Adobe taps former Pixel exec to build a universal camera app

Marc Levoy is now a vice president and fellow at Adobe.


After leaving Google in March, Marc Levoy, the imaging expert who helped create some of the Pixel lineup's most important computational photography features, has landed at Adobe. In an email, the Photoshop-maker said Levoy will "spearhead company-wide technology initiatives focused on computational photography and emerging products, centered on the concept of a universal camera app."

Precisely what that universal camera app will entail Adobe hasn't said yet. However, the company notes Levoy will work with its Photoshop Camera, Adobe Research, Sensei and Digital Imaging teams. As The Verge notes, Adobe's Photoshop Camera and Lightroom apps already include camera functionality. It's possible a universal camera app could be something that's available on both Android and iOS devices.

Levoy led the team that developed the Pixel lineup's Night Sight, Portrait Mode and HDR+ functionality. He also gained notoriety during the Pixel 4 launch event in 2019 when he took a shot at Apple's Phil Schiller. Speaking to the camera capabilities of Google's latest phone, he said, "This isn't 'mad science.' It's just simple physics." The statement was a reference to the presentation Schiller gave on on Apple's Deep Fusion technology. The executive described the system as "computational photography mad science." 

It's hard to overstate the effect Levoy had on the smartphone industry while at Google. At a time when manufacturers were cramming in as many lenses and sensors as they could into their phones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 took the best photos using only a single primary camera. Google's phone lineup did so much with so little that other manufacturers had to develop their own computational photography features. Working on an app that's available on both Android and iOS, Levoy may change smartphone photography yet again.

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