Tag Archives: Pixel

#teampixel colored outside the lines with interesting shapes this week

This is shaping up to be a colorful week for #teampixel. We love shapes that grab your attention and guide your eyes when you look at a photograph—and the shapes in this week’s photos are sometimes obvious, like in staircases or sidewalk tiles. Other times they surprise you, like in a spiky Joshua tree or a boat’s wake. Can you find all the shapes in this week’s #teampixel images?

If you’d like to be featured on @google and The Keyword, tag your Pixel photos with #teampixel and you might see yourself next.

“A Good Night” with John Legend and Pixel 2

John Legend just premiered the music video for his new single “A Good Night”—and it was filmed entirely on Pixel 2. We spoke to John about the inspiration behind the video and what it’s like living and communicating in the digital age.


Keyword: Tell us about the inspiration behind the music video for “A Good Night.”

John: The song and the video are about a magical night where you meet someone you immediately connect with and can envision a future together. You're single, dating, probably using all the apps people use now (I haven't dated since the advent of Tinder, etc., but it's a fascinating era in romance), and not finding someone special. But one night—maybe caught up in the music or the drinks or whatever—you meet someone that changes everything. That's a good night! 


The video is set in a club and visually represents the swiping left of the apps by literally swiping dating candidates away. But eventually our couple finds each other. And then, during the bridge, we see things transform into a fantasy future where our couple sees themselves getting married. It turns into a beautiful celebration of love and connection. All DJ'ed and hosted by yours truly!

"A Good Night" music video

Why did you decide to shoot it on Pixel?

We thought it would be cool to shoot it on Pixel because the camera is amazing and we were fascinated by the idea of using a smartphone to film a big budget music video, a video that brings the smartphone dating experience to life.


What’s your favorite moment from the video?

I love the transformation scene in the bridge where you see everything freeze and become surreal before we fast forward to a fantasy wedding.


What surprised you about filming the video with smartphones?

It was really seamless. We're so used to doing everything with expensive cameras when we do these major shoots. But the experience of filming with smartphones felt really natural  and the quality from Pixel was amazing.

A Good Night - Pixel 2

How do you think technology like smartphones can help aspiring artists and creators get noticed?

The technology people can use to create has become more accessible and democratized. And there are so many new ways to inexpensively publish your work. This is true in music, filmmaking and other fields. I love it. It's a boon for creativity and gives so many more people the ability to tell their story and express their vision.  

Who are your favorite new filmmakers?

I'm not sure how you define new. My production company just did a fantastic film called "Monster" with first-time feature filmmaker Anthony Mandler. We've worked together before in music videos and commercials, and I think his debut feature film is excellent.

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The video plays with the idea of apps and social media and how they affect dating. How does the “age of instalove” change the way you talk to your fans?

I talk a lot about what's timeless about love and human connection. The ways we meet have changed a lot, but I think our emotional needs and desires probably aren't all that different.


We can’t pass up the opportunity to ask about the women in your life. How does Pixel help you stay in touch with Chrissy and Luna and record your moments with them?

I love using Pixel to talk to Chrissy and Luna when I'm on the road. We love Duo for video calling. The Pixel camera takes amazing photos and videos too.  


I'm a big Google fan so it's also nice to have a phone that integrates all Google apps so seamlessly. I use Google Docs, Maps, Drive, Calendar and others all the time. It's great to have a phone made for those apps.

Last question. What are you listening to at the moment?

Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Miguel, SZA—and LOTS of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack in preparation for my big role last Easter Sunday!

What makes #teampixel click

The #teampixel community on Instagram recently reached 35,000 members—people who have tagged their photos with #teampixel in their travels around the world, on a quest to capture the best shot. We've been so taken with the range and diversity of Pixel photographers' work that we dug a little deeper to learn more about what makes you tick... er, click. Here's a snapshot of what we learned about #teampixel's favorite places and subjects to shoot:


1. They’re globetrotters:#teampixel has been to 196 countries.
2. With a few favorite locales to capture: The top countries for #teampixel photos are the U.S., India, the U.K., Canada and Australia.

3. #teampixel lives for the city: Cityscapes are shared twice as much as photos of nature, and most of those shots come from New York, London, San Francisco, Toronto and Los Angeles.

4. But nature calls, too:Though the tall buildings and crowded streets of the city may be a muse for some photographers, others are drawn to nature. In #teampixel nature shots, trees are most popular (10 percent of all nature posts), followed by sunlight and beach (6.8 percent), then mountains (4.7 percent).

