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Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Review

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As a photographer, I have used Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI often to upsize my images and solve the problem of pixelation, artifacts, and diminished quality that occurs when using other editing software. While the program has its benefits, I also detail the slight downfalls in this review of Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI.

What Is Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI?

In short, Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI is an upscaling software – it takes a small image and enlarges it. Whereas once upon a time, scaling a small image caused a lot of pixelation and diminished quality, this program promises to improve quality while increasing the size with no manual effort. 

Topaz Labs, as a company, has a long-standing history of using deep AI learning to perform various tasks automatically, from sharpening and removing noise to enlarging a file size. The key to how Topaz Labs programs work is that their AI fills in missing pixels and image information, predicting what should be there. This is how Gigapixel can function effectively; it’s using generative content to fill in missing bits of info. 

With this in mind, Gigapixel AI can be a lifesaver for photographers and image makers needing to salvage a low-res image, make larger prints than the original size allows, restore scanned family photos, and more. Topaz states that Gigapixel can enlarge up to 600%.

Although there are other upscaling options built into popular editing programs such as Photoshop, Gigapixel aims to stand apart from the crowd by being the master of this craft (rather than a jack of all trades). Other software tends to manipulate existing pixels rather than generate new content like Gigapixel. 

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI

The best tool for upscaling images, even if they are low-quality to begin with. Although it lacks sharpening features like Photo AI, this program proves to hold its own with a nearly drag-and-drop interface.

  • Great for upscaling images, AI art, or illustrations
  • Runs very fast
  • Simple to learn with a beginner-friendly interface
We review products based on independent experience and research, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Review

Ease Of Use

Although I will be fleshing this section out, there is one simple word to describe using Gigapixel AI: easy. 

Drag-and-drop. That’s it. The program does the rest! The complexities come in tweaking its autoprocessing, but for the most part, Gigapixel does a fantastic job without needing any hands-on experience. 

To test it out, I uploaded this photograph of a seal – sized at 1500 x 1000 pixels at 789 KB. As you can see, zooming in causes a lot of pixelation and artifacts: 

After loading the photo into Gigapixel, the AI quickly figured out what module to use and processed the image in 7 seconds. That time will vary based on your computer specs, of course.

If the image is processed to one’s liking, just click Save Image at the bottom right of the page, and another menu appears: 

You can save the file in every available image format (from JPEG and PNG to TIFF and DNG) alongside various other applicable saving settings. 

If the image is not yet perfect, you can jump to the right-hand side panel and start playing around with the settings. Hovering over each module explains when each module is appropriately used. 

If you load multiple images and click Save Images, a new window will appear with a status bar to show what images are processed and are currently processing. 

Overall, it is an incredibly user-friendly and beginner-friendly program. 

Adobe Photoshop And Lightroom Integration

The automatic integration with both Photoshop and Lightroom is brilliant. This helps Gigapixel fit nicely into a professional workflow, and you can easily use the program after doing significant cropping on images. 

In Lightroom, Gigapixel can be found when using the Develop module. In the Develop module, in the upper right part of the screen, go to Photo > Edit In > Topaz Gigapixel AI. 

Once pressed, a pop-up asks whether you’d like to use the software on a copy with Lightroom adjustments preserved, a copy without Lightroom adjustments, or on the original file. My suggestion would be to edit a copy, as that allows you to maintain the original image, and it’s usually best to do the Lightroom adjustments after the base image is rendered as needed!

Photoshop is very similar, except you won’t be asked whether or not you’d like to edit a copy. The original open file will always be the one modified with Photoshop. 

You can find the Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI integration in Photoshop at Filter > Topaz Labs > Topaz Gigapixel AI. Once pressed, a message appears before automatically launching the program. 

Performance

Performance starts at the beginning, installation! This process took a lot of time, even on my relatively fast desktop computer. The installation required came in two parts: 

The first was installing the program, and the second was installing the learning modules to use the software. I wish this were done simultaneously instead of teasing me with software that opens but cannot function without the modules. These modules also totaled 2 GB, which added additional time to the installation process before I could use the program. 

However, once the program was installed, it ran fast and smoothly. I enjoyed the output of the various image scaling options. 

For that same seal photo, the default output it wanted to do was to scale the image 4x, which brought it to 6000 x 4000 at 9.44 MB. Zoomed in at 313%, the detail is superb! 

To push the program further, I decided to scale this same image to 6x (which is the maximum aside from custom dimensions).

Zoomed in at 313%, the image still holds up great. Although there are a few little discrepancies on the edges of the subject, the detail in the eye blows me away. 

Price

For $99.99, this might appear steep for software that only does one thing. I would argue that you’re getting a pretty good deal.

Like other Topaz Labs programs, this is a one-time fee for a standalone program (that integrates into Photoshop and Lightroom). Adobe, for example, is a yearly subscription that costs more at its most basic level ($120 per year) than Gigapixel does as a non-subscription product.

You can install Gigapixel on up to 2 computers and buy more “seats” to install onto further computers. Every purchase comes with one year of free upgrades and updates, which can be prolonged for a fee. 

System Requirements

Although you can find the official Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI system requirements, I’ve summarized them below.

Windows Minimum Requirements:

Windows Operating System10 or 11 (most recent version recommended)
CPUIntel or AMD (with AVX instructions 3.0GHz or above)
System Memory (RAM)8 GB (16 GB or more recommended)
Graphics Cards (NVIDIA)NVIDIA GT 740 or higher, 2 GB VRAM
Graphics Card (AMD)AMD Radeon 5870 or higher, 2 GB VRAM
Graphics Card (Intel)Intel UHD 600 Graphics or higher, 2 GB VRAM

Mac Minimum Requirements: 

Mac Operating System10.14 Mojave and higher
CPUIntel (with AVX instructions 3.0GHz or above)
System Memory (RAM)8 GB
Graphics CardNVIDIA GTX 740 or AMD 5870
Video RAM2 GB

Topaz Labs states that they have “partnered with major CPU/GPU manufacturers like Nvidia and Intel to make Gigapixel AI run as fast as possible for your computer.” This is a neat detail, considering a lot of professionals in the field use Nvidia or Intel. 

