Lytro is on a roll. After launching manual controls just last month, the company today release a real treat. The Lytro desktop software just received an update that brings two new features into the mix: perspective shift, which slightly adjusts the perspective of the camera after the picture’s been taken, and living filters. Best of all, these new features work with previously taken Lytro photos.
And just when you had finally wrapped your head around a picture changing focus after it’s been taken…
In case you’re late to the game, Lytro launched a brand new type of camera which captures an entire light field, rather than one plane of light, allowing for interactive images which can change focus with a single click.
This was magical enough in itself, but the company promised that with this disruptive technology would come even more creative benefits: changing focus was just the beginning.
Today, the company delivers on that promise with not one, but two, new features.
The first is shifting perspective, and it’s certainly the most important. One of the main reasons our eyes sense a third dimension besides length and width is the fact that we’re always moving slightly. These slight movements communicate with our brain to mark that the computer is closer than the coffee table is closer than the tv is closer than the wall.
It’s basic stuff, to the point where it’s so obvious you’d never think about it on your own, but Lytro has found a way to integrate it into its software. This means users can not only change focus of the photo, but swivel it around to check out the perspective.
All you do is hold click and move around within the frame. On the iPad, the experience is even better, as Lytro has used the gyrometer to control the perspective shift based on which way you tilt the device. It’s only a slight shift in perspective, the same shifts you make standing, walking, or looking around a room, but it’s a fundamental part of establishing distance and depth.
This is possible on exsiting photos thanks to the sheer amount of data embedded in each photo taken by a Lytro. There’s enough data for the company to keep building features for a long while on the software side, and they prove with this update.
The second new feature is called Living Filters, and it’s essentially adding photo filters but on steroids.
For example, Black and White is actually called “Film Noir” and it leaves just the slightest bit of color in a photograph. It’s with this color that you know the girl on the left is a red head and the girl on the right is a brunette.
Other filters like Carnival (think fun house mirror) and Line Art (which is like a cartoon drawing) are more on the fun side, while Crayon (for example) brings a professional grade quality to photos by letting you choose which parts of the photo are in color and which fade to black and white.
What’s important is that no matter the filter, all the images maintain the same interactivity.
To meet demand, Lytro amped up distribution in a huge way. The company’s previous backlog of orders has been fulfilled entirely, so if you order a Lytro today on Amazon, it would arrive tomorrow — something the company couldn’t previously state.
The update is available for all Lytro users in the desktop software, but once you’ve enabled the update and opted in to perspective shift for your library (which is undoable), all photos you’ve taken (even existing photos you took months away) will be enabled for perspective shift whether you’re in the software, on the web, or in a Facebook newsfeed.
In short, Lytro is developing a new type of camera that dramatically changes photography for the first time since the 1800s. Rather than just capturing one plane of light, it captures the entire light field around a picture, all in one shot taken on a single device. A light field includes every beam of light in every direction at every point in time. Experimentation in this field started in the mid-1990s at Stanford with 100 cameras in one room....