5. They’re dog people:Dogs were posted twice as often as cats. Sorry not sorry.

6. They’re foodies—with a sweet tooth:Food is the most popular subject of #teampixel posts, and people post shots of baked goods four times as much as other foods.

We'd love to see what makes you hit that shutter button, too. Follow our feed on Instagram and don't forget to tag your photos with #teampixel. We might feature your photo here next!


Five tips for taking the best pet photos with Google Pixel 2

Editor's note: For National Puppy Day, we asked #teampixel photographer Emily Wang to give us her best tips on how to photograph your dog—young or old—with Google Pixel 2. We guess you could use them for cat photos, too.


Count the puppy pictures on your phone. Chances are there's more than a couple. Whether it's your own dog or a stranger's dog, everything about these furry animals screams photo op.


My dogs Kokoro and Chibi are my go-to models whether they’re on a sunset hike or snuggling together under blankets. Unlike other common photo subjects—like latte art or selfies—snapping pics of pets comes with unique challenges. But taking great photos of pups doesn't have to be ruff. Here are some tips to capture your furry friends in the best light:


1. Capture unique expressions using Smartburst


Start by getting your dog's attention. Use a squeaky toy, wave a treat, make animal sounds, you name it! Then, press and hold that shutter (volume down button) to take photos in quick succession using Pixel 2's Smartburst feature to capture the most adorable facial expressions and photos.

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2. Get your dog to smile and use portrait mode to highlight that adorable face.


Portrait mode is great for adding enhanced focus to your dog's signature smile and works on both the front and back cameras. If your dog knows how to bark on command, you can use that cue to get them to open their mouths while you shoot to capture a smile. Another way to get the tongue-floppin' smile out of them is to take them for a quick run or play a game of tug. An active dog is a happy dog and will likely flash you a huge smile right after play time.
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3. Expose for what you're shooting.


My dog Kokoro is all white, so it's easy for her to get washed out in environments with lots of light. Thankfully, Pixel 2 has exposure lock that makes adjusting for this easy. Just tap on the camera viewfinder to focus on a certain point. You can override the exposure setting automatically set by Pixel's camera by moving the exposure slider on the right of the viewfinder after tapping. You can also hit "lock" at the top of the exposure slider to lock the settings in case he moves. Don't forget to unlock when you're done!

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4. It's all about perspective.


Get on the ground, upside down, whatever it takes to frame up the most interesting photo! You can turn on gridlines in the Pixel 2 to help you line things up, especially if you're like me and tend to get in awkward positions to get the perfect shot.

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5. Forget the flash and shoot with natural light instead.


Pixel 2 is amazing at capturing light, even in low light scenarios. It might be tempting to turn on the flash, but try to manipulate the amount of natural light you have and let the camera do its magic. Often, repositioning your camera just a little bit to adjust for where the light comes in will result in drastic differences when you're shooting.

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Team Pixel is in bloom this spring

Our community of photographers is on the rise, and the #teampixel tribe is officially 35,000 members strong (and counting)! This week’s highlights range from colorful plum blossoms in Sakura, Japan to a confetti-filled wedding.

If you’re looking for a daily dose of #teampixel photos, follow our feed on Instagram and keep spreading the loves and likes with fellow Pixel photographers.

Behind the Motion Photos Technology in Pixel 2


One of the most compelling things about smartphones today is the ability to capture a moment on the fly. With motion photos, a new camera feature available on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones, you no longer have to choose between a photo and a video so every photo you take captures more of the moment. When you take a photo with motion enabled, your phone also records and trims up to 3 seconds of video. Using advanced stabilization built upon technology we pioneered in Motion Stills for Android, these pictures come to life in Google Photos. Let’s take a look behind the technology that makes this possible!
Motion photos on the Pixel 2 in Google Photos. With the camera frozen in place the focus is put directly on the subjects. For more examples, check out this Google Photos album.
Camera Motion Estimation by Combining Hardware and Software
The image and video pair that is captured every time you hit the shutter button is a full resolution JPEG with an embedded 3 second video clip. On the Pixel 2, the video portion also contains motion metadata that is derived from the gyroscope and optical image stabilization (OIS) sensors to aid the trimming and stabilization of the motion photo. By combining software based visual tracking with the motion metadata from the hardware sensors, we built a new hybrid motion estimation for motion photos on the Pixel 2.

