ON1 Resize AI 2022 is officially launched. We’ve tried it, and we’re impressed

ON1 Resize AI 2022
(Image credit: ON1)

ON1 Resize AI 2022 takes a different approach to image resizing. It doesn’t just attempt to upscale images while retaining sharp edges, it uses the power of AI to work out what fuzzy details should actually look like. 

It’s not magically ‘revealing’ new details, it’s using the existing details to predict what those areas would look like if captured at a higher resolution.

ON1 Software knows a bit about image resizing already. This is the company that took over and developed the Genuine Fractals resizing tech, which was amazing in its day and is still a model for most rival programs even now.

To date, image resizing software has concentrated on keeping object edges sharp and not blurred by interpolation processes. Finely textured detail (or missing detail) has been a much tougher nut to crack. So far, Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI is the only other tool that we know of that has attempted to fill in missing details with the power of deep learning and artificial intelligence.

ON1 Resize AI 2022 doesn't just preserve edge sharpness during enlargement, it uses AI to recreate finely textured details. (Image credit: ON1)

ON1 Resize AI 2022 key features

ON1 isn’t pitching Resize AI 2022 as some kind of magic tool, but as a valuable workflow option for photographers who need to create ultra-large prints, or crop in tightly on part of an image. 

It’s also designed to breath new life back into photos taken on older, lower resolution cameras. We’ve got lots of photos shot on 6MP Nikon D50s or 8MP Canon DSLRs from years back, and we’re sure lots of other photographers have too.

ON1 is also suggesting Resize AI 2022 could be used to make high quality still images or prints from video frame captures.

ON1 Resize AI 2022 can be used as a standalone tool, or as a plugin or external editor for your regular software. You can use it to resize individual images or batch processing a whole series.

It also has special printing features, such as Tiling for large-scale prints or murals, ‘Gallery Wraps’ for adding reflected or stretched ‘wings to the edges of a photo without losing any image area, the ability to ‘fill’ different print sizes and even ‘soft-proofing’ with different printer presets to judge the amount of sharpening to apply (another feature in the software).

Unlike Adobe's Super Resolution tool, ON1 Resize AI can work on JPEGs and TIFFs, and it offers a range of magnifications, not just Adobe's 2x 'take it or leave it' approach (and huge DNG output files).

The ON1 Resize AI interface is pretty simple, but still offers presets for different printers and a choice of resizing dimensions including percentage, megapixels and more. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Here's a 2x enlargement (2x on both sides, so 4x overall) of a 4.6-megapixel JPEG from a Sigma DP1. The increased sharpness and detail in the ON1 enlargement (right) compared to the magnified original (left) is remarkable. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

ON1 Resize AI 2022 first impressions

We were sent an early access release to try out, and here’s a quick run-down of what we found:

• The results can be quite spectacular, even hard to believe. The edge sharpness is preserved at the larger size, as we would expect, but the added textural detail is quite amazing – and realistic.

• Lower-quality images don’t fare so well. The tests we did with smaller-sensor cameras were less successful, as these have digital artefacts and imperfectons that the resizing process may either exaggerate or smooth over somewhat. ON1 says that the process can remove JPEG artefacts, but we found the opposite with one 1200 pixel wide press image we tried to enlarge – it exaggerated some edge effects not really obvious in the original.

ON1's example of text enlargement is impressive, but the text is still legible in the 'before' version. We found that if text was too small to make out properly in the original, ON1 Resize couldn't really help much. (Image credit: ON1)

• ON1 Resize AI 2022 is spectacularly effective with edges and natural textures, but less so with text, where you’re probably not going to be able to read anything on the edge of illegibility in the original.

• Processing is not instantaneous. On our test machine, resizing an image could take 1-3 minutes, depending on the size of the original.

Our remarks may sound like faint praise, but with a good quality digital image from a DSLR or mirrorless camera, say, ON1 Resize AI’s results are truly spectacular. This is perhaps the first time we can say that image upsizing is genuinely worth doing as a workflow routine rather than an occasional emergency measure.

ON1 Resize AI 2022 pricing and availability 

ON1 Resize AI 2022 is on sale now for $99 (about £80/AU$140) – but HOLD ON! If you already own the previous ON1 Resize 2022 (non-AI) plug-in, this will be free update, and if you already own ON1 Photo RAW 2022, ON1 Resize AI 2022 will be integrated with your software in a future free update.

Read more:

Best photo editing software
Adobe Super Resolution in action
Highest resolution cameras
Best photo printers

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com