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Topaz Gigapixel AI Review (Is It Any Better Than Photoshop?)

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Our Topaz Gigapixel AI review explores everything you need to know about this photo enlargement software. Gigapixel is relatively expensive as a standalone product. But it is much more affordable if you buy the Topaz Labs utility bundle that includes Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI.

The framed prints my clients buy come from high-resolution files. That means I don’t usually have to worry about scaling them up. One exception was this shot of a couple of adorable kids I know. The original photo was a heavily cropped JPEG only 301KB in size. So it was going to be a challenge!

Sadly, even the latest version of Topaz Gigapixel AI couldn’t rescue this one for me. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the software. It is still one of the best enlargement software on the market… see my enlarged photo of an eagle’s eye at the end.

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What You Need to Know—Topaz Gigapixel AI Review

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI is based on machine learning. It was designed to help us produce larger prints. Plus, it comes with the same tools to improve sharpness and reduce noise as its standalone Sharpen and DeNoise software.

Yes, we might get similar results with Preserve Details 2.0 or Super Resolution in Photoshop. But Gigapixel AI is a dedicated program that offers a good combination of simplicity, performance, and regular updates.

Topaz Labs has a suite of three main programs—Sharpen, DeNoise, and Gigapixel AI. You can buy them individually or as a set for a one-time fee. But it’s worth taking advantage of the free trial.

After you download and install Gigapixel AI, you’re all set. If you use Topaz Gigapixel AI as standalone software, you can drag images directly into the main window (or onto the dock icon on a Mac). Alternatively, you can click “Browse Images” to find the photos you want.

You can also right-click on any image in Lightroom or Photoshop, choose “Edit In” from the pop-up menu, and then “Topaz Gigapixel AI.” (The program is automatically added to this menu when you install it.)

The Gigapixel AI interface is very intuitive. It has buttons and sliders for magnification, image sharpening, and noise reduction. And its results are on par with anything that Photoshop has to offer.

Picture of Topaz Gigapixel AI menu options

Is Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Meant for You?

There are several different reasons why you might choose to use Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI:

  • Your camera (or smartphone) doesn’t have a high enough resolution.
  • You want a massive print.
  • You’ve cropped your image so heavily that you’ve lost a lot of pixels.

As a result, Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI fills a gap as Sharpen and DeNoise does. Just as you might want to sharpen your images or reduce noise, you might want to increase a photo’s file size and resolution.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional photographer or just a keen amateur—it works for everyone. Gigapixel AI allows you to reduce or enlarge photos by a scale factor of 0.2-10.45 times, and there are multiple benefits:

  • better image quality
  • sharper details
  • noise reduction
  • increased image resolution
  • a more natural look
  • removal of compression artifacts
  • enhanced texture (i.e., skin, surfaces, etc.)
  • fixed pixelation
  • better prints
  • better zooming and cropping
  • increased realism in computer graphics
  • conversion of old video footage into 4K

How Does Topaz Gigapixel AI Work?

Topaz Gigapixel AI boasts many useful features. Let’s have a look at what it can do.

Flexible Scaling

Gigapixel AI offers great flexibility when it comes to reducing or enlarging images. Three buttons open up all the relevant options:

  • Scale—allows you to choose the scale factor. There are preset buttons for 0.5x, 2x, 4x, and 6x and a custom button for any custom value within the acceptable range.
  • Width—gives you the ability to set the output width in pixels, inches, or centimeters.
  • Height—lets you set the output height in the same way.

These options are vital if you’re trying to enlarge an image for printing because you need to get the correct resolution. Generally, printers do best with files that are 300 dpi (or 360 dpi with Epson models). Anything less, and they’ll look soft or even pixellated.

If you know the size of print you want in inches, you can multiply that by 300 (or 360) to get the required number of pixels for the height and width. For example, a 10×8″ print needs a digital file that is 3000px (10 x 300) on the long side and 2400px (8 x 300) on the short side.

A Crop button also lets you crop the image before scaling it. You can choose a free crop or limit it to a given ratio such as 3:2. That makes it easy to flip an image from landscape to portrait format or vice versa.

Different AI Models

Different images have to be processed in different ways by the AI technology to create the best result, and Gigapixel AI offers you five options:

  • Standard—the original AI model (previously called “Natural”).
  • Lines—the model to choose if you have an architectural image or one with many straight lines.
  • Art & CG—is for non-photographic images such as animation, computer graphics, and paintings.
  • Low Resolution—meant to extract maximum detail from images with a low dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch).
  • Very Compressed—is meant for small JPEGs or images with severe compression artifacts.

Scaled-up sample image in Topaz Gigapixel AI trial version

Automatic Settings

It’s best to use Sharpe or DeNoise before scaling your image. But Gigapixel AI does have an auto option for sharpening and noise reduction (plus manual sliders). There are also two extra toggle switches:

  • Reduce Color Bleed—offers automatic “gamma correction” to improve color rendition and brighten darker areas.
  • Face Refinement—is designed to improve detail in small faces. For instance, in crowd scenes.

