I recently rested Adobe’s new Super Resolution in my “Four steps to Resolution in Camera Raw” article. Naturally, my initial curiosity was about enhancing detail on night photos.

But how does it do for portraits?

Enhancing portrait details

Almost everyone values detail in portraits. The fine details of eyelashes, the color of one’s eyes, the hair and the skin are of particular significance. And if we wish to increase the size of a print, we still want it to be detailed.

Enlarging a photo often creates blurry details. That’s not the case with Super Resolution. It uses advanced machine learning to enlarge photos while retaining edges and details.

Portrait by photographer Mike Martin/Mike Martin Photography. Model: Max McNeal Martin.

Enlarging the photo through Super Resolution

I enlarged a photo in Adobe Camera Raw as outlined in my previous article. It took 10 seconds to enhance the photo, quadrupling the amount of pixels. Adobe tells you the amount of time left for the processing in the lower left, a feature I greatly appreciate. I like to know that something is being processed instead of simply sitting for an undetermined amount of time wondering if anything is working.

Comparison of details in the eye

You may use your mouse to toggle back and forth between the two photos. For comparison’s sake, I had to zoom in at different resolutions because Super Resolution is twice as large. Therefore, the “before” photo is a 400% view, and the “enhanced” view is 200%.

You can see that the enhanced view shows noticeably more detail. Given that machine learning is still in its infancy, this level of detail is already quite promising. The eyelashes are more detailed. I am particularly impressed by the level of detail in the pupil. While you may never do this level of pixel peeping ordinarily, for large prints, this becomes quite important.

Why do we need this?

This level of enlargement is extremely beneficial for making large prints. After all, not all cameras have super-high resolution. Most modern phones produce 12-megapixel images, for example. It’s also great for when you crop a photo noticeably. And let’s face it … it’s just plain ol’ cool to know you can do this, even if it’s not necessary most of the time.

Thanks to Mike Martin at Mike Martin Photography for letting me use his photo to demonstrate Super Resolution.