Microsoft Pix Camera imitates Prisma with its AI-powered filters

Microsoft Pix Camera uses artificial intelligence to make your pictures of people better. It uses algorithms behind the scenes to analyze the 10 frames it snaps for every picture you take, looking for sharpness, exposure and even facial expressions to make sure you get the very best shot. It even takes good data from the pictures it doesn’t use to enhance the photos it chooses. The app, launched last summer and just updated, now offers new filters that can help you make your photos look like real works of art.

These artsy filters may sound a lot like what standalone app, Prisma, does, but Microsoft’s implementation was developed by Microsoft’s Asia research lab in collaboration with Skype. According to a company blog post, Pix Styles use texture, pattern, and tones learned by deep neural networks from famous works of art instead of altering the photo uniformly like other similar apps. Microsoft researcher Josh Weisberg told Engadget that the app uses two different techniques, run in tandem to save time, to produce these effects. “Our approach lends itself to styles based on source images (that are used to train the network) that are not paintings, such as the fire effect,” he said in an email.

The initial 11 Styles filters are named Glass, Petals, Bacau, Charcoal, Heart, Fire, Honolulu, Zing, Pop, Glitter and Ripples — more will be added in the coming weeks. Pix Paintings creates a timeline of your picture as if it were being painted in real time, giving you a short video of its creation. The Paintings feature is accessed with a button that shows up when you apply a new Style, and you can share or save the resulting short video (or GIF) it makes, too.

“These are meant to be fun features,” said Microsoft’s Josh Weisberg in a blog post. “In the past, a lot of our efforts were focused on using AI and deep learning to capture better moments and better image quality. This is more about fun. I want to do something cool and artistic with my photos.”

All this AI magic works right on your iPhone or iPad and won’t access the cloud, saving your data plan and decreasing your wait time. You can still use Pix’s other features with the new styles, adding frames and cropping your still photos. Microsoft Pix Camera is available now in the App Store and as a free update to existing owners, as well.

Source: Microsoft Blog, Microsoft/Twitter

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Prisma can turn Facebook Live broadcasts into artistic affairs

Prisma’s latest update gives you the power to air artistic videos on Facebook Live. When you switch from Photos to Videos, you’ll now see a “Live Stream” button that broadcasts whatever it is you’re capturing on cam. You’ll be able to apply any of the eight available art filters onto your broadcasts, which means you can transform any ordinary event into a moving painting on the fly. Unfortunately, this feature has a pretty limited reach: you’ll only get Facebook Live integration if you have an iPhone 7 or a 6s. Prisma says it’s because videos are processed locally on the device — the update also improves overall video quality — and requires the phones’ power.

In its announcement, the company said it knows both Facebook and Google are working on their own Prisma-like offerings. The social network launched artistic filters along with Snapchat-like features for Live a few days ago, while Google revealed that it’s working on its own style-transfer technology at the same time. Prisma CEO Aleksey Moiseenkov says it’s “really cool that Google and Facebook are trying to copy” the company’s app, but he thinks “that’s the evidence that style transfer and all this on-device deep learning stuff matters a lot for every big company in the world.”

Besides announcing the new feature, the company also assures Android fans that it still plans to bring offline processing to the platform, even though it’s taking some time to do so. Prisma promises to launch GIF support, to add social sharing options and to improve photo quality and offline processing time, as well.

Source: Prisma

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