Every year Adobe uses its Max conference to share sneak peeks at the technologies created up by the company’s R&D departments that may one day find their way into apps like Photoshop and Premiere. For 2021 that includes Project In-Between which can turn a pair of similar photos into a short animation.
Even if you have features like iOS’ Live Photos turned on (which captures 1.5-seconds of video before and after a photo is snapped) you’re probably still in the habit of snapping a series of photos in quick succession to ensure you perfectly capture ‘the moment.’ It can lead to a smartphone camera roll full of seemingly redundant shots that can feel too overwhelming to clean out (how do you know which one is the keeper?) but a sticky trigger finger isn’t all bad.
Quickly swiping through all those shots can look like a stuttered stop motion animation, but with Adobe’s Project In-Between, a buttery smooth short animation can be created with a pair of photos featuring the same framing and subject matter.
As with most of the intelligently automated tools Adobe has revealed and released over the past few years, Project In-Between relies on Adobe Sensei, the company’s AI platform that passes image processing to powerful servers in the cloud that use deep learning techniques to accomplish photo and video editing tasks in seconds that previously would require hours of hard work by a pixel-pushing artist.
Project In-Between takes two similar images and automatically generates a series of in-between animated images (“tweening,” if you’re looking for a more awkward word for the technique) that perfectly transition between the before and after images. So shots featuring a person with their mouths open and then closed would produce a short animation that looks like they’re either talking or chewing.
Does the tool have any practical uses making it a must-have? Not quite yet. The best application Adobe suggests is making fun GIFs to share with friends and family, but smartphone photography tools like Apple’s Live Photo can already do that. That’s probably why Project In-Between is only a sneak peek for the time being, but there is the potential to create the perfect shot—or at least a better shot—from two less than ideal photographs by calculating the in-betweens. Imagine one photo has a child with their tongue sticking out, while the next they have their eyes closed. The in-betweens would potentially yield the perfect angelic pose, and bam, your family Christmas card is done without having to set up another photo shoot.