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Author Topic: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel  (Read 3426 times)

keithcooper

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Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« on: August 16, 2018, 05:30:18 AM »

After quite a few years of making big prints, I recall some of the heated debates here in the past about 'best' resizing techniques and software.

I was recently asked to have a look at some new Topaz software specifically aimed at making big enlargements.

Ignoring my "Oh no, another way of resizing images" thoughts, I've been trying out their new rescaling software that makes use of your graphics cards processing power to do a somewhat different style of resizing.

I've been testing a pre-release version, which apart my making my Mac run like treacle for a few minutes is an interesting addition to my resizing options.

I've tried it on images from 4.9MP Olympus E-20 ones to 50MP ones from my 5Ds and the results are very reasonable - easily visible in prints.

It's interesting - I've already used it for re-processing a 1Ds3 image for a 36 x 24 print and it gave a cleaner looking print - actually more like as if I'd used my 5Ds for the shot. I found that choice of RAW converter and sharpening/NR settings can make a difference to the final results. Not much, but visible in print detail.

Of course, it won't fix bad exposure, focus, composition etc. You still need a good source image ;-)

Anyway, I've written up some notes of more tests and experiments.

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/topaz-ai-gigapixel-review/

There is a 30 day free trial of the software, but I'm not sure Topaz have fully updated their site yet.

The image is part of a 5Ds image scaled up by 600% with two different settings

Paul2660

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2018, 08:04:52 AM »

Albeit 600% is a lot, the views seems to show a lot of the same issues most of the current uprez tools on the market show. ( I have used them all)

The lack of finer details, i.e. over smoothing to remove noise created on the uprez. 

Any idea when Topaz plans to release the code to the general public?

Paul C
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Paul Caldwell
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keithcooper

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2018, 08:34:38 AM »

> Albeit 600% is a lot, the views seems to show a lot of the same issues most of the current uprez tools on the market show.
> The lack of finer details, i.e. over smoothing to remove noise created on the uprez. 

Ah, yes, but that's why I specifically wanted to look at it for print - no-one but me ever sees the smoothing, so it's way down my list of issues if the print looks good.

This has been such a contentious area in the past that I quite deliberately make no comparisons/recommendations, other than suggest to suck it and see ;-)

> Any idea when Topaz plans to release the code to the general public?

Should be today, I just checked and the page I've linked too is active.  They told me Thursday the 16th and by my calendar, it's here ;-)

Paul2660

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2018, 10:51:37 AM »

Yes, available today, but they don't have the server working to login.  Can download and install, just can't use it.

Paul C
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keithcooper

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2018, 11:01:56 AM »

Yes, available today, but they don't have the server working to login.  Can download and install, just can't use it.

Paul C

Thanks for letting me know, obviously a different Thursday the 16th than they told me :-(

Paul2660

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 01:08:09 PM »

Should have said, available to download today, can't log into their server which appears to be a requirement after the install.  Even though I can easily log into my Topaz account.

Hopefully they will see this  and fix it sooner than later.

Paul C
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Paul Caldwell
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keithcooper

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2018, 03:54:13 PM »

Should have said, available to download today, can't log into their server which appears to be a requirement after the install.  Even though I can easily log into my Topaz account.

Hopefully they will see this  and fix it sooner than later.

Paul C

Just heard back from Topaz and it seems there was an issue for some Windows users. They say it's been updated and you just need to re-download the installer

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2018, 08:14:20 PM »

Just heard back from Topaz and it seems there was an issue for some Windows users. They say it's been updated and you just need to re-download the installer

Yes, redownloading and reinstalling solved the issue for me.

The testing has now begun, a lot needs to be compared with alternative applications, but the results so far are looking impressive.

Cheers,
Bart
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Paul2660

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 08:39:54 PM »

On a 2 year old MacBook Pro 16GB i7 2.8 it's very very slow to go 200% around 10 minutes on a 3 part Fuji XT2 pano.  Going up to 12000 x 8000 pixels. 

Initial impression is CC enlargement preserve details is very close.  I have not tried enhanced setting yet.  Do see less artifacts however in Topaz work, but not sure if difference would show in print.


Kudos to Topaz for 30 day trial.

Paul C
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Paul Caldwell
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Paul2660

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2018, 09:31:01 AM »

Stayed up a bit last night, reworked files on my Macpro. 

On a D850 file, to go to 150% at 300 dpi or 150% at 300 dpi, the tool takes at least 20 minutes to run.  The same file with Adobe CC "enlargement preserve details" takes about 10 seconds.   The Macpro is about 1 year old, 64Gb of ram 4 processor, can't remember the speeds, but will check.  Running High Sierra.

