Mediating Photo Collage Authoring
Nicholas Diakopoulos, Irfan Essa

Authoring collages from a large collection of digital photographs can be quite tedious. In this work we present an approach that supports the efficient construction of a photo collage by assisting the user with an automatic layout procedure that can be controlled at a high level. Our method makes use of a layout algorithm that optimizes a set of naturally specified user constraints according to metadata attached to the photos. Off-loading the tedium of collage authoring to a user controlled yet automated process clears the way for rapidly generating different views of the same album and may also support the increased sharing of digital photos in the form of compact collages.

N. Diakopoulos and I. Essa. Mediating Photo Collage Authoring. Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST). October 2005 (to appear) [PDF]

Download the demo video here: [MP4] (requires DivX codec)

Related Projects
● An image browser connected to the Yahoo image search engine: Collage Browser

● A photo collage service for weddings:

Below are some examples of the types of collages that can be authored using our interface.

A collage from Ireland in which the photos have been laid out along a time trajectory
roughly corresponding to the person's sense of geography.


A collage illustrating the result of adding a look toward constraint
between the two photos showed at right.

A summary of a vacation through Scandinavia, where photos from each city have
been clustered using the "next to" constraint and pictures from Copenhagen are
highlighted using central positioning and saturation. A look toward constraint
has also been added between the photos shown at right.

These two collages show different views on an album of pictures taken in and around Providence, RI.
At right, borders are removed and overlapping areas are blended together to achieve
more of a photomontage aesthetic.

This wedding collage is laid out in a clockwise ordering of time. You can clearly see
the progression from outdoor ceremony to indoor reception.

This collage shows a set of vacation pictures from Slovenia ordered
clockwise in time.

These three views of an album of vacation pictures from Scandinavia show how
(in vertical order) Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm are emphasized using
saturation and central placement in the collage layout.