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Managing photo & video collections


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sorting a photo collection

Research opportunities

As collections of digital documents, images, songs and movies grow, so do the challenges of managing them. At its most basic level, our research aims to make it easier for people to enjoy and share collections.


Our approach

Unlike much research in this field, our studies concentrate on indexing and browsing problems faced by consumers rather than large organizations.

In addition to simplifying such tasks as searching and indexing, we are providing tools that let consumers turn their photos, videos and other media into great-looking posters, multimedia presentations, slide shows and lots more.

Research focus

Digital media collections are hard to organize and index because many files lack useful labels, and because media like songs and videos can't be easily previewed.

To this end, researchers are developing media understanding technologies that analyze the images and other media and extract appropriate information from the content.

Consumers also want compelling ways to present and share their media. Because most people lack the time and expertise to create such presentations, HP Labs is developing technologies to more easily achieve the desired results.

Current work

Organizing and indexing media

We are developing several media understanding technologies to help consumers organize their collections of images and other media. These include:

  • face detection
  • image quality assessment
  • auto-cropping
  • scene type classification
  • video segmentation
  • video keyframe extraction
  • time-based clustering of photos and video

This work builds on HP's in-depth understanding of how consumers use and interact with their photos, videos and other media, as well as on HP's existing portfolio of tools for analyzing, enhancing, capturing and printing media.

Media presentation

We have a variety of projects aimed at making it easier for consumers to create captivating albums, photo books, slideshows and other presentations.

One project looks at scalable storytelling, which combines time-based clustering with image quality assessment (or ‘image triage') to automatically generate slideshows of any length from large collections of personal photos.

For print-based presentations, researchers developed Blocked Recursive Image Composition (BRIC) layout engine that automatically sizes and places photos on a page to make the most effective use of the available space without requiring the photos to be cropped.

HP Labs' SmartFrame technology automatically analyzes photos and creates a color matting for each photo that complements the colors in the photo.

We have also developed algorithms that analyze image content to automatically crop sets of photos, allowing busy users to make better-looking albums.

For a more informal, collage-type layout, researchers developed the Wacky Layout algorithm, which places photos at different orientations and allows them to overlap. Wacky Layout analyzes each photo to ensure that the most important parts of the image are visible and the overlaps generally occlude only the unimportant areas.

For dynamic presentations on televisions or computer screens, HP Labs is developing an automatic slideshow-creation engine that uses cinematic principles from filmmaking to create compelling shows where the consumer's photos are the 'actors.'

Technical contributions

Several of our technologies have already appeared in HP products and services. These include:

  • The flexible algorithm behind our BRIC layout engine is used in the HP PhotoSmart Studio kiosk to quickly and easily create posters, calendars and photo books
  • Our SmartFrame technology for automatic color matting is part of HP's Design Gallery software that ships with HP digital cameras.

Printing & imaging

» Commercial printing
  » Digital imaging & photography  
  » Managing photo & video collections  
  » Future display technologies  

Related research

»  Imaging technology department

Learn more

»  HP PhotoSmart Studio
»  Digital photography activity center
»  HP digital cameras
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