Topaz Gigapixel AI Review

Topaz Gigapixel AI is an excellent software program for upscaling images while preserving a great amount of image quality and detail.  It is an indispensable part of my workflow for processing my wildlife photographs so that they can be printed as large as 100 by 100 inches. Since a picture is usually worth a thousand words let me start with an example.  Original photo is on left and Topaz Gigapixel AI processed photo is on the right.

I've chosen an extreme cropping example to make the results of Gigapixel AI very obvious.  The above photo of a Bald Eagle started as a 6720 by 4480 RAW image out of my Canon 5D MK4 camera.  Even with a 700mm lens the eagle filled only an eighth of the frame.  The nature of wildlife photography is that you seldom get close enough to your subject to not have to crop the image. I wanted  a very close photo of the eagle's head and to get that I cropped the image to 430 by 513 pixels.  The original cropped photo is on the left side and as you can see there is some noise and it is not particularly sharp because I had to crop so much.  My camera is a 30MP sensor and does not have enough pixels to resolve extreme detail when this tightly cropped. The 430 by 513 pixel size would be OK for digital display on phone or tablet but not near enough pixels to print for display.  

I exported the cropped image from Lightroom Classic directly to Gigapixel AI and then back to LR when complete.  Gigapixel AI has five AI models to choose from - Standard, Lines, Art & CG, Low Resolution, and Very Compressed.  I honestly do not know the technical side of each model but have found, for my purposes, the low resolution and very compressed models work best.  I have found the standard models works well on those images that do not have to be enlarged beyond 2 times.  For this example, I used the very compressed model and enlarged the image by 4 times. The program also allows you to adjust settings to suppress noise, remove blur, reduce color bleed, and face refinement.  I generally set noise suppression and blur removal to "2" - a very minimal amount. I leave the color bleed and face refinement on as I have not noticed any difference with them off so far.

The resulting image, on the right, was enlarged 4 times and to 1720 by 2052 pixels.  To my eye the noise has been reduced and it is much sharper than the original image on the left.  Topaz has another program called DeNoise AI that I will sometimes use before Gigapixel AI if an image is extremely noisy.  DeNoise AI is a bit better at removing a large amount of noise.

Here is another example using an architectural photograph from a subway entrance in NYC.  I think it is a good example where Gigapixel AI does well with architecture which can have many more straight lines than wildlife photographs. I used the same workflow for this photo as the Bald Eagle portrait above.  Original image, on left, was cropped to 1050 by 754 pixels and on right enlarged to 4200 by 3015.

I hope you found this review helpful and would love to hear about your experiences or questions in the comments.

Thanks, Chuck