New Generation of AI Enhancement Provides Better RealismODVS has more big news on the video enhancement front. He's no longer pursuing 4K remasters of WC4 footage, but he reports that 1080p versions are looking better than ever. With the latest iterations of the AI/neural net tools at his disposal, he's reached new heights of quality in the footage. There's less artifacting and crisper lines, but best of all, even traces of uncanny valley in the augmented eyeballs have been virtually eliminated. The technology continues to evolve and there will likely be even further advances in the future, but the clips below are stunning examples of what's possible today.
After much, much experimenting, I've decided to abandon 4K FMV for the remake. My reasons are twofold:Blow up the YouTube window and enlarge to the 4K stream to see everything in full quality (for higher bitrate and to see the original side by side with 1080p).
When you combine those two reasons, the decision effectively made itself.
- The quality improvement over 1080p was neglible at best (it's just asking too much to upscale by 600%)
- The file weight for all the game's FMV at 4K would have been excessive
However, I have good news - the quality of the AI models available is improving at an exponential rate. I recently got my hands on the 11th generation of models for Topaz Video Enhance AI and the results are a marked improvement over previous versions. On top of that, I finally calculated an excellent set of tweaks for the h.265 codec which provide an astonishing balance between image quality and file size. Current experiments have all the in-game FMV at double the image compression quality of the h.264-encoded HD Pack V5.0 at far less than half the file size!
If I could, I'd bring these improvements over to a new HD pack - but sadly, the original game won't accept h.265-encoded video - so I believe my time is better spent bringing as many improvements to the remake as I can.
And there's more reason to be optimistic for the future. We still have a long road ahead before we're ready to release the remake in its entirety - and by the time we do, I can only imagine how much better the AI upscaling tech will be :)
So, how about a sneak preview?
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