The research involved in new Portrait Lighting


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Buzzfeed as an in-depth report on the new Portrait Lighting features in the iPhone 8 Plus and upcoming iPhone X. The feature dynamically applies light profiles to photos to mimic different light conditions. Apple says it's not just filters as there's a lot of stuff going on beyond just washing over an image.

To get there, Apple researched the history of lighting and experimented with ways to leverage both the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X optics along with the A11 Bionic processing power.

"If you look at the Dutch Masters and compare them to the paintings that were being done in Asia, stylistically they're different," Johnnie Manzari, a designer on Apple's Human Interface Team, says. "So we asked why are they different? And what elements of those styles can we recreate with software?"

And then Apple went into the studio and attempted to do just that. "We spent a lot of time shining light on people and moving them around -- a lot of time," Manzari says. "We had some engineers trying to understand the contours of a face and how we could apply lighting to them through software, and we had other silicon engineers just working to make the process super-fast. We really did a lot of work."