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Adobe’s latest Lightroom CC uses AI to ‘enhance’ RAW images

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Demoisaicing is particularly tricky in parts of an image with lots of texture, detail and colors. “Myriad mathematical calculations are required to perform the interpolation necessary to build an image,” Adobe stated in a white paper. “This takes time, even on the most powerful computer hardware. As a result, software like Lightroom is constantly balancing the tradeoff between image fidelity and speed.

The problems that typically crop up are the loss of small details, false colors across sharp edges, moire, edge blurring (zippering) and more. Using Adobe’s Sensei, Enhance Details was trained extensively in the cloud so that it can use the hardware on your PC or Mac. “We trained a neural network to demosaic RAW images using problematic examples, then [use] machine learning built into the latest Mac OS and Windows 10 operating systems to run this network,” said Adobe.

Adobe Lightroom Enhance Details demosaic

The result is a up to 30 percent more resolution in Bayer and X-Trans RAW files, and it comes organically from your camera’s sensor, rather than being generated artificially. There are a few caveats: You need a relatively powerful computer, and the process is only useful for images meant to be printed at a large size, or those with lots of details or artifacts.

On top of the enhance feature, Adobe added HDR, Pano and HDR Pano merge tools, along with a targeted adjustment tool and histogram clipping indicators. The HDR and Pano functions make it easier to combine multiple images to create images with more dynamic range, either in regular or panoramic formats.

Lightroom CC now has a targeted adjustment tool that makes it easy to fine-tune specific parts of an image, like the sky. The histogram clipping indicators show areas that are too dark (in blue), or too light (red), helping you deal with under- and over-exposed areas of an image. Finally, Adobe has added photo sharing to its Lightroom iOS app, and fixed bugs in the Android and ChromeOS versions, “making way for new features coming soon.” The release will start rolling out today to Creative Cloud users with access to Lightroom CC.

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Judge says Washington state cyberstalking law violates free speech

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The ruling came after a retired Air Force Major, Richard Rynearson III, sued to have the law overturned. He claimed that Kitsap County threatened to prosecute him under the cyberstalking law for criticizing an activist involved with a memorial to Japanese victims of US internment camps during World War II. While Rynearson would use “invective, ridicule, and harsh language,” the judge said, his language was neither threatening nor obscene.

Officials had contended that the law held up because it targeted conduct, not the speech itself. They also maintained that Rynearson hadn’t shown evidence of a serious threat — just that the prosecutor’s office would see how Rynearson behaved and take action if necessary. A county court had already tossed out the activist’s restraining order against Rynearson over free speech.

It’s not clear whether Washington will appeal the decision. If the ruling stays, though, it could force legislators to significantly narrow the scope if it wants a cyberstalking law to remain in place. This might also set a precedent that could affect legislation elsewhere in the country.

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Steam now supports NextVR’s virtual reality broadcasts

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The Steam version of the software works with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. NextVR rolled out an iteration of the app for the Rift late last year, and it has supported the Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets longer than that. Its arrival on Steam means users don’t have to download it from the headsets’ app stores, though, such as HTC’s Viveport, which used to be infamously buggy.

David Cole, NextVR CEO, said in a statement:

“NextVR is driven to engage the largest possible audience to experience our content in virtual reality. Steam is a critically important platform to reach active virtual reality users. We’re excited to put our unparalleled live sports and entertainment experiences at the fingertips of the vibrant Steam user-base.”

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Instagram code hints at Pinterest-style public collections

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There’s no mention of following other collections, although it might just be a matter of time.

Instagram told TechCrunch only that it’s “not testing this.” However, that only means that the team isn’t publicly experimenting with its widened Collections feature at the moment. This doesn’t preclude future tests or a full-fledged release.

There are strong incentives to launch this feature, too. Instagram wants shopping to be a core part of its money-making strategy, and public Collections would go a long way toward this. Brands could launch larger virtual stores (versus a handful of products in posts and ads), while social media stars could showcase their sponsors’ wares in one convenient place. And then there’s the question of thwarting competition. Instagram is already much larger than Pinterest with over 1 billion active monthly users versus 250 million, but this would reduce the temptation to switch to Pinterest when you want to share more than just a photo or two.

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