A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

January 26, 2023

Topaz Photo AI - Upscaling Low Res Images


Full original unsharpened image.

Photographers might be interested in this, especially if you have some low res images you want to use in a print project. I was going through some of my older railfan images for use in a writing project. I found some low resolution images I took around 2001 that I would like to use. The base image was about 3.1 mega-pixels (2160 by 1440 pixels) at ISO 100 and 1/180sec. The image was not noisy, but it was low-res and a bit soft.

I put the image in Topaz Photo AI and let the software recommend improvements. It can remove noise, sharpen, and upscale. In this case it only recommended a 2x upscale. But in the process, it made the image sharper. So it doubled the resolution in both axes for an image size of 11.9 mega-pixels (4234 by 2822 pixels) and gave a sharper image. That is some black magic.

Here is a comparison of both images in Photoshop. The upper image is the original image enlarged to 200%. The bottom image is the same image after Topaz AI upscaling. Check it out.  

Original image at 200% compared to the image in Topaz Photo AI upscaled and sharpened at 2x

But wait you say, what if you just took the original image and sharpened it in Photoshop? I tried the same image using Photoshop's new neural filter Superzoom. It didn't work near as well. It did upscale the image, but it was soft. If I tried to use Photoshop smart sharpen or unsharp mask on the upscaled image, I did not get as good results as there was a lot of fringing and artifacts See the second image for the comparison.

Photoshops new neural filter Superzoom compared to Topaz Photo AI

Topaz Photo AI also works on old slide scans. It can get rid of grain and other artifacts too. You can even upscale low res images you get off the internet. It is very impressive software. 

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