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Halide Mark II’s Sebastiaan de With is an analog man in a digital world. As co-founder and artistic lead at Lux Optics — the corporate behind the Apple Design Award-winning digicam app — de With is not any stranger to design or digital images. However he’s additionally an enormous fan of falling off the grid.

“I like grabbing a pen and a pocket book, going into the woods, and drawing and drawing,” de With says.

Lens flair: Halide’s Sebastiaan de With designed the minimalist camera app to offer “excitement without intimidation.”

Lens aptitude: Halide’s Sebastiaan de With designed the minimalist digicam app to supply “pleasure with out intimidation.”

That twin ardour for analog artwork and digital design shines in Halide Mark II, an app that mixes the ability of a contemporary DSLR with the enjoyment and fantastic thing about a traditional guide digicam. “Cameras are simply so enjoyable to make use of,” de With says. “Give a baby a digicam they usually’ll play with the aperture ring and the dials and the switches. I assumed, ‘Possibly we are able to carry a semblance of that delight to an app on a bit of glass.’”


Behind the Design is a weekly sequence that explores design practices and philosophies from every of the 12 winners of the 2022 Apple Design Awards. In every story, we go behind the screens with the builders and designers of those award-winning apps and video games to find how they introduced their exceptional creations to life.


Filled with pro-grade options however accessible to these studying their approach round ISO settings, Halide fantastically strikes a stability between the skilled and the sensible. And its uncluttered, beautifully-organized function set implies that even high-end settings like depth mode and histograms are by no means quite a lot of faucets away. “We didn’t say we made an app,” says de With. “We are saying we made a digicam. That was a philosophical underpinning of all the pieces we did.”

de With and Lux Optics co-founder Ben Sandofsky know a factor or two about cameras. They bonded on social media over their shared love of picture gear, and a partnership quickly adopted: The duo launched the primary model of Halide in 2016, aiming to seize the accessibility of Apple’s digicam app whereas offering quick access to superior options. “The complexity is there,” says de With, “it’s simply not going to overwhelm you. Whenever you’re supplied a considerably accessible approach into this world, it will probably kindle pleasure with out intimidation.”

Halide provides both pro-grade manual controls and powerful autofocus settings.

Halide supplies each pro-grade guide controls and highly effective autofocus settings.

That philosophy was a key think about recruiting Lux Optics’s third crew member, iOS developer Rebecca Slatkin. “I actually admired — and aligned with — their pragmatic method to software program improvement,” she says. “They weren’t reinventing the wheel. It was all simplicity.”

Whereas Slatkin had grown up round images, her digicam utilization had been way more informal than both de With’s or Sandofsky’s — however that perspective introduced even higher accessibility to Halide for folks throughout all talent units. “You understand in bowling, the place they put bumpers within the gutters to be sure you no less than hit a pin?” says Slatkin. “We help [people] like that. Irrespective of your background, you’ll be able to take a fantastic picture.”

To translate this ethos to interface, the crew designed the app’s controls to largely keep out of the way in which. “Different digicam apps regarded like flight simulators with a lot of dials, which was intimidating, even for somebody like me who loves movie cameras,” de With says. “A digicam is an extension of your physique, and it really works finest when it creates muscle reminiscence. We have to have constant gestures. We have to be versatile with out altering buttons round on a regular basis.”

Halide’s Ben Sandofsky — seen here testing the app firsthand — connected with de With over their shared love of photo gear.

Halide’s Ben Sandofsky — seen right here testing the app firsthand — linked with de With over their shared love of picture gear.

Shade, too, is used fastidiously and intentionally in Halide, with a single yellow spotlight colour (one other homage to traditional cameras) used to point energetic state for a function. When the crew was redesigning Halide in 2020 for its Mark II launch, nonetheless, they found that colour wasn’t all the time sufficient to assist somebody establish what instruments they had been utilizing — a lesson Slatkin realized the arduous approach when making an attempt to experiment with the app’s RAW function.

“I keep in mind I went to the Adirondacks and took all these images, and was excited to indicate Sebastiaan and Ben and my dad,” she recounts, “and I obtained again and none of them had been in RAW — as a result of I assumed the deactivated state was the other.” Whereas irritating, the real-world check helped the crew replace the function’s button design to raised replicate every particular person mode when chosen.

Halide’s powerful macro mode is always just a few taps away.

Halide’s highly effective macro mode is all the time only a few faucets away.

The crew’s deal with simplicity for Halide goes past interface design — in addition they carry it to the design and implementation of their superior digicam options. Take their method to RAW images: Whereas execs could love working with uncompressed pictures as a result of it provides them extra colour information to control, RAW processing can usually be complicated and time-consuming for first-time photographers. In response, the crew developed On the spot RAW, which makes use of machine studying to assist folks shoot and course of RAW pictures immediately. “It’s all about what you create,” says de With. “So we thought, ‘Let’s simply skip to the half the place you create good images.’”

Typically, the crew builds options that develop past Halide itself. Spectre Digicam, a machine learning-powered lengthy publicity app and the App Retailer’s 2019 App of the Yr, was one such challenge; the crew can be presently arduous at work on Mild Forecast, an app that makes use of machine studying and predictive fashions to provide you with a warning when a very picturesque sundown is developing. (You may need caught a peek within the WWDC22 keynote.) Initially conceived as a Lock Display screen widget, the app has advanced right into a ardour challenge for Slatkin.

“As I used to be studying images, I used to be making an attempt to change into extra conscious of sunshine and golden hour,” she says, “and I discovered that with the ability to predict cloud coloration, sky coloration, and air high quality makes an enormous distinction.” She’s spent the previous a number of months amassing information, partnering with climate providers, and monitoring 30 webcams all around the nation. “I’ve realized that we’ve been sleeping on some actually good sunsets,” she says.

Rebecca Slatkin and de With often find themselves learning from their own app. “I find myself being a lot more observant about my surroundings,” says Slatkin.

Rebecca Slatkin and de With usually discover themselves studying from their very own app. “I discover myself being much more observant about my environment,” says Slatkin.

That have — and that surprising delight — is what Lux Optics hopes folks get out of their apps: the sense that cameras, even the sophisticated ones, are accessible to anybody with a tool and a scenic location. “I hike loads, and I discover myself being much more observant about my environment,” says Slatkin. “It’s made me respect the fantastic thing about issues I wouldn’t have seen earlier than.”

Merely put: You don’t want be to a professional photographer to make use of a professional digicam app. “It’s a misinform say that some folks have a inventive present and a few don’t,” de With says. “Everyone has a novel perspective on the world. We hope we will help folks uncover theirs.”

Learn more about Halide Mark II

Download Halide Mark II – Pro Camera from the App Store

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