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Google Debuts Real Tone Camera Filters

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Google Photos can now better capture diverse skin tones.

When you take a picture of yourself with a smartphone camera, you’re not always seeing your actual self. Phone camera lenses can only capture so many shades and colors, opting to color and shade-correct wherever it falls short. This becomes more apparent when you try to snap a picture of certain skin tones, especially darker ones. However, Google has been working on a way to make their pictures a little more true to life.

Google announced yesterday that they will be rolling out a new set of Real Tone filters for Google Pictures, with many Android and iOS devices using the program already showing the change. These new filters are designed to better capture a variety of different skin tones in digital photography, accurately showing them in their real shades instead of digitally-correcting or altering them. All of these new filters were created based on the Monk Scale, a skin tone scale that can accurately differentiate between many different shades.

“These filters were designed by professional image makers to work well across skin tones, so you can choose the filter that reflects your style,” reads the announcement on the official Google Photos Twitter.

The new filters each have a small overlay on them that reads “Made with Real Tone” to indicate the usage of the feature. You can also manually adjust aspects of each filter if you like. The Real Tone filters are likely a precursor to efforts to automate this process, a feature already present on some Google Pixel phone models.