Topaz Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI – The Dream Team for Low Res Images

by | Jul 21, 2021 | A.I. Gigapixel, AB Photo Tools, DXO Photo Lab, Topaz Sharpen AI | 4 comments

I have an extensive collection of legacy images, some taken with a 6MP DSLR. They’re pleasant images, but the low resolution limits what I can do with them.

Or it used to… And then I found Topaz Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI – The dream team for solving this problem.

I recently sold a large print of one of these photos, requiring a significant enlargement to it. A few years ago I wouldn’t have attempted it. Now, it’s no problem. Why?

Topaz Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI – The Dream Team

Most photo editing tools can enlarge an image using a high-quality method, such as BiCubic. None come close to what Topaz Gigapixel AI can achieve. When I first tested it, it amazed me. The quality results it gave were incredible.

Since then, Topaz have continued to improve it and add additional features. The same is true of Sharpen AI – it is the best image sharpener I have ever used, with unrivalled abilities to fix blurry and out-of-focus images.

The Sample Image

I took this image in 2009 in the UK Lake District, using a 6MP DSLR and a ‘kit’ zoom lens. When hiking I prefer lightweight equipment, where possible, and that was the combination of camera and lens I used back then.

I shot the picture as a RAW image, processed in DXO Photo Lab 4, and sharpened using Topaz Sharpen AI. Here is the resulting image:

Topaz Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI - The Dream Team

Topaz Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI sample picture

Here is the image magnified to 100% – you can see how detailed and sharp it is – DXO and Topaz Sharpen did a great job with the initial processing.Keswick and Derwent WaterHowever, its low resolution limits its usefulness. Currently, it is only good for a 10 inch print. For this post, I am going to enlarge it to 7,200 pixels wide, which is suitable for a 24 inch print.

Topaz Gigapixel AI

The first thing I need to do with this image is enlarge it using Gigapixel AI:

Gigapixel AI

Look at the right-hand panel. Gigapixel AI offers several enlargement options:

  • Standard – Used for images without special needs
  • Lines – Best for architectural and other images containing text or many straight lines
  • ART & CG – If your image is not a photo but is art or a computer drawing, this option works well
  • Low Resolution – As its name suggests, use this on low resolution images
  • Very Compressed – for images with many JPEG artefacts

I tried a few of these on this image and concluded that Low Resolution mode worked best:

Topaz Gigapixel AI Low Resolution Mode

Comparison: Gigapixel AI Standard mode vs Gigapixel AI Low Resolution mode vs Bicubic

I used Affinity Photo to produce a Bicubic enlargement of this image. Here are some image comparisons in Digital Photo Guardian’s Comparison tool. The photos in the left-hand column are from Gigapixel’s Low Resolution mode, the centre column contains its Standard mode results, and the right-hand column shows standard bicubic enlargements.

Gigapixel AI vs BicubicGigapixel AI vs BicubicGigapixel AI vs Bicubic

The results show that Gigapixel AI’s Low Resolution mode produces the best enlargements. They are better in terms of detail and sharpness. Zooming into the picture some more reveals the extent of the extra details:

Gigapixel AI Test

This is, of course, extreme pixel-peeping (870%). It confirms that Gigapixel AI produces the best result.

Finishing Touches – Topaz Sharpen AI

I sharpen images 3 times:

  1. During RAW development. If I’m using DXO Photo Lab, I let it do its magic using its unique Camera + Lens profile.
  2. After post processing – using Sharpen AI
  3. After resizing

If I’m downsizing to post on social media I let Digital Photo Guardian do the downsize and the final sharpening using its Export module. But for enlargements for prints I always use Sharpen AI:

Sharpen AI Interface

As usual, the right-hand panel contains the options. For this image, I’m using the ‘normal’ Too Soft option. The Motion Blur and Out of Focus settings perform wonders on images that need them, as a future post will show.

Here are some comparison shots of the results. The sharpened photo is on the right:

Sharpen AISharpen AIPixel peeping at 1000% clearly shows the improvement afforded by Sharpen AI.

Topaz Gigapixel Ai and Sharpen AI. Truly the dream team!

Prior to using these tools, I would not consider trying to make large prints of my old images. Standard enlargement methods, such as bicubic, are too limited to produce an acceptable image. True, an image taken on a modern, high resolution camera will be better still. But the same techniques I use here work on these images too, so you can produce ever larger prints or crop more aggressively and still get an excellent result.

Conclusion

It really is simple: if you enlarge any image for any reason, Gigapixel AI is the way to go.

If you sharpen your images, and you should, then nothing beats Sharpen AI.

Combine Gigapixel AI and Sharpen AI for the best quality image enlargements you will ever see.

I own and use both products. I consider them essential.

Try them out

Here are links to the products mentioned in this article:

Topaz Sharpen AI

Topaz Gigapixel AI

DXO Photo Lab

Digital Photo Guardian

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All content is Copyright Andy Bell 2024

4 Comments

  1. R

    Andy, you wrote:

    “Finishing Touches – Topaz Sharpen AI
    I sharpen images 3 times:

    1,During RAW development. If I’m using DXO Photo Lab, I let it do its magic using its unique Camera + Lens profile.
    2.After post processing – using Sharpen AI
    3.After resizing”

    Please can you advise where Gigapixel AI was used in this hierarchy, ie at what numbered step? Given it’s an article about using BOTH gigapixel and Sharpen AI, I’m slightly confused about the workflow you employed used.

    FWIW it’d make an interesting – and very ‘clickable’! – article/youtube video to show the possibilities and workflow for an (old digital camera) high-iso small (in mp) image being rejuvenated say for large scale printing using the tools you recommend ie

    DXO Photolab 4/5
    Topaz Gigapixel AI
    Topaz Sharpen AI
    (? Given Photolab 4/5 Deep Prime?) Topaz DeNoise AI….

    Reply
  2. Robin

    Andy, you wrote:

    “Finishing Touches – Topaz Sharpen AI
    I sharpen images 3 times:

    1,During RAW development. If I’m using DXO Photo Lab, I let it do its magic using its unique Camera + Lens profile.
    2.After post processing – using Sharpen AI
    3.After resizing”

    Please can you advise where Gigapixel AI was used in this hierarchy, ie at what numbered step? Given it’s an article about using BOTH gigapixel and Sharpen AI, I’m slightly confused about the workflow you employed used.

    FWIW it’d make an interesting – and very ‘clickable’! – article/youtube video to show the possibilities and workflow for an (old digital camera) high-iso small (in mp) image being rejuvenated say for large scale printing using the tools you recommend ie

    DXO Photolab 4/5
    Topaz Gigapixel AI
    Topaz Sharpen AI
    (? Given Photolab 4/5 Deep Prime?) Topaz DeNoise AI….

    Reply
    • AndyBell

      Robin – Gigipixel is the the resizing step (3), so Sharpen AI is applied afterwards.

      Good ideas re the article – I’ll add it to my list of things to do 🙂

      Andy

      Reply
    • AndyBell

      Robin – Gigipixel is the the resizing step (3), so Sharpen AI is applied afterwards.

      Good ideas re the article – I’ll add it to my list of things to do 🙂

      Andy.

      Reply

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