When HTC launched their newest phone, the HTC One M8, it came with a load of new camera features. These were all made possible by what’s called the Duo Camera, a secondary camera that sits above the main camera and captures depth data in order to transform your photos into something more than a regular picture. The results are nothing short of stunning at times, and pictures tend to end up looking like they were taken on a much more expensive dedicated camera than a phone. But what if you don’t want to buy the new HTC One M8 and still want these features? Thankfully Google’s got your back and has just released the Google Camera in the Play Store for all phone running Android 4.4 KitKat, and it prominently features a new mode called “lens blur” that takes similarly styled pictures to what the HTC One M8 can with the Duo camera. But what about some of the other effects like parallax photos and changing the backgrounds? In the case of parallax photos one Android developer has your back, and has created a new tool called Depthy which gives your photos a cool 3D look.
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Taking photos with the Google Camera and the lens blur effect is super simple. All you have to do is take a picture like normal, and afterward lift the camera just a little bit to get depth information. The Google Camera takes this depth information and creates a 3D model of the picture you just took and then attempts to apply a blur filter to the background. What you don’t see is the relief image that’s created from the 3D map, but is handily stored in the image for a nifty little tool like Depthy to extract. Once you’ve got that Lens Blur photo stored on your phone or computer, head on over to the Depthy website and add your image to the page. There’s no uploading to a server, Depthy just creates the image on the fly on either your computer or Android-powered phone or tablet. The results are pretty stunning when the picture is done just right, and can be seen in the animated photos on this page. There’s no telling what you could use this for, but we’re thinking we’ll see some live wallpapers made out of this pretty soon given that the tool asks you to tilt your device to see the picture from different angles. Software trickery has reached new levels, and it’s making our every day photos cooler and cooler to look at time and time again.