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Upscaling Retro 8-Bit Pixel Art To Vector Graphics

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the awesomeness-defined dept.

Graphics 325

An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers — Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University — have successfully created an algorithm that depixelizes and upscales low-resolution 8-bit 'pixel art' into lush vector graphics. The algorithm identifies pixel-level details (original paper — PDF) to accurately shade the new image — but more importantly, the algorithm can create smooth, curved contour lines from only-connected-on-the-diagonal single pixels. At long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point. You really must look at the sample images." Scroll down in the paper to see how their technique stacks up against some others, including Adobe's Live Trace.

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325 comments

Wonderful! (3, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235720)

I've always thought that this would be possible. Now we just need to create a translator that will let us play our retro games with vector graphics.

Yawn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235970)

What a joke. Zsnes has been doing this since dirt was invented.

On the filters screen:

2xsai engine

Super 2xsai engine

Super Eagle

HQ Filter

All of which do precisely what the summary is crowing about, namely, smoothing out pixels in old video games. So, what's so special about the thing in tfa? Oh, I see...

Johannes Kopf from Microsoft

Them Microsofters been innovatin' again.

Re:Yawn (5, Informative)

nethneta (920417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236026)

Last time I checked, these filters you speak of in Zsnes and other emulators simply extrapolate the pixels without paying any special attention to shapes and colors. TFA picture looks quite a bit more advanced.

Re:Yawn (5, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236044)

Those are all post-processing up-scaling effects. But they do have limitations in that even the pixels themselves can still be made out. Obfuscating them only goes so far. But with this new technique, they're pure vectors. They will scale infinitely with splines to match your screen resolution, much like fonts.

Re:Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236208)

Those are all post-processing up-scaling effects. But they do have limitations in that even the pixels themselves can still be made out. Obfuscating them only goes so far. But with this new technique, they're pure vectors. They will scale infinitely with splines to match your screen resolution, much like fonts.

Finally the fucking Jews invented something that doesn't have to do with international banking, keeping the third world poor, printing currency from thin air and charging governments interest for it (oh wait that's international banking again), committing genocide against Palestinians, running all major media outlets, inventing holocausts that are contradicted by the fucking demographic records, getting promoted to positions of authority in universities, or having big fucking noses.

Color me impressed. Ok I admit it's only the Zionists who OWN the media and MOTHERFUCKING OWN the governments and central banking systems of the first world who make all the rest of Jews look bad. They tried it in Andrew Jackson's time, failed. They tried it in Abe Lincoln's time, failed, he issued the greenback. They finally tried it in the 20s and 30s and jackpot, they got their fucking private corporation controlling the world's reserve currency. Victory for the Zionists, debt and hell to pay for everybody else.

Re:Yawn (0)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236316)

For every Richard Feynman, you have a Jerry Springer. It is just that Jews are overly represented by the Entertainment, Legal, and Banking professions. There is a great deal of hatred toward the latter professions. Needless to say, this is why some people 'hate Jews'. Sure Jews are also overly represented by the respected science and medicine professions, but nobody knows who the surgeon general is, and everyone knows who Jerry Springer is.

Jerry Springer has done more for anti-Jewish sentiment Adolf Hitler ever could have.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236364)

Jerry Springer has done more for anti-Jewish sentiment Adolf Hitler ever could have.

That's why I like Jerry Springer, you, uh, insensitive clod!

Re:Yawn (4, Insightful)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236136)

I play in Znes with the Hq3x filter. It might be good, but it's nowhere near the quality of what these people have accomplished. Znes having this technique implemented would be amazing,

Re:Yawn (2)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236168)

You can't understand the difference between SCALING and VECTORIZING? Really? Scaling algorithms increase the number of pixels, but you're fundamentally still dealing with a raster image. A vectorized drawing is a whole different beast.

That said, I would like to compare the final results against a best of breed scalar like hq4x for the same final output resolution.

Re:Yawn (1)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236178)

Spoke too soon, the paper has an hq4x comparison. The results are really, really good -- it actually manages to do a better job than hq4x on Super Mario World.

