Instagram is a huge hit among photography enthusiasts - within two years of its launch, it has gained over a 100 million users. The mobile photo app allows you to apply digital filters and share them on social networking sites. It's become so popular that some restaurants are getting annoyed by what is called foodstagramming (taking pictures of your food with Instagram). There have been reports of some restaurants in New York even banning people from taking pictures of their food.
But there is a world beyond Instagram. Now power-packed smartphones can do a lot more than just take regular pictures or panorama shots. There are many apps that allow you to modify photos by adding different dimensions - you can make them threedimensional or make them look like a video.
The return of .GIF
GIF files have made a fighting comeback on the digital world. Once written off as obsolete technology for pictures, now they dominate the web. There are many photo apps on different mobile ecosystems that allow you to take GIFs and superimpose the pictures onto each other to create a 3D photo.
GIFs can be easily created by stitching a few shots taken in burst mode. But the 3D photos are the fun part. You need to take at least two pictures which are superimposed on each other and create an illu- sion of depth. These are called anaglyphs. And you can view the 3D illusion with a pair of 3D glasses. Phereo 3D photo is a popular app on the Android operating system, while Jittergram is a popular app on the iOS. Be warned on the Android app, as the app might not work too well due to the device fragmentation and keep an eye out on the developer notes. Both the apps have a website where people can share their 3D photos and GIF files which can show off a bit of depth perspective .
The popularity o f GIFs has spawned a new form of art and these are called cinemagraphs . Think of them as the moving portraits and pictures in the Harry Potter universe . Cinemagraphs are photographs in which there is a repeated movement of one object. Cinemagraphs , which are usually published in an animated GIF format, can give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video. The term was coined by US photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who used the technique to animate their fashion and news photographs beginning in early 2011.
Cinemagraphs or cinemagrams are one step better than the GIFs as they are not as seizure-inducing as their cousins which do rounds on image boards of Reddit and 4chan. Cinemagraphs focus more on the composition of the picture just as regular photographs and the movement in the pictures add an aesthetic value. Think of grass moving gently in the wind, or a model batting her long eyelashes, or a lapel on a coat moving in the wind.
Often while taking pictures, the focusing isn't perfect and it's hard to take another picture since the moment has passed. Lytro is a digital camera that does not look or operate like conventional cameras . The main differentiator is that it measures megarays instead of megapixels. The camera captures light fields instead of light, which allows you to refocus your pictures after you've taken them. Light fields are captured on an array of sensors that convert the information into digital 1s and 0s.
Once the picture is taken, it can be uploaded onto a computer where the software allows you to focus on a particular area of the photograph. The perspective shift that you get from refocusing the image adds to the 3D effect for a static image where you can tilt your head and it plays with the different depths of field.
The company has also added a number of filters and the photo depths can be still be played around with.