I really enjoy dabbling in nature photography, but I am by no means a professional at it. I have neither the patience, the gear or the stamina to be honest. But I do enjoy it occasionally.

The problem I often find is that I need to be so far away. Up until recently, I didn’t even have a telephoto zoom lens! So any time I took a shot, my subject was quite small. And when you crop into an image to any significant amount you lose a LOT of detail.

Well, the clever people at Topaz Labs have largely solved that problem … meet photo enlargement done with Gigapixel AI, which just received an update today.

Cropping in means losing detail, right? Wrong!

Gigapixel AI allows you to upscale your photos by up to an incredible 6x while still preserving image quality — even on smartphone photos. You can even crop in with Gigapixel AI. I found as long as the image is in focus it preserved details, enhanced details and even reduced noise.

What was once done in Photoshop — with often noisy results — can now be done better and sharper in Gigapixel AI. Check out the difference between the same photo cropped in Photoshop and then in Gigapixel AI. The details in the feathers, the eye and beak and even the feet!

Saving old photos

I then went looking through my archives for some old travel photos from my pre-DSLR stage. Roughly 3MB wonders of the early digital age, but from an Instamatic camera. Honestly, I look back and cringe at many of them now, but there were a few good ones.

Once loaded into Gigapixel AI, I ran it through its paces. My tiny little file then became large enough to do a decent print … if I wanted to. After I ran it through Gigapixel AI it was beautifully enlarged to 403MB, which is quite impressive.

How to use Gigapixel AI

Just open the program from your desktop and load the images(s) you wish to use. You can even batch process with multiple files.

Then there are your options: Resize by scale, width or height. You can choose to rescale by 0.5x up to 6x in overall size. It also has the ability to suppress noise and remove blur … there are even a few AI modes to try. There is a preview window so you can compare the difference. The program also offers the ability to crop your photo.

All sounds too good to be true?

While this is a great program it did have its kryptonite. A clever program like Gigapixel AI tended to be a little labour intensive on my PC. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, there is some heavy-duty upscaling happening, especially on the older photos. And while it did a great job, a little patience was required.

Just reading the processing screens mentioning things like neural shift-invariance and synapsis firing and neocortical nodes something something something … I’m not even going to pretend what any of THAT means, but I guess those smart cookies at Topaz Labs do.

Upscaled 6X from 3MB to 403MB with Gigapixel AI

What it all boils down to is that artificial intelligence has come a long way recently and photo enlargement with Gigapixel AI is a rather handy tool to have in your kit. Whether you use it for upscaling older or smaller photos while preserving details, or cropping in and losing no details, it’s a truly terrific program.