In this Topaz Sharpen AI review, we take a look at the latest version of Topaz Labs‘ powerful AI image sharpening application. Available for PC and Mac, Sharpen AI not only sharpens photos but can correct out-of-focus images and remove motion blur.
Furthermore, Sharpen AI is easy to use, free to try, and affordable to buy. As a result, Topaz Sharpen is a great choice for fixing blurry pictures. In this Sharpen AI review, we’ll compare Sharpen AI’s image quality with some before and after examples and take a deep dive into Sharpen AI’s features, performance, and ease of use. So, is Topaz Sharpen AI for you? Let’s find out. Jump to Conclusion
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Table of contents
What is Topaz Sharpen AI
Topaz Sharpen AI is a specialized AI image sharpening application for your PC or Mac. And like other Topaz Labs products such as Denoise AI and Gigapixel AI, Sharpen AI uses machine-learned artificial intelligence to evaluate and ‘see’ your photos like you and I do. This means Sharpen AI can recognize blur from detail and correct one whilst enhancing the other.
Most smartphones, cameras, and photo editors rely on conventional non-AI sharpening which works by adding contrast to the edges and lines within your photo. Whilst this approach remains commonplace and somewhat effective, it’s merely a coat of polish that corrects nothing and only works to an extent.
In comparison, Topaz Sharpen AI photo sharpening algorithms fix blur and restore lost detail. As a result, you can use Sharpen AI to sharpen your photo, restore an out-of-focus image, and remove motion blur. It really has to be seen to be believed and to warm you up, I’ve included a before and after Sharpen AI example below.
How much is Topaz Sharpen AI?
Topaz Sharpen costs US$79.99 and you can save a further 15% using the Promo Code ‘friend15’. Alternatively, for added value, you can buy the Topaz Image Quality bundle which includes Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI, and Denoise AI. The same friend15 promo code also applies.
If you would like to be notified of special offers on Sharpen AI and other things Photography, subscribe to my no-spam weekly email.
What is the latest version of Sharpen AI?
Topaz Sharpen AI version 4.1.0. (The version being reviewed here).
How to update Topaz Sharpen AI
You can upgrade your copy of Topaz Sharpen AI by clicking on Help and Check for Software Updates. Note, that installing updates can take some time and your success will depend on your current license.
Topaz Sharpen AI Download
You can download Sharpen AI free of charge – no credit card required. Furthermore, you can try Topaz Sharpen for as long as you like. However, Sharpen AI will add a watermark to the sharpened copy of your photo until you pay up.
Topaz Sharpen AI System Requirements
|OS||Windows 10, 11, MacOS 10.14 or higher|
|CPU||Intel i3, AMD Ryzen 3 3GHz equivalent or above. Apple M1|
|RAM||8GB Minimum – 16GB Recommended|
|GPU||Open GL 3.3 Compliant (minimum Nvidia GTX740/AMD 5870)|
|GPU RAM||2GB Minimum – 6GB Recommended|
|Display Resolution||1024×768 Minimum|
How to use Topaz Sharpen AI
Sharpen AI is a specialized AI image sharpening application. And thanks to its singular purpose, Sharpen AI enjoys a simple easy-to-use interface. However, this also means that Sharpen AI is designed to supplement, not replace, a traditional photo editor.
Therefore, my recommended Topaz Sharpen AI workflow is to use your favorite photo editor to process your image as usual (except for sharpening). Then, load your processed JPEG or Raw file into Sharpen AI to add definition and correct blur. If you use Lightroom or Photoshop, you can use Sharpen AI as a plug-in. But, if you prefer to use a different photo editor, Sharpen AI works fine by itself.
Topaz Sharpen AI Tutorial (Video)
Topaz Sharpen AI Review
So now you know what Sharpen AI is and how much it costs. But is Topaz Sharpen AI worth it? Well, the answer is yes. However, I don’t expect you to take my word for it. So, in this section, we’ll compare some before and after Topaz Sharpen AI examples and take a deep dive into Sharpen AI’s overall performance and usability.
Topaz Sharpen AI Before and After Examples
All of these Sharpen AI examples are all presented at 100%, thus leaving no place for bad sharpening to hide. You should also note that my own personal preferences have influenced processing. So if you find something under or over-sharpened, I’ve probably done it on purpose.
Example 1 – AI Photo Sharpening for old prints.
I wanted to begin this Topaz Sharpen AI review with a stress test. This terrible photo was taken with an old Sony 3-megapixel point-and-shoot and some lousy technique. Not only is this photo out of focus, but it suffers motion blur too. Therefore, you might think that Sharpen AI doesn’t stand a chance. I certainly didn’t think so.
Whilst it remains a terrible photo, the example below demonstrates the transformative effect of Topaz’s AI photo-sharpening algorithms. This also indicates how Sharpen AI can be used to restore much older photos or prepare them for larger prints. For printing large – see Gigapixel AI.
