Imagine being able to place digital objects in your device’s viewfinder and take pictures of them, as if they were part of the real world. Well, Minecraft Reality lets you do just that.
Most of us who have been around computers for a while have messed around with the wonderful and weird world of Minecraft in which one could build structures out of cubes. Now along comes an app that lets you place these constructions just about anywhere you wish, without actually having to do any physical moving or even any PhotoShoppery. Called Minecraft Reality, the app basically lets you place digital objects (made using Minecraft blocks) just about anywhere in a picture.
The app comes for $1.99 and is currently available only for iOS devices. Starting the app shows you a list of Minecraft objects and you can choose one and opt to place them in a picture – and then the real fun starts. The object is first downloaded and then the app opens your device’s camera app. You have to specify the place where you want the object placed – just make sure it is of a relatively uncluttered and has no moving objects around (start with something small like a book cover, and then move on to hallways is our advice) – and then comes the slightly eccentric part of the app: you move your device from side to side and back and forth. And then gape as the object you have selected appears in the viewfinder in all its 3D glory.
You can resize it and move it around using your fingers and when you are satisfied with the result, you can opt to share it on your social networks, mail it, save it on your device’s photo roll, or if you are in a particularly generous bend of mind, leave an indication to other app users as to where it is – they can see it by sauntering over to where you placed it, even though nothing would be actually visible without the app. Now, THAT’s augmented reality. Jaw droppingly so. Some will squeal that there is no actual utility in the app – we will just say that we are staggered at the ability to pull an object from the cloud and place it in a viewfinder, tweak its location and size and then take a picture of it almost as if it were in the real world. Without doing any complex image processing – we are just waiting for the option to be able to move anything anywhere (utopia, yes, but then that’s what tech dreams are for).
It’s not all roses for Minecraft Reality, though. The number of creations you can share are limited at the moment, and the app REALLY needs a fair bit of processing power and good bandwidth to really work. And even with those, it can stutter from time to time. It always starts from scratch and takes a while loading, which again can be a bit of a pain at times. And placing and resizing does not always work smoothly. Round that off with the fact that finding out about apps placed in the vicinity is not the easiest task and we can see the cynics saying “oho, so WHAT is so great about it, then?”
Our answer: well, the fact that when it works – and it still works well eight times out of ten even with the spotty network coverage out here in Delhi – it delivers results that are jaw-dropping. There are not too many apps that make you feel as if you have seen the future. Minefield Reality is one of them. Keep an eye on this, all ye – this is definitely what photography could become, to paraphrase a line from an epic smartphone ad campaign. Worth a download? Do you NEED to ask even now?
Download from: iTunes App Store – $1.99