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Author Topic: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs  (Read 1428 times)

ymc226

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Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« on: May 10, 2018, 07:50:35 PM »

I am getting results that I am very happy with from Whitewall acrylic faced prints in large sizes up to 40 x 55 inches using either files from the 18MP Leica Monochrome 1 or 24MP Leica M240.   I didn't crop much, if at all, so most of the original file was used.  I post process in LR6, sharpening and applying noise reduction as well as "soft previewing" what the image would look like in the actual size using Photoshop 6 according to the directions provided by Bumblejax.  I also imported the ICC profiles from Whitewall to see the apparent result would be like on my NEC Spectraview monitors.   I want to print larger, maybe 50 x 70 inches but don't want to stitch files together or upgrade to digital medium format.   

Would modifying a file by uprezing improve my results and if so, what uprezing programs would you recommend.  I don't want to use Photoshop even though I have PS6 as I remember reading various posts (I should have saved those) that recommended other programs.  Seeing the Whitewall HD acrylic HD prints at their SOHO gallery, I have the perfect picture in mind for my next order if only I could increase the file size.
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 12:43:57 AM »

Quote
I am very happy with ... acrylic faced prints in large sizes up to 40 x 55 inches .... I want to print larger, maybe 50 x 70 inches ....

I have to believe that if you are "very happy" with 40x55 inch prints, you would be at least reasonably happy with 50x70 inch prints produced from the same files. That is only a 27% increase in the linear dimension.

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Would modifying a file by uprezing improve my results ....

Lots of people upscale / upsample images--you cannot truly increase their resolution with real image detail--before uploading to printing services, but both my personal experience and my gut instinct based on the technology and processes involved make me strongly supect that very few of those people get results substantially better than the lab would have gotten if it had done the upscaling / upsampling.

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and if so, what uprezing programs would you recommend.

I think Lightroom's print module does a quite nice job. If you want to try something else that many people like and that isn't expensive, there's Qimage. Another not-too-expensive piece of software that has been recommended (and has some nice-looking demos) is PhotoZoom (http://www.benvista.com/products).
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Joe Towner

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 02:13:39 PM »

Why do you not want to stitch an image?  It's the only way you can make a larger photo with the gear you have, with real details.  Up-resolving an image doesn't add detail, it takes the existing detail and spreads it over a larger area, so when you get close to an image, you'll see the difference.  Lightroom & Photoshop make quick work, especially for a 4-6 shot stitch.  Overlap the framing 50% and shoot wider and taller than the final image.  Feed the images into LR/PS and you're quickly at the resolution you need.

With that said, there are things that can't be stitched since each photo is taken at a different time, and you really want each subject completely in one frame. There are ways around this with masking & more photos being a part of the stitch, but that's another topic.
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Rand47

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 02:29:12 PM »

When preparing images for very large prints, I try not to let the native resolution at "print size" drop below 180 ppi.   When it does, I'll make a copy of the file and then upsample in Photoshop using "Preserve Details" in the Image Size dialog.  I'll then test print samples from LR using LR's on-the-fly print module resolution (360 in my case on an Epson).  Most often the upsampled image will be a little better.  I find that it is most often image dependent in terms of potential for upsampling artifacts.

Rand
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Rainforestman

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 09:51:25 AM »

+1 for Photozoom.  Itís S-Spline algorithm does a much better job than Bicubic in my opinion.  Itís well written in that it uses all the cores on your CPU and has GPU acceleration, so can crunch through large files relatively quickly.
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 10:37:39 AM »

+1 for Photozoom.  Itís S-Spline algorithm does a much better job than Bicubic in my opinion.  Itís well written in that it uses all the cores on your CPU and has GPU acceleration, so can crunch through large files relatively quickly.

Hi,

I agree Photozoom Pro does a much better job in retaining sharp edge detail. I've been recommending it to all who asked.

However, Topaz Labs have just released a new application called 'A.I. Gigapixel' (https://topazlabs.com/ai-gigapixel/), and that does an even better job. As of this writing, they just released an update (version 1.1.0) which offers some more control over the amount of noise and blur reduction.