Our approach aligns the background more precisely than the technique used in Motion Stills or the purely hardware sensor based approach. Based on Fused Video Stabilization technology, it reduces the artifacts from the visual analysis due to a complex scene with many depth layers or when a foreground object occupies a large portion of the field of view. It also improves the hardware sensor based approach by refining the motion estimation to be more accurate, especially at close distances.
Motion photo as captured (left) and after freezing the camera by combining hardware and software For more comparisons, check out this Google Photos album.
The purely software-based technique we introduced in Motion Stills uses the visual data from the video frames, detecting and tracking features over consecutive frames yielding motion vectors. It then classifies the motion vectors into foreground and background using motion models such as an affine transformation or a homography. However, this classification is not perfect and can be misled, e.g. by a complex scene or dominant foreground.
Feature classification into background (green) and foreground (orange) by using the motion metadata from the hardware sensors of the Pixel 2. Notice how the new approach not only labels the skateboarder accurately as foreground but also the half-pipe that is at roughly the same depth.
For motion photos on Pixel 2 we improved this classification by using the motion metadata derived from the gyroscope and the OIS. This accurately captures the camera motion with respect to the scene at infinity, which one can think of as the background in the distance. However, for pictures taken at closer range, parallax is introduced for scene elements at different depth layers, which is not accounted for by the gyroscope and OIS. Specifically, we mark motion vectors that deviate too much from the motion metadata as foreground. This results in a significantly more accurate classification of foreground and background, which also enables us to use a more complex motion model known as mixture homographies that can account for rolling shutter and undo the distortions it causes.
Background motion estimation in motion photos. By using the motion metadata from Gyro and OIS we are able to accurately classify features from the visual analysis into foreground and background.
Motion Photo Stabilization and Playback
Once we have accurately estimated the background motion for the video, we determine an optimally stable camera path to align the background using linear programming techniques outlined in our earlier posts. Further, we automatically trim the video to remove any accidental motion caused by putting the phone away. All of this processing happens on your phone and produces a small amount of metadata per frame that is used to render the stabilized video in real-time using a GPU shader when you tap the Motion button in Google Photos. In addition, we play the video starting at the exact timestamp as the HDR+ photo, producing a seamless transition from still image to video.
Motion photos stabilize even complex scenes with large foreground motions.
Motion Photo Sharing
Using Google Photos, you can share motion photos with your friends and as videos and GIFs, watch them on the web, or view them on any phone. This is another example of combining hardware, software and Machine Learning to create new features for Pixel 2.

Acknowledgements
Motion photos is a result of a collaboration across several Google Research teams, Google Pixel and Google Photos. We especially want to acknowledge the work of Karthik Raveendran, Suril Shah, Marius Renn, Alex Hong, Radford Juang, Fares Alhassen, Emily Chang, Isaac Reynolds, and Dave Loxton.

135 countries and counting: travel the world with #teampixel

Wondering what our community of Pixel photographers has been up to lately? Check out this week’s selects, from a dancer’s impeccable form (yay burst mode!) to finding love in the streets of Spain. #teampixel photos have been geo-tagged and posted from 135 countries and counting—shout out to our community for their amazing work! 👏 👏 👏

We’d love to see more of your Pixel photos, so keep tagging them with #teampixel and you might be featured next.

Google Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approval

With Pixel 2, we set out to make a mobile experience that is smart, simple, and secure, with a great camera, the Google Assistant to help you get more done, long battery life, and much more. We’ve seen a great response from consumers, and we’ve also gotten fantastic reviews from businesses, employees, and industry analysts for the security and productivity features built into Pixel 2.


Today Pixel 2 and first generation Pixel phones have been recognized in the new Android Enterprise Recommended program, which means the phones are endorsed for the workplace. This new initiative from our colleagues on the Android team showcases enterprise devices and services that meet high standards for security, reliability, and productivity while also enabling the teams which deploy corporate devices to manage them easily and securely.
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Not only does Pixel meet the baseline requirements of the program, it exceeds many of them. For example, while all devices in the Android Enterprise Recommended program must receive a security update within 90 days, Pixel goes further by delivering security patches and feature updates every month. Pixel gets the yearly Android operating system upgrades first, directly from Google, so that users have the latest software. Pixel 2 also offers a tamper-resistant hardware security modulethat reinforces the lock screen, to better defend against malware and hardware attacks.


