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Author Topic: I am learning to be disappointed with artifiacial intelligence: Topaz Sharpen AI  (Read 693 times)

earlybird

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Hi,
 Some days I am astonished at the results made with Topaz Sharpen AI, and some days I am dismayed. I continue to download the latest models even though the experience has suggested that there is no reason to think that the results are progressing towards improvement. The results seem random. Some updates seem like down grades. I am beginning to lose interest. It takes a long time to run the process, but it takes even longer to pixel peep and inspect for anomalies, distortions, and spurts of reckless synthesis.

 For example; I recently thought I had finished editing a landscape picture when I learned that early on I had synthesized numerous tiny bursts of color into the image with the Topaz Sharpen AI Sharpen process.

 I threw out all the layers and edits and began the processing over.

 This time I tried Topaz Sharpen AI Focus. The results were horrid.

 Finally I used Focus Magic and a conservative setting and achieved my goals for the picture.

 I went over to the Topaz forum and found that many users are experiencing unexpected results with the AI products.

 
 I am posting these examples, so as to rescue some usefulness from the wasted time and deleted data.

 I would love to be able to trust the use of Topaz Sharpen AI, but I can not, so I am glad I have Focus Magic to fall back on.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 02:46:27 pm by earlybird »
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earlybird

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Additional examples showing how the Topaz Sharpen AI Focus process synthesizes make believe patterns 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2020, 02:48:27 pm by earlybird »
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MauriceRR

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Yes, it's working very well for 10%, rather well for 20% I would say, but for 50% it's not working and artifacts can be horrible.
I take theese algo like that : I don't to process all picture with theese algo, only a few when the source/capture is crapp/poor , and I'm happy when it works better than a regular algorithm.
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JaapD

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I have exactly the same experience as you guys.  I have the complete AI bundle but the usefulness is extremely low. Iím still optimistic about future releases and hope at some time this AI functionality will surpass conventional processing algorithms.

But for now FocusMagic and NeatImage will do their jobs much better with higher predictability and less (or even no) artifacts.

Since Iím mentioning FocusMagic there is one aspect I donít like and that is its sharpening over the complete brightness range including the dark areas. The software should have a threshold function, similar to Photoshop USM, enabling not to sharpen the lowest levels, where the noise lives.

Regards,
Jaap.

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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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I am posting these examples, so as to rescue some usefulness from the wasted time and deleted data.

Hi, I'm wondering, have you tried using CPU mode instead of GPU mode?

I'm asking because,  since I'm resticted by a non-compatible GPU to CPU-mode, I see fewer artifacts and better quality in several AI applications. So it may be the GPU code that's at fault, and not necessarily the AI. The Intel OpenVINO option makes CPU processing much faster than without it, so the speed difference with GPU mode can become much less than it was.

Quote
I would love to be able to trust the use of Topaz Sharpen AI, but I can not, so I am glad I have Focus Magic to fall back on.

Topaz Sharpen AI's "Stabilize" mode can be pretty awesome, compare to FocusMagic.
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== If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. ==

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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[...]
Since Iím mentioning FocusMagic there is one aspect I donít like and that is its sharpening over the complete brightness range including the dark areas. The software should have a threshold function, similar to Photoshop USM, enabling not to sharpen the lowest levels, where the noise lives.

Hi Jaap,

I use FocusMagic on a separate sharpening layer, which then allows to control Luminosity based sharpening by masking or the use of Blend-If layer blending.
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== If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. ==

earlybird

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...have you tried using CPU mode instead of GPU mode?...

Hi,
 I am not presented with a choice. I have seen such a choice in some of the AI series of products, but the only thing I can find in my current Sharpen AI install is a a graphics info dialog:

Application & Version: Topaz Sharpen AI Version 1.4.5
Operating System: Windows 7 SP 1 (6.1)
Graphics Hardware: Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600
OpenGL Driver: 3.3.0 - Build 9.18.10.3165
CPU RAM: 16140 MB
Video RAM: 1500 MB Total, 1024 MB In Use
Preview Limit: 3135 Pixels 

 In the instances of these AI products where I did have a choice, the CPU selection seemed to yield the better results.

 My primary frustration is that updates do not seem to equate to improvement, they just seem to redefine the circumstances where unacceptable results will appear.

 
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PeterAit

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I too have turned away from Topaz Sharpen and back to good old Focus Magic. I still use Gigapixel and Denoise, though.
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Peter
"Science does not care what you believe" - unknown

Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Hi,
 I am not presented with a choice. I have seen such a choice in some of the AI series of products, but the only thing I can find in my current Sharpen AI install is a a graphics info dialog:

It should be under File -> Preferences -> Processing or Advanced preferences (depending on application)

Recent versions perform a test when the first file after the installation is rendered, and the fastest mode is selected. But it can be changed by the user.
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== If you do what you did, you'll get what you got. ==

earlybird

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Thank you.
 I had made a point of checking before posting the OP and checked after you asked as well, but obviously missed seeing the option.

 Now, to answer your question. GPU was switched off, so I am still using the CPU option.

Thank you!
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earlybird

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Hi,
 I figured out why I had not found the choice for GPU or CPU; I primarily use Sharpen AI as a Photoshop plugin and the plugin does not have a File > Preferences dialog.

 When I made the previous post I opened the free standing application and did see the File > Preferences dialog.

 I think this explains why I felt and seemed confused. :-)


 Thank you.
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kers

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Quote
I am learning to be disappointed with artifiacial intelligence: Topaz Sharpen AI

So people learn machines - machine learning ; the result we call AI ;
and now we, the people learn from AI that it does not work most of the time... so we are disappointed...
What is next?
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41845878
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JaapD

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Hi Jaap,
I use FocusMagic on a separate sharpening layer, which then allows to control Luminosity based sharpening by masking or the use of Blend-If layer blending.

Hi Bart,

Thanks for sharing your workaround. I would still appreciate a solution from within FocusMagic and as such Iíve contacted them about 2 years ago. They said they would evaluate the idea and think about it for a next sw upgrade. Well, so far we havenít seen anything newÖ.

Regards,
Jaap.
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kers

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I like the way focus magic works, but there seems not much changed to this program over 10 years or so...
It is just there ... looking 1990 ish...  but works.
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