Imagine simply adding your name or words to a photo and then blending them naturally to a wall or sign so it all looks like one image. It's all possible with Simple Personalized Imaging (SPI), a tool introduced by Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX.)
"The magic is in the technology, which automatically adjusts the perspective and angles, resulting in personalized text that appears to be an integral part of the image," said Raja Bala, Xerox principal scientist and leader of the SPI effort. "We wanted to make personalized imaging so easy that any casual user could get the final image looking as if the text naturally belonged there."
SPI is image personalization software aimed at the growing customizable photofinishing market that personalizes calendars, greeting cards, and photo books by inserting text messages into images. Research firm Info Trends projects that the U.S. photo merchandise market will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent from 2007 through 2013, with revenues surpassing $2.5 billion.
Using a simple wizard interface, users load their photo into the software and select a location for text. SPI then analyzes the image and determines how to shape the text to the perspective of the objects in the photo, so that words appear to belong to the original image. Users can adjust the text's shape and positioning, as well as choose font, color and other special effects. Text can be placed onto a blank area, or replace existing text within the image, such as a street sign or billboard.
Under the hood, SPI uses a combination of image analysis and computer vision techniques to calculate the three-dimensional perspective of the image surface. The current version supports text placement on flat surfaces such as walls and pavements.
Current personalized imaging solutions either allow fixed text to be inserted into preselected images, or provide sophisticated and expensive text insertion tools that are aimed at the high-end graphic designer. SPI fills the void in-between these two extremes, allowing casual users to personalize their own images with simple yet compelling effects via an intuitive interface.
A web-based experimental prototype will be available for users to try within a month. SPI was developed in concert with and complements the rich suite of one-to-one personalization technologies and services from XMPie, A Xerox Company.
The technology can also be used to create personalized promotional material for direct marketing campaigns. Xerox developed SPI as part of a multi-year open innovation research project between Xerox Research Center Webster and Purdue University.
"Digital photography has empowered photographers to express themselves in new ways," said Gary Pageau of Photo Marketing Association International. "The double-digit growth in the photo-publishing market has been fueled by innovations that are making possible a new generation of on-demand color products and services."
Professors Charles A. Bouman and Jan P. Allebach, Purdue University, presented the technology last week, during their talk titled: "Personalized imaging: moving closer to reality" at the 2011 IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging conference in San Francisco.