Gigapixel AI is the best AI upscaler you can buy in 2023. But if you have a little extra money, Topaz Photo AI is just as good and can denoise your photo and correct blur. ON1 NoNoise AI is easily the fastest and most responsive AI image upscaler, whereas Upscale AI and Super Resolution is a sensible choice respective Luminar Neo and Lightroom users. Jump to the conclusion.
Best AI Upscalers – Contents
- What is AI Upscaling
- How I test AI upscaling software
- Best AI Upscaler for Photography
What is AI Upscaling
Unlike traditional upscaling, which blindly turns one pixel into many, the best AI upscalers read your image while anticipating and inserting additional detail into your enlarged image. As a result, an AI-upscaled image can look superior to the original photo upon which it is based.
However, AI upscaling isn’t perfect, and the results vary depending on the quality and complexity of the base image. Furthermore, not AI image upscalers are equal – particularly when it comes to upscaling delicate and non-repetitive detail.
How I test AI upscaling software
First, I create a quarter-sized copy of a reference image. Then, I use an AI upscaler to enlarge the photo by 400%, thus restoring the smaller one-quarter-sized copy to its original size.
Finally, I compare the 400% upscaled image with the original full-sized reference image to see how accurate the upscale really is. The best AI upscaling software application is the one that gets closest to the reference image.
Best AI Upscaler for Photography
#1 Gigapixel AI
Gigapixel AI is the best AI upscaler you can buy today. Gigapixel AI is a standalone application for PC and Mac and can be used independently of your favorite photo editor or as a plug-in for Lightroom.
But critically, Gigapixel AI gives me the best results of any AI upscaling application I’ve ever tested, producing upscaled results superior to the original reference image.
Furthermore, Gigapixel AI offers multiple AI models optimized for image type and quality level. For instance, Gigapixel has an AI model for ‘ Very Compressed’ images and another for ‘Low Resolution’ photos.
And with the recently added Face Recovery feature, Gigapixel AI produces some of the most natural-looking upscaled portraits I’ve seen yet.
Gigapixel AI’s only weakness is its speed. Each time you make an adjustment, Gigapixel AI will pause a few seconds to re-render your image, which can grow tiresome – particularly if you’re trying out and comparing the results of multiple AI models.
Nevertheless, the wait is always worth it. Thus, if you’re looking for the best AI image upscaler outright, you’re looking for Gigapixel AI. Read Gigapixel AI Review for more samples, tutorials, and user experience
#2 Topaz Photo AI
Topaz Photo AI is much more than one of the best AI upscaling applications. Specifically, Topaz Photo AI is one of the best noise reduction software applications and can correct poorly focused and motion-blurred images.
But critically, Topaz Photo AI is just as good at upscaling images as Gigapixel AI, which isn’t surprising given both upscalers were made by Topaz Labs. For this reason, I’ll limit my samples to the one below.
So which should you buy? Topaz Photo AI is a complete photo enhancement tool that can optimize your image well beyond what Gigapixel AI is capable of. However, Topaz Photo AI typically costs twice as much. Thus, Gigapixel AI remains the best AI upscaler if your interests are limited to photo enlargement.
#3 ON1 Resize AI 2023.5
ON1 Resize AI is the best AI upscaler for speed. Available as a standalone application or as a feature with ON1 Photo Raw, there’s much to like about ON1 Resize AI.
Specifically, as you can see from the comparison below, ON1 Resize AI created upscaled versions of my images that looked superior to the original reference images.
Plus, ON1 Resize AI enjoys a few considerate peripheral features, such as a wide selection of presets, a Canvas wrap tool, and a tiling feature. Thus, it’s easy to consider ON1 Resize AI a printer’s best friend.
However, when it comes to AI image upscaling, ON1 Resize AI can’t quite keep up with Gigapixel AI. Despite the recent inclusion of a Face Recovery feature, upscaled portraits don’t look as natural as those produced by Gigapixel AI. This is particularly apparent when scaling photos full of less-predictable detail.
