Google Research

Single Image Portrait Relighting

  • Christoph Rhemann
  • Graham Fyffe
  • Jay Busch
  • Jonathan T. Barron
  • Paul Debevec
  • Ravi Ramamoorthi
  • Tiancheng Sun
  • Xueming Yu
  • Yun-Ta Tsai
  • Zexiang Xu


Lighting plays a central role in conveying the essence and depth of the subject in a 2D portrait photograph. Professional photographers will carefully control the lighting in their studio to manipulate the appearance of their subject, while consumer photographers are usually constrained to the illumination of their environment. Though prior works have explored techniques for relighting an image, their utility is usually limited due to requirements of specialized hardware, multiple images of the subject under controlled or known illuminations, or accurate models of geometry and reflectance. takes as input a single RGB image of a portrait taken with a standard cellphone camera in an unconstrained environment, and from that image produces a relit image of that subject as though it were illuminated according to any provided environment map. Our proposed technique produces quantitatively superior results on our dataset's validation set compared to prior work, and produces convincing qualitative relighting results on a dataset of hundreds of real-world cellphone portraits. Because our technique can produce a 640 x 640 image in only 160 milliseconds, it may enable interactive user-facing photographic applications in the future.

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