Microsoft’s New Pix Camera App Brings AI To Your Photos
Microsoft’s research arm has launched a photography app for iOS users called Pix.
The magic of Pix is that it enhances the photos that the users click, on it’s own.
The app makes the photos better and augments the quality of Apple’s Live Photos ability to capture the scenes that have elements in motion in them.
This is clearly a move on Microsoft’s part to continuously push the building of applications for platforms beyond the platforms that are directly under it’s own control. And it’s also a clear plan for Microsoft to try and be relevant and contemporary on the world’s most App-energetic operating system.
Pix is for those lazy people who want a professional feel to their photos but are not really interested in making all those changes and adjustments in the contrast, brightness, frames and more themselves, to get that perfect picture.
Worry not my friend as Microsoft may have answered your prayers! The app literally has very few manually adjustable settings and uses artificial intelligence to give you best possible pictures with a single tap.
“We think that people are the most important subjects in the photographs you take”, said John Weisberg, principal program manager in the computational photography group within Microsoft’s research organization.
Microsoft Pix is specifically suited to capture pictures of people and comes with inbuilt adjustments, which enable the user to take a photo even when the scene changes within a blink of your eye. What this ensures is that the exposure of an image is always tuned to the right conditions.
When users press the shutter button, the app takes a burst of photos and then chooses the best ones for final use on the basis of analysis of traits like quality, sharpness, as well as facial traits like smiles and whether the people in the frame had their eyes open. It uses the best frame and also augments the best aspects from the other photos clicked in the background.
The app also recognises faces quickly and employs Microsoft’s Hyperlase technology to stabilize video shot clicked through the app. Microsoft Hyperlapse is already available for Android and Windows Phone users and is now available on iOS. It employs image stabilization algorithms and intelligently selects which frames to keep for optimal flow in time lapses.
That burst also powers Pix’s Live Image feature, which in turn creates a short moving picture when there’s motion in the background, like flowing water, or the leaves rustling in the wind.. Now what’s interesting here is that this enables any iPhone or iPad to click Live images, a feature that Apple has made available on recent models like iPhone6, iPhone 6S and iPhone SE.
Microsoft is pitching this feature as a way to get the best parts of Apple’s moving picture functionality without requiring a lot of storage space and getting stabilized images as a result.
Microsoft’s app places focus on people and after facial recognition adjusts aspects like brightness, contrast, white-balance etc. by itself. During dim light conditions, the app automatically enables “Denoise” mode, effectively reducing noise by using burst shots resulting in an enhanced image in real-time.
The app also features a ‘compare’ option, whereby you can compare the effects of Pix’s app and the “normal” click.
Weisberg confirms that the interface of the app is “intentionally simple”, with no modes or settings to select, helping users take better photos with a minimalist set of tools. With Pix, Microsoft intends to “bring a lot of extra value” to smartphone photography.
We agree with you Mr. Weisberg, and are waiting for this app to release for Android users also.