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Posts tagged with "photography"

Understanding the Camera Enhancements Coming to the iPhone 12

Apple announced a lot of improvements to the cameras in its upcoming iPhone 12 line. The enhancements are a combination of hardware and software that look promising on paper, especially when it comes to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

As with past iPhone announcements, Sebastiaan de With, part of the team behind the camera apps Halide and Spectre, breaks down the changes, explaining what they mean for photographers. Probably the most significant hardware change is to the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s sensor. According to de With:

In addition to a better lens, the 12 Pro Max has the room to pack a new, 47% larger sensor. That means bigger pixels, and bigger pixels that capture more light simply means better photos. More detail in the day, more light at night. That combines with the lens to result in almost twice as much light captured: Apple claims an 87% improvement in light capture from the 11 Pro. That’s huge.

Also, the Pro Max gains a new image stabilization system:

But that’s not its only trick: the 12 Pro Max’s Wide system also gets a new sensor-shift OIS system. OIS, or Optical Image Stabilization, lets your iPhone move the camera around a bit to compensate for your decidedly unsteady human trembly hands. That results in smoother video captures and sharp shots at night, when the iPhone has to take in light over a longer amount of time.

On the software side, de With thinks Apple’s announcement of the new ProRAW image format looks promising, though it’s short on details at the moment and isn’t coming until later this year:

ProRAW, according to Apple, gives you the standard RAW along with this pipeline information, which should offer some fantastic flexibility when editing. Note that this might be a custom format; little is known, and it seems it was only announced and might be limited to the iPhone 12 Pro.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the camera announcements made earlier this week, so be sure to read deWith’s article for additional details.

I also recommend watching Tyler Stalman’s video about the new cameras. Stalman has been watching the evolution of Apple’s cameras carefully for a long time now, and his video is a terrific overview from a photographer’s perspective of what’s coming next.


Instagram Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary on the App Store with Classic Icons and Adds New Stories Archive and Anti-Bullying Features

As of today, Instagram has been on the App Store for ten years. To celebrate, the app has brought back classic icons from its past as well as variations on its current icon as an in-app Easter egg.

As The Verge reports, the icons can be accessed by going to Instagram’s settings view and then long-swiping down on your iPhone’s screen until a series of emoji appear. Keep swiping until confetti rains down, and the icons are revealed. Like me, you may also have to restart your iPhone for your Home Screen changes to take effect. In total, there are a dozen icons to choose from, excluding the default option.

Instagram's new Stories Archive views.

Instagram’s new Stories Archive views.

According to TechCrunch, Instagram has released a couple of other features too. From your profile page, you can access three years of archived Stories from a private calendar or map view. For National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, Instagram is also testing a feature that automatically hides comments similar to others that have already been reported by users as abusive. Warnings to people who post offensive comments are also being expanded to alert repeat offenders that their comments may be hidden from view or their accounts deleted.


Pixelmator 2.6 Adds Pointer Support and More Than 70 Keyboard Shortcuts for iPad Users

The modernization of Pixelmator continues apace with the addition of more iPad-friendly features in version 2.6. Earlier this year, Pixelmator 2.5 added the native iOS and iPadOS document browser along with nine categories of preset image templates.

The latest version picks up where 2.5 left off with iPadOS pointer support. Whether you’re using the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad with your iPad or another trackpad or mouse, Pixelmator 2.6 fully supports pointer interaction with all UI controls, transforming to indicate available actions when performing actions like editing an image, in which case it turns into a double arrow for resizing.

Pixelmator 2.6 includes pointer support throughout.

Pixelmator 2.6 includes pointer support throughout.

The Pixelmator update also includes a long list of keyboard shortcuts. There are over 70 shortcuts, which are catalogued on Pixelmator’s website. There’s little that isn’t covered by the shortcuts. You can enter the app’s various editing modes to do things like crop an image, use the app’s selection tools, and arrange layers. There are also shortcuts to view an image at its actual size or zoom in so it fills the screen, and when you’re finished editing, there’s a keyboard shortcut for exporting too.

Pixelmator Photo is one of my favorite image editors on the iPad, but it’s strictly a photo editing app. To composite images, I rely on Pixelmator, which is why I’m so glad to see that it continues to get the sort of updates that make working with images on my iPad easier than before.

Pixelmator 2.6 is available on the App Store and is a free update for existing users.


Pixelmator Photo Adds ML Super Resolution Powered by Apple’s Neural Engine and Split-Screen Preview Slider

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

During Apple’s keynote today, the company showed off the iPad Air’s new A14 Bionic chip with a demonstration from Pixelmator, which showed off the latest version of Pixelmator Photo, which was released today. The new version of the app comes with two headlining features: ML Super Resolution, which is powered by the Neural Engine that’s part of Apples SoC, and a split-screen slider for comparing photo edits.

