Soft Scissors : An Interactive Tool for Realtime High Quality Matting

Jue Wang, Maneesh Agrawala, Michael Cohen


We present Soft Scissors, an interactive tool for extracting alpha mattes of foreground objects in realtime. We recently proposed a novel offline matting algorithm capable of extracting high-quality mattes for complex foreground objects such as furry animals [Wang and Cohen 2007]. In this paper we both improve the quality of our offline algorithm and give it the ability to incrementally update the matte in an online interactive setting. Our realtime system efficiently estimates foreground color thereby allowing both the matte and the final composite to be revealed instantly as the user roughly paints along the edge of the foreground object. In addition, our system can dynamically adjust the width and boundary conditions of the scissoring paint brush to approximately capture the boundary of the foreground object that lies ahead on the scissor’s path. These advantages in both speed and accuracy create the first interactive tool for high quality image matting and compositing.

Our system computes a high quality matte (a) and a novel composite (b) in realtime as the user roughly paints the foreground boundary. Our system makes is easy to create new composites (c) very quickly.

Research Paper

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Soft Scissors : An Interactive Tool for Realtime High Quality Matting
SIGGRAPH 2007, August 2007. 9:1-9:6.