Monthly Archives: April 2015

Snapseed plans: The return of Grunge & more

Snapseed 2.0 is an enormous new release, and along with all the new goodness (non-destructive editing, brushing, healing, masks, new filters, etc.), a few changes have proven controversial. The team is listening (especially via the user forum) and planning improvements.

Among these, we plan to bring back the Grunge filter (not the most widely used tool—hence its removal from v2—but one with a very passionate following). We’ll also offer a way to play nicely with apps (e.g. Lightroom) that don’t yet support iOS 8’s model for non-destructive editing (see previous post). I can’t promise a specific timeframe, but stay tuned.

Thanks for all the feedback to date, and please keep it coming!

YouTube adds spherical video support for GoPro’s new acquisition

Check out the interactive hotness below. Per the Verge:

GoPro just announced that it has purchased Kolor, a French company that specializes in virtual reality software.

Kolor’s software lets users to combine multiple photographs or videos to make 360-degree panoramas and videos, or “spherical content” as the companies call it. The ability to create interactive content is something that GoPro hasn’t been able to directly offer its customers until now, even though many virtual reality content creators are using the company’s cameras.


Kung Fury

Hasselhoff. Hitler. Power Glove. You’re welcome.

Detail by crapulent detail, this lovingly art directed video channels the eye-gouging best of the 80’s, complete with multiple Countaches & awful lip syncing:

Consider your week started properly.

[YouTube] [Via Alex Powell]

Photography: Drone meets enormous Vietnamese cave

Colossal writes

In this new 6-minute film, cave, adventure, and travel photographer Ryan Deboodt takes us on a breathtaking aerial tour of the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong, located in central Vietnam. Deboodt brought a drone and an array of cameras to help capture the cave system, the largest chamber of which is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long, 200 meters (660 ft) high and 150 meters (490 ft) wide.


Google buys Tilt Brush, a 3D VR painting system

Tilt Brush, according to its developers, “is a Virtual Reality Tool that paints the Space all around you. Paint thick, three-dimensional brush strokes, smoke, stars. Even light.” Check it out:

I always dreamed of giving Photoshop this kind of expressive painting power; hence my long & ultimately fruitless endeavor to incorporate Flash or HTML/WebGL as a layer type. Ah well. It all reminds me of this great old-ish commercial:

[YouTube 1 and 2] [Via Andy Russell]

Printing sound as 3D sculptures you can play

Waveforms you can hold in your hand, yet still listen to? Colossal writes,

[T]he team is creating software that turns any snippet of audio—from rock music to spoken poetry—into curious objects 3d-printed from bronze, plastic, or even coconut husk. Reify is also creating software that allows you to ‘scan’ the sculptures with your phone to interpret them back into audio.

The creators themselves write,

REIFY transforms sound into something we can see, sculpt and hold.

Using 3D digital technologies, we build collaborative tools for creating cross-sensory experiences of sound.

We are collective of visual artists, musicians, designers & technologists who are driven by a shared curiosity in the interplay of form and meaning — a digital synesthesia.


Why don’t Snapseed edits show up in Lightroom & other apps?

[Update: This issue is addressed by the “Export flat” option added in Snapseed 2.0.2.]

TL;DR: If your file-transfer app of choice doesn’t recognize edits made by Snapseed & other iOS8-compliant apps, please ask its developer to update it.

With iOS8 Apple introduced a great system for non-destructive editing: Apps still write out new images, but instead of having those show up separately in one’s Camera Roll, they now show up sitting atop the original images. Under the hood, your iOS device still retains the original pixels & the new pixels, but it stacks them together with the list of edits that turn the original into the output. That way you can always revert to your original pixels, and the editing app can keep its edits flexible (by re-reading the original pixels + list of edits, letting you get back to where you left off).

Supporting this new system requires updating one’s app to use new APIs introduced with iOS 8. Snapseed has of course done this, as have Google Drive, the new Apple Photos, and many other apps. Some apps haven’t yet been updated, however, so they read only the original pixels on the device. Notably, when you connect your iOS device to a Mac & transfer images via Lightroom or Apple’s Image Capture utility, or when you browse your Camera Roll using Dropbox, you’ll transfer only original pixels. This isn’t unique to Snapseed: try making edits in Camera Plus, Camera+, or other iOS 8-savvy apps & you’ll get the same results.

We know that the problem is very frustrating, and people understandably blame Google, but our options for dealing with it are limited. As other apps get updated, the problem will go away. In the meantime, we could add an “Export flat JPEG” command, or something similar, but that’s hardly ideal. Photographers shouldn’t have to think about this stuff, especially if doing so means choosing between non-destructive editing & being able to transfer your work.

