Photographer Michael Clark on Adobe Super Resolution: 'An incredible new tool'
Photographer and friend of DPReview Michael Clark has been trying out Adobe's new Super Resolution feature, and he's been impressed by what it can do. In this post (originally published on Michael's blog and reproduced here by kind permission) he goes into detail about what the new technology can do - no pun intended.
On March 10, 2021 Adobe dropped its latest software updates via the Creative Cloud and among those updates is a new feature in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) called “Super Resolution.” You can mark this day down as a major shift in the photo industry. The new Super Resolution feature in ACR essentially upsizes the image by a factor of four using machine learning, i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI). From the PetaPixel article on this new feature they interviewed Eric Chan from Adobe, who was quoted as saying:
“Super Resolution builds on a technology Adobe launched two years ago called Enhance Details, which uses machine learning to interpolate RAW files with a high degree of fidelity, which resulted in images with crisp details and fewer artifacts. The term ‘Super Resolution’ refers to the process of improving the quality of a photo by boosting its apparent resolution,” Chan explains. “Enlarging a photo often produces blurry details, but Super Resolution has an ace up its sleeve: an advanced machine learning model trained on millions of photos. Backed by this vast training set, Super Resolution can intelligently enlarge photos while maintaining clean edges and preserving important details.”
What does this mean practically? Well, I immediately tested this out and was pretty shocked by the results. Though it might be hard to make out in the screenshot below, I took the surfing image shown below, which was captured a decade ago with a Nikon D700 — a 12MP camera, and ran the Super Resolution tool on it and the end result is a 48.2MP image that looks to be every bit as sharp (if not sharper) than the original image file. This means that I can now print that old 12MP image at significantly larger sizes than I ever could before.
What this also means is that anyone with a lower resolution camera, i.e. like the current crop of 24MP cameras, can now output huge image files for prints or any other usage that requires a higher resolution image file. In the three or four images I have run through this new feature in Photoshop I have found the results to be astoundingly good.
Let’s run through how this works. First off, it works with any image file, whether it is a raw images file, a tiff or a jpeg. You will have to open the image file in Adobe Camera Raw via Photoshop or Adobe Bridge as shown below. To access the Super Resolution feature, right click on the image and choose “Enhance” as shown below. A dialog window will come up so you can see how the image will look and you can also toggle back and forth between the original image and the new Enhanced version. The dialog will give you an estimate on how long it will take to create the new Enhanced image, which will show up as a separate image file. Once you are ready simply click the Enhance button in the lower right hand corner. ACR starts working in the background immediately to build the new image file and it eventually appears right next to the original file you selected wherever that one is stored.
In my testing, as shown below, it took this old 12MP image from 4256 x 2832 pixels to 8512×5664 pixels. The screenshots below show this enlargement. The top image is the lower resolution (original) version and the bottom image is the one that went through the Super Resolution process. The higher res image look absolutely amazing. And at 48MP I could easily blow this up to a 40×60 inch print just as with any image captured using my 45MP Nikon D850.
|The Original image at 4256 x 2832 pixels shown at 100% in Adobe Photoshop. Click to enlarge.|
|The new Enhanced image upsized using the Super Resolution feature at 8512 x 5664 pixels shown at 100% in Adobe Photoshop. Click to enlarge.|
Once I upsized the image using the Super Resolution feature, I zoomed into the resulting image and was very impressed. The image seemed just as sharp (if not a little sharper) than the original image file but of course it is massively larger (in terms of resolution and file size). Kudos to the folks at Adobe for creating a truly revolutionary addition to Photoshop. I have tried some of the Topaz AI software options, like Topaz Gigapixel AI, but I have not seen it work this well.
So what does this mean? For starters, it means that AI technology will have a huge impact on photography. Going forward, the software we use to work up our images (and upres them) might in some instances have a larger effect on the final images than the camera that was used to capture the image. To a certain degree this new tool in Photoshop significantly equalizes the playing field no matter what camera you are working with. All of a sudden my Nikon Z6 and Fujifilm X-Pro 3 (respectively 24MP and 26MP cameras) are capable of producing stunning large prints in a way that was previously just not possible.
