Last year, Pinterest started encouraging its users to buy things with just a photo. Last February it gave everyone in the US access to its new Lens beta, which lets you search for pins of cool things with a snapshot. Today, Pinterest continues to improve its Lens feature with a new update that gives you the power to “lens” more than one thing at a time, snap QR codes and use app shortcuts on the iPhone, along with improvements to Lens’ analysis.
Now you can search between multiple objects in a single photo, which should come in handy when you want to search for Pinterest boards about kitchen decorating ideas. Simply snap a photo of the entire room and Lens will detect a bunch of objects in the scene and give you the option to dig deeper for boards about it. A tap on the back arrow takes you to the original snap, so you can basically just search around a single photo. If you still live in a world where QR codes are relevant (education, libraries), Lens now acts as a QR-reader — just point your phone and Lens at one of those squiggly squares and Lens will bring up whatever it links to without you having to tap.
Lens shortcuts migrate their way from Android to the iPhone with this new update, as well. If you have an iPhone with 3D Touch, you can hard press on the Pinterest icon on your home screen to find shortcuts that will take you directly to Lens, Explore, Search and your Saved Pinterest boards without having to navigate within the app itself.
Pinterest’s Lens feature will make mistakes from time to time, of course, but you can always tap the plus button if it analyzes your photo incorrectly to help the entire system do better. So whether you’re looking to find a sweet antique coffee table for your swank apartment or an adorable pair of shoes to match that cute little outfit you just got, snapping a photo for Lens could be a solid option.
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VSCO, smartphone photographers’ image tweaking app of choice, is letting iOS users tap into all the original image data captured on iPhone 6’s and up. Alongside a host of new community features, it’s offering full RAW image support on capture, importing and editing. This means photo editors will be able to access a wider range of colors and tones that are sometimes lost due to compression on typical JPEG photos. RAW support will even work on your must-share DSLR images too.
The update is also the culmination of the VSCO team’s efforts to better showcase its community and editorial team content. This includes a machine-learning engine that surfaces related images of what it spots in images. There’s also a new search and a discovery section specifically for notable community posts.
VSCO has introduced a new (invite-only, subscription-based) membership at an early-access price of $ 20 per year. This will give users monthly updates and early access to filter presets, particularly VSCO’s new Film X interactive presets. These tap into SENS, its new imaging engine, and attempt to offer, according to VSCO CEO and founder Joel Flory: “a physical model of film and not just a static preset.” New presets currently include the Fuji Pro 400H, and Kodak Portra 160 and 400. According to the team, they’ve tried to create a physical mode of film — and that also includes real-time shaders that you can tweak during live capture.
If you’re willing to subscribe, you’ll net the entire preset library (over 100 of those), which total around $ 200 if purchased through the app. RAW support, at least, comes for free in the new update available now. Oh and for that invite-only membership? Add your name to the waitlist here, and get ready to feel exclusive.
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There’s a lot going on behind the curtain with Prisma, the app that turns your banal photos into Lichtenstein- or Van Gogh-esque artworks. The app actually sends your cat photo to its servers where a neural network does the complex transformation. Starting soon, that will no longer be necessary, though. “We have managed to implement neural networks to smartphones, which means users will no longer need an internet connection to turn their photos into art pieces,” the company says. Only half of Prisma’s styles will be available offline at first (16 total), but others will be added in the “near future.”
Running the algorithms locally will speed things up (depending on your smartphone), help folks with poor internet service and free up valuable CPU cycles on its servers. The latter benefit will allow its tech to work with video, in a later release, Prisma adds. “Now that we’ve implemented neural networks right to the smartphones, we have enough servers capacity to run full videos on them in the near future.”
Now that we’ve implemented neural networks right to the smartphones, we have enough servers capacity to run full videos on them in the near future.
Prisma claims it’s the first to implement neural network tech on a smartphone, and that “no team or company has ever done anything close.” That, it says, opens up AI to developers without access to server farms, meaning “we will see [a lot more] new products based on neural networks.” Companies like Google and Apple may beg to differ, as they have already implemented smartphone AI for translation, voice recognition and more.
52 million folks have installed Prisma and 4 million use it daily, according to the company. Much as Snapchat has done, it plans to monetize the app via brand filters, while keeping it free for users. The offline processing speed depends on which smartphone you have — Prisma says “it takes three seconds for the iPhone 6 to repaint a photo and 2.5 seconds for the iPhone 6s.” The new features will arrive to iOS shortly and hit Android after that.
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