Alongside its security protections, Pixel has lots of features to help you out at work: you can use the Google Assistant to find out when your next meeting is and the best route to get there, multitask with split-screen which lets you have two apps open on the screen, or check notes while on a video call with picture-in-picture mode.


With Pixel recognized in the Android Enterprise Recommended program, we offer peace-of-mind to administrators who manage corporate devices, while always helping employees get more out of their phones at work and beyond. We look forward to seeing how Pixel will power mobile productivity at work.

Go behind the scenes of “Isle of Dogs” with Pixel

"Isle of Dogs" tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

The film isn’t out until March 23—but Pixel owners will get an exclusive sneak peek this week.

In “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality),” the audience is taken behind-the-scenes in a 360-degree VR experience featuring on-set interviews of the film’s cast (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham and Bob Balaban). Get nose-to-nose with Chief, Boss, Rex and the rest of the cast while the crew works around you, for an inside look at the unique craft of stop-motion animation.


Pixel’s powerful front-firing stereo speakers and brilliant display make it perfect for watching immersive VR content like this. Presented in 4K video with interactive spatial audio that responds to where you’re looking, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is a collaboration between FoxNext VR Studio, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Felix & Paul Studios, the Isle of Dogs production team, and Google Spotlight Stories.

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“Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is available today on the Google Spotlight Stories app, exclusively for Google Pixel phones (Pixel and Pixel 2) and best watched on the Daydream View headset. To watch, download the Spotlight Stories app.

On March 2, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” will become available in VR, 360 and 2D via YouTube VR and Fox Searchlight YouTube channel, and any platform that has the YouTube VR app, including Daydream and Sony PlayStation VR. “Isle of Dogs,” from Fox Searchlight, hits theaters on March 23.

Two #teampixel photographers say “I do” to Pixel 2

Jenny and Colin Hayles are professional photographers (Jenny does weddings and Colin captures nature and wildlife) and proud #teampixel members. Knowing that a Pixel 2 can take high-quality photos, they wanted to see how their phones would fare in the most picture-worthy setting: a wedding. We spoke with Jenny and Colin about their experience using a Pixel 2 at an experimental wedding photo shoot.


Tell us about your wedding experiment. How’d you come up with the idea?
Colin: The concept developed when one of my shots was featured on #teampixel, and I realized just how amazing the Pixel camera was. At first, I wanted to show that wedding guests have no excuse for taking lousy pictures if you have a Pixel. But Jenny and her creative team (shout out to our planner from Jaqueline Rae Weddings) went to the next level—she wanted to shoot professional wedding photos with a Pixel. Before we tried it out at a real wedding, we had to see what the Pixel was capable of—from details, to portraits, to action shots. We simulated the details of a wedding day—the gown and tux, rings, stationery, cake and flowers—and recruited our friends Michele and Tom (a real-life couple) to be our models. We used only a Pixel 2 (no reflectors, lights, or tripods) for the entire photo shoot. The results were, I think, better than any of us dared to hope.

Which Pixel features did you use most during the shoot?
Jenny: We used the portrait feature the most—it’s pretty much like shooting with a high-end prime lens with a large aperture. In other words, it beautifully blurs the foreground and background to create that fine art look. Shooting macro shots without an extra lens is fantastic for the details that brides love to see (like shots of their wedding rings).

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Colin and the models

What's the biggest pro of shooting a wedding with a phone?
Jenny: I loved being able to send images to the couple right away. Often brides and grooms see poor-quality images first, as guests begin to post on social media, but shooting with a Pixel, I can share beautiful images right away.

Did the couple feel more comfortable and natural when the photos were taken on a Pixel, rather than a big professional camera?
Colin: Shooting with a Pixel 2 was a novel idea, so there was some curiosity. We shared images throughout the shoot with the team and bride and groom. There were comments that the next phone they get will be a Pixel 2! It made me think that it is an invaluable tool for non-photographers who work in the wedding industry—like florists—to take high-quality images of their work as well.

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Behind-the-scenes at the wedding shoot: here's Jenny with her Pixel 2 (decor and furniture came from @modernluxerental)

What other big events you're going to tackle next?
Colin: We’d love to use the Pixel 2 for a honeymoon or engagement shoot. The idea of not taking along a heavy and conspicuous camera bag and coming away with high-quality images is an exciting and back-saving idea. We traveled to Cuba last year and used our first-generation Pixels to capture the bulk of the photos we took and I was so impressed. I only brought my camera gear along on one day of the whole trip.