When comparing the two files at 100%, I can't see enough differences to justify the time to run.  Using enhanced or normal, images appear to be about the same. 

Also, I can't seem to figure out a way to have Topaz keep the original file name, as it truncates down to around 20 characters. 

Paul C


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Paul Caldwell
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2018, 07:18:45 AM »

Stayed up a bit last night, reworked files on my Macpro. 

On a D850 file, to go to 150% at 300 dpi or 150% at 300 dpi, the tool takes at least 20 minutes to run.  The same file with Adobe CC "enlargement preserve details" takes about 10 seconds.   The Macpro is about 1 year old, 64Gb of ram 4 processor, can't remember the speeds, but will check.  Running High Sierra.

When comparing the two files at 100%, I can't see enough differences to justify the time to run.  Using enhanced or normal, images appear to be about the same.

Hi Paul,

150% is not that much larger, so the differences are also not expected to be that significant. But when you go to 300%, to allow 600PPI native printer resolution prints on Canon/HP printers, then the differences will become visible in print. Maybe not earth-shattering, but noticeably better in details (when compared side to side).

To get a decent enough proofing impression of how the detail will look in print, use a screen zoom factor of 100 % x (displayPPI / PrintPPI). Nothing beats a real print, but this will come close enough without having to waste ink and paper, although the display resolution is a lot lower than the printer is capable of.

Cheers,
Bart
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vjbelle

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2018, 07:36:45 AM »

I have yet to see any mention of Adobe's 'Preserve Details 2.0' which is a significant improvement over 'Preserve Details'.  I use it instead of Focus Magic and prefer it to anything else I have.  It does take a slight bit longer to process the file but its worth it.  Have not tried the new Topaz yet.....

Victor
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mearussi

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2018, 09:42:02 AM »

I have yet to see any mention of Adobe's 'Preserve Details 2.0' which is a significant improvement over 'Preserve Details'.  I use it instead of Focus Magic and prefer it to anything else I have.  It does take a slight bit longer to process the file but its worth it.  Have not tried the new Topaz yet.....

Victor
I just compared Topaz to Preserve Details 2.0 and Topaz is noticeably better by maybe 10-15%, but at the expense of taking 20 minutes vs 30 seconds to work. Couple that the $100 price tag and for me at least it's not worth it.
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vjbelle

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2018, 12:41:51 PM »

After Resizing a 50mp GFX file to 40 inches on the long side in both PS (Preserve Details 2) and Topaz AI Gigapixel it appears at first glance that the Topaz image is sharper.  I'm convinced they use some sharpening.  However the resized file does not match the original file with regards to overall brightness.  It is darker which requires some extra steps to make it match the original file.  Also, once I apply a small amount of sharpening with Smart Sharpen (75%, 0.5) the Adobe Resized image pulls ahead in both overall smoothness and sharpness.  So..... for me Preserve Details 2 is still my go to method.  Adobe has really put some effort into resizing and it shows. 

BTW..... processing time for the Topaz program took 6 minutes on a pretty fast recent Windows build. 

Victor
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alain

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2018, 07:59:24 PM »

Has anybody compared it to Qimage, which is know for having good "upsizing" for prints?
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jrsforums

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2018, 08:42:43 PM »

Has anybody compared it to Qimage, which is know for having good "upsizing" for prints?

Good question!!
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John

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2018, 07:28:07 AM »

Yes I have..... Clearly the Adobe preserve details 2.0 is better than Qimage.  This is for a 50mp GFX file that has been processed in PS one resized to 40 inches on the wide side and the other not resized but instead printed in Qimage to 40 inches wide on the long side.  I printed 40 X 12 inch crops and compared them side by side and there is a distinct difference.  I have been converted to 'Preserve Details 2.0' for all of my resizing. 

Victor
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MHMG

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2018, 09:46:39 AM »

After Resizing a 50mp GFX file to 40 inches on the long side in both PS (Preserve Details 2) and Topaz AI Gigapixel it appears at first glance that the Topaz image is sharper.  I'm convinced they use some sharpening.  However the resized file does not match the original file with regards to overall brightness.  It is darker which requires some extra steps to make it match the original file.  Also, once I apply a small amount of sharpening with Smart Sharpen (75%, 0.5) the Adobe Resized image pulls ahead in both overall smoothness and sharpness.  So..... for me Preserve Details 2 is still my go to method.  Adobe has really put some effort into resizing and it shows. 

BTW..... processing time for the Topaz program took 6 minutes on a pretty fast recent Windows build. 

