Monthly Archives: October 2017

New Live Photos hotness in Google Photos, Motion Stills

Motion Stills lets you make stabilized multi-clip movies, animated collages, loops, and more from Live Photos. Now version 2.0 for iOS adds 

  • Capture Motion Stills right inside the app.
  • Capture and save Live Photos on any device.
  • Swipe left to delete Motion Stills in the stream.
  • Export collages as GIFs.

The app’s available on Android, too. Android Police writes, “It’s is essentially a GIF camera, but the app stabilizes the video while you’re recording. You can record for a few seconds, or use the fast-forward mode to speed up and stabilize longer videos.”

Not to be outdone, Google Photos on Web, iOS, and Android now displays Live Photos as well as Motion Photos from the new Pixel 2, giving you a choice of whether to display the still or moving portion of the capture. Here’s a quick sample on the Web. Note the Motion On/Off toggle up top.

I’m thrilled to have joined the team behind Motion Stills, so please let us know what you think & what else you’d like to see!

Behinds the scenes of the new Pixel 2’s camera

Fun insights from my new teammates, including:
  • “You essentially have the space of a blueberry for the camera to squeeze into.”
  • The lens is actually six lenses.
  • Each pixel is split into two—useful for sensing depth.
  • The whole thing weighs .003 pounds, about the same as a paperclip.
  • HDR+ looks tile-by-tile across a range of captures shot in quick succession, moving chunks as needed to align them. This is good for “scaring ghosts.”
  • A neural network trained on 1 million images built a model for what’s person-like and should be kept in focus while blurring the background.
  • A hexapod rig is used to generate (and thus find ways to combat) various kinds of shakiness.





Photography: “Microsculptures,” incredible macro photography of insects

Levon Bliss combines thousands of captures to create each of his “microscuplture” portraits of insects. Check out this brief overview:

If that’s up your alley, check out his TED talk as well—not to mention this year’s winners of Nikon’s Small World photography contest. For those not interested in having terrifying nightmares, I’ll thoughtfully omit the giant close-up of a tapeworm head. 🙂

Photographer Levon Biss was looking for a new, extraordinary subject when one afternoon he and his young son popped a ground beetle under a microscope and discovered the wondrous world of insects. Applying his knowledge of photography to subjects just five millimeters long, Biss created a process for shooting insects in unbelievable microscopic detail. He shares the resulting portraits — each comprised of 8- to 10,000 individual shots — and a story about how inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.


[Vimeo] [Via Peyman Milanfar]

Jeff Koons creates AR art, immediately gets vandalized

Snapchat has teamed up with pop artist Jeff Koons to enable pinning giant 3D augmented reality versions of his sculptures around the world:

TechCrunch isn’t feeling it, and neither are some other artists:

The team made an identical 3D AR Balloon Dog covered in graffiti and geo-tagged it to the exact coordinates, “as if the result of an overnight protest” says Sebastian. “It is vital to start questioning how much of our virtual public space we are willing to give to companies,” he continues.





Have richer conversations around photos on Google+

“A humble thing, but thine own,” Vin Scully used to say, and I’m happy to note that one of the photography-related features I helped shepherd through during my time on enterprise social has launched.

Photographers told us that the new Web UI for Google+, while welcome for offering features like zoom & photo sphere support, made it harder to see the context on photos & to have conversations around them. That’s now changed, providing a better balance between image & context. G+ tech lead Leo Deegan writes,

Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out a new version of the photo lightbox on Google+ Web. The new lightbox, which appears for photos that are part of single-photo posts (not yet for multi-photo posts), places a greater emphasis on the photo caption and comments.

There are a couple of reasons why I’m happy about this new lightbox. First, the EXIF data (found in the “Show information” menu item) brings back the display of the photo date; the previous lightbox displayed the post date. And second, clicking on the back arrow brings you to the post no matter how you arrive at the lightbox (people who found their way to a lightbox without being able to get to the post know what I’m talking about).


Demo: Amazing video stabilization in the Google Pixel 2

“Any sufficiently advanced technology…”

Watch as the all-new Pixel 2 heads up the mountains in India to test out the new Fused Video Stabilization. The left side of the video has no stabilization at all, with optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS) turned off. The right side is the Pixel 2 with Fused Video Stabilization enabled.

The Pixel 2 has a feature called “frame look ahead” which analyzes each individual frame of a saved video for movement. Machine learning compares dominant movements from one frame to another and stabilizes accordingly.

CNET’s got details:


[YouTube] [Via]

DxO: “Google Pixel 2 sets new record for overall smartphone camera quality”


The Google Pixel 2 is the top-performing mobile device camera we’ve tested, with a record-setting overall score of 98. Impressively, it manages this despite having “only” a single-camera design for its main camera. Its top scores in most of our traditional photo and video categories put it ahead of our previous (tied) leaders, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

Read on for tons of details.


SNL savages Papyrus font

Oh, I see you nervously shifting a little, photographers. 🙂 This take-down is as hilarious as you’ve heard:


Bonus: CBS news caught up with the font’s creator to get his reaction:

“I designed the font when I was 23 years old. I was right out of college. I was kind of just struggling with some different life issues, I was studying the Bible, looking for God and this font came to mind, this idea of, thinking about the biblical times and Egypt and the Middle East. I just started scribbling this alphabet while I was at work and it kind of looked pretty cool,” Costello said.

He added, “I had no idea it would be on every computer in the world and used for probably every conceivable design idea. This is a big surprise to me as well.”