Adobe’s impressive AI upscaling project makes blurry videos look HD

Adobe researchers have developed a new generative AI model called VideoGigaGAN that can upscale blurry videos at up to eight times their original resolution. Introduced in a paper published on April 18th, Adobe claims VideoGigaGAN is superior to other Video Super Resolution (VSR) methods as it can provide more fine-grained details without introducing any “AI weirdness” to the footage.

In a nutshell, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) are effective for upscaling still images to a higher resolution, but struggle to do the same for video without introducing flickering and other unwanted artifacts. Other upscaling methods can avoid this, but the results aren’t as sharp or detailed. VideoGigaGAN aims to provide the best of both worlds — the higher image/video quality of GAN models, with fewer flickering or distortion issues across output frames. The company has provided several examples here that show its work in full resolution.

Some of the finer details in the demo clips Adobe provided appear to be entirely artificial, such as the skin texture and creases in the below example, but the results appear impressively natural. It would be difficult to tell that generative AI was used to improve the resolution, which could extend the “what is a photo” debate to include video.

The AI has added skin texture and fine eyebrow hairs that don’t jitter during motion. It looks impressively organic!
Image: Adobe and Image: Adobe

This is only a research preview, so there’s no guarantee that Adobe will make VideoGigaGAN available to consumers via Creative Cloud software like Premiere Pro. The company previously previewed a separate diffusion-based upsampling experiment, Project Res-Up, during its MAX event in October 2023, which similarly improves the quality of low-resolution GIFs and video footage. And Adobe isn’t alone in this work, as both Microsoft and Nvidia have also developed their own VSR upscaling technology.

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