Apple is critiquing your photos with new AI computer vision tech acquisition

Oct 2, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Apple is critiquing your photos with new AI computer vision tech acquisition

Oct 2, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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TechCrunch report that Apple has acquired a small computer vision AI tech startup, Regaind. They say that the report has come from multiple sources, and if true could be very cool for the future of Apple’s mobile photography.

Apple already added an intelligent search to the iPhone Photos app a couple of years ago. It allows you to search for particular things like “tree” or “water”, and will usually give you what you ask for. This acquisition allows Apple to take things to a whole new level, though.

Regaind takes things further than Apple’s current system by actually looking at the technical and aesthetic qualities of your photos. It “looks” at them and judges them to see which are awesome and which suck.

You may remember Regaind from the popular Keegan website (the link no longer works) a year or so ago. The website would let you upload images, and then “Keegan” would offer a a critique. It wasn’t always perfect, but it worked surprisingly well most of the time.

While Keegan offered only a cursory critique of your shots, Regaind’s current system gives a little more insight into what it sees. It looks at the colour palette, sharpness and exposure, as well as the general aesthetic. The tech looks at many different aspects to give positive or negative “properties” to your image.

It also attempts to detect other things in your image, such as actual objects and descriptive terms of the photos’ content. Things like “people”, “smiling”, “outdoors”, etc. But it also looks at what the image represents. For example, “friendship”, “happiness”.

As well as the now-mandatory facial recognition, it attempts to determine what the actual feature of your photo is. What is the most important region of the image, and what it is attempting to highlight.

The facial recognition goes a little beyond simply “This is a face”, though. It also analyses each face to determine gender, age, and emotion (something which Facebook has also been looking into).

And this is just what Regaind shows us on their website. What other technologies it may include, and how well they work is only known to Regaind and Apple. But, it holds a lot of potential for the future of sifting through our mobile shots to find the best. Some of the image properties it comes up with, though, do sound a lot like your typical local camera club judge.

With this technology incorporated into iOS, your phone will be able to highlight your best photos. Each album will have a thumbnail that’s actually pleasing and useful to look at. Slideshows would contain only the very best images, or at least what it things are the best, of the 500 you shot from your day at the beach.

As TechCrunch point out, Apple recently issued a strong reminder about its focus on privacy. So, it will be interesting to see exactly how Apple may implement this technology into future Apple devices and software.

Part of me hopes that they take this in a similar direction to SatNav’s vocal commands to the operator, and celebrity voice packs. But rather than Sean Connery telling you to “Turn around when possible”, it’ll be Bruce Gilden saying “This is crap, what is it even supposed to be? Shoot it again!”.

[via TechCrunch]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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7 responses to “Apple is critiquing your photos with new AI computer vision tech acquisition”

  1. Bogdan Dobre Avatar
    Bogdan Dobre

    crApple first needs to learn how to take decent photos

    1. Mike Downey Avatar
      Mike Downey

      ‘Apple’ doesn’t take photos. The operator does. I have many awesome pictures taken on my iPhone. Your analogy would blame the word processor for a lousy story.

    2. Bogdan Dobre Avatar
      Bogdan Dobre

      I literally meant the company, not their hardware. Sure, they are fampus for their product shots but otherwise, their reference and publicity shots, promotional or otherwise are always sub-par, poorly color graded and (imho) reflecting a standard appealing to a certain social elite rather than the oddballs like old Apple used to.
      Hence, to have Apple judge my photos using some algorithm arranged by the same people who do thier promotional work would not only be unfair, poorly executed and promoting a certain agenda but also a big middle finger to what constitutes freedom of expression.
      Believe you me, I don’t rip on Apple just because it’s the trendy thing to do.

  2. Nadine Spires Avatar
    Nadine Spires

    Lol more like fix the bad photographers first.

  3. jason bourne Avatar
    jason bourne

    Screw Apple.

  4. Damir Perisa Avatar
    Damir Perisa

    techology telling the human what is “good” is by definition wrong.

  5. David Campbell Avatar
    David Campbell

    The most important tool is the photographer, not the camera.