It does require up-to-date hardware (it heavily uses the graphic card's GPU), so check their compatibility info.

This application is my new recommendation to all who need to upsample images for larger (printed) output sizes, with supported hardware.

Cheers,
Bart
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Majohnson

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2018, 02:18:07 AM »

You can also try Preserve Detail 2.0 in photoshop.

Just make sure you have it turned on in Preferences > Technology previews.

I also use OnOne Prefect Resize (Previously Genuine Fractals)

Regards
Mark
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2018, 05:00:16 AM »

Hi,

I agree Photozoom Pro does a much better job in retaining sharp edge detail. I've been recommending it to all who asked.

However, Topaz Labs have just released a new application called 'A.I. Gigapixel' (https://topazlabs.com/ai-gigapixel/), and that does an even better job. As of this writing, they just released an update (version 1.1.0) which offers some more control over the amount of noise and blur reduction.

It does require up-to-date hardware (it heavily uses the graphic card's GPU), so check their compatibility info.

This application is my new recommendation to all who need to upsample images for larger (printed) output sizes, with supported hardware.

Cheers,
Bart

Bart, you may have seen this already;

The video of Mike Chaney (Qimage Ultimate developer) seems to me quite unbiased on the qualities of the Qimage best upsampling choice versus A.I. Gigapixel but shows what can happen if 94% of the added data has to be created from the 6% available at the start. Which is an extreme case. His conclusion is more or less "Horses for Courses".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGWEyG4DUOM&feature=youtu.be

I would add that for rural landscapes etc the chance it works well is better than for man made designs, geometrical shapes, line art, cityscapes.

What is your opinion?

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2018, 09:28:10 AM »

Bart, you may have seen this already;

The video of Mike Chaney (Qimage Ultimate developer) seems to me quite unbiased on the qualities of the Qimage best upsampling choice versus A.I. Gigapixel but shows what can happen if 94% of the added data has to be created from the 6% available at the start. Which is an extreme case. His conclusion is more or less "Horses for Courses".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGWEyG4DUOM&feature=youtu.be

Hi Ernst,

Yes, I've seen Mike's fair comparison, and I've commented on it here:
https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=126569.msg1066354#msg1066354

It's simply unfortunate for Mike that the few issues with AIG he pointed out, may have been partly solved in the most recent update (version 1.1.0). I've noticed that improvements in the underlying A.I. models lead to somewhat different choices for some small detail structures. Most are improvements, and only occasionally the replacement structure was further from the truth (and I can only know because I have better comparison material).

I do not see a conflict between the two applications, because they serve slightly different purposes. Qimage is a (small and large) print management application, and part of its functionality is to offer a choice of excellent interpolation algorithms that are very efficient in delivering optimal printer input, and the algorithms and other tools are fully integrated with the print workflow, including halo-free output sharpening. Topaz AIG's only purpose, on the other hand, is to attempt to upscale images beyond their useful limitations (and it does an amazing job).

But that being said, Topaz A.I. Gigapixel is another step forward towards higher quality printed output, especially large format output. It even allows repurposing small images or significant crops into decent size images with still acceptable quality. Beside the less streamlined workflow (having to produce a separate large printer file), the only drawback is the need for modern/up-to-date hardware to keep processing times low, or even allow functioning. My current hardware is sadly labeled "unsupported", but it does function for the moment.

Quote
I would add that for rural landscapes etc the chance it works well is better than for man made designs, geometrical shapes, line art, cityscapes.

It depends on image content and its guesses are, more often than not, very decent for the purpose of printing (which can be done at a pitch smaller than our visual acuity). Also, human perception favors sharp-edged shapes and lines, which is exacly what AIG is very good at. But compared to e.g. Benvista's Photozoom Pro, or OnOne's Perfect Resize, AIG produces smoother (less posterized) shapes, and it frequently boosts resolution further than the alternatives can. Who am I to object to that ... ;)

Cheers,
Bart
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Paul Roark

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2018, 12:03:18 PM »

... Topaz Labs have just released a new application called 'A.I. Gigapixel' (https://topazlabs.com/ai-gigapixel/), and that does an even better job. As of this writing, they just released an update (version 1.1.0) which offers some more control over the amount of noise and blur reduction...