Flexible Viewing

Gigapixel AI has the same viewing options as Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI, making it easy to navigate. You can use a preview window to center the image by clicking on the most critical area.

You then have four viewing options:

  • Single View—shows the image fullscreen.
  • Split View—shows the original image on the left and the scaled version on the right, with a dividing line you can play around with.
  • Side-by-Side View—shows the scaled and original images next to each other.
  • Comparison View—shows the output from four different models in four window panes.

Comparison View is probably the most useful because you can simultaneously see the effect of four artificial intelligence models.

If you want to check out a different model, you can choose it by clicking on the relevant button. That replaces the existing model with the new one, so selecting the “worst” model of the four before changing it is a good idea.

Screenshop of Topaz Gigapixel AI comparison view
Topaz Gigapixel AI comparison view © Nick Dale

You can also click and hold the “Original” button or the space bar for comparison purposes. Once you let it go, the image returns to the scaled version. Or you can click on the window pane to see the original image. That’s the easiest way to get a before-and-after view.

Finally, a zoom button offers “Zoom to Fit,” 50%, 100%, 200%, and 400% presets (with keyboard shortcuts). You can also use the slider provided or enter a value in the text box.

Bulk Editing

If you have multiple images to process, Gigapixel AI allows bulk editing. You can drag the files into the main window from Finder or File Explorer (or click “Browse”). Then click the checkboxes for individual images to change the AI model and other settings.

Bulk editing can save a lot of time, but you need to be careful. It’s tempting to be lazy and let the program decide which settings to use. But that may come at the expense of image quality, making it a false economy.

Here’s a before and after 2x enlargement.

Topaz Gigapixel AI Alternatives

There are plenty of other photo enlargement programs on the market. But these are your best bet.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is an obvious alternative to Gigapixel AI. It’s best to enable Preserve Details 2.0 in the Preferences > Technology Previews drop-down menu beforehand. You can then right-click on your image, check the Super Resolution box and click “Enhance” to create a DNG file with double the resolution.

Note that Gigapixel AI automatically sharpens the image, whereas Photoshop doesn’t. So, if you want a like-for-like comparison, you have to use a basic sharpening filter in Photoshop. Photoshop performs similarly to Gigapixel AI. But it tends to over-sharpen less. And it produces fewer artifacts, especially in shadow areas.

VanceAI

VanceAI is like Gigapixel AI. It’s an AI-based, standalone image enlargement program that allows you to make files two to eight times larger. It has built-in sharpening and noise reduction tools, drag-and-drop functionality, and a simple web-based user interface.

You’re limited to five free files, though. So you’ll need to pay after that. The pro software (monthly and yearly subscriptions) is much faster than the web-based version. But it lacks editing tools such as filters and only supports a limited number of export formats.

Imglarger

Imlarger is another AI-based solution. It offers image enlargement (2x, 4x, and 8x) and batch processing for a monthly fee. There is a 5MB and 1200x1200px file size limit, though. And it only supports a few formats, such as JPEG and PNG.

Bigjpg

Bigjpg lets you upscale images up to 16x using software based on a “convolutional (artificial) neural network. It’s a cheap and cheerful solution that works best with animé photos and illustrations. Bigjpg supports bulk editing, but it’s not very stable. And after a 20-image free trial, you must pay a small monthly subscription.

AI Enlarge PhotoLabs

AI Enlarge PhotoLabs is a fully automated solution from Pixbim. It also uses Artificial Intelligence to enlarge images. But it only offers 2x and 4x enlargement. They offer a free trial followed by a one-time fee.

Picture of eagle's eye
Close-up of 6x enlargement © Nick Dale

Verdict

Our Topaz Gigapixel AI review shows that this software is excellent for hobbyists and professional photographers alike. It’s beneficial if you want to produce large prints or have a lot of old, low-resolution photos you want to put on your wall. It has an easy-to-use front end with built-in sharpening and noise reduction. It’s among the best of the enlargement programs on the market!

Like Sharpen and DeNoise, it has a habit of occasionally producing ugly artifacts. So you do have to watch out for those—especially if you’re creating something for a client! But if you are interested in trying Topaz Gigapixel AI, remember to take advantage of Topaz’s free trial. And if you opt for buying, don’t forget to use our code EXPHOTO15 to save 15% on any Topaz products.

Scores

Features (20)
18
Ease of use (20){{column-name-2}}: 17
Design (15){{column-name-2}}: 10
Price (15){{column-name-2}}: 10
Annoying little things (10){{column-name-2}}: 9
Compatibility (10){{column-name-2}}: 10
Personal verdict (10){{column-name-2}}: 6
Total (100){{column-name-2}}: 80

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