Mediating Photo Collage Authoring

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 [PDF]


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


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 shown 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.

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

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.