Cameras have not always been as good as they are today. Now there are phones that come close to or better than 50mpx resolutions, and can even shoot RAW, but a few years ago, the good mobile phone was the one with 3mpx; 5mpx was a nonsense for a mobile when the Nokia N95 came out. And of course, with photos taken even with VGA quality, it is easy for us to have some out there that have more pimples than a Ferrero Rocher. Improving this type of photos has never been so easy, and there are two programs that can help us in this task: upscayl and Upscaler.
The one that I have tried is the first (available here!, also for macOS and Windows), mostly because right now I only want to install flatpak or snap packages when absolutely necessary, and Upscaler It's on Flathub. On the other hand, Upscayl is like AppImage, or what is the same, a single file that can be downloaded and executed, and that does not install anything extra to the operating system. Whatever is chosen, the results will be impressive in both cases, as you can see in the header image.
Upscayl uses AI to improve photos
What both programs use is Real ESRGAN ncnn vulkan, software that works with AI (AI) and machine learning (ML) that analyzes images to, say, paint what it thinks an enhanced image should look like. It is all open source software. As you can see in the header screenshot, the original eye, the one on the left, is very blurry, but the right one is shiny. Furthermore, the Manjaro logo is perfectly fine once "upscayled", but not before passing the program over to it.
In my tests, I have to say that I have had mixed results. In a very old one from when he used to go to gyms, he has managed to fix a lot of a photo taken with a Nokia 6600 (VGA camera, lousy quality), but it is also true that it is noticeable that it has been retouched. She stands out because she tries to revive an image that is practically dead, but in other cases she has polished plastic glasses from costumes.
Increase images to absurd sizes
Upscayl has an option for enhance images up to x8, which can take so long that I've only done a test, and I thought it was always this slow. In this specific case, I have taken a wallpaper and it has created an image of more than 500 mpx, and it looked perfect. The total weight of the image has exceeded 600mb, a bit too much to upload to a blog like this. And it is that one thing that interests me is being able to take official images that are small and be able to enlarge them without losing quality to add them to an article. That and, of course, recover any old photos that you can.
Regarding the differences between Upscayl and Upscaler, the former consumes more resources and draws more graphics, and the second one is designed using GTK, so it will look better in GNOME. The results will be more or less the same, and no more worrying about enlarging the size of an image.