Re:Yawn (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236472)

The paper actually mentions them, compares how they work and describes what was improved.

PDF slashdotted (1)

TamCaP (900777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235722)

PDF got slashdotted immediately, but the dolphin image shown in the first article is quite stunning.

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235742)

Yeah, the PDF is dead, as is their site where I was hoping to view some more examples [johanneskopf.de] . Maybe in a while...

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235770)

I was hoping to see more myself, but from the one example I have seen looks great. I have not idea what this will be used for yet, but hopfully they can find a good use for that.

Re:PDF slashdotted (1, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235750)

Since I can't read the PDF, I'm forced to infer from the dolphin picture that the "research" consisted of digging through Nintendo's archives and finding original sketches. I'm not very impressed by that.

Re:PDF slashdotted (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235792)

Since I can't read the PDF either, I'm forced to infer from the dolphin picture that it's raining cheese and the dalai lama is coming over for lunch.

WTF original sketches? whose ass did you pull that from?

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236276)

Very simply, now: I'm implying that the dolphin picture looks like it's an original. That's because the program works. I'm really very impressed by it.

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236100)

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236282)

which doesn't have the images

Re:PDF slashdotted (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235758)

http://johanneskopf.de.nyud.net/publications/pixelart/paper/pixel.pdf

Don't tell me people have never heard of the coral cache

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236020)

nyud.net gives a 504 gateway timeout for me... and besides that service is very slow at the best of times.

Re:PDF slashdotted (4, Informative)

Swimport (1034164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236092)

Mirror: http://easy-iphone-unlocking.com/download/pixel.pdf [easy-iphon...ocking.com]

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236290)

Hooray! Thanks.

Re:PDF slashdotted (1)

La Camiseta (59684) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236298)

Hosted via Google Docs:

here [google.com]

Why not (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235728)

Its a pretty common practice to take drawings and scale them down, and repaint for sprites

Great. (2)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235738)

Because we haven't strip-mined the past enough. I'm impressed by the results but weary of its implications.

Re:Great. (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235772)

I was originally going to correct you for misspelling "wary" (characterized by caution; guarded; careful), but then I realized "weary" (expressive of fatigue) arguably made more sense in context (as in, you are tired of the things this implies will happen, ie. more remakes). So now I'm just asking which one you meant.

Re:Great. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235912)

I definitely meant "wary" though I do agree that the misspelling also makes sense.

Yes, a regular expression joke (5, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235950)

I'm going to steal it. Next time I see something I'm both apprehensive, and tired of, I shall be /we?ary/ of it.

Re:Great. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236090)

I was originally going to correct you for misspelling "wary" (characterized by caution; guarded; careful), but then I realized "weary" (expressive of fatigue) arguably made more sense in context (as in, you are tired of the things this implies will happen, ie. more remakes). So now I'm just asking which one you meant.

What difference does it make? The poster is a soulless monster from the lowest depths of hell.

Re:Great. (3, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236132)

What the hell is Steve Jobs doing on /.?

Re:Great. (1)

colinu (935332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235776)

Because we haven't strip-mined the past enough. I'm impressed by the results but weary of its implications.

Absolutely. Nobody tell Zynga about this.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236334)

Zynga probably knows.

Re:Great. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235822)

One of the things holding me back from forking out the 100$ for the XBOX360 XNA license was my inability to make nice graphic images larger than your traditional ancient sprite types. (I am pretty good at making sprites, or at least I used to be. Been awhile since I have dabbled with it.)

I feel I could do some fantastic things with an algorithm like this.

Re:Great. (4, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236018)

You're kidding, right? This is allowing us to play all those games from our youth without them looking like blocks at 1080 HD. If anything this is helping the past, no longer will they need to release a "remake", they can re-release the original with this algorithm attached and they're done.

Besides, do you think 1080 HD will be the resolution of choice 20-40 years from now? I imagine we'll be looking at wall-sized TVs at some point and 1080 pixels will look awfully blocky on a 10 foot wall. Sharp has already released a 7x680 x 4,320 pixel 85-inch screen, [mashable.com] how long before 4320 is the new 1080?

