Google Pixel 2 Camera Tutorial and Tips

Google Pixel 2 Camera Tutorial and Tips

In 2017, the Google Pixel 2 was marked as having the best smartphone camera in the world. The power of the Google Pixel 2 camera comes down to new hardware improvements, and more importantly, changes to the software used to process images.

Many Google Pixel 2 owners still don’t know how to master the camera and they’re missing out.

There are some options available to Google Pixel 2 owners that most users aren’t taking advantage of. In this guide, we explain all of these features so that you can get the most out of the camera on your smartphone.

Mastering the Google Pixel 2 Camera App

Google has put a lot of effort into building a powerful, intelligent camera app that can learn about how to take the right kind of pictures in different scenarios.

For this reason, the Google Pixel 2 camera app is one of the best point and shoot cameras in the world.

There aren’t many manual settings because you don’t usually need them. Simply aim your camera at something like below and press the shutter button.

For the most part, that’s all you need to do. The powerful Pixel AI camera chip will do most of the hard work for you. There are, however, a few settings that can enhance your experience whilst using the Google Pixel 2 camera app.

One feature that I really like is the new Show dirty lens warning. By default, this is set to off, so you’ll have to go into settings to enable it. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to tell my parents to clean the lens before taking pictures! This will help them take better photos.

There are a lot of other great features, which we’ll go through below.

Touch Up Your Selfies

The Google Pixel 2 has one of the most powerful selfie cameras in the world. You can turn on the portrait mode to create professional level portrait images in seconds. Simply open the camera, then tap the menu button in the top left and tap portrait.

Next, focus the camera on your face or somebody else’s, tap the person’s face on your screen, let it focus, and press the shutter button.

Also, in the latest update to the camera app, you can now change how the double-tap works. By default, it zooms in, but you can go into settings and change it to switch camera. This is great for people who like selfies and want a quicker way to switch cameras.

Adjust Focus and Exposure

The Google camera AI is usually very good at picking what object to focus on, but you can easily change it by tapping on areas on your screen. By doing this, the camera will readjust its focus to the area you’ve tapped.

You can also adjust the exposure of an image. If too much light is bleeding through, or the image isn’t bright enough, the exposure setting can help.

Tap on the area you’d like to add focus, and then use the slider that appears on the right side of the screen. Sliding up adds more light and sliding down darkens the image.

Use Google Smartburst to Pick Out The Best Photos

Sometimes, it can be hard to find the highest quality photo, especially if there’s motion involved. With Google Smartburst, you can let AI pick out the best shots.

To use Smartburst, take multiple shots and then tap the circular image icon in the bottom right corner.

Next, tap the Smartburst icon in the center at the bottom of the screen.

After that, tap ‘show best photos only’. This will showcase the images that the camera AI thinks are the best.

Finally, scroll through the images and tap to delete the images you don’t want to keep.

You can also create an animation out of the images you’ve just created. Tap the smartburst icon again and tap ‘create animation’.

This will create a small looping video file of your photos that can be shared on Instagram or other social media platforms.

Best Settings for Google Pixel 2 Video Recording

Now that we’ve taken a look at taking still shots on the Google Pixel 2, let’s now look at setting up the best settings for video recording.

Improve Frame Rate

You can improve the Google Pixel 2 frame rate by tapping the ‘30’ icon in the top left corner. You can then choose between 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second.

Keep in mind that 60 frames per second will mean you cannot record in 4K.

Record in 4K

To record in 4K, you must first change your frames to 30. Next, tap the menu button in the top left corner. Next, tap settings.

In the settings menu, scroll down to the video section and tap back camera video resolution. Tap to change it to UHD 4K (30fps).

Tips for Recording Video on the Google Pixel 2

Recording video on the Google Pixel 2 is quite straightforward. Thankfully, the camera software will do most of the work for you. Stabilization techniques are used to keep the footage from looking shaky, but you can create even smoother video footage by steadying your hand whilst recording.

If you’re serious about creating good video content with your smartphone, consider purchasing a smartphone gimbal. They can set you back around $100, but they’ll help you to stabilize your video footage and create professional-quality content.

Conclusion

In summary, the Google Pixel 2 camera is so powerful because the AI and software that powers it does an incredible job at automating most tasks. For the most part, simply pointing your camera at what you want to capture is all you need to do.

What are your thoughts on the Google Pixel 2 camera? Do you have any questions about it? If you do, make sure to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Enjoy!

Connect to Shared Folder on Windows 10 from Mac OS X

Connect to Shared Folder on Windows 10 from Mac OS X

I recently upgraded one of my computers to Windows 10 and setup a shared folder so that I could easily transfer files from my MacBook Pro and Windows 7 machines to Windows 10 over the home network. I did a clean install of Windows 10, created a shared folder and attempted to connect to my shared folder from OS X.

Unfortunately, I was not able to connect and it took me a little time to figure it out. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to connect to a shared folder on Windows 10 from OS X.

