Adobe Super Resolution Review: A great Step, Not a Revolution

You have probably heard of Adobe’s new Super Resolution feature, which usually doubles a photo’s linear resolution (quadrupling the total pixels) with better results than any other upsampling algorithm – a minimum of, that’s the claim. I recently obtained around to testing this, and here’s how it measures up.

Table of Contents

What Is Adobe Super Quality?

In the 13. 2 version of Camera Raw, Adobe additional a new option called Super Resolution that can upsample any kind of image to 4× the initial number of megapixels – to put it differently, doubling the width plus height of the original image. A 12-megapixel original picture would become 48 megapixels; a 48-megapixel original image would become 192.

Rather than using a conventional upsampling algorithm such as Preserve Details or Bicubic Smoother, Super Resolution uses a good artificial intelligence upsampling algorithm that Adobe says was trained on “millions of photos” in order to give greater results than usual.

How to Use Super Quality

It is easy to apply Adobe’s Super Resolution to any raw document that you have. Open the image in Photoshop’s Camera Raw discussion, right-click on the image, and click “enhance”: Right Click Enhance in Adobe Camera Raw

The particular Super Resolution options show up as follows:

Adobe Super Resolution Options

It’s a simple dialog, and once the Super Resolution container is checked, Camera Natural will give you an estimate showing how long the upsampling is going to take. Click Enhance, and after a while, the higher resolution image can pop up as a second version of the image:

Click on the second image to select Adobe Super Resolution version

I’ve highlighted the 2nd image in red within the screenshot above. That’s the high-resolution version; the other the first is the original. Make sure to click the second image, or you’ll simply keep editing the prior, low-resolution version.

As soon as you’ve done that, you are able to edit the photo to your heart’s content in Digital camera Raw or Photoshop itself.

Using Super Resolution to JPEGs and TIFFs

Even though Super Quality is only a feature of Adobe Camera Raw, it’s still possible to apply it in order to JPEG and TIFF documents. Here’s how.

First, in Photoshop’s top menu, go to File > Open.

Open a new image in Photoshop and Camera Raw

Then, click on the JPEG or TIFF image you want to edit.

Adobe Super Resolution with a JPEG

Before clicking “Open, ” have a look at the screenshot above, where the bottom menu says “Format. ” It’s most likely going to say JPEG by default. Right after clicking on the image you want to edit, you need to change the Format menus to “Camera Raw”:

How to Open a JPEG in Adobe Camera Raw

Then, once you click to open the image, it will eventually appear in Camera Raw, and you’ll be able to apply Super Resolution just like before. Remember that this doesn’t change the picture into a raw filetype want DNG, but simply opens the JPEG or TIFF in Camera Raw.

JPEG in Adobe Camera Raw

Note that if you are working with a compressed JPEG file, it’s likely that JPEG compression artifacts is going to be exaggerated upon applying Very Resolution.

How Good Is Super Resolution?

Every thing above is nice to learn, but it won’t matter in the event that Super Resolution isn’t any good. So , how does Super Resolution stack up?

The solution is in the title of this review: good, but do not expect a miracle.

A 12-megapixel image which has been enhanced to 48 megapixels with Super Resolution will not match an original photo from a 48-megapixel camera, or even obtain especially close. If that is what you were hoping for, you will need to temper your objectives.

Super Quality also isn’t drastically much better than the Preserve Details second . 0 upsampling algorithm that Photoshop has already had since 2017. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been impressed by Preserve Details 2 . 0 for years, and any improvement is definitely welcome. But don’t go through too much into headlines declaring that Super Resolution is a revolution. (Say that five times fast! ) Instead, it’s a solid advancement in order to impressive technology that already existed.

