Monthly Archive: August 2017

Merge and Blend images- Creative to invent new views

(This blog talks about features and tools in Adobe Photoshop and other image editing softwares for merging and blending image. The possibilities and advantages are elucidated briefly.)

A selfie at an exotic location with a serene background posted in Facebook is exalting the confidence when likes, comments and shares are ticked up. The selfie can be made without traveling to the location, a selfie in any background merged with a stock picture of the location would create the same impression.

Adobe Photoshop’s creative suites and other such photo editing suites gives the capability to put together multi-images to create a collage of creativity in image editing. Product placements and feel disbelief pictures which are impossible to capture with a camera can all be possible with merging and blending a set of pictures. The Layer Mask feature in CS5 do exactly the same- individual stock pictures merged together and blended into a single picture, a wholesome one. Such a picture gives an un-precedented exposure and depth which most often impossible to shot directly with a lens.

Blending pictures together is an art but gives a lot of technical challenges in the selection of pictures with optimum resolution and color space, but of almost same parameters. Pictures are selected in application frame one after the other to create different layers for Masking. Add ‘Layer Mask’ in between each picture layers. The layer mask is usually created as transparent and has the capability to merge all layers together to create a single picture. Auto align layers , Merge and stamp layers can also be used to merge different images. The challenge now is to blend seamlessly to give a complete feel of a single picture. Add atmosphere, coloring and implied lights using different blending modes, and different brush tools (Use soft brush for best result) to blend group picture. As the mask is non-destructive one can experiment with different angles, start and end positions and different gradients to perfect the picture.

Collaging and composting are two other techniques to create super imposed and blended pictures from different shots and stock pictures. Most of the image editing software, including most suites of Photoshop provides tools and features enabling one to use collaging and composting methods. Imagination and creativity is the limit for blended image creation.
The foremost advantage of a blended image is the possibility it gives to bring together different elements of depth and insights into a picture. And it is cost effective too, making cosy photo shoots almost redundant. Suppose you need to shoot a model with different props and with different background which in reality is time consuming and expensive. What you need is photograph the model in different angles, take shots of the props separately, or use stock pictures of props and backgrounds available. Blend the pictures using an image editing suite- voila! you get the perfect pictures with models in different props in most appropriate backgrounds. That too most creatively and inexpensive.

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How GIS Assist in Securing Wildlife Habitats

GIS (Geographic Information System) has altered even the way the human brains function and its application in securing the wildlife or national parks is obligatory. Many at times we might have wondered watching the Discovery and Animal Planet, as in how eminently some people or organizations have conserved the habitats of the wild. Visiting a national park, many might have witnessed animals with tracking collars. Technology has been advanced to a sophisticated state, where today we can even deter animals from crossing their allowed proximity using geofencing.

  • Geofencing is one among the many features of GIS, where we set a virtual boundary to preserve the wildlife by preventing unprincipled encroachments both from animals as well as humans. The geofence operator will be alerted on his device, preferably a mobile phone.
  • Close-up photos and videos of deadly animals have always left us with awe, and we might have wondered the daringness of the wildlife photographer, but today the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or popularly called drones do the job with utmost precision. Beyond helping in preventing poaching, it also helps in protecting the endangered flora and fauna and thus curtails the rate of illegal trafficking, fishing, hunting and burning. Drone mapping is one of the most reliable sources for the scientists to closely examine the animals and estimate their population growth.
  • The animal surveys using GIS is often associated with drones, which tackled the limitations of conventional aerial surveys, which was done based on a sample strip and those animals who fall outside the strip were never counted. Though difficult to perform in rugged regions, the bundle block adjustments in IFP (image footprint projection) resulted in accurate counts.
  • The animal identification and traceability methods have helped in the keen analysis of a particular breed and confirm its parentage based on certain characteristics and conclude the behavioral patterns evolved out of the data thus collected.
  • Location and species mapping via the surveillance cameras, yet another prominent feature of GIS, has turned out to be one of the most effective and efficient tools for inspecting wildlife behavior, and to authenticate species presence and its distribution. This method is rather more economical and effective when compared to employing human observers.
  • The natural resource mapping may involve measuring monitoring and analyzing natural resources by collecting true multispectral digital aerial imagery which assists in maintaining a digital database used in further studies, of how the wildlife is amalgamated with the respective resources and vise-versa. It will be documented which will act as an action plan to maintain the bio-diversity in the national parks, securing their ecosystem and habitats and also allowing new species to emerge and survive.
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Benefits of implementing Artificial Intelligence in Ecommerce industry

