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ON1 Resize AI 2022: We Review the Industry-Standard Enlargement Software

I’m increasingly impressed with the products from ON1. Does their latest software update, ON1 Resize AI 2022, live up to the standards of the other products from that stable and its "Perfect" heritage?

If you are unfamiliar with the ON1 range of products, you may remember it under its former name, Perfect Photo Suite. Part of that package was the industry-standard image resizing program once called Genuine Fractals. That later became Perfect Resize and is now called ON1 Resize AI. As its name suggests, it is an application designed to resize your photos. Also, it can enlarge pictures without loss of detail.

ON1 Resize is something I’ve used quite a lot over the last few years. I have photos in my gallery shot a long time ago with 10- and 12-megapixel cameras. Clients still want large prints of them, so I have used Resize to upscale those images. I found it a far more accurate tool for that than Photoshop.

ON1 now produces AI-powered components for its suite, and they are effective. The tone and color settings in the Develop module of ON1 Photo Raw 2022 give great one-click results far closer to those I hope to get than I ever achieved with Lightroom’s auto settings, so there are fewer manual adjustments for me to make. Then, ON1 NoNoise AI is a capable program that holds its own against Topaz DeNoise AI, performing more quickly and, arguably, with better results than its main rival.

So, does ON1 Resize AI 2022 live up to this heritage?

Putting ON1 Resize AI 2022 Through Its Paces

The photo renders before it opens, taking just over a second on my machine.

Once loaded, there is a series of presets on the left-hand panel. I found it best to start here and choose a preset closest to the desired final image. These allow you to crop and resize the image to match the photo to the media size you will be using. They are nicely sorted into different categories to help you quickly select the desired size and aspect ratio.

Once you have chosen a preset, further adjustments within the crop tool can be made to the aspect ratio and output size using the custom boxes at the top of the screen. Output sizes are specified in pixels, inches, mm, cm, or percentages. You can also choose the number of pixels per inch you want.

Deselecting the crop tool by selecting the view tool creates a resized preview so you can zoom in and out. You can both see that the image dimensions have changed via the right-hand panel.

A 12-megapixel image shot with a 12-year-old camera and a standard quality lens, up-sized to 24 megapixels, the in-focus fibers on the felt hat in the middle of the shot remain sharp. Click the button to download a full-sized version.

You then have a series of adjustments available. I previously found the Genuine Fractals method of enlarging worked the best. This has been improved with the AI version for the images I tried with it. It still uses the patented fractal-based algorithm, but the AI optimizes the settings. A full explanation of how these functions work is available in the ON1 Resize User Guide.

Choosing the pre-programmed settings for landscape photos worked well for the images I tried for this review. However, like other programs, the default sharpening was too much for my camera's already pin-sharp images. Consequently, I reduced that setting down to zero. If you use a different brand with softer raw files, you may need to experiment with the sharpening to discover what works best for you.

You can add film grain and tiling too, and there is also a gallery wrap option with different variations of wrap available, useful for canvas prints.

Just like the other AI programs from ON1, it is quick. I use an eight-year-old computer with relatively low specs by modern standards, yet the conversions work in seconds. The results are excellent.

The software worked best on images shot using a high-performance pro lens. If there are any defects, then the program will enlarge those too. Further tests showed that doubling and quadrupling an image worked well. Yet, it still was outstanding when resizing images from older cameras. I used a nine-year-old OM-D E-M1 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds camera in the following example.

This is the previous version of ON1 Resize, shown to illustrate how the AI version will ultimately appear as part of the ON1 Photo Raw 2022 update that will be available in a few weeks. Currently, ON1 Resize AI  just works as a stand-alone program and as a plugin for other applications.

Increasing the 16 MP image up to 32 MP was no challenge for the ON1 Resize, as you can see from the before and after 100% crop version of the above image. On the left is the original 16 MP image, and on the right is the enlarged version.

Moreover, even pushing the software to extremes, it performed amazingly well. By “extreme,” I mean enlarging it up to an enormous 108 megapixels. Although not perfect when viewed at 100%, the results were still pretty good, but artifacts had started to appear when pixel-peeping. However, standing back from the screen, as one would need to view the entire picture, the full-sized image looked fine. It was an interesting test, but I can't think of any possible reason I would want a 108 MP image.

Saying that, ON1 Resize can reduce JPG artifacts too. For example, for over-compressed photos, or those that are small, ON1 Resize AI can reduce the effects of the compression and create new details, thus leading to higher-quality images with increased resolution. 

I ran 15 photos through the resize process, both using the older and new versions of the program, and the results were good with the former and astounding with the latter.

What I Did and Didn’t Like

ON1 Resize 2022 is a super piece of software that does what it claims: it resizes photographs — enlarging or reducing their dimensions — thus allowing images of various resolutions and aspect ratios to fit different media.