Re:Great. (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236120)

how long before 4320 is the new 1080?

Not too damned long. At a recent show, multiple panel manufacturers were showing off both 7" and 10" panels at 2560x1600. Nine of those 10" panels glued together gets you a very sweet 30" display at 7680x4800. Next year. I don't want to think about the price, though.

Re:Great. (1)

malkuth23 (451489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236524)

Line up as many pixels as you like. For video playback at least, we are still unfortunately limited by video cards, hard drive access time and bus speed. We cannot yet playback a video at that resolution. Most video cards cap out at 2560x1600 per output, hard drives can be put in a RAID and solid state drives are damn fast, but the file sizes for videos at that resolution are absurd. Bus speed is always an issue - all the information has to be passed from HD to processor and it has to wait its turn.

I work for one of the top media server companies in the world. We max out at a single file at 4k resolution. Even that is a compromise of quality and speed. Anything bigger and it is actually multiple video files broken up and synced across several systems to several displays (blended projectors, multiple LCDs, whatever)

No doubt. One day we will be there. But the bottle neck is not the displays.

With higher quality scaling algorithms it is a good work around till the technology catches up. I know the article said this trick works because of it's 8bit nature, but I still hope for advancements in real time scaling algorithms. At least for my industry it would be a great help.

I am curious about the displays you refer to though. Those are some damn small pixels at 7-10".

Re:Great. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236466)

Because we haven't strip-mined the past enough.

Apparently not. Ever since William Shakespeare made a career out of it, people have thought it a wonderful thing to follow suit.

(Not that Shakespeare was the first to regurgitate older material by any means... I believe the Greeks were busy copying earlier Greek tragedies and comedies long before Shakespeare started doing it.)

Kick ass! *I* do pixel art! (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235784)

Being able to convert low resolution pixel art into nice vectors like that is kick ass. I wish they had released a utility to try it out on other materials. (like my own..)

I do some of my best work in a work envelope around 100x100 pixels.

Re:Kick ass! *I* do pixel art! (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235962)

IIRC, Inkscape had a nice raster to vector function that I had good luck with. I seem to remember it allowed for a bit of tweaking too, to achieve best results.

Paper mirror (5, Informative)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235788)

EvilHom3r over on Reddit seems to have mirrored the paper (as images) here [imgur.com] .

My verdict: Yeah, it looks all nice and smooth, but with all upscaling, it's basically interpolating data. The original just didn't have that much detail, so you can only get so much out of it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
(Oh, and it makes all text look pretty bad. Kinda Comic Sans-y, if I can say that without invoking instant hate.)

Impressive, interesting flaw with the keyboard pic (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235928)

EvilHom3r over on Reddit seems to have mirrored the paper (as images) here [imgur.com] .

My verdict: Yeah, it looks all nice and smooth, but with all upscaling, it's basically interpolating data. The original just didn't have that much detail, so you can only get so much out of it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

(Oh, and it makes all text look pretty bad. Kinda Comic Sans-y, if I can say that without invoking instant hate.)

I know what you mean but it's pretty impressive nonetheless. The flaw I found interesting was in the keyboard image. I'm sure the intention here is square keys, but their algorithm made all the keys round. Some things in a pixelated image should not be smoothed but without human context that's a very hard call to make.

Re:Paper mirror (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235934)

With the doom face example, their algorithm falls down slightly. Basically, it's almost as if they have to decide between a sharp edge/curve, or a gradiated colour section, like as if the decision is a dichotomy. I'm sure the math is complex, but they should always strive towards the most general all-encompassing technique, rather than try to build more arbitrary 'stages'. A sharp edge could be said to be a gradient, but a very sharp changing one, and vice versa...

Re:Paper mirror (4, Informative)

qubezz (520511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236372)

If you read the article instead of looking at the pictures, the authors point out that this is one situation where the algorithm fails - the method is optimized for edge-finding in hand-drawn 8-bit pixel graphics. In more photo-realistic images like the doom face, especially later games where the graphics were rendered in 3d/hi-res and imported into the game (Donkey Kong Country [blogspot.com] would be a good example of this), vectorization doesn't work well due to the smoothed anti-aliased graphics.

