New image algorithm upscales 8-bit images without jagged edges
Posted by Bradley Wint on 26/05/2011
Two researchers have come up with a new scaling algorithm called Depixelizing Pixel Art that extracts a resolution-independent vector which allows for any level of magnification without image degradation. It also has a special feature that takes sharp pixelated edges and transforms them into smooth curves with the relevant matching color grades.
Scaling vector images is done quite easily in Adobe Illustrator for example, but since the base images were only of 8-bit nature, upscaling would result in huge blocks eventually being formed. Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University came up with a formula that converts 2×2 squares that are connected at one point into the flawlessly smooth curve based on the shape of the neighboring pixels, allowing for a smoother image to be created resembling the original (tiny) 8-pixel image. They also reduce pixel aliasing artifacts and improve smoothness by fitting spline curves to contours in the image and optimizing their control points.
At the moment the emulator is still in the works and very complex in nature, and some images are hard to upscale (mainly anti-aliased images), but they are hard at work at developing a more efficient formula for mass scale applications that can handle a variety of low pixel resolution images. Most of the works were conducted on a series of Nintendo games with surprising success. Doom 95 failed to properly upscale due to the image being in anti-alias format.
The potential for such a formula is great for graphics designers as well as those who may want to convert retro-games to look more like today’s Nintendo DSi and Wii games. Imagine playing Mario that has decent graphics? You can read up more about the project and their other works here.
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