SmartSplice Tutorial 5: Advanced Tips

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Objective: Cover details of SmartSplice that may help power-users get the most out of the program.

As demonstrated in the tutorials, SmartSplice is capable of enabling many interesting artistic effects.  In this tutorial, we provide some tips for some more advanced usage cases.  This tutorial will assume familiarity with the previous tutorials.

Tip 1: Extracting fur and boundaries with partial translucency.

There are many objects with fine details on the boundary.  Such fine details can result in pixels whose color is a partial blend of colors from a foreground object and colors from a background object.  Extracting such objects has traditionally been very labor intensive.  SmartSplice greatly speeds up the process.

Here we’ll show two examples.  The first example image is shown below.  We wish to extract the bush for use in future editing.  Notice that the fine details on the boundary between the bush and brick in the image cause great difficulty for traditional extraction tools.

Using SmartSplice’s extraction tool, we first specify a coarse outline of the bush object we wish to extract.  Notice that we are liberal with the paint on the boundary, making sure to cover all of the fine details where specifying a separation between the bush and brick would be tedious.

Next, we tap once in the interior of the bush to label it as the foreground object we wish to extract.

SmartSplice then computes an extraction for us.  Here, we zoom in on part of the boundary to see it in more detail.  Note that SmartSplice has automatically determines which pixels require partial-transparency information and computes the amount of translucency.

We now switch to a new example.  Here we have what looks like a fuzzy mat (actually an air filter) sitting in a basket.  Below, we have from left to right: (1) the original image, (2) a user-specified coarse outline, and (3) the user-specified interior.

Again, we are are liberal with the green paint, painting over all the furry strands on the boundary (where colors come from both the foreground and background).

SmartSplice then computes an extraction for us.  On the left, we show the extraction.  On the right, we show a zoomed in image to see that SmartSplice’s ability to handle partial-transparency is indeed important for this example.

Tip 2: Getting fast and good results.

The speed of SmartSplice’s extraction procedure depends on a number of factors including: (1) the size/resolution of the image from which you are extracting, (2) the fraction of the image the extraction object fills, (3) how coarse an outline you provide (with the green paint), and (4) the complexity of the object’s actual boundary.  For large images, the extraction processing can take about 1 minute.

To speed up processing time, one can zoom in on the boundaries and thereby paint a less coarse outline around the object of interest (alternate between the “Move/zoom pic” tool and the “Rough outline” tool to drag the image around and continue painting over the boundary until done).  This yields fewer pixels painted over in green and hence reduces the computational workload passed on to SmartSplice. 

Providing a more fine grained outline also reduces ambiguities that the program would have to otherwise resolve via computation and can therefore lead to improved quality.

However, there is of course a tradeoff between time a user spends specifying outlines and time a device spends performing computation.  SmartSplice generally does a good job, so just sit back let it take care of most of the tedium.  Only provide a fine grained outline in regions where a coarser one does not return the desired quality.  Study the examples in each of the tutorials to see how coarse the outlines were that produced each of the displayed results.  Each of these examples was created within only a couple minutes (including both user interaction time and device processing time).  They were also created as first tries (no need for repeated trials to get these results).  If getting the desired extractions feels like guesswork at first, a couple trial runs with the program and a study of our examples should hopefully make things feel natural.  If you have more questions, feel free to contact us at

Tip 3: Have fun and be creative! =)

Share with us some of your favorite creations.  We’d love to hear from you!