AI Gigapixel Barn Original

An Artificial Intelligence Hat Trick From Topaz Labs

Techniques

October 10, 2018 ·

Rad Drew

Topaz Labs produces state-of-the-art post-processing software for photographers. Although Topaz Labs offers many tools for editing and stylizing images, this article focuses on three new Topaz Labs products that are driven by the latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

They are:

  • Topaz A.I. ReMix
  • Topaz A.I. Clear
  • Topaz A.I. Gigapixel

A.I. ReMix

A.I. ReMix is described on the Topaz website as an adjustment that harnesses “the power of Neural Networks to create striking images in a single click…” 

What the engineers at Topaz Labs have done – using artificial intelligence – is train ReMix to recognize the nuances of hundreds of classic and contemporary works of art by artists, painters, and graphic designers. When ReMix processes an image, it examines the photo, replicates those artistic styles it’s learned, and offers numerous applications of these styles to apply to the image for a remarkable graphic result.

Each result is unique because it’s based on the characteristics of your image, and can be customized even more by using a variety of tools that regulate the strength, color, saturation, hue, contrast, edge smoothness, and more.

A.I. ReMix Examples

Here are three examples of images I created using A.I. Remix. In each case, I took a ho-hum image and transformed it into an edgier, more interesting graphic image with A.I ReMix.

Remix Comparison Calvin Borel
Remix Comparison Calvin Borel

Jockey, Calvin Borel, at Churchill Downs, 2014

Original Nikon image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).

 

Remix Comparison Oxen
Remix Comparison Oxen

Cuban Farmer and Oxen in Vinales, Cuba

Original Fuji Image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).

 

Remix Comparison Havana
Remix Comparison Havana

Havana Skyline

Original Fuji Image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).

A.I. Clear

A.I. Clear is a noise reduction adjustment that identifies and eliminates noise in images. A.I. Clear was trained by analyzing millions of images (yes, millions!) to learn what noise is, in all its many forms. The adjustment identifies and removes noise using low, medium, or high model strengths, and includes a Recover Details adjustment if the result becomes too smooth. The results are the best I’ve seen from any competitors on the market. A.I. Clear produces the best results when applied at the beginning of the workflow.

TIP: After running A.I. Clear in Topaz Studio, click Apply to create a copy of the image with A.I. Clear applied and make remaining adjustments on this copy. Otherwise, with every adjustment or size change you make, A.I. Clear will recalculate a new result, slowing processing time considerably.

A.I. Clear Examples 

Here are examples of how well A.I. Clear reduces noise in images. Below are screenshots from Topaz Studio in the A.I. Clear adjustment.

The first image shows the complete photo of the dancer’s skirt and slippers.

The second two images are two different close-ups of the same image.

In each image, the left of the line is the “before,” or original, and on the right, is the “after,” or A.I. Clear result.

AI Clear Ballet Slippers 1
AI Clear Ballet Slippers 1

Original image (left) and after running A.I. Clear (right).

Even at the Low Model Strength, the noise reduction is dramatic. Look at the material in the dancer’s tulle skirt in the second image, and at the floor in the third image. In each image the reduction in noise in the image is remarkable, and the detail and image quality is not compromised.

AI Clear Ballet Slippers 2
AI Clear Ballet Slippers 2

Close-up of the Dancer’s skin and skirt

AI Clear Ballet Slippers 3
AI Clear Ballet Slippers 3

Close-up of the Skirt and floor.

This next example is a shot taken in a dark church where a tripod wasn’t permitted. Because there is so much noise, I ran this at the High Model Strength setting. Keep in mind, this result is showing only A.I. Clear run on the raw file. No other processing has been done yet. The screenshot shows that the right side, after running A.I. Clear, has much less noise.

AI Clear Statue
AI Clear Statue

This next example was run at the Medium Model Strength, and again, the noise reduction is remarkable.

AI Clear Tree
AI Clear Tree

So, we’ve seen how A.I. Clear works on images with a noticeable amount of noise, but will it improve an image that has little obvious noise? Yes, it will!

Here’s an image of a building in the south of France. It was shot with a Fuji X-E2 during a bright day using a low ISO.

AI Clear Full Door, original.
AI Clear Full Door, original.

Here’s a close look at a portion of the image after running A.I. Clear. Even on a relatively un-noisy image, A.I. Clear has eliminated noise in the image. The original portion of the image on the left has considerably more noise than the after A.I. Clear version on the right.

 

AI Clear Close up Blue Door
AI Clear Close up Blue Door

These examples are to show the difference A.I. Clear makes with respect to noise. The images don’t look finished because they are RAW files that haven’t yet been through a normal RAW file workflow. After running A.I. Clear, continue processing with your raw file workflow.

A.I. Gigapixel

The latest, and perhaps the most impressive, in the Topaz Labs suite of tools that are driven by AI technology, is A.I. Gigapixel. Gigapixel enlarges images and adds natural details for results that seem impossible. It’s not intended to be a noise reduction tool, but noise reduction often is a byproduct of the process.

