Category Archives: Mobile

Check out Fresco, Adobe’s new tablet drawing app

People have been trying to combine the power of vector & raster drawing/editing for decades. (Anybody else remember Creature House Expression, published by Fractal & then acquired by Microsoft? Congrats on also being old! 🙃) It’s a tough line to walk, and the forthcoming Adobe Fresco app is far from Adobe’s first bite at the apple (I remember you, Fireworks).

Back in 2010, I transitioned off of Photoshop proper & laid out a plan by which different mobile apps/modules (painting, drawing, photo library) would come together to populate a share, object-centric canvas. Rather than build the monolithic (and now forgotten) Photoshop Touch that we eventually shipped, I’d advocated for letting Adobe Ideas form the drawing module, Lightroom Mobile form the library, and a new Photoshop-derived painting/bitmap editor form the imaging module. We could do the whole thing on a new imaging stack optimized around mobile GPUs.

Obviously that went about as well as conceptually related 90’s-era attempts at OpenDoc et al.—not because it’s hard to combine disparate code modules (though it is!), but because it’s really hard to herd cats across teams, and I am not Steve Fucking Jobs.

Sadly, I’ve learned, org charts do matter, insofar as they represent alignment of incentives & rewards—or lack thereof. “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk together.” And everyone prefers “innovate” vs. “integrate,” and then for bonus points they can stay busy for years paying down the resulting technical debt. “…Profit!”

But who knows—maybe this time crossing the streams will work. Or, see you again in 5-10 years the next time I write this post. 😌

[YouTube]

Night Sight is outta sight!

This is a watershed moment for me: After 11+ years of shooting on iPhones & Canon DSLRs, this is the first time I’ve shot on an Android device that plainly outshines them both at something. Night Sight on Pixel 3 blows me away.

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First, some important disclaimers:

  • I work at Google & get to collaborate with the folks responsible for this tech, but I can take no credit for it, and these are just my opinions & non-scientific findings.
  • I’m not here to rain on anybody’s parade. My iPhone X is great, and the 70D has been a loyal workhorse. I have no plans to ditch either.
  • The 70D came out in 2013, and it’s obviously possible to get both a newer DSLR & a lens faster than my 24-70mm f/2.8.
  • It’s likewise possible to know a lot more about manual exposure than I do. I went only as far as to choose aperture priority, crank the exposure wide open, and set ISO to Auto.

Having said all that, I think my results reasonably represent what a normal-to-semi-savvy person would get from the various devices. Here’s what I saw:

What do you think?

By the way, Happy New Year! Here’s an animation created last night by shooting a series of Night Sight images, then combining them in Google Photos & finally cropping the output in Photoshop.

PS—I love the Queen-powered “Flash!” ad showing Night Sight:

[YouTube]

Nice improvements to Google Lens for iOS

My team makes tech that Lens uses to do things like track text in the screenshot below, so I’m pleased that Google Lens is getting integrated into Google search on iOS and upgraded in Google Photos:

It’s easier than ever to do more with your photos with a new, redesigned Google Lens experience on Android and iOS–now available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Korean.

Enjoy!

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Create mini stickers of yourself automatically via Gboard

Groovy:

Google has launched “Mini” stickers for iOS and Android, which use machine learning to craft personalized emoji from your photo. More precisely, the feature uses a combination of machine learning, neural networks and artist illustrations to conjure up the best representation of you, taking into account various characteristics like your skin tone, hair color and style, eye color, face shape and facial hair. Just access Mini from within Gboard and start the creation process by taking a selfie. It will then automatically create your avatar and generate packs of stickers you can use.

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Google brings an AI game to WeChat

Fun stuff from the Shanghai office:

In order to give everyone the opportunity to experience just how natural AI-powered interactions can now be, we’re launching 猜画小歌 (“Guess My Sketch”) from Google AI, a fun, social WeChat Mini Program in which players team up with our AI to sketch everyday items in a race against the clock. In each round, players sketch the given word (like “dog”, “clock”, or “shoe”) for their AI teammate to guess correctly before time runs out.

When the AI successfully guesses your sketch, you’ll move on to the next round and increase your sketching streak. You can invite friends and family to compete for the longest streak, share interesting sketches with each other, and collect new words and drawings as you continue playing.

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