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Search results for "Halide"

Halide Team Experiments with iPad Pro’s LiDAR Scanner

Source: Halide Blog

Source: Halide Blog

Sebastiaan de With, on the Halide blog, goes deep on the 2020 iPad Pro’s camera module. His examination reveals that the device’s wide camera is virtually identical to that of the 2018 model. And the ultra-wide camera, unfortunately, isn’t quite up to the quality level of what’s found in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

The most exciting and impressive aspect of the camera system is the LiDAR Scanner. The Halide team actually went to the trouble of building an entire proof of concept app that utilizes the LiDAR Scanner to capture your surroundings.

With Halide, we’d love to use the depth data in interesting ways, even if it’s low resolution. There was only one problem: there are no APIs for us as developers to use to get access to the underlying depth data. They only expose the processed 3D surface.

What if we re-thought photographic capture, though? We built a proof-of-concept we’re calling Esper.

Esper experiments with realtime 3D capture using the cameras and LIDAR sensor at room scale. It’s a fun and useful way to capture a space.

I always love reading de With’s in-depth explanations and comparisons of new iPhone or iPad cameras, and this was an especially fun one.

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Halide 1.14 Adds New Lens Switching Interface and Guides

Halide 1.14 is out with a new lens switching UI to accommodate the three-camera system of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. As soon as the update was out, I went for a walk to give it a try.

Halide has introduced a new lens switching button featuring haptic feedback and a dial-like system for moving among the iPhone’s lenses. When you press down on the lens button, you get a tap of haptic feedback to let you know without looking that the lens picker has been engaged.

From there, you can slide your finger among the ultra wide, wide, and telephoto options that radiate out from the button. As you swipe your finger across each option, it enlarges, and you’re met with another little bit of haptic feedback as you swipe over the lenses other than the one already selected. Once you have the lens you want, you simply let go and your iPhone switches to it.

You can also cycle through the lenses in order by tapping the button repeatedly or swipe left for the ultra wide lens or up for the telephoto one. In my brief tests, swiping left or up is the best option if you already know the lens you want, but using the dial-like lens switcher is perfect for considering your options first because Halide has also added lens preview guides.

With the lens button engaged, Halide shows guides for each of your zoom options. That means if you’re using the ultra-wide lens, you’ll see the light gray guidelines for the wide and telephoto lenses. As you swipe over those lenses, the guides change to yellow to highlight the composition you’ll get if you switch to that lens.

If you’re already using the telephoto lens though, Halide will highlight the outer frame of the image to suggest you’ll get a wider shot, though it does not zoom the viewfinder out to show that composition until you lift your finger. You can see how the lens guides work from the screenshots I took at a local high school football field above and in this video:

Switching lenses in Halide.Replay

When you switch to the ultra wide lens, you’ll notice that not all the usual Halide features are available. Manual focus is missing and so is shooting in RAW. That’s because the new iPhone hardware and iOS and iPadOS 13 don’t support those features. Although the ultra wide shots don’t support RAW, Halide has included a ‘MAX’ option in place of the ‘RAW’ option, so you can get the most image data possible from your wide shots, which you can see in the screenshots below.

Ultra wide images are limited to MAX quality (left) instead of RAW, which is supported by the wide and telephoto lenses (right).

Ultra wide images are limited to MAX quality (left) instead of RAW, which is supported by the wide and telephoto lenses (right).

The Halide team says that the latest update also includes noise-reduction adjustments to the RAW images produced by the iPhone 11, but that they are continuing to fine-tune how that app handles RAW photos from the new phones as part of a more significant update that is coming next.

The latest update is relatively small, but I especially like the use of haptic feedback and lens guides, which make it easy to switch lenses when you’re focused on the viewfinder of the camera instead of Halide’s buttons.

Halide is available on the App Store for $5.99.


Halide Developer Ben Sandofsky Breaks Down How the iPhone XR Captures Depth Data

Ben Sandofsky from the team that makes the Halide iOS camera app has a detailed post on the iPhone XR’s camera and how Apple creates Portrait Mode photos with a single lens. Sandofsky walks through how Apple uses Focus Pixels to develop a rough Disparity Map and combines that with a Portrait Effects Matte to create Portrait Mode images.

The results have some advantages, but also distinct disadvantages compared to the iPhone XS’s camera. As Sandofsky explains:

It seems the iPhone XR has two advantages over the iPhone XS: it can capture wider angle depth photos, and because the wide-angle lens collects more light, the photos will come out better in low light and have less noise.

