The Samsung Galaxy S21 has clever AI that improves selfies and portraits

Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung’s flagship phones almost always have excellent cameras, in fact the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra currently sits at the top of our best camera phone list, and now the company has explained what makes the Samsung Galaxy S21 range so good for selfies, portraits, and pet photos.

In a newsroom post, the company went into a deep dive on the AI used for selfies with its latest flagships. It explained that when you take a photo, the AI-powered camera will identify faces in the image and segment them from the rest of the scene. It will then apply ‘natural enhancements’ to the faces, such as bringing out details in the hair and eyes, and creating more natural skin tones.

The goal is to instantly create an image that’s ready to share without further editing, but that also doesn’t look overly processed in the way some beauty filters can. Handily, this AI feature also works with third-party apps, so you don’t have to stick with Samsung’s camera app to get the benefits.

Samsung Galaxy S21 camera tech

(Image credit: Samsung)

The post then goes on to explain the role of AI in portrait mode, which helps you take better photos of people and pets.

If you’ve used this mode, you’ll know that you can select from various effects that will be applied, such as ‘blur’, ‘studio’, or ‘high-key mono’. Once you’ve picked an effect and pressed the shutter, the AI will identify people or pets in the image and create a segmentation map which separates each individual subject.

Samsung Galaxy S21 camera tech

(Image credit: Samsung)

Then it creates a seed map of the subjects to apply the effects you’ve selected, followed by a tri-map, which identifies the subjects, the background, and any areas where they blend together.

It then uses this to apply matting, which brings out details in the facial features and hair of subjects, and at the same time the AI is measuring depth information, to optimize the depth of field and background details, while ensuring any blur applied doesn’t overlap with the subject.

All of this work is combined together into one final image, and it all happens within three seconds, leaving you with a photo that – hopefully – really shines. And these features apply to every model in the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, so you don’t have to splash out on a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to get them.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.