Monday, October 1, 2018

iPhone XS supposed 'skin smoothing' selfie filter explained →

Sebastiaan de With, designer for popular iOS camera app Halide, explains just how different the new camera system is in iPhone XS. His explanation also dispels the rumor that Apple has been applying a ‘beautification’ or ‘skin smoothing’ filter to selfies taken with the front-facing camera.

The iPhone XS merges exposures and reduces the brightness of the bright areas and reduces the darkness of the shadows. The detail remains, but we can perceive it as less sharp because it lost local contrast. In the photo above, the skin looks smoother simply because the light isn’t as harsh.

Observant people noticed it isn’t just skin that’s affected. Course textures and particularly anything in the dark— from cats to wood grain— get a smoother look. This is noise reduction at work. iPhone XS has more aggressive noise reduction than previous iPhones.

And:

Yep. The front facing selfie camera hardware is worse in low-light than the back facing camera. The selfie cam has a tiny, pinkie-fingernail sized sensor, which means it takes in less light, which in turn means more noise, and thus more noise reduction.

The result is a smoother image, which with the new Smart HDR and computational-photography-heavy pipeline smoothens out the image a bit more than in the past.

So there you have it, an explanation. However, that doesn’t change the fact that selfies now look different, and that will continue to be an issue for a lot of people. I don’t take a ton of selfies anyway, and during my testing with iPhone XS Max, I’ve found this new system hasn’t bothered me.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Power of RAW on iPhone →

Sebastiaan de With shared great insight on shooting in RAW mode with iPhone X on the Halide blog today — Halide being a really powerful camera app I highly recommend.

I have always found the task of shooting in RAW and subsequent editing a bit daunting. After reading Sebastiaan’s post, I feel more empowered than ever to give it a real go.

Sebastiaan:

I am the design half of the team that makes the iPhone app Halide, which is a camera app with manual controls and, most importantly, RAW capture.

RAW is a file format that holds an incredible amount of information. We’ll get into the details later, but first let’s show what you can do with it.

From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.
From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.

RAW affords you editing freedom. Absolute freedom to change the colors and white balance of a photo, or recover too-bright highlights and too-dark shadows.

However, as awesome as RAW is, it’s important to know RAW isn’t a magic “enhance” button. Some of our users sometimes reach out with confusion about their RAW images looking worse than a regular capture from the stock camera app.

Read his full post for a really accessible overview of how RAW files are put together, and what shooting in RAW really means, including important caveats.