ML Super Resolution is a feature that first debuted on the Mac with Pixelmator Pro late last year. On the iPad, Pixelmator says the feature can increase an image’s resolution up to three times, using a machine learning-based algorithm. ML Super Resolution is also available in Pixelmator Photo’s batch editing mode.

The new split-screen preview is a terrific way to show off ML Super Resolution or any other edits you make to a photo. Tap and hold on the screen, and a vertical line appears under your finger, dividing the screen into a before-and-after preview with before on the left of the divider and after on the right side.

ML Super Resolution does an excellent job bringing out the details in this shot of the Sydney waterfront.

ML Super Resolution does an excellent job bringing out the details in this shot of the Sydney waterfront.

In my limited tests, the results of using ML Super Resolution have been impressive. I used an image from a trip I took to Australia in 2007 with a low-resolution pocket digital camera. As you can see from the split-screen preview above, ML Super Resolution does a fantastic job sharpening the text on the side of a warehouse and adding definition to the brick buildings in the foreground.

Pixelmator Photo now supports double-tapping the Apple Pencil.

Pixelmator Photo now supports double-tapping the Apple Pencil.

Today’s update to version 1.4 also adds a new Apple Pencil double-tap option in Pixelmator Photo’s settings. Double tapping the Apple Pencil is set to undo and redo edits by default, but you can also use it to select the repair tool or show the split-screen preview slider.

Pixelmator Photo is one of my favorite iPad photo editors. I use Pixelmator Pro on my Mac a lot too, and I’m glad to see more of its features coming to the iPad. There’s a lot to be said for editing images on the big display connected to my Mac mini. However, my iPad is often the biggest screen I have available and a more enjoyable way to browse and tweak photos I’ve taken.

Pixelmator Photo 1.4 is available as a free update on the App Store for existing users. For new users, the price has been increased to $7.99.


Pixelmator Pro 1.7 Adds Type to Path, Canvas Rotation, and More

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

Version 1.7 of Pixelmator Pro was released today with support for placing text along a path, rotating the app’s canvas, a refinement of ML Super Resolution, and a new quick-start welcome screen.

The update, dubbed Sequoia, adds three type tools: Circular Type, Path Type, and Freeform Type. You can pick one of those tools to create a path for your text or click on an existing path in a project to type along it. With the text tool selected, your pointer switches as you approach the border of a shape in your project to the text path tool, indicating that you can begin typing along the shape with a click. The tool supports emoji and SVG fonts and can be converted to shapes too.

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

Canvas rotation is handled by a circular puck in the lower-right corner of Pixelmator Pro’s image viewer. You can enter a precise number of degrees to rotate the canvas, drag the dot along the circle’s perimeter, or use multi-touch on a trackpad to dial in the exact rotation you want. When using the trackpad to rotate, Pixelmator Pro provides haptic feedback in 90-degree increments, which is a nice touch. By default, the rotation tool appears when you begin a trackpad rotation, but you can set it to always or never be visible from the View menu too. Canvas rotation is a fantastic addition for anyone using Pixelmator Pro with Sidecar on an iPad.

Source: Pixelmator.

Source: Pixelmator.

There have always been several entry points into Pixelmator Pro, but it’s easier to pick the one you want with the new welcome screen. The screen includes recent documents, the option to create a new empty document from one of the app’s many templates, and the ability to pick an image from Photos or anywhere in your Mac’s file system.

Finally, today’s update also adds improvements to ML Super Resolution. This feature refines images’ resolution to allow them to be displayed at bigger sizes with a minimum amount of blurring. It’s a handy feature that I’ve used in the past to upscale screenshots of standard definition video. In addition to working better than before with the latest update, MS Super Resolution has added support for RAW images and a progress bar.

Pixelmator Pro has long been one of my favorite image editors on the Mac. With each release, the app has gained additional functionality that makes it more than just a photo editor. With tools like typing along a path and canvas rotation, Pixelmator Pro should be far more capable than ever before in a designer’s hands.


Adobe Photoshop Camera Brings Real-Time Filters and AI to Photo Sharing

Adobe has released a filter-focused camera app called Photoshop Camera that relies heavily on the company’s Sensei AI technology to make it easy to take photos, apply filters, and share them. The app, which was announced last November and has been in beta ever since then, is free with an In-App Purchase available to unlock 20GB of Creative Cloud storage.