So, we’re considering next steps. What would you find most useful?

A working Enigma machine… on your wrist?

A must-have accessory for all the Cumberbitches in your life:

A three rotor Enigma machine I built. Being inspired after visiting Bletchley Park I decided to learn how the Bombe machine works and code my own version. First though I needed to fully understand Enigma. The best way to understand something is to build it so I made my own Enigma machine and housed it in a wrist watch. This is how it works.

[YouTube] [Via]

The sculptural water photography of Ray Collins

“From subterranean to submarine,” former coal miner Ray Collins asks us to consider waves in a new way:

The coal-mining town of Bulli, south of Sydney, is not regarded as a repository of high art, nor as a vibrant and pulsing beehive of life and color, and yet there was Ray Collins. Seven years ago the idea of his new photography book, Found at Sea, would have seemed ludicrous to him; he was still working a mile down in the mines and hadn’t shot a single frame. Collins crawled out of the mines after blowing out a knee—“No shock absorbers left,” he says—and bought a camera with the payout. In the short years since, Collins has transitioned from subterranean to submarine and become arguably the most inventive water photographer in Australia.

[YouTube] [Via]

Snapseed 2 has arrived!

I’m thrilled to announce that Snapseed 2, the next generation of the award-winning mobile photography powerhouse—has arrived and is ready for download on iOS & Android. Key new features:

  • Non-destructive editing via Stacks allows you to re-edit or undo any change. You can also copy edits from one image to another.
  • New tools including Lens Blur, Tonal Contrast, intelligent perspective Transform, and Spot Healing.
  • Selectively apply filters and effects to parts of the image using the Brush tool.

We’ve also added long-requested features like zooming, undo, highlight adjustment, and more. I think you’ll find that you can work both faster (moving edits among images) and with more precision (using brushing to fine-tune the whole image or even individual filters). We’d love to see what you create & to hear your thoughts, here and in the user-to-user forum.


Here’s an ultra quick tour:


A Lego cover of Depeche Mode

Super fun robot puppetry courtesy of Opificio Sonico:

Toa Mata Band is known as the World’s first LEGO robotic band controlled by Arduino Uno which is hooked up to a MIDI sequencer. In this video, the third episode, the robots are playing some unconventional drum-percussions made by some food packaging are captured by a contact microphone (piezo) and processed in real time in the D.A.W. Ableton Live. A brand new device appears for the first time, it’s a sliding platform on x-axis, made of Lego bricks, gears and servo motors that allows the tiny synth to move in semitone steps.

[YouTube] [Via Jeff Tranberry]

Brave New Camera, a new crowdfunded documentary

Last summer I sat down with filmmakers Avery McCarthy & Kara Hayden for their new documentary Brave New Camera:

This project takes stock of how the recent developments of internet connected cameras, coupled with nearly infinite storage and increasing algorithmic power, have shaped our society and our identities over the last ten years.

They recently conducted a panel discussion about the changing nature of cameras in our society. Here’s an excerpt:

Now they’re turning to the photographic community for support to finish the project. Check out their funding page for more info.

[Vimeo 1 & 2]

The world’s first 4k 1,000fps drone footage

Pair a fairly beefy copter with a camera capable of ludicrously large data capture, and this is what you get:

The Phantom Flex 4K weighs 14 pounds without a lens or viewfinder attached, so it’s far too heavy to be carried by most of the popular drones used by casual photographers and filmmakers. By partnering with the drone manufacturer Intuitive Aerial, however, the team was able to put together an Aerigon that was up to the task. It’s a combination that’s a “cinematic game changer,” they write.


Cool recent photography & illustration

  • Photos We Remember: Editors of National Geographic’s Your Shot talk about images they love.
  • Studio Swine beautifully captures their design work (e.g. the hair combs made from hair that I featured recently).
  • Federico Babina makes super fun architectural illustration series like ARCHIZOO (animals embodying the signature works of famous architects).
  • Check out WeBikes, “stationary bikes that power gadgets and a Wi-Fi connection as you pedal.”


Adobe introduces Slate, a new publishing tool for iPad

Congrats Jorge, Brian, and my other old teammates on making what looks like a great way to author magazine-style stories on the go:

Slate lets you turn anything you want to say – whether it’s a book report, a newsletter or your latest travel adventure – into a beautiful visual story, in minutes. Bring your words and images together, tap on one of the professionally designed, magazine-style themes and beautiful fonts, colors and motion are automatically applied! The good news is, you don’t have to make any complex design decisions. You can just focus on your story.