November 27, 2013 By: egzthunder1
Our devices have turned from the communicators they were meant to be a decade and a half ago into multimedia powerhouses capable of doing most of what we do with other gadgets and larger equipment. Of course, the all-in-one aspect and reduction in component size come at a cost (normally quality), but that is a topic for another discussion. For all practical purposes, our devices are powerful enough to do what we want to do without having to be stuck in a room or waiting for others to do stuff for us.
One thing that has truly grown on mobile devices over the last decade or so has been the camera. The sensors have been getting better and better, lenses have become not only more durable, but also enable us to take better pictures, and apps in general enable us to be more creative with how we do things. Today, we will talk about an app that enables you to do something with that gigantic stash of pictures in your SD card (no, not that stash…).
A photo mosaic is basically a picture, which is composed entirely of smaller pictures, arranged in such a manner that the eye perceives the formation as a different picture than the ones used to form it. The arrangement of pictures is something that is normally left for PCs, as it requires quite a bit of processing power to get something done efficiently, that will look half decent.
XDA Forum Member zagonico just released an app that enables you to perform this same task, but on your mobile device. Why is this good? Well, for starters, you no longer need a computer in order to create these. On top of that, it saves you a few minutes worth of transferring gigs of pictures into your computer’s HDD. Yes, you could connect the device to the PC via USB or even take out the card and plug it in the PC, but that hinders your overall speed due to data transfer rates via USB/card reader being considerably slower than those that come from reading off the internal drive. And last but not least, you can do it any time, any place. The app uses rather decent resolutions for the small pictures, so the resulting image looks quite nice. It also allows the use of grayscale and sepia effects for added creativity.
The dev has stated that he tried it on a LG L9 and a SGS2, both of which presented different completion times for the same project. In other words, your mileage may vary depending on your device’s hardware. Please take it for a spin and report your results in the thread so that others will know what to expect whenever they try this on their device(s). Also, feedback and bug reports are welcome.
You can find more information in the original thread.
November 24, 2013 By: eagleeyetom
The flagship LG G2 was released not too long ago. Powerful hardware—almost identical to its younger sibling, the Google Nexus 5—places G2 in the top league of Android devices. But while the G2 packs great camera hardware, the stock camera software is a bit less than ideal.
A camera mod released by XDA Recognized Contributor Jishnu Sur™ improves the photo quality significantly. For example, the stock camera app shoots video at 14 FPS in low light, which results in a choppy picture. After the mod, the framerate is back at 30.
Increased low light video FPS is just one of the many improvements. A detailed technical changelog is available in the thread. With this mod, the G2′s camera works like it should have from the beginning. Of course, it’s possible to revert back to stock camera application. Jishnu Sur™ was kind enough to provide a flashable zip that restores the original app.
July 29, 2013 By: TheRomMistress
Coinciding with the release of Android 4.3 and and an updated stock camera, stage one of the CyanogenMod team’s top secret “Project Nemesis” was finally unveiled on July 26. According to the development group’s weekly wrap-up on www.cyanogenmod.org, the goal of this project is to bring users the best custom operating experience possible. As such, Focal, a feature-packed camera application, was announced as the first component geared towards reaching that goal. CyanogenMod developer Guillaume Lesniak (XDA Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD) posted details about the new camera on Google +, explaining almost a dozen new and improved features that were integrated into the Open Source app.
Included in the announcement was a video showing Focal in action. It’s no doubt that you have all heard the expression, “being in the right place at the right time.” CyanogenMod has expanded on that by claiming Focal will provide you with “the right pixel, look, path, spark, and feeling at the right time.” There are two key components at work within the UI that help backup that claim: a side bar and personable widgets within the sidebar. With a simple swipe, widgets can be reordered and hidden depending on your preference. When the screen is rotated, all widgets and the sidebar stay in place to avoid cluttered distractions while trying to take a picture. “It just feels natural,” said Lesniak. Doubling tapping on the viewfinder will turn it into a Quick Capture mode that allows you to take pics no matter where you tap on the screen. By use of a “rule of thirds” grid that helps frame your shots, you can achieve a more professional looking photo with Focal.
Those who have a tendency to take “selfies” will love the timer and burst mode features, which are sorely lacking in the stock camera. Not only does the timer allow you to set up a delay after pressing the shutter button, but it also has a built-in voice trigger that snaps your mug as soon as you say, “cheese,” “cid,” or “whiskey.” The burst mode takes a series of shots in increments of 5, 10, 15, or more without the need to press the shutter button multiple times.
Light metering is a major component to getting the proper exposure of your subject. With the addition of a meter ring alongside the standard focus ring, your subjects will be less likely to turn out too bright or too dark. Depending on your device, different metering modes are available including frame average, spot metering, and weighted point.
A swipe-enabled review drawer has been implemented for quick reference to your recent photos. Wherever you are in the app, swiping down in portrait mode of left in landscape will allow for easy access to your pics. When shooting in burst mode, a mini review drawer is available in real time. You can also take a picture while the drawer is open and it will slowly fade out of view. Like stock, swiping gestures also allow you to instantly delete unwanted photos; and tapping on a photo will automatically open it up in gallery.
The ability to take video snapshots while recording is now available to all devices by simply double-tapping the screen or pressing the volume up key. By using the volume down key or tapping the screen, Focal also allows you to refocus your video. Different effects can be added/changed while shooting by keeping the corresponding widget open while recording.
