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November 9, 2017

Got an iPhone X? Apple’s Clips app now has a feature exclusively for you

by John_A

Apple debuted Clips, a video editing and storytelling app, earlier this year, and eight months later and it’s already time for version 2.0. Clips 2 introduces a slight redesign, several new artistic effects, and animated stickers, but there’s one new feature available exclusively on the latest iPhone X.

The idea behind Clips is to take those photos and videos you shot on vacation, and quickly turn them into a 30-second (or however long) video that’s easily shareable to social media, or with friends and family. The redesign in the latest update focuses on making the tools in the app physically easier to access, by shifting things to the bottom instead of the top of the app, and by explicitly labeling what certain functions do.

Old version

Redesign

Old version

Redesign

The new interface makes it easier to navigate, and you can find what you’re looking for more quickly thanks to the new labels. Things like the Library and the collection of Posters also utilize a larger screen space, so you can see more options at a time.

While the small redesign may be the biggest visual change, there are two neat features that are sadly restricted to newer iPhone devices due to hardware limitations. The first is Selfie Scenes, and you’ll only see this if you have an iPhone X.

Selfie Scenes

Selfie Scenes uses the iPhone X’s TrueDepth Camera to transport you to varying landscapes, cities, or even a galaxy far, far away. The TrueDepth Camera is actually an array of depth-sensing cameras and sensors in the iPhone X’s “notch.” It’s how the iPhone X can create Animojis, unlock the phone with Face ID, and shoot Portrait Mode selfies. In Clips 2.0, the TrueDepth Camera identifies your face and body, cuts it out, and places it in a scene of your choice. There are 12 scenes (which, we assume, will grow over time), including two from Star Wars thanks to a partnership from Disney. These aren’t just flat 2D landscapes — they’re 360-degree videos that loop. You can point your camera anywhere to see every part of the scene you’re in, and even flip the camera if you don’t want yourself in the shot.

The TrueDepth Camera does a great job of accurately cropping you out of the real world. The app also places a filter on you so you blend in with the scene, rather than looking like some poor Photoshop work. In the Star Wars Selfie Scenes, you’re shown as a hologram.

Turn yourself into a painting

Filters have been in Clips since the beginning, but Apple has added a few new “artistic effects.” These aren’t just any Instagram filters, though. Apple calls it “style-transfer technology,” where it adds effects to a photo or video in real-time using neural nets. It’s the equivalent of what the popular app Prisma does, though Apple’s version is much, much faster.

Choose between Watercolor, Charcoal, Sienna, and Indigo, and your photos or videos will instantly look like a painting. It’s fast, and you can see what the other filters will look like via a live preview, so you never have to wait for anything to load. These specific filters require the A10 Fusion processor or higher because it’s a CPU-intensive process. That means you’ll only see it available on an iPhone 7 or newer.

There are a few more new filters directly taken from Apple’s Camera app, including Dramatic, Vivid, and Noir.

Star Wars stickers, posters, and more

In the Stickers section, there are now more choices from Disney, specifically animated stickers from Star Wars; there are traditional Disney characters and those from Pixar. Tap the colorful star, go to Stickers, press and hold a sticker and place it on the screen. Record your video and it will animate when you play it back.

You’ll also find more Posters, which are essentially still or animated transitions, some Star Wars-themed, and others designed by Apple.

The clips you make are also backed up to your iCloud Photo Library in addition to local storage. That means you could start a clip on an iPhone during your subway commute, for example, and then finish it later on an iPad at home.

Clips version 2.0 is now available on the Apple App Store for download.

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