The earlier version of A.I. Gigapixel is churning away now on my system.  It's slow but the best yet.  More control of the line between sharpen and smooth will make it even better.  I'll be checking into the new upgrade ASAP.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com

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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2018, 01:58:07 PM »

The earlier version of A.I. Gigapixel is churning away now on my system.  It's slow but the best yet.  More control of the line between sharpen and smooth will make it even better.  I'll be checking into the new upgrade ASAP.

Hi Paul,

I'm sure you'll like the progress they have made (and that process, training the A.I. on different image sets, is ongoing). Although my graphics card is labeled as "unsupported", they have added an option to make less use of the GPU and more of the CPU (my GPU utilization went from frequently hitting 100% max to 24%, and CPU% obviously went up).

So I bit the bullet and purchased a license, which is valid for lifelong (major) version upgrades (like all Topaz products). So when I eventually upgrade my hardware it will reward me also with faster processing by Gigapixel, but I can already use it.

Cheers,
Bart
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2018, 05:18:20 PM »

I will recommend to try Iridient Developers upscaling with Ultra Rez Sharper + sharpening with Reveal. I have only compared it to Photo Zoom Pro, and I find Iridient FAR better.
You can see my comparison here:
https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=125528.msg1056844#msg1056844

Iridient is labelled a raw converter, and this may be part of the reason that it is overlooked as sharpening software.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2018, 08:46:39 AM »

I will recommend to try Iridient Developers upscaling with Ultra Rez Sharper + sharpening with Reveal. I have only compared it to Photo Zoom Pro, and I find Iridient FAR better.
You can see my comparison here:
https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=125528.msg1056844#msg1056844

Iridient is labelled a raw converter, and this may be part of the reason that it is overlooked as sharpening software.

Hi Hening,

Topaz A.I. Gigapixel has been updated (since version 1.1.0) with a switch to reduce the dependency on a GPU. Maybe it will now be possible to test it on your hardware (it now works on mine, even though the graphics card is listed as not supported). Would be interesting if it did work, even if slowly. AIG is able to beat most regular mathematical upsampling methods, no matter how good they are, because it guesses (usually quite well) how the detail should look.

If it does function, it would save you from having to spend (much) more on new hardware, and offers other opportunities as well (like for images without Raw source files, e.g. film scans, mobile phone images, or even single frames from videos). I'm having fun with some of my earliest 4MP digital camera images now.

Cheers,
Bart

P.S. I've attached one of my earlier 4MP images (taken with a Canon G3), after upscaling it to 600% with AIG (which added missing resolution) and then downscaling it to a small size. The size I'm posting here is even smaller than the original file, but all I'm suggesting is that one can upscale more than needed, perhaps do some retouching at a pleasant scale, then downsample to the final size and still gain resolution.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 10:05:22 AM »

Hi Bart!

I couldn't download the A.I. Install Archive, "operation timed out". It struck me that the text in the download window showed increasing amounts in MB and decreasing time left, but the graphical progression bar stopped up after about 2 cm. Anyway, a second attempt is now running.

In the meantime, I have downloaded your image, upscaled it by 600% with Iridient Ultra Rez Sharper (1), cropped out the top left corner and saved that as a jpeg of 100% quality (after the intermediate TIF). You might compare it to your own 600% upscale with A.I..

(1) That is the name of the upscaling algorithm, it implies no sharpening (unless under the hood, but unlikely with Brian). Iridient offers different sharpening options independent of the scaling, and my favourite is Reveal, which is deconvolution + something extra. This extra makes it better than R-L, which is also one of the options.

