Gigapixel AI: AI-powered image upscaling

Jun 08, 2022 at 07:15 am by nemirc

Gigapixel AI: AI-powered image upscaling
Gigapixel AI: AI-powered image upscaling

A few days ago I ran into Gigapixel AI, an application by Topaz Labs that supposedly is able to increase a picture size while keeping the details, and enhancing any lost details. The app apparently uses some machine learning techniques to process the images and figure out what to do. The results are varied but I hope the app improves in time. For this article I am using the demo version I downloaded from their website.

The app uses 1.13Gb of space after installation, but the app also needs to install 3.0Gb of extra ML models to process images. You can either download them when you first launch the application, or download them as they are needed (they download automatically when you process a picture, depending on what the picture has in it.

Using the software is fairly simple. All you do is open the application, drag a picture into the window, and wait for the software to process it. After the photo is processed, you can adjust the result using the controls to the left.

The controls to the left allow you to increase or decrease the noise and blur removal, and also increase or decrease the facial recovery strength. This last one is the one you use if you want a face to be reconstructed or just amplified. There are also 5 different AI models that you can choose from: standard, lines, artwork, low resolution and very compressed. The standard model is supposedly the “one-size-fits-all” algorithm, but the other ones might be better for specific situations.

As you can guess, the default mode will work, but it will definitely not be the best solution for all situations. In the example below, I downloaded a 310x420 pixels image, and increased its size 4 times. The version on top is the one using the “low resolution” AI model, while the one at the bottom uses the “standard” AI model. Obviously, the image I am posting is too small for you to see the details, but if you see the actress’ hair, you’ll se the “standard” AI model produced some artifacts while the “low resolution” model produced smoother hair.

Sometimes, the result will not be what you expect, no matter how much you tweak the settings. In cases like this, you can send a snapshot of your image and a description of the result by clicking the happy/serious face on the bottom right corner of the viewport. Of course, I wouldn’t advice you to do this with personal photos, or photos you wouldn’t post on your social networks.

Since Gigapixel AI uses AI algorithms to reconstruct photos, the resulting photo is a combination of a photo and some “painted reconstruction” on top. This means that, sometimes, the “texture” of the image will not be like the original photo, but more like a “rendered/painted” version of your photo, if that makes any sense. In reality it all depends on how focused you are on the picture still looking like a picture, and not a “painted micro-detailed” version of your picture.

If you find yourself in the need to increase the size of your photos, specially old photos, Gigapixel AI might just fit your needs. It’s way cheaper than Photoshop, and produces better results for picture enlargements. The settings might require some work from your part to reach your desired results, and sometimes a photo may not be fully reconstructed, but I think it will be very helpful in most cases.

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