Adobe just dropped its latest software update via Creative Cloud and among those updates is A new feature in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) called Super Resolution. You can mark this day as a major shift in the photo industry.
I have seen few proverbs on this topic Betapixel And the FstoppersOtherwise, the consequences of this new feature in ACR have not been promoted as widely from what I can see. ACR’s new Super Resolution feature essentially enlarges the image four times using machine learning, that is, artificial intelligence (AI).
The Betapixel Article About this new feature I quote Eric Chan from Adobe:
Super Resolution is based on a technology Adobe released two years ago called Detail improvement, Which uses machine learning to interpolate RAW files with a high degree of precision, resulting in images with clear details and fewer artifacts. The term “super resolution” refers to the process of improving image quality by enhancing the apparent resolution, ”Chan explains.“ Zooming in often results in blurry details, but Super Resolution has a great effect: an advanced machine learning model trained with millions of images. Supported by this extensive training set, Super Resolution can intelligently enlarge images while keeping edges clean and preserving important details.
What does this mean in practice? Well, I immediately tested it and was shocked by the results. Although it might be difficult to identify in the screenshot below, I took the browse image below, which was taken a decade ago with a Nikon D700 – a 12MP camera – and I turned on the Super Resolution tool on it and the end result was a 48.2 image. Megapixels look quite sharp (if not sharper) than the original image file. This means that I can now print that old 12MP photo in much larger sizes than I could before.
What this also means is that anyone with a low-resolution camera, i.e. the current crop of 24MP cameras, can now output huge image files for printing or any other use that requires a higher resolution image file. In the three or four photos that I ran through this new feature in Photoshop, I found the results to be amazingly good.
Let’s show you how this works. Firstly, it works with any image file, be it a RAW, TIFF, or JPEG image file. 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 select “Optimize” as shown below.
A dialogue window will appear so that you can see how the image will look and you can also switch back and forth between the original image and the new enhanced version. The dialog will give you an estimate of how long it will take to create the new optimized image, which will appear as a separate image file. Once you are ready, simply click on the “Optimize” button in the lower right corner. ACR starts working in the background immediately to create the new image file and eventually appears next to the original file you selected wherever it is stored.
In my test, as shown below, I took this old 12MP photo from 4256 x 2832 pixels to 8512 x 5664 pixels. The screen shots below show this expansion. The top image is the low-resolution version (the original) and the bottom image is the one that has gone through the super resolution process. The HD picture looks just amazing. And at 48MP, I can easily blow this up to a 40in x 60in printed just like with any photo taken with 45MP Nikon D850.
Once I enlarged the image with Super Resolution, I enlarged the resulting image and liked it very much. The image looked sharp (if not sharper) like the original image file but is of course significantly 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, such as Topaz gigapixel AI, But I haven’t seen it work well.
So what does this mean? For starters, this means that the AI technology will have a huge impact on your photography. Going forward, the software we use to work on (and upload) our photos in some cases may have a greater impact on the final images than the camera that was used to capture the image.
To some extent, this new tool in Photoshop substantially equates to the playing space regardless of which camera you’re working with. Suddenly my Nikon Z6 And the Fujifilm X Pro 3 (24MP and 26MP cameras respectively) are capable of producing stunningly large prints in a way that was previously not possible.
What about HD cameras you might ask? Where do they end up with all of this? The new Super Resolution tool will allow any image to be increased as long as the resulting “optimized” image file is less than 65,000 pixels on the long side and less than 500 megapixels in total. What that means is that I can upload photos with a resolution of 102 megapixels from Fujifilm GFX 100 And the GFX 100S The cameras produce crazy 400MP photo files from a single photo. This is getting into the doodles, but this also opens some doors to crazy bulky prints.
The truth is, this feature is a huge boon for downsizing (12MP to 16MP) and even owners of medium-resolution (24MP) cameras. Higher resolution cameras will still produce better image quality but we now have the option to make large prints from relatively low resolution image files.
Image enhancement to 376 megapixels
After talking with some photographic friends about this new feature, I manipulated images from a variety of different cameras to see how it differs. I ran some pictures through my Nikon Z6 camera as well as some pictures from my Fujifilm GFX 100. With the GFX 100 image, the super resolution feature featured a 376-megapixel image file that was close to the original image file, only four times larger. My jaws hit the ground when I zoomed in to 100% and compared it to the original! You can see both original and enhanced photos below. There is no way to transfer the image size at 100% here as I have no control over the resolution of the projector screen but regardless, they both look sinister.
From what I can tell, it appears that Super Resolution does a better job with higher resolution cameras and especially with cameras that do not have an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor. My Nikon Z6 photos when optimized with this tool still look impressive but not amazing as in the example above. The Z6 has an extremely powerful anti-aliasing filter, which is basically a filter that blurs the image slightly to reduce digital effects. Additionally, the amount of sharpening or noise reduction applied to the image appears to be magnified as well, so manipulating how the image works can have a major impact on the final image quality. I will have to do more tests.
If you’ve come this far, and are still reading this pixelated craze, you may have realized this could be the best upgrade to any camera ever. This is definitely one of the most incredible features Adobe has ever released in Photoshop.
This is just the beginning of the AI revolution. It also shows quite clearly that many advances in image quality will come from the software side in the equation as we begin to see cameras with amazing specifications that may be difficult to improve dramatically in the coming years. I’m so excited about this new option in Photoshop because it will allow me to make prints much larger than I was able to create earlier – and they’ll look amazing.
About the author: Michael Clarke is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel and landscape photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Clark contributes to National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Climbing, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Bike Magazine, The New York Times, and many more. You can find more of Clark’s work in his works websiteAnd the The social networking site FacebookAnd the Twitter, And the Instagram. This article was also published Here.