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.
- Topaz A.I. ReMix
- Topaz A.I. Clear
- Topaz A.I. Gigapixel
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.
Jockey, Calvin Borel, at Churchill Downs, 2014
Original Nikon image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).
Cuban Farmer and Oxen in Vinales, Cuba
Original Fuji Image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).
Original Fuji Image (left) processed in Topaz Studio with A.I. ReMix (right).
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.
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.
Close-up of the Dancer’s skin and skirt
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.
This next example was run at the Medium Model Strength, and again, the noise reduction is remarkable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the original Fuji X-T2 image shot on a bright day with a 100 ISO.
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.
This is a Fuji X-T2 image.
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