Topaz Gigapixel AI review

Introduction

Topaz ‘Gigapixel AI’ is an application made for photo enlargement. You can use it to enlarge full-sized images to print them larger or to upscale your low resolution images. It’s always possible to export an image to a larger size in an application like Lightroom, but you’ll notice a loss in sharpness and overall quality.

Since printing images is more or less going out of fashion, maybe a better, more modern use case would be up-scaling a cropped image. Say you’ve gotten a fantastic image of a bird-in-flight, but your tele-zoom just wasn’t long enough. You cropped the hell out of that 16 MP sensor image and now you’re left with a 1,2 MP cutout. Details looks fine at first, but when you zoom in; you see that it looks blurry. In comes ‘Gigapixel AI’ to upscale that crop up to 6 times. The software does this by filling in the blanks, so to say. Take a gander at this letter ‘W’ that I processed so you can understand what ‘Gigapixel AI’ does at a most basic level.

Topaz Gigapixel AI Machine learning

Up-scaling engines like this have evolved in the past few years. With Topaz ‘Gigapixel AI’, this also involved machine learning. This is a lengthy process of feeding the application thousands of images with normal and downscale resolutions. Over time, the software learns what is missing or different and learns how to recreate or enhance these missing bits. This is a continuous process, and every software update the engine gets better.

Time to look at the ‘Gigapixel AI’ interface and learn more about the functions available.

Gigapixel AI

Topaz Gigapixel Ai interface

Import settings

You can click open and import a single image, or multiple images into ‘Gigapixel AI’. You can also drag-and-drop images from the desktop or a folder. You also have is also a batch processing function.

You ‘select all’ to apply the same settings to all images or uncheck ‘select all’ and choose one image, or a handful of images, and apply different settings to each image. You can also process video in this way by first exporting all frames of that video and importing them in ‘Gigapixel AI’. But Topaz labs now have Video Enhance AI that can process them automatically.

Navigator

The navigator allows you to select which part of your image will be magnified. This is necessary to have a good understanding of the amount of enhancement.

Auto-update preview

The before/after preview window dominates the interface. You can find all the settings on your right-hand side. The ‘Auto-update preview’ checkbox is the first thing you should notice. This feature will automatically render the preview after every change made. This can be a handy feature, but depending on the processing needed, it can take a long time.

Select Resize Mode

There are three distinct ways to resize your image in ‘Gigapixel AI’: resize by scale, by width or by height.

Resize by scale lets you multiply the resolution of your image anywhere from 0.5 to 6 times the input size. You can choose one of the pre-defined scale values or enter your own.  You can also resize by width or height. This allows you to scale your image to a chosen value (easiest way if you want to print) and you can also set PPI or pixels per inch for your output image.

Face refinement

This function enables automatic face refinement that uses additional AI processing that produces a more enhanced enlargement of faces in your photos. I’ve had mixed results with this. If there is not enough information, there is not much you can do.

Auto detect settings, suppress noise and remove blur

The auto detection settings apply to the ‘Suppress Noise’ and ‘Remove Blur’ sliders below. These are quick refinement options to tweak your images before exporting. ‘Gigapixel AI’ can detect the amount of noise in your imager and apply a suitable amount of noise reduction. ‘Remove Blur’ analyses your image and tries to correct this.

Conclusion

Topaz ‘Gigapixel AI’ is a convenient and effective application to upscale your images. Practical uses include up-scaling for larger prints, enhancing cropped photos and rejuvenating your smaller sensor image library. I’ve used ‘Gigapixel AI’ for up-scaling older Olympus micro-four-thirds images for selling them on stock image sites.  As long as there is sufficient information in the original file, ‘Gigapixel AI’ does a fantastic job at up-scaling these. Details look better at 100% cropped and as long as you don’t exaggerate, the results are indistinguishable from a native file. Although an app like this has limited uses, it’s the best option available if that use is what you’re looking for.

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