However:

…most of the time, the XS will probably produce a better result. The higher fidelity depth map, combined with a focal length that’s better suited for portraiture means people will just look better, even if the image is sometimes a bit darker. And it can apply Portrait effects on just about anything, not just people.

Although Apple’s Camera app can only take Portrait Mode photos of people on the iPhone XR, the upcoming Halide 1.11 update will combine the XR’s Disparity Map and Halide’s own blur effect to apply a similar effect beyond human subjects. Sandofsky admits that the feature isn’t perfect due to the low quality of the Disparity Map created by the XR, but the photos included in his post show that it can take excellent pictures under some conditions.

It’s remarkable what is being done to squeeze depth information out of the XR’s single lens and instructive to understand how the underlying technology works. It’s also apparent that Apple has made significant advancements since the introduction of the first dual-lens cameras.

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Halide Introduces Smart RAW for iPhone XS, Joining a Host of Other Improvements

Since its debut Halide has been one of the best manual camera apps available on iPhone. The month of September brought a number of challenges to Halide’s team though, thanks to all the photography work Apple put into iOS 12 and the iPhone XS. And in response, within the span of a few weeks Halide has receive two major updates: version 1.9 on iOS 12’s release date, and releasing today is version 1.10 featuring Smart RAW.

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Halide 1.8

Lovely update to Halide, my favorite third-party iPhone camera app, released today on the App Store. Among other improvements (such as an Apple Watch app and self-timer), I’m a fan of the new grid-based photo reviewer (try swiping down slowly on the grid to dismiss the view) as well as the advanced setting to prevent attaching location metadata when sharing a photo to social networks. I wish more apps offered an explicit preference like Halide does.

The focus on Accessibility in this release is also commendable:

We care deeply about Accessibility and have improved Halide with every update to make it easier to use for all users, but this update is our biggest push yet. With support for Dynamic and Bold Type throughout, VoiceOver support and many more enhancements. Even our 30 second timer option was included with Accessibility in mind, offering users with limited mobility more freedom to take photos.

That being said, we’re not done: this year we’ve worked with noted accessibility specialist Sommer Panage. She advised us on this release, and and helped set goals for accessibility in the year ahead.

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Halide 1.7 Brings New Depth Photography and ARKit Features, Darkroom Integration

We first reviewed Halide, the powerful third-party camera app by Ben Sandofsky and Sebastiaan de With, when it debuted in the summer of 2017, providing a powerful and elegant alternative to Apple’s Camera app that fully embraced RAW photography and advanced controls in an intuitive interface. We later showcased Halide’s iPhone X update as one of the most thoughtful approaches to adapting for the device’s Super Retina Display; to this day, Halide is a shining example of how the iPhone X’s novel form factor can aid, instead of hindering, complex app UIs.

While Halide was already regarded as an appealing alternative to Apple’s stock app for professional photographers and RAW-curious iPhone users (something that designer de With covered in depth in his excellent guide), it was lacking a handful of key features of the modern iPhone photography experience. Sandofsky and de With want to eliminate some of these important gaps with today’s 1.7 update, which focuses on bringing the power of Portrait mode to Halide, supporting the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system, and extending the app’s integrations via a special ARKit mode, new export options, and native integration with the popular Darkroom photo editing tool.

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Halide Review: Instantly Better Photography

Photography isn’t my specialty, and more often than not, my lack of knowledge stops me from getting the shot I have set up in my mind. They say the best camera is the one you have with you at all times, but the stock iPhone 7 camera can only do so much with my limited skill set.

So when a tool comes along that makes taking great photos so much easier, it’s hard to pass it up. That’s Halide, which offers real-time, user-driven changes in your camera’s viewfinder to help you get the picture you want.

As you line up your shot in Halide, you’ll have the opportunity to make adjustments – focus, ISO, white balance, and exposure – that will change the way your picture will look. These aren’t pre-packaged filters, but rather manual options that can give your photo a unique look and feel. For different occasions, environments, and lighting, you’ll appreciate the control.

What I love so much about Halide is that I don’t have to have the deepest understanding of these tools to take advantage of them. Instead of focusing on numbers, I can see my changes as they are made. Halide offers the benefits of a complex photo app without the learning curve.

Much of how you edit in Halide is by sliding your finger, either arbitrarily up and down or along a scale, left to right. For white balance, you can select from presets, which drastically alter the mood of the photo without making it look unrealistic. Aside from focus, all of these options work on the front camera, too, so your selfies can be even more artistic.

