Why Lightroom’s Enhance Super Resolution Rocks


There's a relatively new little feature in Lightroom that produces big results. Lightroom's Enhance Super Resolution feature is more than great. It totally rocks. This feature is not brand new, as it's already in the Adobe family. A couple of weeks ago Jason Row wrote How to Use Super Resolution in Photoshop. A fantastic, detailed look at the technical specs, comparisons, and illustrations in Photoshop.

Today, it's now in Lightroom's recent release. If you're a Lightroom user this little tool will bring a big smile. Why? Larger images, image quality, and speed.

As a Lightroom user, it's a feature that's been on my wish list for quite a while. Even though options exist outside of Lightroom to do this, there's a nice convenience factor being able to this within Lightroom. Since it's also included in your subscription, even nicer!

The two images below show a) an old file taken in 2013 (on the left) and b) the same file with Lightroom Enhance Super Resolution applied.

What's old in my image banks, is now pretty cool again.

Lightroom Enhance Super Resolution

From a day in, day out the user of Lightroom, we have the ability to significantly elevate the quality and size of an existing photo. For those with larger 24, 36, or higher MB cameras, this typically isn't an issue. But what about:

  1. Those long-ago files that you treasure. Your personal favorites continue to stand the test of time. Sure, today your camera bag has more recent technology. But those old favorites need enhancing in order to do more.
  2. You love your older cameras and it's your go-to. However, the file sizes are smaller than what's produced in other cameras today.
  3. Then there's the distance shot where significant cropping is needed. With cropping, the details are still sharp. but the file size is reduced to a size that limits our output size.

Day in and day out, most of our files work in current file sizes for small, even mid-size prints. There are occasions where large images are requested for our clients or for personal use. Trying to enlarge smaller files? Details, pixelation, and overall image quality don't always meet our expectations.

Enter Lightroom Enhance Super Resolution!

In a snapshot:

What we see as users? We can now send to output large files for prints or other usage that requires a file with higher resolution! That's it.

How does it work?

The Enhance Super Resolution feature injects a big boost in improving the apparent resolution/image quality of a photo. With artificial intelligence, Super Resolution increases the resolution of your photo 4X. If you have a 5MB image, it turns to 20MB. (note: our enhanced image will have 2x the width and 2x the height of the original image. This translates to 4x the total pixel count).

The good news is that we don't have to know how it works in the background (details below). Instead, to unleash image quality and size boosting it's simply selecting Photo, Enhance. Then a pop-up window appears for a quick, toggling view before selecting Enhance.

Lightroom Super Enhance Resolution Screen

Now for the technical stuff. Lightroom Enhance Super Resolution uses an advanced machine learning model. This model was built on training using millions of images. As a result of this vast learning and training set, Lightroom Super Enhance Resolution intelligently enlarges images while keeping details and edges clean.

Wait, There's Another Cool Feature

Lightroom (and other Adobe applications) also tossed in new Premium presets to their preset library. They include Portraits-Deep Skin, Portraits-Medium Skin, Portraits-Light Skin, Cinematic, Futuristic, Vintage, and Travel. The featured image below is using Lightroom's Vintage Preset group, no grain.

Having Fun with Lightroom's new Presets by Sheen Watkins

These high-quality, customizable filters elevate creativity. Just like the current presets, select an image then scroll through the preset list to watch what happens to your images. Use them as-is or modify them.

With the latest Lightroom release, injecting new life into images that need a boost in image size and quality is easy and fast. Plus, the new Premium presets and other new features continue to elevate our workflow and post-processing productivity.

Further Reading:

About Author

Sheen Watkins is a conservationist, wildlife photographer, instructor, author and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

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