I have heard from colleagues that if you are using an older computer or one that isn’t particularly RAM-powerful, batch processing images in this program slows to an unusable rate (and tends to crash)—just a fair note for those on older computers. Although the program doesn’t need a lot of RAM according to the system requirements, the batch processing factor will affect it. 

Example Images Using Gigapixel AI

Gigapixel AI is unique in that it enlarges various subject matter a bit differently from one another. The reason for this is wrapped in how the actual AI works. Gigapixel has been fed thousands of sample images in various popular subjects for the program to understand photorealistic details. 

As a result, it will process a landscape image differently from human faces because the details in the subject matter are not the same. Here are some samples of how it handles the three most common niches: landscapes, portraits, and close-up macros. 

Landscapes

To test out how the program processes landscapes, I uploaded an image of an icy landscape I shot.

  • The image is sized at 1500 x 1000 pixels at 789 KB
  • Gigapixel AI resized to 6000 x 9000 pixels at 10.5 MB

The result was tremendous. Here is a close-up of the original and resized images at 200%. 

Portraits

For portraits, I tested out a photo of a couple.

  • The image is sized at 1500 x 1000 pixels at 789 KB
  • Gigapixel AI resized to 6000 x 9000 pixels at 10.5 MB 

Here is a close-up of the original and resized images at 200%. 

The image does have issues around the hair, where you can see that the detail isn’t perfectly rendered. However, from a far-off distance, it looks acceptable. 

Macro

Here, I opened a macro shot in the program.

  • The image is sized at 1500 x 1000 pixels at 789 KB
  • Gigapixel AI resized to 6000 x 9000 pixels at 10.5 MB

Here is a close-up of the original and resized images at 200%. 

Gigapixel also did a phenomenal job with this image, preserving much of the texture and important details.

Gigapixel AI Vs Photoshop Super Resolution

Adobe Photoshop does have its own upscaling system, known as Super Resolution. This feature uses AI to upscale an image. I compared the two programs using a landscape photograph and allowed them to run their default settings. 

Note: Super Resolution is only available in the Camera RAW part of Photoshop and requires the file to be in RAW format to open. The Camera RAW filter option (which opens when you are using a non-RAW file) does not have Super Resolution. 

  • The original file is sized at 6742 x 4498
  • Photoshop Super Resolution sized the image up to 13,440 x 8960

It also made the details clearer and adjusted the exposure: 

Gigapixel, by default, sized the image up to 32,000 x 21,349. 

Note: Adobe Lightroom also has Super Resolution, and it does not require the file to be in RAW format to use it.

Gigapixel AI Vs Photo AI

Photo AI is another offering from Topaz Labs. Photo AI is an all-inclusive software that simultaneously sharpens, removes noise, and upscales. It’s lighter on the features than Topaz Labs specialty programs but is aimed to result in the same thing. 

But believe it or not, the results do differ quite a bit. To make it even more interesting, the most significant difference is how both programs handle portrait images. 

  • When set to increase the size by 4x, Gigapixel could size the image to 6000 x 4000 and keep it at 3.94 megabytes. We can take a look back at the detail it was able to render
  • Photo AI was also able to size the image to 6000 x 4000, but the photo ended up being 5.38 megabytes in size. It wasn’t able to condense the size in the same way. The way Photo AI works with the details is very different

Although some might like this extra sharpened detail look, not everyone may appreciate that for a portrait. It could be too much. Gigapixel’s version is a lot smoother. 

Who Should Use Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI?

Upscaling has various reasons, and photographers who frequently need images sized up would greatly benefit from a specialty program such as this. There are plenty of scenarios in which traditional upscaling (such as using the upscaling features in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom) misses the mark. 

There is widespread use for Gigapixel AI from photographers using lower megapixel cameras, APS-C or crop sensor cameras, or a GoPro or point-and-shoot camera. Often, the images must be bigger to make massive prints (especially if you crop in quite a bit). This is actually where upscaling has its most common professional use, enlarging the images for enormous printing opportunities. 

The program can help in cases where you can’t access or find the full-size images you need to work with, and you can simply use the previews from Lightroom or pictures you’ve uploaded to social media. Batch-process them in Gigapixel AI, and you’re ready to use the photos as needed.

Now, as with anything, Gigapixel has its limits. If the image is too low quality and too small, there is only so much Gigapixel can do. 

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI – Final Verdict

In my opinion, Gigapixel AI is well worth the investment for those who would find its purpose frequently helpful. I use it quite a bit, actually, for various reasons. The batch processing feature is especially useful, as I can drop multiple images in and let it process automatically. 

That being said, this is a standalone program with only one use. Photographers on a tighter budget that need multiple uses in one (such as sharpening and noise removal as well as upscaling) may find better value in Topaz Labs Photo AI 2 instead.

To give Gigapixel AI a try for yourself, click here to get the free trial.

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI

The best tool for upscaling images, even if they are low-quality to begin with. Although it lacks sharpening features like Photo AI, this program proves to hold its own with a nearly drag-and-drop interface.

  • Great for upscaling images, AI art, or illustrations
  • Runs very fast
  • Simple to learn with a beginner-friendly interface
We review products based on independent experience and research, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.
Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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