Re:Paper mirror (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236404)

Yes, but I can imagine many would try to solve the issue by adding a kludge creating more special cases, rather than approach the problem with the better goal of unifying the alleged difference between a sharp, or blurred edge. A matter of degree rather than type/quality.

Re:Paper mirror (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236374)

They point that out in the article indeed, the face is added as an example of where it goes wrong. Their algorithm simply doesn't work well on anti-aliased images (scaled-down photos), it's primarily designed to handle typical hand-made sprites with much sharper edges and colour differences.

Re:Paper mirror (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235936)

You denigrated comic sans by the transitive property of bad. No hate from me.

Re:Paper mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236246)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwC7KbGtHwc [youtube.com]
Comic sans is the best font ever!

tech transfer to other image types? (0)

linatux (63153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235796)

Pr0n industry would be able to save a fortune in bandwidth!

Emulators already do something like this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235816)

with the hqx "high quality" filters:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hqx

Re:Emulators already do something like this (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235888)

They mention that form of approach in the introduction and reference Hqx specifically in Section 2: Previous work.

As mentioned two posts up there's an image of the paper (so text search blows) here: http://imgur.com/a/gRXPJ [imgur.com]

So they . . . (-1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235824)

invented VectorMagic [vectormagic.com] that came out of Stanford back in 2007.

Re:So they . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235872)

Are you implying that VectorMagic does the same thing just as well or better (making this research irrelevant), or that VectorMagic is the first bitmap vectorisation algorithm?

(hint: both are wrong)

Re:So they . . . (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235914)

No, not really. From the paper:

Various commercial tools, such as Adobe Live Trace [Adobe, Inc.2010] and Vector Magic [Vector Magic, Inc. 2010], perform automatic vectorization of raster images. The exact nature of the underlying algorithms is not disclosed, however, they generally do not perform well on pixel art images, as is evidenced by the comparisons in this paper and in our supplementary material.

Re:So they . . . (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236328)

Corel PhotoTRACE was out in 1993, and produced results comparable to the Live Trace examples in the PDF. Such results are far inferior to this algorithm in most of the provided examples.

My first thought when i read this: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235830)

Minecraft's about to get a whole lot better.

Re:My first thought when i read this: (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236476)

I've often wondered what a 21st century version of Minecraft would look like...

Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235844)

Could this improve the look of minecraft, or should we assume the overhead is to great?

Re:Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235910)

You shouldn't be assuming anything if you are using grammar like that. Since you are clearly having great trouble with very simple concepts, let me patch you up until you can get back too the first grade.

What you submitted:

Could this improve the look of minecraft, or should we assume the overhead is to great?

Corrected version:

Could this improve the look of Minecraft, or should we assume the overhead is too great?

Re:Minecraft? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236034)

let me patch you up until you can get back too the first grade.

Please return your grammar Nazi card on the way out.

Re:Minecraft? (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236160)

You got that pissed because of a missing 'o'?

Re:Minecraft? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236292)

No it would make it worse, as pixels look better than cartoonish vectors.

Alright... (1)

djpretzel (891427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235860)

Now we need realtime implementation in ZSNES....

Re:Alright... (3, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235906)

SUPER SAI is similar IIRC

Re:Alright... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236342)

Yeah it is, except that - wait, no it's not similar at all. Super Sai is more up an up-scaling technique.

This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (-1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235868)

This is news? Anyone else run a NES on those dozen or so emulators that already has pixel-smoothing options?

...such as 2001's HQ3X (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235900)

...such as 2001's HQ3X (http://www.hiend3d.com/hq3x.html) which both awesome and as common as dirt ten years later.

Article author Sebastian Anthony looks like a tech nitwit with the "at long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point" comment.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235938)

RTFP - they list the various existing upscaling algorithms, and why they're not perfect:

Several later algorithms are based on the same idea, but use more sophisticated logic to determine the colors of the 2x2 block. The best known ones are Eagle [Unknown 1997], 2xSaI [Ohannessian 1999], and Scale2x [Mazzoleni 2001], which use larger causal neighborhoods and blend colors. Several slightly different implementations exist under different names, such as SuperEagle and Super2xSaI. An inherent limitation of all these algorithms is that they only allow upscaling by a factor of two. Larger magnication canbe achieved by applying the algorithm multiple times, each time doubling the resolution. This strategy, however, signicantly reduces quality at larger upscaling factors, because the methods assume non-antialiased input, while producing antialiased output.