Halide can capture your photos in either RAW or JPEG, but it’s up to you to select the latter in the “Quick Bar”, an extra set of buttons that appears by pulling down at the top of the screen. Also in the Quick Bar is an on/off switch for flash, a grid tool, and location management.

Conclusion

When I’m inexperienced in a certain field, I want apps to enable and teach me, not leave me confused and incapable. Halide undoubtedly accomplishes the former, putting the control back in my hands instead of in the camera.

And that’s what I can’t seem to shake about Halide – it’s empowering, a $4.99 investment into better photos without much work. For quick, simple shots, I’m probably still going to choose Camera for its convenience; for everything else, I’m choosing Halide.

If you’d like to give Halide a try, you can pick it up in the App Store for $4.99 (iPhone only).


MacStories Selects 2023: Recognizing the Best Apps of the Year

John: Every year, it seems like the MacStories Selects awards roll around faster than the last, and this year was no exception. For most people, the year begins on January 1st, but for us, WWDC marks the beginning of our year, and the MacStories Selects Awards feel like its conclusion. Plenty happens the rest of the year, but it’s these seven months that are the main event for us.

June begins with excitement about what developers will be able to do with Apple’s latest frameworks. Reconnecting with developers and meeting new people energizes and carries us through a busy summer and fall. This year marked Federico’s return to WWDC for the first time since the pandemic, and seeing so many developers together made this year’s WWDC the best in years.

2023 was an exciting year for apps. Read-later apps continued to be hot, but nothing was quite as big as interactive widgets, which brought new experiences to our Home and Lock Screens and shook up how many of us set up our devices.

Next year promises to be an even bigger year for apps with an all-new Vision Pro App Store on the way. For now, though, it’s time to pause and reflect on the many apps we tried in the year gone by and recognize the best among them.

Like last year, we’ve picked the best apps in seven categories:

  • Best New App
  • Best App Update
  • Best New Feature
  • Best Watch App
  • Best Mac App
  • Best Design
  • App of the Year

But there’s more. Club MacStories members picked the winner of the MacStories Selects Readers’ Choice Award. Plus, as we’ve done the past couple of years, we’ve named a Lifetime Achievement Award winner that has stood the test of time and had an outsized impact on the world of apps. This year’s winner, which joins past winners PCalc and Drafts, is the subject of a special story I wrote for the occasion.

We also recorded a special episode of AppStories covering all the winners and runners-up. It’s a terrific way to learn more about this year’s apps.

You can listen to the episode below.

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So with that, it’s my pleasure to introduce the 2023 MacStories Selects Awards to the MacStories community.

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Using the iPad Pro as a Portable Monitor for My Nintendo Switch with Orion, a Capture Card, and a Battery Pack

Tears of the Kingdom on my iPad Pro.

Tears of the Kingdom on my iPad Pro.

Those who have been reading MacStories for a while know that I have a peculiar obsession for portable setups free of the constraints typically involved with working at a desk or playing games in front of a TV.

It’s not that I don’t want to have a desk or dislike my 65” OLED TV: it’s that I don’t want those contexts to be my only options when it comes to getting work done or playing videogames. This is why I’ve spent the better part of my career fine-tuning my iPad-first lifestyle and why I’m so excited at the prospect of a giant screen that can always be with me. Modularity, portability, and freedom from a desk or TV are the driving factors in everything I use or buy these days.

For these reasons, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I embraced the ability to use the iPad Pro as a portable monitor for videogame consoles thanks to UVC support. As I covered in my iPadOS 17 review, this feature was primarily conceived to let iPad users connect external webcams to their computers, but that hasn’t stopped developers from re-using the same underlying technology to create apps that allow you to display a video feed from any accessory connected via USB.

It’s a very intriguing proposition: the 12.9” iPad Pro has a gorgeous mini-LED display; what if you could use that to give yourself a little extra screen real estate when playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder or Tears of the Kingdom without having to pack a separate portable monitor with you?

In my review, I mentioned the Genki Studio app, which I used to play games with my Nintendo Switch and ROG Ally and output their video feeds to the iPad Pro’s display. Today, I want to explain how I took my setup a step further by enhancing the picture quality of the Nintendo Switch when viewed on the iPad Pro and, most importantly, how I created a fully-portable setup that allows me to play Switch games on the iPad Pro anywhere I am.

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