In the fast paced world, providing high availability and focused marketing is the only way to attain better market penetration. The basic goal of every eCommerce company is to bring, the best of offline shopping, by offering a seamless way to showcase the products. eCommerce brands focus on deep linking and Analytical algorithms, to automatically predict customer behavior and suggest suitable products.
It would be an understatement, if we say, “Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing”, for it is already here, and of course, SBL is gearing up to be a strong contender in Artificial Intelligence based eCommerce systems. Our customer centric operational strata, ensures personalized user engagement, using Iterative Machine learning and deep-linking algorithms.
Without a doubt, eCommerce has revolutionized the way people shop, but there are still gaps in the current system. With the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence, the gap will be closed by evolving the sales process intelligently managing customers, so they will no longer be offered solutions that are neither tailored nor appropriate. This will help organization make drastic changes to the way they deal with their clients, getting quicker access to information and harnessing their employees’ talent for better use

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5 key roles of Location Based Services in Smart Cities

Everybody owns smartphones nowadays and many services are just a tap away. These phones make use of GPS so as to encode the data that we use with our location information. This can prove very useful because such information can be utilized to send notifications to the relevant people and also to offer them access to both services and goods within a particular area.

Location Based Services have become a boon to all smart cities because this is going to play a key role in the following ways:

  • Controlling Fraud: Smart cities will put up a fight against the social problem of fraud. Now, even bank and credit card companies can utilize location data to verify transactions. Tracking one’s location helps detect fraudulent activities.
  • An Easier Travel: With one’s location picked up by the GPS, they can navigate easily through roads and traffic. This helps save time and avoid unnecessary delays during travel and also cuts the travel time to a big extent. When booking a taxi, GPS helps in letting the driver know your exact location and this facilitates the entire process.
  • Giving an Update for Services: Today, there is an option for “check in” when one visit any place, be it restaurants, malls, parks or any other public areas. When looking for a place to go to, this location shows up and makes the users know not only about that building’s address but also of its proximity to their area of residence. This makes it easier for them to pick a place of service.
  • Energy Consumption: When the location of citizens is monitored, cities will be able to grasp the knowledge about its people’s locations and will be able to understand when to fluctuate power availability over the course of a day.
  • Improving the overall quality of life: New concepts and ideas are being created to make the Smart cities safer and more comfortable. New retail experiences are being developed, local commerce is being stimulated; it is as if everything is becoming personalized for every single citizen.

Smart cities are rapidly welcoming all the new technological developments. It has been accepted that WiFi location based services are going to help evolve and enhance city experiences for both citizens and visitors.

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How important is scalability in VR studio: Is that the reason studios often get grounded?

Virtual Reality has so far offered tremendous possibilities in film-making techniques. It has transformed the old landscape of production, seamlessly taking the viewers into the magical but pleasant unreal world. A number of virtual reality studios have cropped up in the international film industry, especially Hollywood, but only a few of them have successfully retained their customer loyalty. Why?

One of the main reasons is scalability. As virtual reality is a new concept, the process of trial and error is more likely to be pursued by the production houses. An ideal Virtual Reality Studio has to keep adapting itself to the changing needs of its clients. Several factors like affordability, immersion, mobility and flexibility are to be taken into account when a client chooses its virtual reality studio. It is evident, that the failure to change its support and budget according to the needs of the film-makers and advertisers often leads to their disrepute. It is the reason why a number of studios are getting grounded.

In fact, the experts providing vr post production services are familiar to special production and editing techniques. Virtual reality shooting and editing is a different cup of tea altogether, where the boundaries are removed and the viewers can pick the area of interest on the screen.

The VR industry being in the evolving stages the major challenges are in judging the resource strength, software and infrastructure vis a vis the revenues that can be expected through projects. Then there is the challenge of bandwidth considering the huge amounts of data (in TBs). The length of shots is another factor.

The leading studios that provide 360 degree video post production editing services need to offer maximum flexibility and scalability to the clients. As the demand of the industry is subjected to variation, the services are bound to be flexible. They should be able to ramp up the resources at the right moment. Continuous monitoring of the behavior of the audience calls for this adaptability. This is the reason why certain VR studios make their mark in the industry, while the others fade away.