Therefore, Gigapixel AI is a more attractive option if you’re looking for a standalone AI image upscaler. However, Resize AI is an absolute bargain if you acquire it as part of ON1 Photo Raw. Read ON1 Resize AI 2023 Review for samples and more.
#4 Upscale AI
Unlike some of the other best AI image upscalers, Upscale AI is exclusive to Luminar Neo – perhaps the best photo editing software application for beginners and experts in a rush. As a result, Upscale AI is appreciably cheaper than standalone upscalers such as Gigapixel AI and, of course, better integrated into the Luminar Neo workflow.
Furthermore, as the sample below demonstrates, Upscale AI is very good. While the overall result looks less refined than some of the best AI upscalers on this list, it is faithful to the original reference image.
If I were to be critical, and I suppose I should, Upscale AI does exhibit a little posterization for a very mild oil painting-like effect. However, I’m not sure you’d notice at reasonable viewing distances.
However, Upscale AI does an excellent job of upscaling portraits. Despite minor posterization, the image looks rather natural and suffers none of the over-processing seen elsewhere on this list.
Overall, Upscale AI is a decent, if not remarkable, AI image upscaler that falls a little short of the best. Yet, if you are a Luminar Neo user, you might consider trading a little performance for outright convenience. After all, bouncing your images between two separate applications is hardly optimal. But if you want the best upscaling, convenience be damned, check further up this list. Read Upscale AI Review for samples and tutorials.
#5 Lightroom Super Resolution
Lightroom Super Resolution is unique in two ways. First of all, it comes included with a Lightroom subscription which means it’s sort of free so long as you keep paying for it.
Second, and more coherently, Lightroom Super Resolution is limited to 200% upscales. Thus, in order to create the same 400% playing field, I upscaled my images by 200%, exported them, re-imported them, and repeated the 200% upscale resulting in a 400% upscale overall. Phew!
The end result is a 400% upscaled image of a fur seal that looks extremely faithful to the original image yet falls a little short of the best upscaling software on this list.
But how does Lightroom Super Resolution handle the delicate job of upscaling portraits? Well, the answer is very well.
My Lightroom-upscaled portrait appears natural and faithful to the original image. But, I you look close enough, you will notice some grain and pixelization. But, as was the case with Upscale AI’s output, I doubt you’d notice if you were to view the image from a sensible distance.
Overall, Lightroom Super Resolution is very good while falling short of the very best upscaling applications on the market today. Furthermore, using Lightroom to upscale images beyond 200% is a laborious task and one that can be entirely avoided if you choose a different upscaling application.
But, if you’re already invested in Lightroom, rest assured, Super-resolution is a highly-competent image upscaler.
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The best AI upscaler is Gigapixel AI. As an upscaling application, it has no real weakness and is effective across many types of photos, including portraits.
Suppose you’re willing to spend more money. In that case, Topaz Photo AI matches Gigapixel AI for upscaling but also corrects blur while being one of the best noise reduction software applications you can buy.
ON1 Resize AI is easily the fastest and most responsive AI upscaler I have tested and is capable of producing excellent results. However, ON1 Resize AI can struggle with photos which Gigapixel AI does not, and its upscaled portraits can sometimes look a little over-processed.
In contrast, images upscaled in Upscale AI don’t look processed enough and can exhibit some posterization. Nevertheless, Upscale AI produces an accurate upscale faithful to the original image. While other AI upscalers may produce better results, Upscale AI’s native integration with Luminar Neo and competitive price make it a compelling option for Luminar fans.
As for Lightroom Super Resolution, well, it’s more than good enough, given that it is already included with Lightroom. But, if you want an easier route to upscaling beyond 200%, and the very best image quality, Gigapixel AI is the way to go,
I’ll be testing more AI upscalers in the weeks to come. Which upscaler would you like me to test next? Write a Comment.