Microsoft Pix App Improves Your iPhone Snaps

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A new iPhone app from tech giant Microsoft promises to improve your photos by choosing the best pixels from ten images and combining them into one super shot.

Microsoft Pix launched on the Apple App Store this Wednesday, and is available on the iPhone 5s up to the latest iPhone 6s. The app makes use of Microsoft Research artificial intelligence to choose which pixels make the best image, and can also select pixels to form a cinemagraph image.

Free app enhances your photos using artificial intelligence

The app is free to download and must be opened separately from the Apple Camera app. Once inside the app, choose between photo and video mode before hitting the shoot button.

If you think you’ve missed the best shot, Pix might just catch it for you. As soon as you open the app it starts buffering frames, so it can select pixels from images that you thought you had missed.

There are also a number of filters that work out the best contrast, tone, white balance and shadows for your shots. Ulanoff has spent a week reviewing the app with his iPhone and says that Microsoft Pix produces consistently better images than the standard Camera app.

Low-light situations benefit most

The algorithm in the app removes some of the haze from low-light photos and enhances colors in normal light situations. One suggestion that Ulanoff makes is the inclusion of a strength slider bar for when you think that the algorithm has gone too far in its editing.

In situations with optimal lighting and no movement, Microsoft Pix churned out images that were almost identical to the original iPhone photos. You can compare the images using the “Compare” button, and the app sometimes offers multiple choices for the Best Photo that it can produce. All of these are saved to your camera roll.

Another interesting feature is the fact that the app looks for motion in each shot. By recording movement the app can create live, cinemagraph-style images which are effectively 4 second looping videos. The results can be pretty impressive, for example a portrait with a waterfall in motion in the background.

Useful or just a bit of fun?

If you want to you can also use the built-in hyperlapse technology, but Ulanoff was not too sure on the idea. He was also not too impressed with the facial recognition capabilities, claiming that the images produced by the app were largely similar to the original photos.

On the whole the app is a good demonstration of the impressive things that Microsoft can achieve with its programming expertise. Ulanoff found that group photos, action shots and cinemagraphs were enhanced by the app compared to the iPhone originals, but there may be an issue with integration into iOS.

Many people simply swipe up to access the camera, a single easy movement which allows for quick snaps. The idea of opening a separate app may therefore be unattractive to some people, and Microsoft may struggle to keep people interested after the novelty wears off.

That said it appears that many users are looking for innovative ways to produce new visual content, as proven by the roaring success of AI-powered photo editing app Prisma. The app turns your photos into works of art inspired by famous artists, and has exploded in popularity since its recent release.

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