The mind-bending Lytro Illum lets you choose your own focus point and parallax for photographs after they’ve been taken, thanks to a 40 megaray sensor that works nothing like a pixel-based camera. Now that we’ve finally got our hands on a demo model, we sent camera specialist James Graham out to take some equally addictive test shots.
This is our favourite, but you can see the full set here in the Lytro gallery. Once you’re done marvelling over his extremely cool 1920s projector, take a look at the incredible level of detail available – you can even focus through the lens of the camera in the picture. And the fact that you have parallax in a still photo still blows our minds.
Click on an image to view it, then click anywhere in it to choose your focus point. Then click and drag to change perspective. Alternatively, click the play button to see an animated slideshow. See you in three hours!
One of the nice surprises that came from doing this is that the workflow behind it is incredibly simple. All you have to do is download a free app from Lytro’s website, import your images into it, make a cup of tea while they’re processed, and then you can export them as refocusable stills, quick animations that show the image from different perspectives or as 3D images – it even gives you a choice between anaglyphic or glassless 3D.
Plus, the app itself is incredibly easy to get to grips with. Its interface is clean enough to avoid intimidating novices, but gives the more selective among you plenty of opportunity to tweak and balance your image before exporting it in whatever format you need. You can also use the animate screen that makes creating moving Lytro clips virtually idiot proof, so you can have a product image that refocuses on different elements as you explain each point, or add 3D images to large scale displays with no need for extra kit, as long as you have a 3D-capable display.
All of which means that adding Lytro content to presentations, displays, videos, and training materials takes about as much effort as adding a picture, but will hold your audience’s attention for up to ten times longer (in tests of static product images versus Lytro’s living images, consumers spent four seconds on the traditional still and 40 with the Lytro image, so if you want people to spend longer on your website or in front of your display, we’d suggest looking into this).