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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to use the “Super Resolution” feature of Photoshop and Lightroom

How to use the “Super Resolution” feature of Photoshop and Lightroom



example image of tram in snow

Adobe has added machine learning and AI-powered features to Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. In March 2021, Adobe added “Super Resolution”, a way to improve missing details in lower resolution files. Here’s how to use it.

What does Super Resolution do?

example of 4x increase in megapixels
Super resolution works like a kind of digital zoom. Harry Guinness

Super Resolution uses Adobe̵

7;s AI platform, Adobe Sensei, to double the horizontal and vertical resolution of an image. It quadruples the pixel count, so basically it takes a 12 megapixel photo and turns it into a 48 megapixel photo.

Super Resolution is an evolution of Enhance Details, another machine learning filter that reduces image artifacts and improves fine details in your RAW photos, without changing the resolution.

In other words, Super Resolution makes the file large, and if you’re using RAW files, Enhance Details will make it look good. However, it still works on other file types such as JPEG, PNG and TIFF.

Whatever file type you use, Super Resolution will convert it to a .DNG RAW file.

How to Use Adobe’s Super Resolution

Super resolution isn’t a Photoshop feature – it’s an Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) feature.

Now ACR is built into Photoshop and it is what all the image processing under the hood does in Lightroom, but it is technically separate and therefore finding Super Resolution can be somewhat tricky.

How to open a photo in Camera RAW

To use Super Resolution, you need to open the image in an ACR powered editor. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • If you’re using Lightroom, open any image in your library in the Develop module.
  • If you are using Photoshop and want to edit a RAW file, open the file as normal. ACR opens before the regular Photoshop editor.
  • If you’re using Photoshop and want to edit a non-RAW file, open Adobe Bridge and navigate to the file. Right click and select ‘Open in Camera RAW’

Note: At the time of publication, Lightroom has not yet been updated to support Super Resolution, but Adobe says it will be available very soon and available for Photoshop.

Use Adobe Bridge to open a photo in Adobe Camera RAW.

Apply super resolution

First, open the image you want to edit in an ACR editor.

An image opened in ACR.

Right-click anywhere on the image and select “Enhance”.

Click

Check “Super resolution” and you can see the effect in the “Preview” box.

If you like it, click “Improve” and let ACR do its thing. It takes a while.

To check

When it is done, you will also have a duplicate file named “FileName-Enhanced.dng (2 or 2)” open. It has twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of the original. (Maximum 500 megapixels.)

What is super resolution good for?

Super Resolution uses machine learning to quadruple the resolution of your images better than existing algorithms. You can see even more comparisons in Adobe’s blog post announcing the feature.

However, there are only a limited number of situations where this is useful. For example, if you only upload images to Instagram and Facebook, it probably won’t have any effect. Where Super Resolution shows the most promise is:

  • Enlarge older images and tightly cropped photos for better prints.
  • Enhancing details in images that need to be cropped very tightly.

Otherwise, Super Resolution is a cool and interesting application of machine learning, but it’s not something you have to do for every photo you take.

super resolution versus bicubic scaling
An example that Adobe uses to show how much better Super Resolution is. Adobe




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