Sensei is Adobe’s AI technology that the company has been weaving into more and more of its desktop and mobile apps. Like other companies adding AI to image processing, Sensei touches a wide variety of features in different apps, assisting with everything from aspects of the photo editing process like object selection to settings like exposure. With Photoshop Camera, Sensei plays an even more pronounced role, automating the process of mobile photography and applying filters to create an experience that balances ease-of-use with image quality.

As Adobe explained last fall:

With Photoshop Camera you can capture, edit, and share stunning photos and moments – both natural and creative – using real-time Photoshop-grade magic right from the viewfinder, leaving you free to focus on storytelling with powerful tools and effects. Leveraging Adobe Sensei intelligence, the app can instantly recognize the subject in your photo and provide recommendations, and automatically apply sophisticated, unique features at the moment of capture (i.e. portraits, landscapes, selfies, food shots), while always preserving an original shot. It also understands the technical content (i.e. dynamic range, tonality, scene-type, face regions) of the photo and automatically applies complex adjustments.

Photoshop Camera comes with several pre-installed filters, which Adobe calls Lenses, with additional ones available for download from the app’s built-in Lens Library. Some Lenses have been designed by Adobe, while others have been created by third-party photographers, and even musician Billie Eilish. There are a wide variety of Lenses available at launch, and the company says new ones will be released weekly going forward. The Lens Library also lets users manage their collection of Lenses, adding new ones, deleting others, and reordering them to customize the app to your tastes.

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Darkroom 4.6 Adds Video to Its Excellent Photo Editing Workflow

Darkroom is a terrific photo editor for the iPhone and iPad that leverages iCloud Photos with a robust set of editing tools and filters. With the release of version 4.6 today, Darkroom adds video to the mix. What’s impressive about the update is that it manages to apply the same set of tools and filters available for photos to video in real-time, which results in a fast, efficient editing workflow.

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Pixelmator 2.5 Brings Document Browser, New Photo View, and Extensive Presets to iPad and iPhone

The document browser in Pixelmator.

The document browser in Pixelmator.

Pixelmator is one of the few apps I’ve used longer than anything else. Over time I regularly change up task managers, email clients, note-taking apps, and more, but nothing has ever come close to replacing Pixelmator for me. In fact, last summer I had to try living without it for a time while the app was briefly incompatible with the iOS 13 beta. Try as I might, I could find no replacement for the excellent layer-based image editor.

Not even Pixelmator Photo, the more modern photo editing tool, could replace the original Pixelmator. It wasn’t exactly intended to, since the apps specialize in different areas, but the standard Pixelmator nonetheless felt light on meaningful updates even before the release of Pixelmator Photo. My fear was that eventually the app would be discontinued.

Pixelmator 2.5, launching today, is strong evidence that that’s not going to happen. By transitioning the app to the Files document browser, designing an all-new photo browser, and adding a rich collection of new image size presets, Pixelmator’s team has crafted the app’s biggest leap forward in years and set it up for a strong future.

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Pixelmator Photo 1.2 Adds Cursor and Split View Support, ML Match Colors, and More

The Pixelmator team has released version 1.2 of Pixelmator Photo for the iPad with iPadOS cursor and Split View support and Pixelmator Pro’s ML Match Colors feature. The update also includes a new way to change the intensity of color and preset adjustments and a ‘Recents’ section for its filter tool.

Pixelmator Photo uses a custom cursor for tasks like cropping images.

Pixelmator Photo uses a custom cursor for tasks like cropping images.

The addition of cursor control is a welcome enhancement to Pixelmator Photo, which already supported keyboard shortcuts. Now it’s possible to make edits to a photo with a combination of the keyboard and either a trackpad or mouse without reaching up to touch the screen. Combined with the addition of Split View, Pixelmator Photo is far more powerful when used in combination with another app than it was before.

For example, when I’m working on an article and want to touch up a photo, I often use Pixelmator Photo to touch up any photos I plan to use. Before the update, if I was doing that with my iPad Pro in a stand, I would usually remove the iPad and edit with it lying flat on a table because it was easier than reaching up repeatedly to navigate Pixelmator Photo’s UI.

Editing images while I write in iA Writer.

Editing images while I write in iA Writer.

With cursor support, my iPad can remain in the stand while I edit. Better yet, with Split View, I can edit an image alongside the article I’m writing and use the app’s share sheet support to use a shortcut that uploads the final image to our CDN and returns a URL that I can paste into the story. The pairing eliminates the need to switch back and forth between Photos and my text editor, saving time. It’s worth noting that Pixelmator Photo does not support iPadOS’s multiwindowing feature, which I imagine could be valuable in some editing scenarios.

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