Victor

+ 1. The change in color and tone, albeit not enormous, is still noticeable, and would  add even more editing time to my image prep to bring the image colors and tones back to where they started. What's up with that?

Also, due to its long processing time for a single uprez as everyone has noted (several minutes on my 2013 MacPro) it's going to be time-consuming to really run this new resize method through its paces, and likely to be somewhat of a statistical game. I'm personally OK with a long process time if I can routinely get a better result. On one image I tried, I did think it did a little better than PS, but on a second image PS (preserve details 2) produced a decidedly more realistic result, Topaz AIG turning certain areas of a flower petal image into slightly mushy tonal transitions that lost photo realistic quality in favor of a more obvious "digitally painted look". Also, I set the resize to custom and defined inches on the long side at 300dpi, but the resized image came out a different size. Probably a bug that Topaz will fix soon.  The long side of the image should have turned out 12,000 pixels, but ended up under 10,000 according to PS, so I couldn't compare the PS converted image to the Topaz converted image precisely since the screen viewing magnifications had to differ in order to look at the two images arranged side by side at similar size in photoshop.

Grain/noise is better controlled at the resize step in Topaz AIG, but I'm used to handling those aspects of noise reduction with other methods rather than trying to get it all done at the resize step.

So for me, the jury is still out as to whether I might add this new resize tool to my digital bag of tricks, but at $100 per seat, I think I would need to study it much harder before handing over money. Given how slow it is, I'm not sure 30 days is a long enough trial time. I'd rather Topaz simply watermark the demo images and let the trial run indefinitely.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 11:16:16 AM by MHMG »
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2018, 12:36:52 PM »

+ 1. The change in color and tone, albeit not enormous, is still noticeable, and would  add even more editing time to my image prep to bring the image colors and tones back to where they started. What's up with that?

Hi Mark,

I suggest just sending a support request, and have it fixed.

Given the myriad of possible computer configurations, a version 1.0.x is bound to have some issues on specific hardware that were not caught during the beta testing cycles. Also, as was the case with some of their recent A.I. plugins, progressive insight may add functionality or change some of the controls that they implemented before massive feedback by actual users. One of the great things with Topaz Labs is their Support for Life promise. Pay once and 'forever' reap the benefits of new versions and even upgrades to new versions (Version 2 ...).

Quote
Also, due to its long processing time for a single uprez as everyone has noted (several minutes on my 2013 MacPro) it's going to be time-consuming to really run this new resize method through its paces, and likely to be somewhat of a statistical game. I'm personally OK with a long process time if I can routinely get a better result.

They are still tweaking the performance and accuracy, so some improvements may happen. However, as they mention in their background information about the new technology, until now one had to rely on sending images to a central powerful server system that does the processing and sends back the result (which can take a while with such image sizes). A.I. Gigapixel on the other hand allows to keep the image files on location, and process them on the local machine. That does mean that a lot of processing power is required for somewhat acceptable processing times, although batch processing happens in the background. No need to wait for it, it doesn't block working with one's system, other than using a lot of resources that could lead to slower responsiveness.

It also means that those who have the latest/fastest graphics cards will benefit from the fast GPU(s) which do get exercised to a large percentage of their capabilities.

Quote
On one image I tried, I did think it did a little better than PS, but on a second image PS (preserve details 2) produced a decidedly more realistic result, Topaz AIG turning certain areas of a flower petal image into slightly mushy tonal transitions that lost photo realistic quality in favor of a more obvious "digitally painted look".

Be careful with judging print quality on a zoomed-in display. What works nicely when pixel-peeping, may be suboptimal in the final print (especially when printed at native printer resolution, 600/720 PPI). From what I've seen, Topaz A.I. Gigapixel does not produce halos, but it does render very sharp lines and edges, sharper than the source image despite scaling. That means that one can get very close to the image without losing visual sharpness.
 
Quote
Also, I set the resize to custom and defined inches on the long side at 300dpi, but the resized image came out a different size. Probably a bug that Topaz will fix soon.  The long side of the image should have turned out 12,000 pixels, but ended up under 10,000 according to PS, so I couldn't compare the PS converted image to the Topaz converted image precisely since the screen viewing magnifications had to differ in order to look at the two images arranged side by side at similar size in photoshop.

Sounds like a bug, but one can specify exact pixel dimensions instead of a physical size with tagged PPI. Doesn't that work? And that also allows to later tag with an arbitrary PPI until the application supports those directly

Cheers,
Bart
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enduser

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Re: Resizing for big prints - Topaz AI Gigapixel
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2018, 07:29:01 PM »

In my case I would need a new computer just to try the program!
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