Ah, you won’t believe myself without tests. Here they may be.   First, this is the uncropped image I’ll be using. The original is a 47-megapixel image through the Panasonic S1R, and all the particular crops you’ll see inside a moment are from that small red rectangle:

Rectangle Around Where I cropped for Adobe Super Resolution Test
DC-S1R + LUMIX S 24-105/F4 @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1/20, f/5. 6

The upsampled images we will be comparing are 188-megapixel behemoths – four times the original photo’s resolution (AKA twice the linear resolution).   First, acting being a control, is the basic upsampling algorithm of Bicubic Softer. Click to see full dimension:

Bicubic-Smoother
Bicubic Smoother

At this point let’s take a look at Preserve Details 2 . 0, the artificial intelligence upsampling algorithm that will Photoshop has had since 2017:

Preserve-Details-2-0
Preserve Information 2 . 0

And then Super Quality, the newest of the three strategies, and the subject of nowadays review:

Super-Resolution
Super Resolution

Super Resolution is indeed better than Preserve Details 2 . 0. If you’re not seeing this, pay attention to the building on the left, which is crisper in the Super Resolution image. Both of these are clearly better than Bicubic Smoother throughout the image, particularly in areas like the trees and shrubs and red advertisement to the right, and the same building on the left.

For comparison, here’s just how an  actual 188-megapixel image looks:

Sensor-Shift
Actual 188-megapixel image, taken with sensor-shift

I actually took this photo utilizing the Panasonic S1R’s sensor-shift mode, so it’s as close up as you’ll get to a “real” 188 megapixel photo of this scene. There are so many finer details in this image, and the non-detailed areas have significantly less noise as well. In a nutshell, it’s much better than any of the upsampling algorithms.

That is not exactly a surprise. Adobe would have to do some absurd wizardry behind the scenes in order to double the photo’s linear resolution without having losing much apparent image quality. Perhaps they’ll take care of something close, one day – after all, the current iteration is better than almost anyone would have expected back in 2010 or so. (Though some thing similar can be said of Preserve Details 2 . 0. )

Irrespective, I’m happy Adobe offers figured out a way to improve their current upsampling algorithms even further, and hope they can continue down that path. It’s pretty amazing what artificial intelligence methods can do today, not just meant for upsampling, but also for things like noise reduction and fixing action blur. Any issues I use on this topic are not along with Adobe, but with the coverage on various sites that makes Super Resolution seem like never-before-seen technology, when it’s a lot more like a nice iteration of something that’s been around for a few years currently.

Adobe Super Resolution vs Topaz Gigapixel AI

Another company that is using artificial intelligence upsampling algorithms is Topaz, using their Topaz Gigapixel AI software program. I figured it would be useful to add a Super Resolution versus Gigapixel AI comparison so that you can see what the state-of-the-art is certainly from more than just Adobe.

Here’s Topaz’s try at the same image:

Topaz-Gigapixel-AI
Topaz Gigapixel AI

For comparison, here’s a slider involving the Adobe Super Resolution picture (on the left, “before”) and the Topaz Gigapixel picture (on the right, “after”):

(There’s a framing difference because Adobe used a non-removable lens user profile, while Topaz didn’t. )

To me, each image has its advantages and disadvantages. The Adobe Super Quality version on the left doesn’t have as many strange color artifacts or waxy-looking areas. The particular Topaz image on the right has smaller, finer details overall, as well as less sound and crunchiness. Between the two, I lean toward the particular Topaz image, but they are pretty close. As with the other samples in this review, I actually leave it to you to judge which one you like better and by how much.   Personally, given that Topaz Gigapixel AI expenses $80, and I already have the particular Adobe bundle, I’m staying with Super Resolution.

Conclusion

With Super Resolution, Adobe has done a good job building upon their current Preserve Details 2 . 0 algorithm to allow better upsampling than before. Still, it’s arguably a bit behind the results of Topaz Gigapixel AI, and all of these upsampling methods are, unsurprisingly, far at the rear of an original, high-resolution image. So , I take issue with reviews that claim Super Quality drastically reshapes… well, a lot of anything.

Not that it needs to. Any improvement to a good foundation is welcome, and Super Quality is indeed better than Adobe’s prior best upsampling algorithm. I’m hopeful that they can push the envelope even further in the future. Upsampling isn’t something that most photographers need to do very often, but when it is necessary, it can make or break the print. Adobe is pushing things in the right direction with Super Resolution, although I’d say the hype grew a bit beyond the fact, the reality is still very good.

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