Google Makes Photography Tools Free

Google has lots of software under its belt, one of which was the mobile editing app Snapseed. They gained control of this back in 2012 when it acquired the German Developer Nik, creator of Snapseed and several other photography tools. In its latest move with the software, Google has made the photography tools it acquired free.

The photography tools are part of the Nik Collection, a grouping of desktop plug-ins aimed at helping photographers with their images. Below is a list of the tools which integrate with Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop:

  • Analog Efex Pro
    • “Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.”
  • Color Efex Pro
    • “A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.”
  • Silver Efe Pro
    • “Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.”
  • Viveza
    • “Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.”
  • HDR Efex Pro
    • “From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.”
  • Sharpener Pro
    • “Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.”
  • Dfine
    • “Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.”

You can grab the collection from here for free, and if you purchased it (for the previous price of $149) this year you will automatically be rewarded. While the move suggests there will no future support for the tools, the fact that everyone can use them will surely only improve interest in the product and services the company provides.

Images courtesy of Ivan Slade and Saurabh Paranjape

Recreating a Lord of The Rings’ Battle In Elder Scrolls V

Replicating, editing, and re-imagining gaming graphics has been transformed from the exclusive domain of high-end developers to your average fan, from the likes of Minecraft and many 3D software modelling packages have offered the platform to crazily creative designs and characters. This is no different as a Youtube channel by the name of “Tyroine” who has released a new video which conveys Lord of The Rings’ Battle of Helm’s Deep, the only difference is it has been being recreated in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim.

According to the channel, “Tyroine” produces “amateur videos parodies, skits designer and editor and is especially fond of Machinima, Minecraft, Skyrim and Fantrailers” The Channel has a whopping 10,432+ subscribers and 4,345,581+ views.

Now for the screenshots, as you can probably gather, this is both creative and fantastic. in order to achieve the desired results, “Tyroine” implemented the recording process by using Fraps, which is a real-time video capture and benchmarking that has the ability to capture “audio and video up to 7680×4800 with custom frame rates from 1 to 120 frames per second”

The editing was achieved by using a software package by the name of “Sony Vegas Pro 12” which has the ability to edit video and audio material to various specifications.  Right at the end of this video, Sauron and Balrog are featured which I am sure will be spotted by fans.

Thank You Tyroine Youtube channel, FRAPS and Sony Vegas Pro 12 for providing us with this information.

Chinese Scientists Edit Embryonic Human Genome

A group of Chinese scientists have become the first to edit the genetic code in a human embryo. The study, which aimed to remove the gene responsible for the potentially fatal blood disorder β-thalassaemia, rewrote the genetic material – using a technique known as CRISPR/Cas9 – of ‘non-viable’ embryos that were incapable of producing life, with the scientists recognising the ethical implications of editing a human life prior to its birth.

The study, the results of which were published in online journal Protein & Cell, was led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at the Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou. Huang and his team injected 86 embryos with the CRISPR/Cas9 system and waited 48 hours for its molecules to react. 71 embyros survived the process, with each having grown by eight cells. 54 of those cells were genetically tested, of which 28 had successfully had their DNA rewritten to edit the HBB gene, responsible for β-thalassaemia.

“If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100%,” Huang said. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.”

George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at the Boston, Massachusetts Harvard Medical School, said of the study, “I believe this is the first report of CRISPR/Cas9 applied to human pre-implantation embryos and as such the study is a landmark, as well as a cautionary tale. Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes.”

The study was not without controversy, with science journal Nature and Science rejecting the paper due to ethical objections. Despite this, it is reported that four other studies into gene editing are underway in China.

Thank you nature for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Research Reveals Incredible Hyperlapse Video Technology

GoPro and other popular first-person video equipment has given us many unique looks into our world, allow us to see what others see like never before. The only downside is that the cameras are mounted on people running, jumping, climbing and quite often the camera suffers a lot of shaking, making the footage a little rough around the edges.

Microsoft Research think they have the answer, and their new Hyperlapse technique uses some incredible software calculations to turn that shaky footage into one smooth motion through an event and the end result is unlike any other time lapse footage I’ve ever seen.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/SOpwHaQnRSY[/youtube]

By usinging a 3D representation of the video’s path, moving the camera around in a virtual environment to find the optimal spot, then linking those spots together, the teams software completely re-tools the source video and it’s certainly a lot more advanced that the image stabilization we see on YouTube videos.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/sA4Za3Hv6ng[/youtube]

Thank you VB for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VB.