Samsung’s MPI Lab and SRI-B worked together to make Expert RAW a reality
Samsung’s Expert RAW app debuted with the Galaxy S21 Ultra last year as a comprehensive suite of in-camera editing tools to give you a DSLR-like experience on your smartphone. The company has been working on bringing the app to more of its phones — it came baked in with the Galaxy S22 series. In the coming months, it should be available on the Galaxy Z Fold3, Galaxy Z Fold2, Galaxy Note20 Ultra, and Galaxy S20 Ultra. But what went into creating this excellent software? An interview between Hamid Sheikh of Samsung Research America’s MPI Lab and Girish Kulkarni of Samsung R&D Institute India-Bangalore (SRI-B) reveals all the behind-the-scenes details.
As great as Samsung’s default camera app and ever-improving computational photography algorithms are for the average user, they sacrifice a lot of control for the expert and enthusiast community — who have little say in how the image’s color, tone, detail, or noise will be rendered. This was one of the biggest inspirations for the Expert RAW app. And the result? An app that captures highly comprehensive data for every image that can be used to improve photos with built-in editing software like Adobe Lightroom, giving photographers complete control over the entire creative experience. Samsung even adds automatic set points for camera controls with specific default values in Lightroom to aid beginning photographers.
Two teams came together to build Expert RAW, but what role did each play to ensure the complex project was a success? MPI Lab used its expertise in computational imaging to create a brand-new computational photography pipeline that produces both DNG and processed JPEG files. In other words, it developed the primary idea and technologies behind Expert RAW. On the other hand, SRI-B leveraged its skills and resources to develop the AI blocks for the Expert RAW pipeline, the app’s UI, and all other aspects necessary for an excellent end-to-end consumer experience.
Interestingly, Expert RAW was in development 24/7, with both teams using the 12-hour time zone difference effectively. The MPI Lab and SRI-B moved the project back and forth to finish the app’s development as scheduled. Both teams have played a crucial role in improving Samsung’s night mode — it’ll be interesting to see what other exciting features the collaboration brings in the future.
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