Unlike some other programs, it's great that it doesn't use customer data. Its AI learns from the thousands of images shot by the staff at ON1, all of whom are photographers. With other apps, it seems a bit off that after us buying their products, they expect to use our image data for free, so congratulations to ON1 for shunning that approach.

I mainly use this when creating large prints from smaller files, but I will also use it to accurately downscale files for printing too. 

This application will be useful for those who want to upscale images for displaying on large, higher-resolution screens, although contemporary cameras give sufficient resolution for 4K. It will also be helpful to photographers with lower-resolution cameras and those who heavily crop their photos. Of course, those who print billboards will continue to use it to upscale their pictures.

16 MP image enlarged to 32 MP. Shot using a 2015 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 prime lens.

It’s easy to use, and most will find that they will only need to use the presets. You can create your own presets and rationalize the included ones by deleting those that are unwanted.

Nevertheless, the straight-out-of-the-box results may require some tweaking. So, like all software, it is beneficial spending a little while learning how to drive it. Discovering how to adjust the enlargement parameters to best suit your camera’s images is something worth doing. For example, the default sharpening was too much for my hyper-sharp photos from my OM System OM-1, which is true of most programs.

It works as a plugin for Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture 1, and Serif Affinity, costing $99.99. Although, it is better value when purchased as part of the ON1 Professional Plugin Bundle that includes all the other On1 plugins at $149.99. For users on ON1 Photo Raw 2022, the Resize AI 2022 will be an included module as part of the following free update, due in a few weeks; the price of that varies with lots of options, from $79.99 for an upgrade perpetual license to $179.99 for an annual license that includes 1TB of cloud storage.  

This was a 20 MP raw file, cropped down to 0.78 MP (1024 x 768 pixels) and that crop enlarged up to 18.7 Megapixels (5000 x 3747). Shot using an OM System OM-1 with the M.Zuiko 40-150 f/4 pro lens.

On1 Resize AI 2022 is fantastic software and a super addition to your arsenal of tools, helping you achieve great images. 

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10 Comments
Michael Steinbach's picture

Click bait or just way overstated, either way “Industry Standard” is a ridicules statement.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Thank you for that constructive addition to the discussion.

Adam Rubinstein's picture

I have been using On1 products for years, so feel that I’m in a position to comment. This is not a detailed review and should have been vetted before publishing. There are better and more rigorous evaluations on YouTube and other websites. I’ve found that it does have some applications and is more limited in many respects that Topaz Gigapixel. Both programs upsize reasonably well though it doesn’t necessarily translate into improved prints. That is more dependent on the source file, printer, and media. In my testing, I’ve found that it can provide improved prints upon close inspection though this does not translate for normal viewing distances. Both Gigapixel and resize ai are interesting, though the average user would likely not see much of a benefit and much of this is rather academic - how many people place high resolution images on the web?

Ivor Rackham's picture

I've used Gigapixel and actually found this to give better results. I have another article scheduled for publishing that talks about the resolution and printing.

This is still a useful piece of software for those that crop as one can see from the last image.

Bert Nase's picture

Industry Standard? By your payments perhaps....

Ivor Rackham's picture

I only get paid by people reading and commenting on my articles. Just looking through all your historical negative comments, you are doing a great job of helping support the writers. Thank you. I hope you get some sunshine into your life soon though.

Dan Donovan's picture

Genuine Fractals was the standard many, many years ago. Topaz's Gigapixel AI has been unbelievably good in recent years. I am excited to compare them head-to-head!

Ivor Rackham's picture

I find ON1's results to be better for the images from my camera. It will be interesting to hear your comparison, Dan.

EDWIN GENAUX's picture

First just recently I looked at Smugmugs pixel size requirements for a poster size print and surprised to find that my 12MP camera would do just fine, I print my Milky Way photos poster size and are awesome on the wall (I change out weekly). When Topaz came out with Gigapixel AI I thought everything had to be enlarged to at least 62MP, because everyone is/was chasing the MP camera race. So I enlarged every image. Now On1 Resize AI comes along and it also does great even pixel peeping on the monitor as well as using the magnify glass on a print. Today if you do your own printing either may do the job. But after reading about pixels needed for a print size a print shop/company does that for you if needed. I will admit that a 61 MP camera does a little better getting everything in even the unseen but you have to pixel peep to see! No matter the image a camera captures and the need for a LARGE print you still have a distance it has to be seen from. Another matter only a camera is sharp side to side and human vision, using both eyes, is clarity and sharp so very narrowly example following a car and looking at the rear center the tail lights are in your peripheral and are a blur or looking a the nightly moon directly is sharp but the foreground (in your peripheral) is blurry and the moon appears larger than any lense/camera can capture the way it is all seen. So your one eyed camera is sharper than what/the way you see everyday.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Thanks for the super comment, Edwin. I have an article coming up all about pixels and print sizes being published later today.