Example 2 – Fixing motion blur with Topaz Sharpen AI
In this case, my shutter speed was not fast enough to freeze the action. Thus the price I paid for not following my own photography advice was motion blur. Nevertheless, Topaz Sharpen AI was able to correct the motion blur and restore the photo’s detail to its proper place.
Example 3 – Topaz Sharpen AI for Portraits
Human faces present all kinds of problems for photo editing applications such as Sharpen AI as any minor imperfection screams fake. Nonetheless, Topaz Sharpen AI is a great choice for sharpening your portraits so long as you spend a little time tweaking the settings.
As you can see, Topaz Sharpen AI’s image sharpening has worked wonders with this out-of-focus portrait. Not only has Sharpen AI corrected for the blur, but it has remained true to the original skin tones and the photo’s organic look.
What is Sharpen AI like to use
Topaz Sharpen AI is very easy to use and suitable for beginners. Thanks to Sharpen AI’s singular purpose as an AI photo sharpening application, its interface is spared of any other agenda. Fixing a blurry photo is as simple as opening your image and by default, Sharpen AI will automatically choose the AI image sharpening settings it thinks will suit your photo best.
However, whilst Sharpen AI does well enough in automatic mode, a little manual intervention can go a long way. For instance, there are ten different AI sharpening models to choose from and you can compare up to 4 AI models simultaneously using Sharpen AI’s split-screen modes.
Having chosen your preferred model, you can adjust the amount of noise and blur removal. In either case, it’s a matter of dragging the slider until you like what you see.
But what if you don’t want to sharpen the whole photo? Well, you can apply a mask to any select areas of the photo and limit sharpening to those areas. Whilst the activity of brushing on a mask is as tedious as always, it’s simple enough and the Edge Aware brush mode allows for sloppy but faster brushing. If you’re too posh to brush, you can get a head start with one of Sharpen AI’s auto masks which can automatically detect and mask faces, subjects, skylines, and landscapes.
Topaz Sharpen AI can be quite slow as each time you adjust your settings, Sharpen AI must take 1-3 seconds to re-render the image. Now, that might not sound like much but it does add up if you’re continually adjusting your image to arrive at the best result.
But in my opinion, the delay never feels unreasonable given the amazing results Sharpen AI is capable of. However, you are different and so is your PC. For reference, I tested Topaz Sharpen AI on a Windows 10 PC with a Ryzen 7 1800x CPU, 32 GB of RAM, and a GTX 1070ti Graphics card. If you remain uncertain, you can download Topaz Sharpen AI for free.
Otherwise, Topaz Sharpen AI performs well enough. It’s stable, consistent, and easy to install.
When preparing this Topaz Sharpen AI review, I began by collecting a variety of blurred photos. Once Sharpen AI was installed and loaded for the first time, I chose the worst of the lot – a blurred low resolution photo of a giant schnauzer. As the image opened, I imagined what the best result would look like. But when I saw the actual result, my jaw dropped.
Topaz Sharpen AI is a game-changer and leagues beyond the conventional photo sharpening built into your phone, camera, and favorite photo editor. Instead of masking your photo’s blur, Sharpen AI’s image sharpening corrects it. As a result, you can fix out-of-focus and motion-blurred images. And if you don’t need all of that, you can simply add a little sharpening and be spared the usual artifacts and anomalies inherent with legacy sharpening software.
Since Topaz Sharpen AI is just a photo sharpener, it lacks the bulk feature-set that weighs down full-fat photo editors. As a result, it’s the interface is simple and focused on its only task. If you prefer a hands-off approach, you can leave Sharpen AI’s image sharpening on automatic. However, it’s also very easy to make your own adjustments and achieve an even better result.
In fact, the only problem with Topaz Sharpen AI is that it can be a little slow. For every adjustment you make, Sharpen AI must take 1-3 seconds to re-render the image. And as you might expect, these brief delays add up if you’re fine-tuning your image to perfection. Nevertheless, I believe the results are worth the wait. Of course, your mileage may vary and I recommend you download Sharpen AI free and test it for yourself.
Topaz Sharpen AI costs US$79.99. If you don’t take many photos, you may not have many to fix, and Sharpen AI may not be worth it to you. But if you take lots of photos and your finest memories or reputation as a photographer is on the line, Topaz Sharpen is a bargain.
But whichever way you choose to buy Sharpen AI – apply the promo code friend15 to claim your 15% discount.
Is Topaz Sharpen AI worth it? Absolutely and then some. Sharpen AI takes photo sharpening to the next level whilst adding next-generation features such as correcting out-of-focus photos and fixing motion blur.
Best of all, Sharpen AI is very easy to use and quite affordable. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to convert recycle-bin-bound photos into genuine keepers, Sharpen AI is well worth a go. Back to Top
Get Sharpen AI
Buy or try Sharpen AI Free – No Credit Card Req.
Save 15% with Promo Code: friend15
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