Google’s new “auto-awesome” feature has been extended to Focal by adding an automatic picture enhancement system. Within five seconds of taking a picture, Focal will automatically enhance all new pictures you take. Panorama mode has also been enhanced so your pictures come out better than ever! Rather than the previous 160 degree panoramic, the new app allows you up to 360 degrees of landscape.
The CM team has also created a better software HDR algorithm that according to Lesniak, first matches the shots before blending them together and then applies them as a real tone-mapping. “It takes a little bit more time to process than our previous implementation, so you might not want to use it on all your pictures, but it’s definitely worth it on your special occasions,” he said.
One of the great new features added to the Android 4.2 stock camera was Photo Sphere. Unfortunately, not every device is compatible with it, and those who really wanted to use it had to exchange all CM enhancements in order to use it. With Focal, a similar feature called PicSphere has been introduced. PicSphere is an opensource replacement for Google’s PhotoSphere, and allows for complete 360 degree panoramas.
While Focal is not available quite yet, the team promises to publish the source along with its official repositories as soon as the last few bugs are worked out. Once the source has been released, you can expect to find it in subsequent CM nightlies. The source code is split into two different repositities: android_packages_apps_Focal and android_external_Focal. As an open source app written under version two of the General Public Licence, the android community is being strongly encourage to contribute to the success of Focal by adding new widgets and settings. Lesniak said that this is to “achieve the final goal of the app” which is to “have a complete camera software, opensource, that is both powerful and compatible with every device.”
As this is only the first phase of the Nemesis project, Steve Kondik said in a Google + post that there will be much more to follow. “My goal for CM has always been to break open these mostly proprietary mobile devices so we can turn them into the product we really want…What’s most important to me is that anyone can get the code, hack on it and change whatever you want, build it, and flash it to your device.” he said. “Nemesis is our plan to improve the user experience in the right places. The new camera app, Focal, is just the start. Without giving too much away, invoking teaser videos, or giving ETAs, I can confidently say that awesome things are going to keep coming.”
July 27, 2013 By: Samantha
Taking pictures underwater is probably something that not many people have attempted. Of course, not only are the physical and hardware limitations preventing people from doing so, expect for a select ‘few’ devices, but physics tells us that capacitive touch screens will have a hard time registering any taps and swipes when under water. A physical camera button may remedy this issue on the Sony Xperia Z, but how about the proximity sensor?
In answer to a question along similar lines, XDA Forum Member AGGevorgyan has developed an that allows Xperia Z owners to easily take photos with the proximity sensor. Designed to rid users of the aforementioned problem, Aqua Z Camera will snap up pictures every time you tap the proximity sensor—simple as that. The sensor sensitivity, being the duration you have your finger covering the proximity sensor, can be adjusted within the app. The great thing is that it doesn’t require root access, meaning its a viable alternative to the physical camera button mod. Despite being in the early alpha stages, AGGevorgyan has already included camera options native to the original camera app, including:
With four versions currently under the belt, AGGevorgyan warns that Aqua Z Camera may be unstable for some, and will not work with any other device. To learn more, check out the original thread.
What can we do if phone manufacturers forget to include a physical camera button? “Make” one ourselves, of course! A mod we’ve covered did so on the Sony Xperia Z by substituting the volume buttons as a physical camera button, which allowed for quick launch of the camera as well as fast image capture.
Well, now HTC One users can enjoy this function as well, as XDA Senior Member Matt has created a mod allowing for the volume buttons to act as a physical camera button. The mod is based on the latest version of the Camera.apk and will work with any deodexed Sense-based ROM. Rapid shooting can also be activated by holding down the volume button. Three variants of the mod are made available, them being:
All three variants are compatible with devices running Android version 4.2.2, while those running Android 4.1.2 will only receive the first variant. If you’d like to reverse the effects of the mod, you can do so by flashing the provided zip file.
To learn more, be sure to check out the original thread for more details.
A product decision that I never truly understood up to this day is the exclusion of a physical camera button on a modern day smartphone. The three powerhouses of 2013 so far, the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, and Xperia Z, all lack a dedicated camera button to the dismay of many users. However, if you own the Xperia Z, fear not because there is now a mod that will (hopefully) rid of this issue.
XDA Senior Member black97one has created a mod for the Xperia Z to allow for fast image capturing by holding down the volume down button while the phone is in standby mode. Additionally, when in quick launch camera mode, black97one has made capturing easier by removing the restriction of having to press both the volume up and down button to take a picture. Instead, users can capture images by pressing only the volume down button. Therefore in order to zoom in and out, black97one suggests doing so with the ubiquitous two finger pinch gesture.
Version 4 of the FastCapture mod will work with any ROM for the Xperia Z, and comes in a recovery-flashable update.zip package. Also, be sure to enable fast capture in the quick launch camera settings. Black97one may also be developing a mod allowing for fast capture with the power button, but we can only wait and see.
So Xperia Z owners, will this add to the camera wow by allowing you to instantly capture an image without having to first wake up your device, or does this just seem to be a fading gimmick that future generations will eventually forget? I mean, some lock screens have slide-to-capture functionality that works towards the same goal, albeit in a different way. As for users of the other mobile devices with no dedicated camera button, what are you opinions?
For more information on the FastCapture Mod, visit the original thread.