This feature is a huge boon to lower resolution (12 to 16 MP) and even medium resolution (24 MP) camera owners
What about high-resolution cameras you may ask? Where do they end up with all of this? The new Super Resolution tool will allow up to up-res any image as long as the resulting “Enhanced” image file is less than 65,000 pixels on the long side and under 500 MP in total. What that means is I can up-res the 102MP images from my FUJIFILM GFX 100 and GFX 100S cameras and produce insane 400 MP image files from a single image. That is getting into the absurd, but that also opens some doors for crazy huge prints. The reality is that this feature is a huge boon to lower resolution (12 to 16MP) and even medium resolution (24 MP) camera owners. Higher resolution cameras will still yield better image quality but we now have the option of making large prints from relatively low resolution image files.
This is just the start of the AI revolution. It also shows quite clearly that many of the advancements in image quality are going to come from the software side of the equation as we start to see cameras with incredible specs that might be hard to dramatically improve upon in the coming years. I am super excited about this new option in Photoshop as it will allow me to offer much larger prints than I have been able to create previously–and they will look stunning.
After talking with some photographer friends about this new feature I played around with images from a variety of different cameras to see how it varies. I ran a few images through from my Nikon Z6 and also a few from my FUJIFILM GFX 100. With the GFX 100 image, the Super Resolution feature popped out a 376MP image file that was damn near identical to the original image file, just four times larger. My jaw hit the floor when I zoomed into 100% and compared it to the original! You can see both the original and the Enhanced images below. There is no way to actually convey the 100% image size here as I have no control over the viewers screen resolution but regardless, they both look wicked sharp.
|The Original FUJIFILM GFX 100 image at 11205 x 8404 pixels shown at 100% in Adobe Photoshop. Click to enlarge|
|The new Enhanced image upsized using the Super Resolution feature at 22409 x 16807 pixels (376 MP) shown at 100% in Adobe Photoshop. Click to enlarge.|
From what I can tell, the Super Resolution tool seems to do an even better job with higher resolution cameras and in particular with cameras that do not have an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor. My Nikon Z6 images when enhanced with this tool still look impressive but not as jaw dropping as the example above. The Z6 has a very strong anti-aliasing filter, basically a filter that slightly blurs the image to reduce digital artifacts. In addition, it seems like the amount of sharpening or noise reduction applied to the image is also magnified so playing around with how the image is worked up may have a significant effect on the final image quality. I will have to do some more testing.
If you have gotten this far, and are still reading this full-on pixel-peeping madness, then you might have realized that this could be the best upgrade to any and every camera ever. This is certainly one of the most incredible features Adobe has ever released in Photoshop.
This article was originally published here and is reproduced by kind permission of the author
Photographers can be notoriously difficult to shop for. Photo gear is expensive and we tend to be picky about our equipment. But we don't need you to buy us a new camera to keep us happy (although that would be nice). If you happen to be shopping for a photographer this season, consider these gift ideas.
The new Sony a7 IV offers a range of updates over the popular a7 III, but at a higher introductory price. Are the new features worth the cost of upgrading? In this week's episode of DPRTV, Chris and Jordan get to the bottom of what makes the two cameras different, and which might be right for you.
Solarcan has managed to dramatically shrink its Solarcan into an even smaller form factor. It’s not yet available to purchase, but you can get one via Solarcan’s Black Friday special.
Following up on 2018's TourBox Bluetooth controller, the company is back with the new TourBox Elite. It features improved build quality, components, haptic feedback, Bluetooth technology and more.
Chris from DPReview TV recently reviewed the first new OM System lens, the M.Zuiko 20mm F1.4 Pro. He found it to be a solid performer, but check out this sample gallery from his review to judge image quality for yourself.
The holiday season is here and we've rounded up a collection of the best deals for photographers and videographers. This will be a living article that gets updated often, so be sure to check back to keep up with the latest offers.
