Lytro to get Perspective Shift and Living Filters for more focus-shifting fun (video)

Lytro has just announced a software update that expands upon the multidimensional elements of the little light-field point-and-shoot. The Lytro Desktop software will get two new features, dubbed Perspective Shift and Living Filters, both of which expand upon the device's focus-shifting capabilities. Perspective Shift lets you change the photo's center of perspective, while Living Filters are interactive image effects that range from cool to kooky. We had a chance to get an early look at these features, so join us after the break for our impressions and video of them in action.

Essentially a fine-tuned version of the parallax-based 3D effect we saw in Hong Kong, Perspective Shift lets you change the POV of the shot after it's taken, thus allowing the entirety of the photo to be in focus -- a benefit in and of itself. Viewers can then click-and-drag the photo in any direction to get a freaky, yet cool three-dimensional experience -- we imagine this might be what the world looks like after one too many shots of tequila. To see if your friends agree, you can share the images to Facebook or Twitter from the Lytro website so they can get in on the interactive magic as well; check it out yourself in the demo below.

Perspective Shift will be available for any previously taken Lytro snapshots, but not all photos are suited for the effect. Pictures of flat scenes or photos where the background isn't as prominent might not work, as they're poor candidates for discerning depth. Still, the Lytro software will try its hardest to make it work, and you might get a few surprising results despite subpar photo-taking skills. Perhaps most intriguing is the way Perspective Shift will work on an accelerometer-equipped device such as the iPad. Take a peek at our interview with Lytro's director of photography Eric Cheng below and you'll see him demonstrate the shifting of the image just by tilting the tablet around (note that you'll have to tap and drag the image to get it started).

As for Living Filters, think of them as your usual photo filters, but on steroids. Instead of clicking to focus, you can click to filter certain parts of a photo with one of nine different effects: Carnival, Crayon, Glass, Line Art, Mosaic, Blur+, Pop, Film Noir and 8-Track. Below is Lytro's demo of Living Filters, and you can get full descriptions of each filter in the press release at the end of this post.

We asked Cheng if future updates could have users fine-tune the filter selection even further à la Photoshop's clone tool, and while that's not outside the realm of possibility, he suggested that it might depend on third-party software makers like Adobe getting in on the action. He said that while Lytro could and would develop features like these on their own, the company would welcome a robust third-party ecosystem as well. According to Cheng, the problem, it seems, lies in educating the industry on the complexity of light-field photography, and how to tailor software to address its specific needs. For now, Lytro's making all their own software, but that might change depending on outside interest.

Both Perspective Shift and Living Filters are bundled in a free Lytro Desktop software update that is slated to arrive starting December 4th.

Show full PR text

Lytro Unveils Perspective Shift and Living Filters
for New Ways to Experience Living Pictures

Mountain View, Calif. – November 15, 2012 – Lytro Inc., creator of the world's first consumer light field camera, announced today it will unveil a new light field technology capability for the Lytro camera with Perspective Shift as well as new creative tools with Living Filters. These features will be available to customers starting December 4th via a free Lytro Desktop software update.

Perspective Shift lets Lytro photographers interactively change the point of view in a picture after it has been taken. On a computer or mobile device, viewers can move the living picture in any direction – left, right, up, down and all around. When pictures are shared to the web, Facebook and Twitter, friends can experience Perspective Shift without needing any special software. Perspective Shift also works retroactively on any light field pictures previously taken with a Lytro camera.

"By capturing the light field, the Lytro camera lets photographers achieve things that were never before possible. The first groundbreaking capability was focusing pictures after they were taken and now we are excited to offer Perspective Shift, which brings living pictures to life in an entirely new way," said Ren Ng, founder and executive chairman of Lytro.

"The new Perspective Shift from Lytro is fun and artistic! I've had a wonderful time running around with my Lytro camera to grab little scenes and bend them into this new way of seeing living photos. The idea that you can take any little scene and make it like interactive Matrix-bullet-time is really cool," said Trey Ratcliff, renowned landscape photographer and Lytro pro-shooter team member.

In addition to Perspective Shift, Lytro announced a new way to enhance light field pictures with Living Filters. With a single click, Lytro photographers will be able to apply one of nine interactive filters to their pictures and change the look of the picture based on light field depth. Unlike traditional digital photo filters, Living Filters create additional effects as viewers interact with a picture. Living Filters is a free update to Lytro Desktop and works on all Lytro light field pictures, including retroactively.

New Living Filters:
· Carnival: Twist and distort your picture as you refocus and change perspective as if you're in a funhouse of mirrors.

· Crayon: Add a touch of color to a monochrome version of your picture. Click to focus and add color into your scene, or change your perspective and add color back into your scene as you explore.

· Glass: Put a sheet of virtual glass into your scene. Everything in front of where you click will be unchanged, and everything behind will appear to be behind a piece of frosted glass.

· Line Art: Reduce your scene to a grayscale outline, seeing more detailed lines where you refocus.

· Mosaic: Create a tiled mosaic in the out-of-focus parts of your scene as you click or change your perspective.

· Blur+: Significantly enhance the amount of blur in the out-of-focus parts of your scene.

· Pop: Make parts of your scene pop out with extra detail and vibrancy when those areas are clicked.

· Film Noir: Add a moody and stylized black and white look to your pictures, with a little bit of extra detail and color where you click.

· 8-Track: Bring back the '70s with this filter that adds an aged, vignetted look to your pictures. Click to un-age parts of your scene and see them come back to life, disco suit not required.

"Having the ability to play with tiles of your living pictures while you refocus with Mosaic or to give an evening shot more drama with Film Noir will let Lytro camera owners and their friends and family have even more fun with the light field and the living pictures it creates," said Eric Cheng, director of photography at Lytro.

To view Lytro pictures and get more information on Perspective Shift and Living Filters, visit these picture galleries:

Perspective Shift Gallery:
Living Filters Gallery:
The Lytro camera Learn Page:

For an overview of Perspective Shift, check out this video:

Perspective Shift Video: