Today’s release of iOS 13.2 brings Apple’s new Deep Fusion feature, so iPhone 11 owners can start taking beautifully detailed photographs of sweaters. But if you have an older iPhone, Halide has you covered. The iOS photo app’s new Smartest Processing update brings Deep Fusion-style detail to anybody’s sweater shots.
The iPhone’s incredible Portrait mode does a great job of blurring the backgrounds of photos, making the subject stand out from busy backdrops. (Apple also uses this depth information for its truly awful Portrait Lighting effects — has anyone ever gotten a good result from the Stage Light filter? — but that’s another story.)
What if you could use the depth information inside Portrait photos to get rid of the background entirely? Wouldn’t that be something? Well, yes it would. And if you have the right app, it’s really easy to remove photo backgrounds.
Pixelmator Photo, a new image-editing app for iPad, gives you tons of tools for tweaking your images. The app lets you apply filters, crop, trim and generally making your photos look great.
In this regard, Pixelmator Photo is like a zillion other photo apps for iOS. What sets it apart are a) the now-expected Pixelmator polish, and b) machine learning that powers pretty much everything.
I’ve taken the app, which launches today, for a quick spin, and it’s pretty great. The photo-editing space is so crowded with great apps, though, that we’re spoiled for choice. How does Pixelmator Photo match up?
Portrait mode on the iPhone XS is pretty amazing — when it works. I gave it a good, hard workout after the device’s launch in September 2018, and found it to be an almost miraculous trick to fake the optical depth of photos taken on a bigger camera.
But after using it for half a year, does Portrait mode still seem so great? No. While it’s still just as impressive, sometimes it’s so frustrating to use that I just give up, quit the Camera app, and don’t bother to take a photo at all.
Hyperspektiv is one of my favorite photo apps from the past few years. Instead of screwing with your digital photos to make them look like olde timey film photos, it screws with your digital photos to make them look crazy and awesome. It’s a glitch-style filter app, and it pretty much decimates your images, turning them into incredible video clips, and — now — still photos.
Hyperspektiv 2.0 is out, and it cranks up the heat on the image-mangling burner to H-O-T.
Hyperspektiv is a contradiction. Photo-editing apps are designed to make your photos look better by making them look nicer. Hyperspektiv is designed to make your photos look better by making them look worse.
Not only that, it’s one of a handful of photo apps that don’t try to mimic the limitations of film photography, like grain and light leaks. Instead, it ditches the nostalgia and uses truly digital means to glitch up your images, turning them into stills and videos that would look fantastic in a music video.
The iPhone XS’ camera is amazing, but put an unedited shot next to an unedited photo from the older iPhone X, or one of Google’s Pixel phones, and it looks a little flat. To “fix” this, you can tap the auto-enhancing Magic Wand tool on the edit screen, but this takes things too far in the opposite direction, making faces as orange as Florida bodybuilders.
I actually prefer the less-gaudy images from the XS, but sometimes they need a little extra pop. And the good news is, you don’t have to spend lots of time editing. There’s one slider built into the Photos app that will fix things up right away.
Halide, the best iPhone camera app that isn’t the iPhone’s Camera app, has gotten yet another amazing update. This time it brings a color histogram (which is actually way cooler than it sounds), plus even smarter Smart Raw.
There are a bunch of reasons to remove the background from a photo. You might just hate the background — a perfect portrait ruined by crowds, or ugly construction work, or both. You may want to remove the background in order to extract the subject — maybe you’re doing some kind of Photoshop trick, or making a greetings card.
Whatever your reasons, it’s easy to do. Removing the background from an image used to be a nightmare. Now, you just need the right app. And if you’re a regular with our Cult of Mac photo how-tos, you probably have that app already.