Monday, July 21, 2014

Google+ Auto Awesome Effects

A couple of weeks ago one of the new features we launched in Google+ Photos was Auto Awesome Effects.  For those unfamiliar with "auto awesome", they are fun effects and new photos and videos automatically created and gifted to you.  One of the first and probably still my personal favorite is motion, where you get a stabilized animation from a burst of photos.

Auto Awesome Effects is a little different in that it applies a set of edits that I can then adjust to my taste.  For example, here is an image I took on a recent vacation, a JPG straight out of my camera and then auto backed up from my phone (my camera sends pictures to my photo over wi-fi).


I had planned upon returning home to edit the image using Lightroom and the Nik Collection, but in this case I didn't have to wait and immediately got an Auto Awesome Effects version:


Immediately, to me what Auto Awesome Effects did is better than my original image.  However, there are some creative things that happened here that I would have done differently and the great thing is that I can tweak it very easily using the web editing tools.  Once you click on edit and load the editing tools, in the lower right you will see a number indicating the set of edits applied to the photo:


If you click on that, displayed is the list of edits applied to this photo in order:


Now I can step through the edits and see what each one did to my photo and I can also change the parameters for each of them by clicking on the pencil icon.

For my taste with this image, I wanted to adjust "center focus" and the frame.  I changed center focus so that it was centered around the people, had less edge blur and more vignetting.  I also changed the type of the frame used and make the frame color a solid white.  My final image:
What I love about Auto Awesome Effects is that it saves me a bunch of time by kicking off a bunch of edits but still gives me full creative control.
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