Magic Turns Old Pixel Characters Into Modern HD Characters

A pair of researchers, one from Microsoft and the other from The Hebrew University, have come up with something that will be either a game purists' salvation or worst nightmare, depending on tastes.

Johannes Kopf and Dani Lischinski are the men behind an algorithm that is able to take an 8-bit pixelated image - like those found in old video games - and smooth it out into a clean, scalable vector image.

While rather primitive examples of this have been around for a while (anyone playing an XBLA or PSN version of a retro game will have seen the "smoothing" options), and in other tools, this one was written especially for classic video games, so it's a lot more effective.

It's able to look at the direction pixels and their colours are facing, and from there work out how to render the image in a smoother, more detailed manner.

There's a complete explanation as to how it's done here, but I'm a lot more comfortable just calling it "magic".

Depixelizing Pixel Art: Upscaling Retro 8-bit Games [ExtremeTech]


    Colour me unimpressed:
    Take Adobe Illustrator.
    Copypaste a pixel image into document.
    Go to Livetrace in the object (?) menu.
    Fiddle with the settings.
    Now you have the same thing.

      This removes all the fiddling though which is what makes it impressive.

      Here's a similar example:
      Try applying multiple iterations of arbitrary mesh smoothing to a 3D model and see how it goes running in realtime in an engine that doesn't support such high poly counts. Now we have dynamic tessellation available as a more viable alternative using DX10/11 shaders (finally giving them some major capabilities beyond DX9).
      Same sort of principle here - the algorithm for now may just be an automated Livetrace but it may well eventually become a functional and effective real-time image filter!

    Sweet! I love all the old-as-new-again filters from the various retro game emulators over the years (my SNES favourite was I think Super2XSAI until HQ4X became more ubiquitous), and it's fantastic to see one that can smooth edges for more than just 45 degree angles.

    Gee I hope they paid the correct royalties to Nintendo.

    But I'll still say, "Get off my lawn!"

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