Monday, 22 October 2012

LG Optimus 3D app DSLR Shot / Smart Focus

DSLR Shot / Smart Focus android camera app & Smart Ruler / Rangefinder app introduced at MWC2012

The promise? A standalone camera app aimed at delivering photos with the much sought after "shallow depth of field". ie keeping a foreground subject in focus whilst the backdrop is pleasingly blurred, for pseudo almost "DSLR-like" photos. How does it work?
By making clever use of the LG Optimus 3D's twin back cameras, simultaneously snapping one "in" and another "out of focus" photo. The trick is to have the app efficiently isolate the desired foreground subject  whilst blending it into the other blurred background image. Rather like how HDR blends exposures into a single end photo.

There's speculation that perhaps the 3D camera helps the software to determine what is fore/background? Otherwise we may be treading in the less sophisticated territory of having the user performing a finger-paint selection of the desired foreground.

An article found at NAG Online article that mentions this mysterious "DSLR" application demonstrated with the launch of the LG Optimus 3D Max in late Feb at the MWC2012 event.

Quote "The dual 5MP cameras also allow for better augmented reality apps to make use of the hardware, as well as doing some pretty clever things like using the camera to figure out how long something is (Smart Ruler) or to create a fake DSLR-looking shot with a greater depth of field than standard auto-focus cameras. Here I have to pause for a moment. The way LG is using these cameras is a lot like how Nokia achieves noiseless and sharper photos with the 808 Pureview. Nokia’s 41MP sensor interpolates pixels to create a smaller 5 or 8MP shot, working out which colours and angles are correct and mashing all the pixels together beautifully to create the final image. LG’s DSLR likewise does something similar, focusing the lenses at two different lengths digitally and taking their combined efforts to create good depth of field and colour reproduction, and to reduce noise. "

Mostly sharp in-focus (narrow aperture icon bottom right)

All blurred out-focus (wide open aperture icon bottom right) *Simulated

Select the foreground from the background. Note the rather loose definition of the foreground subject!

Bend for the final "DSLR-like" image with the LG bloke the focus of our attention and an otherwise distracting background all blurry.

Without a doubt its a very novel use of a 3D smartphone camera! It would have been a genuinely unique selling point for LG's 3D smartphones to have this feature! Alas... I tried but still can not find this application for download anywhere... Perhaps it was just an incomplete demo piece of software that was shown at the MWC2012 but for whatever reason, never finally released. If this app gets a general release at some point, I will gladly give it a try.

Drop me a note if you have any further info on this app!

*Credit to Bether senior member of the XDA Developer forum's LGO3D section for finding the NAG article.

In a YouTube video of the show, we catch tantalisingly glimpse of an icon for "Smart Focus" on the LG Optimus 3D Max but are not treated to a live video demo. I believe that "Smart Focus" and "DSLR Shot" are the same thing.

The "Smart Ruler", app IS demo'd in the above video that does make use of the LG Optimus 3D's twin cameras in triangulating distances. Much more elaborate than the typical ruler apps you find in the Google Play store. At the time of writing, it is available as a free download from the Korean LG World app store. If you have an LG 3D  smartphone, and have a Korean ID, please login and grab the app. Do us a favour and share the .apk installer file with the LGO3D XDA guys... we really want to have it but Korean LG World on-line registration is only available to people with a Korean social security number. Note, you NEED an LG 3D optimus smartphone to be able to search the Smart Ruler ap. Otherwise it's hidden from view.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Vintage American comic book ads

Before electronic entertainment... I remember back in the day when I were a wee lad in short trousers... at some newspaper stands of the the bigger UK train stations (must have been Picadilly) you could buy exotic imported American comic books for 12p a shot. You can tell they were imported because they had a purple ink stamp in the corner indicating the equivalent local price. That a favourite uncle of mine had a modest stack of them at my grandparents house and I'd pour over them on visits." Shogun Warriors" is a title that sticks in my memory! Giant Giant robots that transformed and combined from their elaborate smaller component vehicles. All kinds of awesome... I'll get to the robots later. Here's a nostalgic taste of those old adverts that ran in the comic. Still looking for the Sea Monkeys one.