BTW Iridient is not confined to Raw images. I don't upscale nor sharpen at the raw stage.

Good light!

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2018, 02:18:45 PM »

In the meantime, I have downloaded your image, upscaled it by 600% with Iridient Ultra Rez Sharper (1), cropped out the top left corner and saved that as a jpeg of 100% quality (after the intermediate TIF). You might compare it to your own 600% upscale with A.I.

Hi Hening,

Attached, the same crop as posted by you, but I added an identifying text (I don't think the recompression did too much damage, otherwise one can use you original), the same crop area from a Topaz A.I. Gigapixel upscaling (Moderate setting, no sharpening added), and the same crop area from a Topaz A.I. Gigapixel upscaling (with just a minor amount (100, radius 4) of FocusMagic sharpening).

The corner of that small 4 MP JPEG original, exhibits sharpness fall-off in the corner, combined with some diffraction blur and DOF limitation due to the wide aperture used. The enlargements only make those source file limitations larger, but the differences in sharpness are faithfully reproduced. It just demonstrates that better input produces better output.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 02:25:32 PM by BartvanderWolf »
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2018, 04:17:00 PM »

Hi Bart!

Thank you for your comparison. AI is clearly better. -
In the meantime, my second download attempt was successful, and so was running AI on my system, at least for a little crop.

I tried a 6x6 roll film scan. The scan was with an Imacon at 9.xxx ppi, output in 3f, processed with ColorPerfect.
 
Now upscaled with AI and Iridient, respectively. AI settings were the default noise- and blur reduction = moderate for the 600%, zero for the 200. Shown are screen shots of TIFs displayed in PhotoLine at 100%. Screen resolution 96 ppi.

What I see is that AI is visibly better at 600%, but not at 200%. My wish-for print size for these film images would be 93x93 cm, that would be close to 200%. So I don't seem to have an advantage of AI for these pictures.

ASAP I'll try to upscale one of my earliest digital images, a 9MP Fuji.

BTW AI's color management is still a little quirky. My images were entered in my standard profile (LargeRGB-elle-V2-g22) and processed in AI with the option 'Match Input'. When opened in PhotoLine after upscaling, the image looked pale, and PL showed sRGB as the profile. Re-assigning the original profile fixed it.


BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2018, 05:26:53 PM »

What I see is that AI is visibly better at 600%, but not at 200%. My wish-for print size for these film images would be 93x93 cm, that would be close to 200%. So I don't seem to have an advantage of AI for these pictures.

Could be the case with more modest upscaling percentages, and certain types of image content. The sharper the source image is, the sharper the upscaled image will be. However, also consider the possibility (as long as you don't enlarge beyond the 4GB TIFF limit) to upscale more than ultimately required, do some sharpening, and then downsample to the required output size (and sharpen a bit, to compensate for downsampling losses). But keep the 4 GB limit in mind. They'll possibly add a Big-TIFF file format of sorts, if enough people request it.

Quote
ASAP I'll try to upscale one of my earliest digital images, a 9MP Fuji.


You may be pleasantly surprised ...

Quote
BTW AI's color management is still a little quirky. My images were entered in my standard profile (LargeRGB-elle-V2-g22) and processed in AI with the option 'Match Input'. When opened in PhotoLine after upscaling, the image looked pale, and PL showed sRGB as the profile. Re-assigning the original profile fixed it.

There are bound to be some issues that they have not come across yet themselves, but when reported to their service team, they can usually fix these things pretty soon. They are a small outfit, so may quickly get overwhelmed by too many questions at the introduction of a new tool, but they are more responsive than many large corporations. They do fix things, as I've personally experienced.

Cheers,
Bart
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MHMG

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2018, 07:50:12 PM »

If you are working with a jpeg or file with an already defined pixel count and some degree of sharpening already baked into it, then I think it may be fairly straightforward to determine if Topaz A.I. Gigapixel upscaling wins over other upscaling techniques and by how much. I'm finding that it gets much more challenging with RAW files because Topaz A.I. Gigapixel seems to be quite sensitive to the RAW processing step (maybe we should now call it "pre processing") before letting Topaz A.I. Gigapixel have a go at the file.

