As if the Google apps for editing and compiling photos and videos weren’t strong enough, the company has revamped the lineup and added some cool new ideas to digital photography. The new apps reveal a new photographic landscape for phones.
To start, there’s PhotoScan, a new app that is aimed at turning old analog photos into sharp digital ones for editing and manipulation. It’s as if your iPhone or Android phone now has a flatbed scanner built-in, but oddly, the software doesn’t work with tablets or Chromebooks.
Just put the photo onto a flat tabletop or pin it to a vertical corkboard and aim the phone at it. After positioning the photo in PhotoScan’s interface, press the capture button. Don't worry abouit trying to get rid of glare, we'll take care of that later.
Then the screen will will have four large dots on it that you need to aim for. They individually turn blue when PhotoScan is done optimizing the image’s sharpness, color balance and removing any glare. Last task is to frame the image and rotate it if necessary.
The technique uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to simulate how we look at images to optimize them for our eye. The results speak for themselves with excellent sharpness and color. More to the point, it's a glare-free image. On the downside, it can’t help a ripped or severely curled picture.
Still, PhotoScan is perfect for everything from maps and cartoons to photos for a family tree. All told, it took about half a minute per shot to turn old photos into new digital images.
The revamped Photos app still can archive and share pictures for free if you agree to have them compressed, but now it has better editing tools and a more flexible automatic fix button. There’s the choice of a dozen preset enhancements for the image’s overall look as well as a technique for turning the sky bluer or warming up skin tones. If you want to, you can manually change the sharpness, light and color with a slew of individual slider controls.
The two apps work like hand in glove for getting the best shots out of a phone or turning old photos into new photos. Best of all, they're both absolutely free.