Step 1 – Configure Windows 10 for Sharing

Obviously, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a shared folder on Windows 10. Right-click on the folder, go to Properties and click on the Sharing tab. Go ahead and share the folder and set the permissions to whatever you desire in terms of access.

Shared folder

I suggest clicking on Advanced Sharing as you have more fine-grain control over everything. Check the Share this folder box and then give the share a name. Click on Permissions and then add groups or users that you want to give access.

If you want to make it easy and the folder doesn’t have sensitive data, just add the Everyone group and give them Full Control. This way, you’ll be able to access the folder from any computer or device without having to worry about entering credentials.

The next thing you need to do is make sure that File and Printer Sharing is turned on and allowed through the Windows Firewall in Windows 10. Go to Control Panel and click on Windows Defender Firewall. Then click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall.

Windows firewall

Scroll down until you see File and Printer Sharing and make sure that it is checked for the Private network. You may have to first click on the Change settings button at the top before you can select a box.

File and printer sharing

Lastly, you can decide how you want users to access the folder on Windows 10. By default, when connecting from another machine, you have to enter the username and password of an account that has access to that shared folder on Windows 10. If you setup a Windows 10 user account without adding a password, you won’t be able to connect to the shared folder.

You’ll first have to add a password and then you could connect. However, if you feel your home network is super secure, you can always turn off password protected sharing, which means anyone can connect to the shared folder without having to type in a username or password.

Password protected sharing

You can do that by going to Control Panel, Network and Sharing Center, Advanced sharing settings and then expanding All Networks. Here you will see an option called Password protected sharing, which you can turn off. I personally keep it turned on, but if you really hate having to type in a username and password to connect, this is an option.

Also, if you use Windows 10 without a password, this would save you from having to setup a password on your account. Note that even if you have a Windows account with a password, if you turn off password protected sharing, then people can still connect without typing any credentials.

Step 2 – Connect to Windows Shared Folder from OS X

Finally, on the Mac, open Finder and look under the Shared section for the Windows 10 PC. If Shared is not in the sidebar, you have to add it. With Finder open, click on Finder and then Preferences at the top. Click on Sidebar and check all the items under Shared.

Now go back to Finder and wait till your computer shows up. Note that it can take a little while until the Windows 10 PC shows up. If it doesn’t show up after 5 minutes, try restarting the PC once.

If your Windows PC refuses to show up in the Shared devices list in Finder, you can try connecting manually using SMB. To do that, open Finder and click on Go and then Connect to Server.

Now type in the following as shown, replacing the IP address below with the IP address of your Windows 10 PC.

smb://192.168.1.43

Click the Connect button and you’ll be asked to type in credentials again. If that is entered correctly, you’ll be asked which volume you want to mount.

If you’re still not able to connect using SMB, then there is some issue on your Windows PC. You have to make sure the firewall is configured properly.

Once it shows up in the sidebar, go ahead and click on it. When you click on it, it will try to connect and you may get a message saying Connection Failed or Not Connected.

That’s OK! That’s where that password protected folder setting in Windows 10 comes into play. If it’s turned on, you need to connect using the Windows 10 account credentials. You can do that by clicking the Connect As button at the top right.

Go ahead and type in your credentials and then click OK. Note that if it’s a Microsoft account you have setup on Windows 10, you’ll need to type in the full email address and the same password that you use to login to your Microsoft account.

That’s about it! Now you should see the Windows 10 shared folders in Finder on your Mac. If you have any questions about connecting to Windows 10 PC from a Mac, post a comment here and I’ll try to help out. Enjoy!

How to Add Network Folders to the Windows Search Index

How to Add Network Folders to the Windows Search Index

In Windows 10, the default search function indexes your Internet Explorer history, Start Menu, and the entire users folder on the system partition. What if you want to add a network folder to the search index in Windows 10? For example, let’s say you have a NAS (network attached storage) device and you have a bunch of videos, pictures and files on there that simply won’t fit on your PC?

In this article, I’ll show you how to go about adding a network folder to the search index so that when you search for a file from Explorer, you will also get results that include files stored in the network folder.

Note: Technically speaking, the Windows client will not add a network location to the local search index. Instead, it will pass that search on to the server and the server will perform a search using its index. If you are trying to search a NAS device, it will perform the search in real-time, so the results will take some time to appear. If searching a Windows File server, you need to ensure that the search index on the server includes all desired locations.

Step 1 – Share Folder

The first thing you want to do is actually share the folder you want to include in the index. You’ll need to share the folder on your NAS or on the host machine, if it’s files stored on a Windows PC, for example. As an example, I wanted to include some files stored on my Windows 7 PC in the Windows 10 search index. These are the three test files I want to include:

test folder

So I went to Windows 7 and shared the folder by right-clicking and choosing Properties.

share folder

Then I clicked on the Sharing tab, Advanced Sharing, checked Share this folder, clicked on Permissions and gave Everyone Full Control. You obviously don’t have to give everyone full control, I’m just doing it here because it’s easier to setup.

