image]

He compares the photo-editing software with public opinion polling: "You ask a few people and get the answer as if you asked everyone. It's exactly the same thing."



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