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Why CARA is presently the most superior plugin with NUKE for post Virtual Reality stitching

Virtual reality is making its presence felt more emphatically in recent times. You can attribute this to the enhanced efficiency exhibited by seasoned professionals at virtual reality post production companies. This has been made possible in part by stellar and seamless post Virtual Reality stitching offered by superior plugins like CARA for platforms such as NUKE. CARA definitely is the superlative plugin to be used with NUKE due to an array of compelling reasons. This blog delves on the explicit benefits you stand to enjoy by using CARA with NUKE.

Solution for camera rigging
>> Within Nuke, you can easily accomplish refinement in terms of positioning of camera, adjustment of focal length, making amends for distortions evidenced in lens, rotation and other parameters with CARA for optimum outcomes.
>> Specialized pre-sets allow application of camera rigs that are widely used alongside extending support for customized rigs.
Streamlined stitching
>> Cara prides itself of state of the art Stitcher that is fuelled by GPU acceleration. This facilitates creation of superior quality 360 degrees stitches for outputs that may be mono or stereo.
>> Cara’s ability to subtly stitch videos can be attributed to the robust technological support offered by Ocula disparity platform.
>> Stitch quality is ramped up through elimination of ghost effects and line artefacts.
>> The stitched videos can be exported to UV and ST maps effortlessly.
Colour corrections
>> Cara spontaneously senses exposures and camera induced disparities in white balance and set them right.
>> With Cara, you are empowered to create subtleties in lighting through animation of modifications in gain mode over timescale.
Optimized tracking
>> Cara’s feature point tracker has been fine tuned for handling distortions and continuities that show up along the sides of latitudinal or longitudinal images.
>> With this stabilization tool, you are facilitated to carry out tracking, painting and merging squarely on the 360 degrees stitched footage.
>> During workflow management, you can optimize on the stabilization information offered by the inbuilt camera tracker in Cara.
>> Augmented Reality services India have significantly capitalized on these advanced features of Cara for producing superbly stitched impeccable footages in Nuke.
Workflow streamlining
>> The spherical transform node in Cara revs up compositing related jobs by allowing you to access and utilize the complete array of tools in Nuke squarely on the 360 degree input.
>> Extra support is offered for stereo lens and slit scan shader through which pole depth in footages can be controlled.
Cara presently is undoubtedly the most superior plugin to be used with Nuke because of the smooth VR watching experience offered in multi-direction mode by it.

Our Head of VR production, Mr. Venugopalan says; “Team SBL # VR n VFX keynotes are the strong pipeline what we had in operations, sales and marketing plus the excellent creative support from the team. We had best of best creative minds from industry and had delivered few of the best VR shows so far. SBL is in the phase of expanding the knowledge level to the complex VR stuffs and even constant RnD makes as the unique in India to produce well craft VR visuals.”

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Five reasons why software outsourcing is still alive

Software outsourcing is still alive and even more relevant today than ever before. Competition has increased and customers demand better goods and services to be supplied faster and cheaper, a primary factor contributing to the same. Strategically then, it makes sense to do what you do best and take the services of those who can do the other functions better than you. This is especially the case with software development.

Another key causation is that outsourcing gives you more options and allows you to compare between service providers to identify the one that is best suited to partner with you. Having a wide range of options allows your organization to have the upper hand while negotiating for your specific requirements.

The third one would be development is a time consuming and complex process which can eat into your time and bottom-line, if not properly managed. There are companies that have become highly efficient in the process and can achieve results at a fraction of the costs you may require. Partnering with them can ensure that you remain profitable.

The fourth reason is that expertise is hard to find and increasingly unaffordable in many parts of the developed world. This is why top companies seek out partners in countries like India or Philippines where obtaining and managing human resources is affordable. This is evident from the statistics within the last decade. 57% of companies increased the use of outsourcing. 46% of companies have cited their top reason for outsourcing to be the need to reduce operating costs with 12% desiring to access world class capabilities. It is also estimated that 300,000 positions are outsourced annually.

Now, the final causation is the achievability of overall objectives. Software development once outsourced, frees up organizational resources which then can be focused on ensuring effectiveness in the other areas of goal fulfilment.

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