Step 2 – Map Network Drive

Next you have to map the folder as a drive in Windows 10. You can do this by opening Explorer and then clicking on Network at the bottom. Find your NAS, file server or PC in the list and then double-click on it to see the shared folders.

Go ahead and click on the shared folder and then click on Easy access and Map as drive. Note that you can also just right-click on the folder and choose Map network drive. You’ll need to provide credentials to log into the file server or network PC.

Note that unless both machines have the same username and password, you’ll need to check the Connect using different credentials box and then type in the username and password for that computer or file server. Now when you go to computer, the mapped drive should be listed.

Now right-click on the network drive and click on Properties. At the bottom, make sure to check the Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties.

Once you do this, the new files will be scanned and included in the Windows 10 search. Depending on how many files have been added, it could take some time before you start seeing the results. Now when I perform a search, I see files from my mapped NAS folder:

Sweet! Also, note that for certain file types like Word documents, it also indexes the contents of the files, so you can search inside text files, etc. As I mentioned earlier, these files aren’t being indexed in the local search index, though. If you click on Start and type in indexing options, you’ll see that the mapped network drive location is not listed nor can it be added.

Basically, it’s performing the search in real-time, which is why it’s going to be slow if you have a huge number of files on your network share. That’s about it! Also, be sure to check out my post on how to rebuild the search index in case you are not getting all the desired results when doing a search. If you have any problems with searching a network location in Windows 10, post a comment here and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!

How to Create a GIF from a Video using Photoshop CC

How to Create a GIF from a Video using Photoshop CC

Ever wonder how those long GIFs you see on sites like Imgur are created? A lot of times, the creators take a video, convert the whole thing into an animated GIF, and then superimpose text to make it entertaining.

Now this post isn’t going to teach you how to create those fancy GIFs from start to finish, but it will teach you how to take a video and at least convert it to an animated GIF. I’ll write up another post on how you can add text and graphics to your GIF.

I’ll be using Photoshop CC for this tutorial because it allows you to have more control over the final product in terms of size, quality, frames, etc.

Convert Video Before Importing

Before you start, you may need to convert your video to a file format that Adobe Photoshop will support. For instance, I took a video from my iPhone and downloaded it onto my computer. I then tried to import the video into Photoshop, but got the following error:

Could not complete the Video Frames to Layers command because the file has no video frames.

The video was a MOV file, but the codec that Apple uses is not supported in Photoshop. In order to fix this type of problem, you need to download a program like HandBrake to convert the video.

It’s very easy to use HandBrake. Just click on FileChoose Source and pick your video file. At this point, all you really have to do is click the Start Encode button. By default, it will use the Fast 1080p30 preset that you see listed on the right. They have many presets, so choose the one that works for you. Note that you can reduce the resolution of the GIF in Photoshop later on, so you don’t have to do it in HandBrake.

Once it has been converted to an MP4 file using the H.264 video codec, we can now import it into Photoshop.

Import Video and Create GIF in Photoshop

Open Photoshop CC and click on File, then Import and then Video Frames to Layers.

Pick your video file and click Open. This will bring up a dialog with a small preview of the video and a couple of options.

Now if you want the entire video as a an animated GIF, go ahead and leave the radio button to From Beginning to End. If you only need a portion, choose Selected Range Only and then use the trim controls below the video to pick the range.

In addition, to reduce the size of the final GIF as much as possible, you can also limit the number of frames. For example, if you check the box and leave it at 2 frames, that means Photoshop will remove every other frame from the video.

Lastly, you need to make sure the Make Frame Animation box is checked. Click OK and your video should be imported as a bunch of frames in Photoshop. If the program crashes, you may need to reduce the quality of the video even further before trying to import.

Now all we have to do is save the frames as an animated GIF. To do this in Photoshop CC, you need to click on FileExportSave for Web (legacy). Note that before saving it out as a GIF, you can edit and delete frames as desired.

 

On this dialog, there are a bunch of options that you will have to play around with. Most of them will affect the quality of the GIF, which you will be able to see in the preview area on the left. The right pane is where you will make most of the adjustments.

Up at the top, you’ll see a dropdown called Preset. You can click on that and choose one of the presets or you can adjust the values yourself. Choosing one of the presets will reduce the quality of the GIF, but will make it smaller also. Make sure that GIF is selected in the dropdown below Preset.

At the bottom under Image Size, you can adjust the final output resolution for your GIF. So if you video was 1920×1080 or 4K, you probably will want to reduce it significantly here. Under Animation, you can choose Forever, Once or Custom for Looping Options. By default, the GIF will loop continuously. You can use the controls at the bottom to play the GIF to see how it looks.

Click Save and choose a location to save your GIF. That’s about it. Photoshop makes it very easy to create animated GIFs from videos and allows you to tweak the settings to get it just right. Enjoy!