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Content Aware Scaling is an Adobe Photoshop tool used to create animated GIFs in which the subject is warped and distorted within the frame.


Adobe Photoshop has included Content Aware Scaling as a tool since the release of Photoshop CS4 on October 15th, 2008. The main principle of content aware scaling is applying an algorthm to an image to detect paths of least importance. This paths can be deleted or added to change the image size without changing the important parts.[1]

Original Image

Aspect Ratio Scaling

Cropped Image

Seam-carved Image

On August 21st, 2007, Youtuber and businessman Siim Teller uploaded a demo video offering a step-by-step instruction of the process.


On Feb 28th, 2012, Something Awful user Grei Skuring started a new thread to state that he found a new way to messing around with pictures. It was basically turning stock photos into something funny with the content aware function.[6]

Grei Skuring Sep 12, 2011 Recently I came upon a smart way of messing with pictures in Photoshop using the Content-Aware Scale function. Basically, (as i have understood) this tool analyses what's "important" in an image and scales everything else. Using this on portraits and group pictures leads to (often) hilarious results, depending on how your technique The easiest way is to: 1. Select an area with the rectangular select tool, 2. Click edit>Content-Aware Scale tool 3. Scale down/up/horizontally/vertically, press enter 4. (optionally: keep scaling it in various directions) Here's a few. Turn a famous singer into a shambling mess! Boring stock photos? Much better now.

Other users participate the thread with different edits of celebrities, stock photos and other random images.


On the same forum, another user Radock uploaded an animated version of the content aware scale(shown below left) and gif gain an attention by other users. One of the old user Everdraed uploaded a content aware scaling gif version of Steve Buscemi(shown below right). On the following days, it became a fad on Something Awful and featured on Photoshop Phriday[7].


thx to the Grei Skuring himself for the information

On March 4th, 2012, Tumblr user chickensnack[5] posted two animated GIFs made with Content Aware Scaling, including a Colgate toothpaste ad (shown below, left) and a part of the "garbage day" scene from the 1987 horror movie Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (shown below, right).

On February 12th, 2013, animator Neil Cicierega[2] published an instructional guide and Adobe Photoshop script for making animated GIFs using Content Aware Scaling. On August 19th, Penny Arcade Forums[4] member Butters posted several Content Aware Scaling animations in an animated GIF thread. On October 2nd, Imgur[3] user strontium uploaded a gallery of animated GIFs created with Content Aware Scaling. On October 21st, YouTuber VicariousPotato uploaded a Content Aware Scaling parody of the video QualityTime2.avi by YouTubers El-Cid & Egoraptor (shown below).

Notable Examples

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