Google’s new Motion Stills iOS app creates stunning GIFs from your Live Photos


If you own an iPhone 6s, 6s Plus or the new iPhone SE then you should check out this new app from Google.

Motion Stills, which is available on iOS only, is an auto editing app which can convert shots taken on Live Photos into shareable GIFs and short montages.

When taking a photo with Live Photos iPhone actually captures 1.5 seconds before and after the shot, storing all the images as a series of moving photos, similar to a short animation.

Motion Stills works using Google’s video stabilising technology to stabilise the images, automatically deciding the best start and end point and removing any blurry images from the photo montage.

The end result is an image with a still background but which looks cinematic, which is really quite impressive.


Google Research, the creators of the app, explained the technology behind Motion Stills in a blog post:

“Our algorithm uses linear programming to compute a virtual camera path that is optimized to recast videos and bursts as if they were filmed using stabilization equipment, yielding a still background or creating cinematic pans to remove shakiness.

Our challenge was to take technology designed to run distributed in a data center and shrink it down to run even faster on your mobile phone. We achieved a 40x speedup by using techniques such as temporal subsampling, decoupling of motion parameters, and using Google Research’s custom linear solver, GLOP. We obtain further speedup and conserve storage by computing low-resolution warp textures to perform real-time GPU rendering, just like in a videogame.”

Google showed off some the Live Photos taken before and then after using Motion Stills:

There is no word on whether Motion Stills will be released on Android and because of the vast differences between iOS and Android, it be unlikely the app would be available any time soon.

However, don’t be surprised if Google doesn’t introduce a similar feature to Google Photos at some point.


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