I've been particularly keen to see what it can do with my older Fuji S3 RAF files. From many man-hours of experimentation I had previously concluded that Iridient developer handles the Fuji S3 S+R hexagonal pixel demosaicing step as good as it gets and much better than Adobe ACR. But after spending all day today sending various tiff output files from Iridient to Topaz A.I. Gigapixel, the AI results are all over the map. Some very good, some just plain strange (the Mike Chaney shape shifter weirdness and plastic look creeping into some of the Topaz A.I. Gigapixel results). Best I've been able to accomplish seems to be to allow Iridient to demosaic only and scale only to 100% with no additional sharpening or upscaling. That generates a notably soft initial image from Iridient, and thus forces all the desired upsampling and primary image sharpening to occur in AI. I've standardized my testing to a 400% upsample with AI because as others have noted up to 200% resizing and sharpening for great print output seems to be easy accomplished by any number of software apps that I already own including PS.

After Topaz A.I. Gigapixel upscaling the Fuji S3 files 400%, I also find I can use some unsharp masking (i.e.,sharpen for print) in photoshop, but one of my normal sharpening methods is high pass filtering in PS. This latter technique amplifies strange artifacts introduced by AI that are apparently just below the visual threshold on screen until the high pass filtering step is performed. Go figure.

Anyway, Topaz A.I. Gigapixel is an intriguing program, but mastering what processing of RAW files is going yield best results when further passed through AI is going to require a lot more evaluation and ultimately a very delicate touch. Not ready to give up yet because I did get some very good results, but I fear there is not going to be one general recipe. It's hugely time consuming!

kind regards,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 07:53:41 PM by MHMG »
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Paul Roark

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2018, 11:09:00 PM »

What I've been doing is using AI Gigapixel to up-res first.  The problems have been where it decides to smooth an area that should have been sharpened.  Where that is a problem, I up-res just in PS CC and use that as a lower layer under the AI Gig layer.  Then I erase the AI layer where it's inappropriately smoothed detail instead of sharpening it.

(I have not used the latest v. 1.1.1 to know what improvements are there.)

Basically, there is nothing that is going to be a substitute for a perfect lens of the perfect focal length and a good "full frame" or larger sensor.  However, to fill the gaps between my primes, and to extend my range beyond the glass I carry, this program is a very worthwhile investment and better than PS or the old Genuine Fractals that I once used. 

(I recently used it to improve the images [collages of various types of images] my daughter was using for a presentation in her landscape architecture final presentation, and they were so well received people wanted to know how they were done.  Sharpness matters.)

For those who thought the hardware we use is getting the point where nothing more powerful is needed, this program will change your mind.   

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Uprezing advice and available uprez programs
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2018, 08:16:51 AM »

What I've been doing is using AI Gigapixel to up-res first.  The problems have been where it decides to smooth an area that should have been sharpened.  Where that is a problem, I up-res just in PS CC and use that as a lower layer under the AI Gig layer.  Then I erase the AI layer where it's inappropriately smoothed detail instead of sharpening it.

Yes, that's one possibility, and one can also add a bit of noise to simulate detail.

Quote
(I have not used the latest v. 1.1.1 to know what improvements are there.)

The update will solve most of the initial results being too smooth in low contrast region of the image. The more recent version even bring out some subtle sky details. So the update can save a lot of work.

Quote
Basically, there is nothing that is going to be a substitute for a perfect lens of the perfect focal length and a good "full frame" or larger sensor.  However, to fill the gaps between my primes, and to extend my range beyond the glass I carry, this program is a very worthwhile investment and better than PS or the old Genuine Fractals that I once used.

Indeed, nothing beats authentic pixels, but when those are missing, AIG provides very plausible surrogates. What remains is that, the better the source image data, the better the upscaled versions will look.

Cheers,
Bart
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