AI Upscaled Images (Discussion)

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#1 by loctar87
2019-08-27 at 03:11
So I recently discovered "waifu2x", an AI-based image upscaler for anime-style images. Crappy low-res jpg goes in, beautiful high-res image comes out. I am seriously impressed with it. It's not perfect (obviously, since it's algorithms, not magic) and it works better with some images than others, but it's a serious improvement over what used to be possible in the past.

So I was thinking, that this probably works best with images that were high-res to begin with and put into a lower resolution, which is the case for a lot of VNs. So I downloaded it and tried some images from Eien No Aselia with it's pitiful 640x480 resolution, and here's the result of blowing one of the images up into a 1920x1440 image: https://imgur.com/XGy6V6J

That impressive result makes me feel like older VNs could potentially be revived some day so the low resolution doesn't feel like an eyesore on modern systems. Thoughts?

(FYI, this should be for discussion, not posts of images. I posted one as an example of what is possible, but don't go crazy and get the thread shut down.)Last modified on 2019-08-27 at 04:14
#2 by yorhel
2019-08-27 at 05:27
There's also Anime4K if you want to upscale anime in real-time. I barely see a difference with other video scaling algorithms though.
#3 by kiru
2019-08-27 at 07:50
The problem is, that it's slow. There are some waifu upscaled anime floating around, just like simple pictures of CG, and it does work nicely. But you can't do this in real-time.

That said, there are relatively good 2d upscaling algorithms that DO work in real time. Problem is just, even today games barely support those. If I had to guess, maybe 20% of full price non nukige support bicubic filtering. Nukige probably generally don't.
Bicubic isn't the best, but it makes 720p somewhat playable on 1080p at least. Bilinear (the typical filter) just doesn't work.

In theory you could upscale the images beforehand, but then you'd also need to port the entire thing to a different engine, as these big pictures are probably not just supported.Last modified on 2019-08-27 at 07:50
#4 by tomtheerogeman
2019-08-28 at 04:29
K so I won't be able to test this until this weekend, however there is a way to upscale 2d games to remove the blur that you see when the game is stretched to fullscreen. There's a program called Reshade and during installation it'll ask what shaders you want. Select "adaptivesharpen," "lumasharpen," or anything with sharp in the name. So far I only used it for VNs on PCSX2 because PS2 emulation is notorious for having blurry games, and that fixed it for me. I tried to install it on a PC VN a couple of months ago and it didn't work, I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if VNs lack direct3d support, which is what Reshade requires.

Then there's also the fact that you can't stretch the window for most VNs. Reshade's sharpeners might not be good enough to make 1280x720 game textures look good in 1920x1080 resolution, but if the upscaling is less drastic, such as 1600x900, then I think it would look better. There's programs like resizeenable that might force the game window to be stretchable, however I've never downloaded it or tried it since my monitor is already quite small as it is.

Basically we need to be able to increase the window size, and then apply a shader of our choice to the game. That's it.Last modified on 2019-08-28 at 04:30
#5 by ramaladni
2019-08-28 at 05:39
#2 Anime4K is not an upscaler. It is a sharpening filter, and it's been proved to be hot garbage.

#1 Loving those jagged lines. Yeahhhhhh

On another note, the Saya upscale is pretty good I guess. But the process also involves making it so that the engine that support the higher res images.

#4 Why aren't you using PS2 plugins? Or external shaders that work inside the emulator?Last modified on 2019-08-28 at 05:40
#6 by sakurakoi
2019-08-28 at 05:59
Loving those jagged lines. Yeahhhhhh

Siting that closely to yer screen ain't healthy for your eyes, ya know?

Seriously, the main issue with this "industry", like the linked blog or whatever kinda shows, is that everyone is talking in extremes, when not outright lying that is. Meanwhile some "noob" like humble ol' me would be called out as heretic for suggesting that those RPG Maker Pre-MV, their CG and sprites particularly, could possibly look "good" (enough) on a monitor made for 1080p. Hence why I rarely engage with this very apparently elitist community... which does not even know what they are supposedly into.

