Your iPhone's camera is pretty darn good, but it still needs some help from time to time. When lighting is dim, or you're taking a picture of a friend who's backlit, the faces in the image might turn out dark and pixelated. Microsoft's new app, Microsoft Pix, aims to fix those issues. Microsoft Pix is a new photography app that uses artificial intelligence to figure out what's happening in a photo and adjust the brightness, contrast, and shadows to best highlight what you're actually trying to take a picture of. The app is primarily designed for identifying faces, and making them look better than your phone's default camera otherwise would. It's also good if you're trying to capture an action shot. It works like this: Instead of just capturing an image when you hit the shutter button, Pix is constantly buffering frames. So when you finally snap a picture, it has actually captured a burst of 10 frames. It then looks at these images to pick one to three of the best shots for you, using all the images it snapped to reduce noise (pixelation), increase brightness, and improve the color tone of the photo. The app also uses those 10 shots to decide if any action is happening in the image, and if so, it will automatically create a short video clip (like a Live Photo, but looping like a GIF). But unlike a Live Photo, it'll keep the person in the shot centered, focused, and image-stabilized, so even if your hand isn't completely steady, the resulting so-called Live Image will be. You can see a couple examples of the app's photo results, below.
The results are normally subtle, as you can see — it's not like you just slapped Instagram's Kelvin filter over an image or something. It's just enough to make your shot a little better, and a little more professional-looking. You can take photos or videos in the app, which also includes your standard photo-editing tools such as filters and cropping, and the ability to easily share your image on other apps. When you record or import a video, though, you also have the option to turn it into a fast-motion Hyperlapse — which can be really fun. Microsoft Pix is super simple to use, and just makes taking better photos a little bit easier. You can download the free app from the App Store, here.