Topaz A.I. Gigapixel vs. PS & ON1 (more tests)

Topaz’ new A.I. Gigapixel has been proving to be extremely popular, with an overwhelming response to its release. In my last blog post I did my first tests with it and was literally amazed at the quality I was getting when upsizing nearly 20-year-old 1-megapixel digital images by 600%. The only thing IMO that would further the improvement would be to vectorize the image data.

(Note: Topaz is not promoting a coupon code or discount for A.I. Gigapixel but we are! Use coupon “plugsnpixels” here to save 15% off the $99.99 retail price (this discount also applies to ALL Topaz products).

My previous blog post showed some comparison between Photoshop’s Image Size functionality (with Preserve Details 2.0 and light noise reduction selected) and Topaz Gigapixel. This time around I am introducing ON1’s Photo RAW 2018.5 into the mix. ON1 boasts a long history in the image-resizing business, going way back to its acquisition of 1990s technology Genuine Fractals in 2005 (later re-branded as “Perfect Resize”; both are now obsolete in terms of new installs and license activation). Photo RAW has a Resize module that incorporates GF technology.

Also, in my previous blog post I concentrated on older, low-megapixel images (1, 4 and 6MP), the type that are most often in need of this type of up-rezzing technology for modern output and use. Today I am exclusively using (somewhat better!) 12.2 megapixel images from a 2011 Canon Rebel T3 (shot with stock Canon zoom lenses). On that note, I will add that the images you are about to see were post-processed in these various apps on a 2013 MacBook Air (i7, 8 gigs RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5000 1536 MB graphics card), not an IBM Summit Supercomputer, so chances are you have much better hardware around your neck and on your desk. As a result you can easily match and exceed my results.

(Download a FREE trial of ON1 Photo RAW 2019 and test your own images.)

Let’s head over to Claremont CA and make use of some images from the campus of The Claremont Colleges (which if you haven’t visited you must!).

My procedure for today’s test was this: Open each source image in the very latest Camera Raw with Auto white balance, open in Photoshop and crop out a relevant section (to keep my test processing times to a minimum since we are interested in the details), make minor Levels adjustments as needed, save the cropped results as uncompressed TIFFs or JPEGs, then open and upsize all cropped images to 600% (we’re going big) in Photoshop (with 20% noise reduction in Image Size), the latest Photo RAW 2015.15 (12.5.3, stock settings aside from custom magnification) and the latest build of Topaz A.I. Gigapixel (1.0.2, enhancement on for the bit of extra quality). Whew!

Hint: Right-click and open these images in a new browser tab to see them at actual size, where the results are more accurate.

Here’s the full-frame view of our first example. Note our friend and test subject Beethoven at the center:

Here is the crop area I chose to work with (reduced view):

Here are the test results at 100% view in Photoshop, with PS at left, ON1 at center and Topaz at right:

Here is another part of the same cropped image. Note the sharpness of the peeling paint and the lines and angles of the first “E” in “Beethoven” as a reference! Again, PS at left, ON1 at center and Topaz Gigapixel at right:

And a third example from this image, of the decorative elements:

I think the best results are obvious…

Our next photo was taken mere steps from the previous one. I think the expression on the dog at right is quite funny, so we’ll focus on him. Here is the original full-frame view (reduced for reference):

And the results, again at 100%, PS at left, ON1 at center and Topaz Gigapixel at right. Is it just me or are we seeing what appears to be “blades of grass” in the Topaz version-?

Another section of the same image (location: to the right of the main music hall doorway, by the small green leaning tree):

This is fun, let’s keep going!

(Note: Topaz is not promoting a coupon code or discount for A.I. Gigapixel but we are! Use coupon “plugsnpixels” here to save 15% off the $99.99 retail price (this discount also applies to ALL Topaz products).

Elsewhere on the Claremont campuses is this fountain which I must have photographed several times over the years. Here is the original framing (reduced size):

And now, a few comparisons of the figure’s face, the clamshell fountain and metal text at 100%, with PS at left, ON1 at center and Topaz Gigapixel at right:

Only a short walk from campus into the Claremont Village, you can catch some live music. This particular shot of the band was taken from across the street with the longer Canon zoom, and I seem to have only retained the JPEG copy in my archives (not the RAW original). But no matter! I still got great results. The original full frame (reduced):

And the (by now) predictable comparisons at 100% (PS at left, ON1 at center and Topaz Gigapixel at right). That appears to be a Washburn acoustic in the background, as we can now see with the enhanced resolution:

Addendum: I received an email today asking why I hadn’t also tested BenVista PhotoZoom Pro 7 against Topaz Gigapixel. Well, here you go 😉

You have got to do your own comparisons and experience the power of neural network-based digital enhancement (not the usual interpolation) for yourself! Photoshop I can’t help you with, but download a FREE trial of ON1 Photo RAW 2019 and also a FREE trial of Topaz Gigapixel. If you agree that Gigapixel is the upsizing champ, don’t pay $99 for it, save an unadvertised 15% using coupon “plugsnpixels”.

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