Gigapixel. Does it work?

(Note: If you’ve been collecting the Yuzu wallpapers I’ve been posting, and having a problem downloading the full size, I fixed the problem. Just right-click, open in new tab, and you’ll now access full size. This applies to ALL the wallpapers I’ve posted in the last few weeks.)

Topaz Gigapixel is an AI program designed to enlarge pictures. Because I already own most of their “photo processing” suite, I was able to purchase this for less than the listed price (which I think runs around $99 right now, but check their site (TopazLabs.com) for further info.

Why would I or anyone else need a program like this? One big reason: digital cameras have changed a lot over the last couple of decades. Back when I was using an Olympus, I took some nice photos, but compared to my Sony today, they’re small. It simply wasn’t possible to take “big” pics back then. I can’t even remember what megapixels my Olympus offered in the early 2000s, but my Sony a6400 gives me 24.2 megapixels per shot.

That size is good enough for print. My old photos don’t come anywhere near that.

Allow me a brief side trip to a KDrama I recently watched. Hang in there; I’ll get back to Gigapixel in a moment. 🙂

The drama is called Hwarang. The word means Flowering Knights. They were an elite warrior group of male youth in Silla, an ancient kingdom of the Korean Peninsula. It’s cool this corps really existed, isn’t it? The many stars of this series are young and beautiful and include the BTS sensation, V, whose real name is Kim Tae-hyung. The young actors in Hwarang wear sexy Joseon costumes and have long hair. It was a joy to watch them spar and fight and get all sexy.

Okay, I’m digressing. I didn’t watch this for V. I’m a fan of Park Seo-Jun (or Joon, depending on who’s reporting). After seeing him in Itaewon Class on Netflix and What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim on Viki, I wanted more. Here’s a pic I found of him online. The original, which this is, is 538×516. If you zoom in even once, it gets all pixelated. I wanted something large enough to make wallpaper.

As y’all know, online pics, unless labeled hi-res, are generally low resolution and/or compressed. It’s the nature of the internet. And finally I get back to Gigapixel. Bet you thought I got lost in the good looks of the main character, eh?

*cleans up drool*

<ahem>

I’ve used Gigapixel to enlarge photos I found online of Yuzuru Hanyu. It worked really well. I was able to get some beautiful wallpaper from the enlargements. This is 1920×1080. The original was nowhere near large or “clean” enough to create this. (Right-click, open in new tab, blah blah)

Yuzuru Hanyu

I upscaled Seo-Jun’s picture x4. That means four times larger than the original. I could have gone even larger, but that’s big enough for my needs. Here’s the side by side comparison. I did no other processing to the shot. The original (which Gigapixel helpfully displayed on the left while it was working (you can change this setting to several others, btw)) shows color and line distortions, as well as artifacts. The pic on the right has addressed all those issues. There’s even a slider that lets you control face recovery (push it too far to the right, and you get unreal, wax museum-type smoothness; heh).

Here’s a crop of the final result, which is 2152×2064. Unbelievably, Gigapixel improved on the original photo. Check out the sharp lines of the logo on his headband.

I am astounded at how good graphic software has become in the last few years. It allows me to do things I didn’t dare dream of twenty or even ten years ago. AI-assisted software is a boon to photographers. I’m glad I lived long enough to see the revolution.

About Fenraven

Fenraven lives in central Florida, which reminds him of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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2 Responses to Gigapixel. Does it work?

  1. Janet Ellinger says:

    Doesn’t seem possible, but you made PSJ even *more* beautiful than he was in Hwarang. No lack of beautiful men in that show….whew. I would challenge you to do V, as his bandmate just deemed him the most beautiful human on the planet. (And how sweet is that?)

    • Fenraven says:

      I didn’t do a thing to that photo. Yet. 🙂 I just made it bigger, and the program made him prettier. I’m trying to decide what kind of background that picture needs for wallpaper.

      There seems to be no end of pretty/beautiful men in Korea, and they all seem to have those full, luscious lips and intense eyes. *sigh*

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