It's obviously been a banner year for high-end sports cameras, and now that we've got a final Canon EOS R3 in our offices, we've gone straight to our studio test scene to see what's what from Canon's latest 24MP stacked CMOS sensor.
The 20mm F1.4 Pro is the first M.Zuiko lens released under the new OM System brand. Does it live up to its heritage of Olympus Pro-series glass? Chris puts it to the test to find out.
AtomOS firmware version 10.71 adds a slew of new and improved shooting modes and features to Canon's EOS R5, Panasonic's boxy BS1H and six of Sony's FS series cinema cameras.
This year, despite the disruption, plenty of amazing cameras, lenses, accessories and other products came through our doors. Now, as the year winds down, we're highlighting some of our standout products of the year. Check out the winners of the 2021 DPReview Awards!
The winners and finalists for the 2021 Nature inFocus Photography contest have been announced. We've sorted through the winners and have rounded up our favorites in this gallery.
Sony Japan has posted a notice on its website confirming that November 19, 2021 was the last day it accepted orders for its a7 II series, a6400 series and a6100 (black) camera systems, due to supply chain constraints.
Pixelmator Pro 2.3 is now available and includes major new AI-powered tools that have been in development for the past year, including tools to erase the background of an image and automatically select your subject.
The world's largest digital camera will be installed at the Vera Rubin Observatory in Chile next year. Before then, however, the camera must undergo final assembly and testing at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
From noir-inspired panchromatic film and smartphone-connected Polaroid cameras, to tablet developer and modern photo enlargers, these are the best film photography gifts in 2021.
We've been shooting with the New Nikon Z 40mm F2 for a few days, and in this article we'll provide a brief overview of its key features and handling, along with some first impressions of image quality.
In 2019, NVIDIA showed off GauGAN, an AI-powered demo that generates images from sketches. NVIDIA has been training GauGAN since then, and the AI can now respond to semantic prompts.
Quadriplegic drone pilot and instructor Rob Corbett is making a documentary about the power of drone flight. Here's his story and how you can help.
Following numerous security concerns this year, Western Digital has announced that it is ending support for prior generations of My Cloud OS, which will limit the utility of some older products.
This past year has been a busy one in the drone world, but we've got you covered – our updated 2021 Drone Buying Guide will get you up to speed with everything you need to know about the latest and greatest models.
Chris and Jordan have been testing a production EOS R3 and pushing it to the limits: high ISO tests, dynamic range, eye-controlled AF, flash photography and more! Also, find out whether Jordan had to worry about overheating when shooting video.
If you had a new Canon EOS R3 what would you shoot first? Penguins, apparently. Along with dinosaurs, oversized kangaroos and wolves. Because #artists. Check out Chris and Jordan's EOS R3 sample gallery and let us know what you think of the image quality.
Mick Rock, a British photographer who's known as 'The Man Who Shot the Seventies,' has passed away at the age of 72. Rock is most known for his iconic images of 70s musicians, particularly David Bowie, for whom he served as an official photographer.
We've rounded up the hilarious winners of the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Take a look through the gallery and make sure you don't have any liquid in your mouth—otherwise, you might need a new computer or keyboard.
The Dragonfly Telephoto Array Project started in 2013 and searches for faint structures, like galaxies, in the night sky. Canon has supplied the project with a total of 48 lenses and today has announced that it will provide an additional 120 EF 400mm F2.8L IS II USM lenses to expand the telephoto array.
A new photo book, titled Photography through the Pandemic, showcases work captured by film photographers from around the world throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Filmmaker and photographer Jan van Ijken has turned his microscope toward plankton for a new short film. Planktonium shows plankton in a way they are very rarely seen.
Canon Japan has announced it will be releasing new firmware updates for its EOS R5, EOS R6 and EOS-1D X Mark III mirrorless cameras on December 2, 2021, bringing its Car AF mode and to its two mirrorless cameras.
The 23mm F1.4 wide-angle prime will offer a 35mm equivalent focal length and be available for Canon EOS M, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds and Sony E mount camera systems.