The camera on the Pixel 2 phones is simply breath taking. One great feature of the camera is the portrait mode in both front and rear facing camera mode. It is far better than any implementation we have seen on any other phone, including those with a dedicated second camera designed for this bokeh effect. Now you can have it on the previous two generations of Google phones.
The Pixel 2 uses a dual pixel mode to create its portrait effect on the rear camera but on the front camera it uses a software mode entirely. The software mode uses machine learning to show what is foreground and what is background and then it blurs the background out from this.
Officially this mode is exclusive for the 2017 Pixel 2 phones but now it is possible to get it functioning on your 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL, and your Nexus 6P and 5X.
Developer Charles Chow used Camera NX V7.3 as a base for his work. Camera NX V7.3 is a Google Camera mod and is designed to unlock most of the Pixel camera exclusive features. He tore the apk file apart to force the rear camera data model which allows the camera to enable portrait mode — this portrait mode replaces lens blur in the camera menu.
I tested this out on my 2016 Pixel XL with a basic object (and my cat named Pixie) and it did not work but with a human head (mine) it worked perfectly. It worked consistently and worked on both the front and rear cameras. After installing the Camera NX app all you have to do it enable Portrait mode in the hamburger menu and you are good to go.
Along with this addition he cleaned out the app a bit to make it launch faster and for those that wanted it he included the AR sticker mod for the Nexus phones (it is already available elsewhere for the 2016 Pixel phones). You can also map the double tap of the power button to launch Camera NX instead of the stock Google camera
If you want to check out these features on your 2016 Pixel phone or your Nexus 6P or 5X head on over and download it (mirror) and give it a shot. If you don’t like it you just uninstall it like any other app.