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Pixel 4 face-retouching feature built with help of wedding photographers

Google tapped into the expertise of wedding photographers in the process of building the Pixel 4‘s face retouching feature, according to the Pixel camera’s lead product manager, Isaac Reynolds.

Reynolds, in an interview with The Vergecast, said that his team brought in wedding photographers to help them with not crossing certain lines, such as “making faces thinner, lips larger, and noses smaller,” while still making sure that people looked better after activating the feature.

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Reynolds’ team asked the photographers what they did to retouch the photos of their clients since people at weddings already put in effort to look their best on that day. The Pixel 4 face retouching feature tries to emulate what the wedding photographers do, though one thing that Reynolds specifically mentioned in the interview is skin smoothing.

With skin-smoothing, the Pixel 4 face retouching feature attempts to remove “what you look like today that isn’t you,” Reynolds said. One example is the red mark left behind when people rest their faces on their hands for too long — the camera will try to remove that mark while increasing exposure to create a “glow.”

The face retouching feature is turned on by default when taking selfies with the Pixel 4 camera, which should provide a confidence boost for people as they will look like their best selves without the need for extra filters and augmentations.

Google, apparently, has put a lot of thought into where to draw the line on how much editing is too much. While some apps have filters that completely change a person’s face, rival Apple sits on the other end of the spectrum as it does not offer any built-in face retouching features on its iPhones.

“We have actually [done] lots and lots of thinking, and I’m thinking of multiple documents and slide decks that we’ve created, thinking about where that line is [with facial retouching] and why it should exist that way,” said Reynolds.

The camera’s face retouching option is just one of the many positive points for the Pixel 4, which also offers snappy performance and a silky-smooth display. There are also many other ways to make the most out of the Pixel 4 camera, through its telephoto lens, Dual Exposure, and many other features.

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