In the previous post, I showed this photo that was generated by taking a small photo, enlarging it using Topaz A. I. GigaPixel, and then cropping it to what you see.
I was sufficiently impressed that I wanted to try it on a few other photos.
Understand, some of Topaz Labs A. I. programs do amazing stuff but they don’t always work the way I want them to . . . and other times, they work much better than I thought possible.
As a reminder, the above crop came from this photo which was itself a crop of a larger photo.
Generally, when you enlarge a photo you quickly hit a limit . . . a data limit; basically, there’s not enough data to fill in the additional area created by the enlargement.
Enlarging algorithms rely on various means to “fill in” the missing data, mostly by guessing at what goes between two pixels which used to be adjacent but are now separated by “new” pixels.
Topaz makes some bold claims about GigaPixel . . . read on to see if I agree with them.
The short answer? Most of the time, I do.
Mind you, the first version of the software did impress me since I was using photos that had no larger version; meaning, they were original small photos. (See THIS post. By the way, many of my concerns with the first release of the software were addressed in subsequent updates.)
So, let me pick some photos I’ve already presented on this blog but which I had presented in smaller sizes precisely because the resolution of the original wasn’t all that good. Yes, it’s true . . . smaller things look nicer than they are.
Fair warning; I’ll be posting the original sizes of the enlargements so the processed files can be large (4MB+).
If you are reading this on a PC of a device with a sufficiently large screen, then the above photo is likely shown full size unless you are reading this in a small window. Either way, clicking on it will open it in a new tab or window and you can click on it to zoom to full size if it’s not.
That photo (as each subsequent photo) has been post-processed per my usual method of improving contrast, brightness, sharpening, etc. etc. etc.
So, dropping that into GigaPixel and asking it to enlarge by a factor of 4X results in this photo:
So, even without looking at the full size, one can see a slight improvement (for instance, around the eye). Looking at it at full resolution should be somewhat impressive as far as the detail. Heck, you can even see the reflection of surrounding trees in its eyeball.
So, call that a decent effort.
Here’s the next candidate:
Here’s what GigaPixel did with it:
Call me fuc . . . er . . . extremely impressed. I’m thinking the program went back in time and took a better version of the photo I took. So, another for the “win” column.
The third candidate is the farting duck.
OK, that photo was only shared for the joke. It’s fuzzy, out of focus, and lacking in detail . . . but, you know, the joke is funny.
Here’s what GigaPixel does with it . . .
OK, so, at the size you see in the post, there is a bit of an improvement (in my opinion) but looking at it at full resolution makes it evident there’s a limit to the magic GigaPixel can work. Stuff obviously looks obviously approximated, obviously.
To be fair to Topaz Lab’s software engineers, they do warn the results are dependent on the input. Still, it does appear they managed a bit more definition to the head and eyes than was present in the original.
I’m not calling this a failure because it’s a stretch asking the software to work miracles (even though it occasionally does). Ultimately, GIGO always applies.
The next example is one of the herons I tweaked to try and get enough definition and a usable photo from a clip of a long zoom photo.
The detail on the body and some of the surroundings was enhanced by some of the programs I have at my disposal. Still, the head and especially the area below the beak are a bit iffy in this photo.
GigaPixel does OK with the fine detail but has a tough time enhancing the crappy areas. Still, it doesn’t make them worse . . . it just reproduces them larger.
I would call this a wash . . . there is a bit of improvement in some areas and the program does reproduce the original 4X larger but again, GIGO.
These next two photos (and their enlargements) exemplify the same limitations; namely, you can’t start with a pig’s ear and end up with a silk purse.
Here’s the GigaPixel version. It does OK around the eye and beak as well as some of the feathers. Notice, however, how the background retains its glorious crappiness.
I still say the enlargement is marginally better when shown on the blog.
Here’s a beloved member of the insect world . . .
This is already a larger file, so I won’t post the full enlargement of the above because it would be 27MB. Instead, I’ll clip it to show what it looks at 1:1 (full zoom) ratio.
Notice it has a lot of noise (same as the original but now you can see it because it’s larger).
I can take that and run it through DxO’s Photo Lab to remove some of the noise and have it come out like this:
Again, the parts that are good are still good (but larger) and the parts that are bad are still bad (but larger).
I still call this a win because we now have a much larger photo that looks pretty good when inserted in the blog. Like the original, it looks pretty bad at full resolution.
The rest are all the same; 1280 pixels crops of original files. Enlarging these photos made them all come out in the range of 25MB to 30MB files (too big to share here) but I cropped them to show the important bits and just how much larger they are.
Again, click on the photo to see the full-size version.
You can now see more clearly my reflection on the upper surface of its torso.
Conclusion: given the right input file, Topaz Labs A. I. GigaPixel does an amazing job at enlarging and improving the source photo. It can’t work miracles but if you have a good quality photo you want to enlarge so you can print it in a large format, this software will give you good results.
Full disclosure . . . I own the software and lots of Topaz Lab software . . . all of which I bought and paid for with my own money. I receive no reward or special favor for favorably reviewing Topaz Labs products; I just happen to think they are good.
Note: there are other packages that do a good job of enlarging photos. Previous comparisons showed A.I. GigaPixel to do a better job (in most instances). It could be those other software programs are now competitive and even surpass GigaPixel in what they do, but I wouldn’t know because I’m not about to do another comparison. I’m happy with this product and when I’ll have the need to enlarge a photo, this is the software I’ll rely on.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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