Monthly Archives: May 2016

“Augmented” reality? Agony & ecstasy

Holographic body modification? Snapchat lenses rendered in real life? “They Live” playing live?

At Google I/O I started freestyling with an attendee about what we might see when—not if—wearable augmented reality becomes mainstream. He was concerned about kids like his teenage daughter punching metal into their skin, grafting on horns, etc. What if, we mused, one could apply little patches (like the NFC-enabled tattoos we were handing out) and use them to totally modify how others see us, changing everything from gender to species on the fly? If current behavior is any indication, we’ll all be human-taco hybrids. (A quarter billion views in a day! I still can’t get over that.)

Expecting less personal expression than corporate oppression, Keiichi Matsuda has conjured a terrific dystopian rendering of such a world. Check out “Hyper Reality”:

Which directions will all this take? Seems we’ll know sooner rather than later. See you in the future!


Happy Birthday, Google Photos!

 “One year, 200 million users, and a whole lot of selfies”—so notes the team blog, which provides 10 great tips plus some fun facts:

We’ve delivered more than 1.6 billion animations, collages and movies, among other things. You’ve collectively freed up 13.7 petabytes of storage on your devices—it would take 424 years to swipe through that many photos! We’ve also applied 2 trillion labels, and 24 million of those have been for … selfies.

So, what’s next? BuzzFeed interviewed Photos VP Anil Sabharwal to get some perspective. Among the hints dropped:

Photos might become smarter about the albums and movies it creates by giving them a stronger perspective and point of view. It might, for example, automatically select a wedding shot in which you and your partner are looking at each other for the hero shot in an anniversary album.


“Twenty-five million photos a week are shared by Bluetooth… How do we make proximity sharing easier? How do we help you to remember to share? How do we make it so every time I take a photo of my daughter, it’s shared with my wife?”

Onward, and please keep your ideas & requests coming!


Snapseed 2.5 delivers faster batch editing, image flipping

It’s now much faster to apply the same edits to a number of images in sequence:

Apply Last Edits from the Main Screen. Use this feature to apply the same edits on a new photo that have been applied to the last saved photo. This feature only applies adjustments that have no local dependencies (i.e. no crop, transform or brush filters)

You can also use a new toggle switch inside the Straighten filter to flip an image horizontally:

Horizontal flip. Use this feature to horizontally mirror a photo, for example to fix front camera selfies which did not get mirrored correctly by the camera app.


And last but not least:

On Android Snapseed now displays more photo metadata information, including a map if the photo contains GPS information.

[YouTube] [Via]

Google & MIT bring Lego-style coding to kids

At I/O last week Google hosted a bunch of kids to learn about new technologies & test-drive some forthcoming apps:

The team also announced a cool partnership with MIT:

Google is teaming up with MIT’s Media Lab to create Scratch Blocks, an updated version of the kid-centric programming language. Available now as a developer preview, student participants at Google’s I/O Youth event were able to get an early look at the new tools…

Scratch is a visual programming language developed by MIT’s Media Lab back in 2007  to make it easier for kids to learn the foundational knowledge required for programming and other technical skills… The update also makes it easier to bring Scratch to smaller screens like smartphones and tablets.

The team notes,

This prototype implementation of Scratch Blocks controls a LEGO WeDo 2.0 device over a bluetooth connection. 


[Via Andy Russell]

Google Photos enables batch editing of dates & times

Long a popular request from nerds like me (especially those with DSLRs), the ability to easily adjust the date & time of multiple photos has arrived on

You took a bunch of great photos with your camera. But when you uploaded them to Google Photos, you realized you forgot to correct the time zone after your last trip. So now you’re stuck with a disorganized photo library, and the thought of changing each time stamp individually makes your head hurt.

On, just select the group of photos you’d like to adjust and click “Edit date & time” in the menu dropdown. You’ll be able to shift or set the time stamps, and preview the changes before saving.

In addition, you can now delete photos directly from an album (rather than just removing them from the album): just select photos and click “Move to trash” in the menu dropdown.

Date Time


Cool 3D titles

Highly diggable work for an Adobe show:

The main imagery for the event was created as an isometric illustration by Shaivalini Kumar, an artist from New Dehli, India.
We rebuilt all the elements in 3D, then rendered the scene using global illumination, a process that simulates light bouncing and colour bleeding. This technique gave us a highly stylised look, allowing the bright colours in the scene to emit light, and the dark colours to receive light.
Maxon’s Cinema 4D was the perfect tool for the 3D animation, which we rendered with Vray for C4D. The project was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, then Adobe After Effects was used for all compositing, along with the typography treatment for the animated speaker names.

Behind the scenes:

[Vimeo] [Via]