Pixelated image abstraction with integrated user constraints

Timothy Gerstner, Doug Decarlo, Marc Alexa, Adam Finkelstein, Yotam Gingold, Andrew Nealen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present an automatic method that can be used to abstract high resolution images into very low resolution outputs with reduced color palettes in the style of pixel art. Our method simultaneously solves for a mapping of features and a reduced palette needed to construct the output image. The results are an approximation to the results generated by pixel artists. We compare our method against the results of two naive methods common to image manipulation programs, as well as the hand-crafted work of pixel artists. Through a formal user study and interviews with expert pixel artists we show that our results offer an improvement over the naive methods. By integrating a set of manual controls into our algorithm, we give users the ability to add constraints and incorporate their own choices into the iterative process.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)333-347
    Number of pages15
    JournalComputers and Graphics (Pergamon)
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2013


    • Color quantization
    • Image abstraction
    • Image segmentation
    • Non-photorealistic rendering
    • Pixel art

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Engineering
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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