Pixelmator Team, the Lithuanian company behind the photo editor Pixelmator Photo, has released a powerful tool that uses machine learning to enhance the quality of low-res photos.
Designed specifically for the upcoming Apple iPad Air and presented during this year's “Time Flies” Apple event, ML Super Resolution will become the first AI-powered image enlargement tool on a mobile device, thanks to the new A14 Bionic chip in the latest iPad Air.
The new tool will allow its users to enlarge images — photos, illustrations, paintings or design — while preserving and even enhancing textures, edges and other important details with just a tap. The algorithm also removes image noise and compression artifacts during the upscaling process, delivering incredible quality and letting users enlarge photos that were tightly cropped or taken with older cameras.
To enlarge images, ML Super Resolution first creates a layered representation of the image that is over 100 channels deep, detecting features such as edges, patterns, textures, gradients and colors. The channels are then upscaled separately and combined back into an image, which requires up to 62 thousand times more processing power than traditional approaches. Bringing this technology to iPad has only now become possible thanks to improvements in iPad performance and the Apple Neural Engine, the dedicated processor that accelerates neural network calculations on iPad.
“The processing power of iPad has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last few years,” said Tomas Andrijauskas, the lead developer of Pixelmator Photo. “With these advances, it is now possible to open up workflows that simply were not available in the past. One such workflow is using machine learning techniques to enlarge photos while retaining sharpness and enhancing intricate details.”
In the past, Apple events have regularly featured apps and products developed by such industry giants as Adobe, Microsoft and Autodesk. According to Andrijauskas, this year Pixelmator Photo was favored for its simplicity, ease of use and efficiency, as well as its exceptional ability to harness the technological prowess Apple offers.
“Our team consists of 20 people and is based in a tiny Baltic country,” said Andrijauskas. “So it is an incredible honor to be recognized by a company as respected and influential as Apple. It also shows that if you work hard to create powerful, beautiful and easy-to-use products, your work will be recognized, no matter your location or size.”
Pixelmator Photo requires iOS 11 or later and a compatible iPad.
For more information, visit pixelmator.com/photo.