 Energised Spiderman. I never had this but I knew a kid that did. It was a massive fixed pose figure. All hard plastic with a battery operated mini light bulb gimmick in one hand and a spring loaded retractable string contraption embedded in the wrist of his permanently raised left hand. Amazing? Actually even then I found it a bit rubbish... But it was a nice big statue at least.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

3D software differences in ICS for Optimus 3D

Macro update? Seems like no flower icon in the UI to indicate new 3D macro capabilities BUT... It really does seem like we CAN focus on objects much much closer than pre-ICS with the 3D stills mode. I can get a green square with a beep that indicates a good focus lock on anything as close as 8cm!!! Mind you... The built-in alignment software can't cope so well. The range of shift it allows is insufficient I find. I'm going to need it passed through 3DSteroid to see the results of its more broader alignment functions.

Check here for the 3D macro images before and after 3DSteroid alighnment (BTW that app is a must have!)

The native screen-cap function is now disabled within the camera and gallery app... so the following was clumsily taken using another camera.

The post picture taking UI is different!

I like the scrollable photo reel along the bottom It fades away after a couple of seconds left alone. All in all a definite improvement on what we had before!

HOWEVER... from the O3D feature list specified here...
"update for Optimus 3d 3d feature (DSLR shot, ruler tag, 3d macro, manual focus, zooming while recording)."

The item I can genuinely confirm as available right now is the 3D macro improvement. If the rest of those things are in this update, despite my looking for them, they seem very well hidden. Otherwise, they were perhaps just worthless rumours after all :(

A non-3D general observation is that the screen switching, scrolling is very smooth with the ICS update. Nice...

Friday, 12 October 2012

LG 3D Optimus 3D Max / Cube OFFICIAL firmware update in progress

OK I'm Home~  woken up my laptop... plugged in the phone via USB... Prompt on laptop screen says auto-run something or another... probably a bit of software on the phone itself... Now the laptop is telling me to install something else... It's downloading it of the internet now.

Oh my... serious iTunes for Windows flashbacks... hope it's not going to bring my PC to it's knees.

Full backup... Now Update!
I can see the PC is downloading something...

The Phone just rebooted...
Oh... something on the phone screen indicates something in Korean is happening ...
Phone is rebooting again...
The wallpaper is DIFFERENT!!!
OMG the swiping between screens is SO much smoother than before... is this ICS?

YES!!! Android 4.0.4 from LG for the Optimus 3D cube! Better late then never... and a very painless upgrade it was too :) Yeah... mine is a Korean 3D Optimus cube but outside of Korea is known as the Optimus 3D Max... You probably don't have long to wait for your ICS update, sorry to rub it in your nose... Sit tight! This is a great indication LG WILL get you your update!

ICS lands on LG Optimus 3D Cube (my 1st time Android OS update!)

Jumping ship from iOS in early Aug 2012, this LG Optimus 3D MAX / Cube is my first Android phone. The OS version it came with is 2.3.6 AKA Gingerbread. It works fine but been eagerly expecting a factory provided OS refresh promised for Q3 this year. As per every morning since Sept 2012, I've been routinely clicking on the "Check for Updates". But unlike every morning up to now, this morning the 13th Oct 2012 is different, I see there is finally a prompt that there's a new OS version available for my phone. (JOY!)

I'm so hoping this update is Android 4 AKA Ice Cream  Sandwich (henceforth referred to as ICS).

I was somewhat expecting an Over The Air update but the message indicates I need a PC to do the update. Sigh...

I've been finding iTunes on Windows PC a dreadfully slow starting software for a long time and was glad to see the back of it. I was quite happy I'd never installed anything on my laptop relating to Android up to now and I'd wanted it to stay that way, what with Over-The-Air OS updates an early feature on Android (appeared before iOS) but Nooooooooo... I'm now prompted to hook up to a PC... in this Post-PC-Age...  I'm not at home right now so I have to contain my excitement till later this afternoon. Good thing it's Saturday, I've the whole weekend to play with this update.

Heavens I hope this does not take all weekend...