Recently, when describing Gigapixel to a fellow camera club member he replied, “Well, I will say here what I say everywhere, you can’t make pixels where there are no pixels.” The thing is, that is exactly what A.I. Gigapixel does!

A.I. Gigapixel has been “trained” on millions of images to recognize what objects look like. When it enlarges an image, there are gaps that need to be filled in. A.I. Gigapixelimagines what needs to be there and fills in those areas for truly amazing results.

The example below is an image I created last winter with the iPhone X and posted to Facebook. For this example, I downloaded the image from Facebook, resulting in a 42KB file. Enlarging the image 600 % with A.I. Gigapixel, enlarged the image from 960px X 639px to 5760px X 3834px, and a print size of 13 inches by 8 inches to 80 inches by 53.25 inches.

Gigapixel Red Barn
Gigapixel Red Barn

Original (left) After A.I. Gigapixel 600% (right).

The image below shows an enlargement of the original image and the image enlarged to 600% in A.I. Gigapixel. In the original image on the left, we can see the missing pixels in the trees. In the image on the right, A.I. Gigapixel has “imagined” what should be there and has added the missing pixels to clarify the trees.

AI Gigapixel Close up Red Barn
AI Gigapixel Close up Red Barn
AI Gigapixel Rhino Original
AI Gigapixel Rhino Original

This is the original Fuji X-T2 image shot on a bright day with a 100 ISO.

AI Gigapixel Rhino close up
AI Gigapixel Rhino close up

Here is a section (see the shadow just below the ear) of the original (left) and the 400% A.I. Gigapixel version (right). This is a segment of the image, increased to view at 200% in Photoshop. The image on the right is more clear and crisp than the image on the left.

AI Gigapixel Barn Original
AI Gigapixel Barn Original

This is a Fuji X-T2 image.

AI Gigapixel Barn Close up
AI Gigapixel Barn Close up

Here is a section of the original (left) and the 400% A.I. Gigapixel version (right). This is a segment of the image, increased to view at 200% in Photoshop.

Here are some uses for A.I. Gigapixel

  • Enlarge cropped portions of an image for large, high-quality prints
  • Enlarge images shot just a few years ago when camera sensors were smaller and produced images with fewer pixels
  • Enlarge small mobile phone images for larger printing with integrity
  • Enlarge a single frame from a video to create a large print

Unlike A.I. Clear and A.I. ReMix, which both run through Topaz Lab’s photo editor, Topaz Studio, A.I. Gigapixel is a stand-alone application that runs on Mac and PC. Because of the number of calculations, it performs, A.I. Gigapixel requires a little more computing power than other Topaz products. To ensure that your system has what it takes, check the specs on the Topaz site (https://help.topazlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/360012811791). If you still have doubts, Topaz recommends running a free trial of Gigapixel to see how the software performs on specific hardware.

All three of these A.I. applications are available on the Topaz site here. Use discount code RAD15 for a 15% discount. Watch for periodic free Topaz webinars to see how photographers are using Topaz tools in their workflow. My next free Topaz Webinar is Tuesday, October 16. The webinars are free, but you must register. Subscribe to my notification list here and I’ll let you know when registration opens.

Why attend a free Topaz webinar? You’ll learn about the software from other photographers, you’ll be entered to win one of two Pro Adjustment Packs, and you’ll receive a discount code for 20% off all Topaz products good for one week after the free Webinar. (TIP: Register for the webinar, even if you can’t attend the live broadcast. After the webinar, you’ll receive a link to a recording of the webinar and the discount code.)

Learn more about Topaz HERE


Rad Drew
October 2018

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Rad Drew

Rad A. Drew (http://www.raddrewphotography.com) is a professional photographer who lives in historic Irvington on the east side of Indianapolis with his wife, metalsmith, Nancy Lee (http://www.ndesignsmetal.com). His creative iPhone images have received numerous international awards and have made their way into galleries and juried international shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas, Vermont, New York, Toronto, Collingwood, Seattle, and Melbourne. He is author of the fine art books, In Good Light, Images of the Circle City and Rural Indiana, A Beauty all its Own, and is a contributor to today’s most comprehensive volume of iPhone instruction, The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone. Rad is a frequent speaker at photography conferences and camera clubs throughout the U.S. His destination workshops to Cuba, France, Ireland, and points throughout the U.S. including Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA, and Provincetown on Cape Cod, are great ways to learn while photographing beautiful areas of the world. In his popular webinar series, How I Did It!™ Rad demonstrates the apps and processes he uses to create award-winning images with the iPhone. As a webinar presenter for Topaz Labs, Rad shares his processing techniques using Topaz products to process digital images from traditional cameras as well as the iPhone. Contact Rad or visit his website for more information on art purchases, workshops, books, tours, exhibits, speaking engagements, and the How I Did It!™ webinar series. Rad, as an associate editor for Luminous-Landscape (https://luminous-landscape.com), writes a periodic iPhoneography column, covers special events, and writes product reviews.

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