Some experimentation with Topaz Sharpen AI

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Location
Troy, NY
Before

Peebles 001.JPG


after

Peebles 001-sharpen-stabilize.jpg


before
G12 misc 048.JPG


after

G12 misc 048-sharpen-focus.jpg


before

RX10 test shots 012.JPG


after

RX10 test shots 012-sharpen-focus.jpg


Commentary:

I downloaded the software as a free trial onto two computers: a Dell Inspiron 13 with an i7 processor and an HP Elite with the Ryzen chipset and 16 gigs of ram. Neither computer has a dedicated graphics card.

Sharpen AI seems to chew on the files as it is importing them, does more processing while the image is "on-board," and seems to be doing even more processing while exporting the files. The HP Elite was definitely faster in handling the files.

I chose the top set because I wasn't quite satisfied with the sharpness of the floating lamps. The middle set was a hopeless failure on my part (the camera was on the wrong setting), and I wanted to see if Sharpen AI could rescue it. The bottom set was an image I already liked, and I wanted to see if Sharpen AI would improve it somehow.

Cheers, Jock
 
Last edited:

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Location
Vancouver B.C.
Real Name
Tilman
Getting yourself a GPU will make a huge difference. Even an entry level GeForce 1060 (or 1660 or whatever the current or cheapest version is) brought processing times down from 60 seconds-ish to 6 seconds-ish (for me on my i5 with integrated graphics ...

The results are often great... :)
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Location
Troy, NY
Getting yourself a GPU will make a huge difference. Even an entry level GeForce 1060 (or 1660 or whatever the current or cheapest version is) brought processing times down from 60 seconds-ish to 6 seconds-ish (for me on my i5 with integrated graphics ...

The results are often great... :)

So far, I am not desperately impressed with the results.

Cheers, Jock
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
I too recently downloaded a trial version of Topaz AI. Mainly because of ctein's fascinating (and relatively technical) recent essay about it, on TOP (The Online Photographer), singing its praises. I haven't used it that much but so far, for me at least, the results are subtle but definitely noticeable and I am rather impressed by them.

Here is an example I processed earlier today. The original was shot in RAW with my Pentax KP - and then converted to monochrome using Nik's Silver Efex. The first version, here, is the 'BEFORE' version -

Manos_Arriba_Halloween_DNG+SilverEfex.jpg


The second, here, is the 'AFTER' version -

Manos_Arriba_Halloween_SilverEfex.jpg


It helps to have a large monitor to see the results. To me they are most noticeable in the face - in the first (BEFORE) shot, the details on the face are very accurate - but when you look closely at the same face in the 2nd (AFTER) version - it has a clarity and, yes, a sharpness to it, as well - which to my eye is significantly better than the before version. It helps to view them in a program like Lightroom - which allows one to see an extremely magnified version by double clicking on a particular photo or file. Here on the cameraderie website, I'm not sure if one has the tools to magnify it sufficiently.

I haven't done that much with it yet - but I'm close to becoming a convert, I think.
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Location
Troy, NY
I too recently downloaded a trial version of Topaz AI. Mainly because of ctein's fascinating (and relatively technical) recent essay about it, on TOP (The Online Photographer), singing its praises. I haven't used it that much but so far, for me at least, the results are subtle but definitely noticeable and I am rather impressed by them.

Here is an example I processed earlier today. The original was shot in RAW with my Pentax KP - and then converted to monochrome using Nik's Silver Efex. The first version, here, is the 'BEFORE' version -

View attachment 207299

The second, here, is the 'AFTER' version -

View attachment 207300

It helps to have a large monitor to see the results. To me they are most noticeable in the face - in the first (BEFORE) shot, the details on the face are very accurate - but when you look closely at the same face in the 2nd (AFTER) version - it has a clarity and, yes, a sharpness to it, as well - which to my eye is significantly better than the before version. It helps to view them in a program like Lightroom - which allows one to see an extremely magnified version by double clicking on a particular photo or file. Here on the cameraderie website, I'm not sure if one has the tools to magnify it sufficiently.

I haven't done that much with it yet - but I'm close to becoming a convert, I think.

I'll check out your example on a large monitor later today.

So far, the best "cool thing" I've found in a while for post-processing is Luminar, which I bought.

Cheers, Jock
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Location
Vancouver B.C.
Real Name
Tilman
SharpenAI to me is more about giving a "consumer-lens" more acuity/microcontrast (saving me from the weight and expense of bigger "pro"-lenses) and about correcting minor focus-errors.

The differences are small enough that some people might not bother while others might appreciate it.
If your lenses are already razor-sharp (and you nailed the focus) you might not see an improvement at all...

It's not something I use on every photo, but on some it turned a good photo into a "wow"-one :)

(and since I already owned the older Topaz-plugins, I got the new AI plugins as free updates - which certainly makes me a bit less critical of them :-D )
 
Last edited:

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
This is ctein's rather technical and details - but quite fascinating - article on Topaz Sharpen AI -


- it's a 'good read' for those who are technically inclined.
 

Tilman Paulin

All-Pro
Location
Vancouver B.C.
Real Name
Tilman
After doing a quick test I have to say I'm not coming to the same conclusion as Ctein, that the "Stabilize"-mode would yield the best results, even on non-shaky photos.

I'm also often using Topaz Denoise AI instead. It has a sharpening option too - and I find the results of it the most natural.

A photo from today - taken with the Olympus 75-300mmm at 300mm and denoised/sharpened with DenoiseAI:

48931868611_efc3e508d7_h.jpg
Sunday by tilman paulin, on Flickr
 
Last edited:

Latest threads

Top Bottom