Style>>>>>Resolution
I won't go down without a fight! "You just don't have an eye for detail", yeah, you neither~
#7 by lucumo
2019-08-28 at 20:02
Don't care about the resolution at all and am with sakurakoi here. Heck, not too long ago I played a game in 320x200.
#8 by surferdude
2019-08-28 at 20:09
Same here. In fact, I think most of the great VNs out there are 800x600 or less.
#9 by loctar87
2019-08-29 at 03:48
@7 @8 Even if you personally are fine with the lower resolution, it's a problem if you want new people to enjoy the game in the future. People would be more likely to take up old games if they don't have horribly outdated graphics, and they will face other technical hurdles as time advances. Maybe that's not a problem we can fix completely. But maybe it is? The AI upscalling of today is already better than I thought was possible with an automated solution. In the future, who knows?
#10 by sakurakoi
2019-08-29 at 04:05
People would be more likely to take up old games if they don't have horribly outdated graphics
Duh, of course the likelihood increases but by what margin ? And indeed, the point "Even if you are fine" can be turned back on ya "Even if you are not fine [how many more are?]".

Again, the 2nd half shows quite well why no one in the "out-group" takes your "in-group" seriously and regarding the 3rd (half~)...
and they will face other technical hurdles as time advances.
Moving the goalpost, are we? The topic is solely regarding image resolution and quality, stick to your own topic, pleasethankyouverymucho.
#11 by loctar87
2019-08-29 at 04:27
Duh, of course the likelihood increases but by what margin ? And indeed, the point "Even if you are fine" can be turned back on ya "Even if you are not fine [how many more are?]".
78 percent! 19,219 people agree to play these games if they are high res.
Again, the 2nd half shows quite well why no one in the "out-group" takes your "in-group" seriously and regarding the 3rd (half~)
Hmm. Someone is rather defensive. This isn't an attack on low-resolution games. There are some awesome low-res games, which is the whole point. Why wouldn't we want to improve these games and extend their lifespan, if it was possible?
#12 by tomtheerogeman
2019-08-31 at 21:28
So unfortunately most VNs do not work with the programs I have mentioned. Programs that force window stretching don't work on any of the games I tested except for Popotan and Gokinjo Idol Produce -Side Mia Hazuki. I tried ResizeEnable and Autosizer, there are others as well however I don't feel like trying every one of them. You're welcome to do so yourself, of course.

Reshade only works on Gokinjo Idol Produce -Side Mia Hazuki. This might be because it's a unity game that uses a few 3D-like effects, so Direct3D is certainly being used. Unfortunately Reshade does not create error logs so I can't say for sure what's going on with the other VNs. I can only speculate that most VNs do not use Direct3D or OpenGL, that this is the cause of Reshade not working, and that someone would have to code a program that can add shaders to visual novels.

The technology exists, but as of right now nobody has coded a way to implement them to VNs, and even if someone did so, fullscreen would be your only option to increase the window size, so hopefully there's a sharpener out there that "makes it look good." Sadly I can't code for shit, and anyone who was in that high school class with me 9 years ago can attest to that, so we'll just have to hope that the right person sees this thread.

@#4 PS2 plugins slow down my PC a bit too much for my liking, and Reshade is an "external shader that works inside the emulator."
#13 by sakurakoi
2019-08-31 at 22:18
78 percent! 19,219 people agree to play these games if they are high res.
Sure, just let me go ahead and just in case check your source lest it may have just happened to use flawed methodology... oh~

Why wouldn't we want to improve these games and extend their lifespan, if it was possible?
Well, just why are so many overtly dishonest? I suppose I never gonna get the answer from those themselves who can't even be not obvious with their way too common techniques. "Cure for Ebola found! [It reduces the fatality rate at least, tehe~]"

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