It happens more often than you might think.
You’re building a brand new website for your client. You obviously want it to look as fab as possible (you’re a perfectionist, after all). But the photos they sent you are… of insanely bad quality?
No matter how much you drag and drop, twist and turn, panic and rage – the image is still too small, too pixelated, too shitty for you to work with.
So what do you do now? Do you give up on your job, you dreams, your life?
No, my friend. You’re stronger than this. You won’t allow this one image to conquer you.
Instead, you pull out the holy grail, the saviour of all stressed-out developers:
The AI upscaling tool.
How Does AI Upscaling Work?
In short, you put your client’s low-quality image into an algorithm, and *boom* you get a high-quality image out on the other side. It sounds easy, but how does it actually work?
Essentially, developers feed said image into the upscaling algorithm several times, downscales them artificially, and then upscales it using the algorithm. The network’s goal is to make the input match the original image, however this original network isn’t known for being very impressive on its own.
That’s why a second network is put into the mix – one which is trained to detect which images have been artificially upscaled and which ones are original. This means that the original network is facing a new challenge: to generate upscaled results that will be good enough to fool the second network.
The better the second network is at spotting poor quality, the harder the first network is forced to work. And what happens when the second system can no longer distinguish between the two?
Well, that’s when you’ve arrived at your perfectly upscaled photo.
And hey, do you want to know a fun fact?
The people developing these algorithms don’t fully understand how the algorithm upscales the image, as the process has been developed by the machine itself.
Which AI Image Upscaling tools are the best?
Basically, there’s 4 good AI upscaling tools we recommend here at Fierce Digital. Let’s take a quick look at them.
If you’re looking for a free tool to try out, we recommend using either waifu2x or bigjpg. However, as they are free, you might find that the algorithms aren’t as sophisticated as you might hope. It should also be mentioned that Waifu2x has its limitations due to max upscaling being only x2. But hey, it’s a free tool – I reckon you get what you pay for.
On the other hand, you have Let’s Enhance and Gigapixel which are our clear favourites. Both are paid tools – Let’s Enhance is subscription-based, while Gigapixel is offered at a one-time fee of 99$. These two are clearly the best ones on the market – we’ve used both here at Fierce numerous of times, and we can hardly spot any differences between the results. Despite relatively similar quality, it might also be worth considering that Gigapixel has a lot of options and is highly customizable compared to the more limited opportunities of Let’s Enhance.
All tools are browser-based, except for Gigapixel which is an application.
It’s Time to Be Passionate About Quality
Don’t be that person with low-quality images all over your website. You’re better than that, mate. Whether you’re looking to get a new and sparkly web design, or just do a spring clean of your current one, our team of passionate designers can provide you with a fully managed service.