We’ve written a lot about the Focos photo app here on Cult of Mac, because it’s like the Photoshop of focus. The universal iOS app lets you edit the focus of your Portrait mode photos in crazy depth (pun intended). But v2.0 just launched, and it’s hands-down amazing.
Focos 2 uses machine learning to calculate the depth of any photo, and then apply portrait-style blur to it. That means you can take portrait photos on the iPad and, wildest of all, you can apply a portrait background blur to photos you’ve saved from the internet.
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.
Facebook is retooling Instagram to take some social pressure out of social media.
The photo-sharing app, which along with the iPhone sparked a revolution in instant photography, will reduce the pressure by making “likes” private so followers engage the content, not how popular it is. Instagram is also playing with ways to reduce the prominence of follower counts.
This week we mangle music with Enso, the amazing new audio looper for iPad, and chop up images with Hyperspektiv 2.0. Plus we showcase a new music player app and a big update to our favorite writing app.
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.
Even if you don’t have much interest in editing RAW and JPG images on your iPad, you might still want to check out Darkroom. The brand-new iPad version of the popular photo app offers a view of your standard iCloud Photo Library that’s better-looking and easier to use than the native Photos app. And that’s just for starters.
The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:
Add realistic lights to a scene.
Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
Add custom background blurs.
Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.
The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.
Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.
We’ve all taken the perfect photo, only to have to have it ruined by some unwanted element. A pole sticking out of someone’s head. A passing car in the background of an otherwise-perfect street scene. Or a political enemy in one of Stalin’s portraits.
But whereas the Soviet regime employed a team of photo retouchers to chop the gulag-bound dissidents from Stalin’s selfies, iPhone apps can remove clutter in seconds. Today we’ll see how to use my favorite: TouchRetouch.
iOS 12 has a great new camera filter: Comic Book. It turns your selfies and photos into pretty convincing pen-and-ink-style drawings, complete with flat blocks of color. It even works with Animoji selfies.
But hold on one second. You won’t find this filter in your iPhone’s Camera app, or even in the Photos app. Instead, you need to fire up the Messages app and use the camera there.