The latest and most sophisticated evolution of this type of algorithms is the hqx family [Stepin 2003]. This algorithm examines 3x3 pixel blocks at a time and compares the center pixel to its 8 neighbors. Each neighbor is classied as being either similar or dissimilar in color, which leads to 256 possible combinations. The algorithm uses a lookup table to apply a custom interpolation scheme for each combination. This enables it to produce various shapes, such as sharp corners, etc. The quality of the results is high. However, due to its strictly local nature, the algorithm cannot resolve certain ambiguous patterns and is still prone to produce staircasing artifacts. Lookup tables exist only for 2, 3, and 4 magnication factors.

whereas what they did here is:

Our goal in this work is to convert pixel art images to a resolution-independent vector representation, where regions with smoothly
varying shading are crisply separated by piecewise-smooth contour curves.

Seriously, just look at the whale image linked from TFS.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (1)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236056)

Seriously, just look at the whale image linked from TFS.

I'm pretty sure that's a dolphin, actually... OK, so maybe their algorithm isn't perfect yet ^_^

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235972)

If you read the paper (which is presently slashdotted) you'll see that they compare their results to existing pixel-smoothers, and theirs definitely look better in pretty much every case.

So it's not "Hey, we invented this new thing no one ever thought of!" so much as it's "Hey, we invented this better way of doing something that already exists."

I, for one, look forward to having better graphics in emulators.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236028)

I, for one, look forward to having better graphics in emulators.

Don't kid yourself. This is from a Microsofter so it will probably disappear into Intellectual Ventures where the next time you see it, it will be because somebody is getting sued for using pixel scaling that might kind of sort of almost look a little bit like this. You can almost certainly forget Zsnes, SNES9x, and the like getting their mitts on it. A sad day is when MS gets in the mix of an interesting new technology.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (1)

Announcer (816755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236150)

I've posted the CORAL link to the PDF under the original article.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236010)

The authors of the article are aware of other scaling algorhythms, and discuss and compare their work to them. RTFA.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (2)

smellotron (1039250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236042)

This is news? Anyone else run a NES on those dozen or so emulators that already has pixel-smoothing options?

Yes, this is news. Most scientific and technological advancement is iterative improvement. This paper describes an improvement in the state-of-the-art for vectorizing pixel art (which is not the same as pixel-smoothing, though a vectorized image is usually re-rasterized for display).

Seriously, read the paper. The algorithm described will require some basic understanding of splines and graph algorithms, but it's surprisingly accessible for a graphics/vision paper. Also, shiny pictures.

Re:This is news? Anyone else run a NES emulator? (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236490)

This is news? Anyone else run a NES on those dozen or so emulators that already has pixel-smoothing options?

One suspects that if /. posted an article about a new engineering method that will allow us to finally build a cheap, working space elevator, you'd post, "This is news? Haven't we had ways of making cables for centuries?"

Captcha (-1, Offtopic)

1000101 (584896) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235880)

Captchas have lost battles to spam, and now they just lost the war.

PDF mirror (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 3 years ago | (#36235956)

PDF mirror is here [nyud.net]

ZSNES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235960)

Please someone do a plugin for ZSNES for this...

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36235976)

Can get very similar results by simply using better sampling/interpolation techniques.

Re:Meh (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236126)

And yet you didn't.

Using cubic spline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236004)

A cubic spline should make the lines smooth.

Re:Using cubic spline (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236094)

Yes, but what lines are you smoothing? That's what this algorithm's about - generating the lines.

PhotoShop been there done that (0, Redundant)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236104)

I've seen something similar done in PhotoShop years ago using multiple cycles of blurring, "erode", "encroach" (opposite of erode), palette-ing, etc.

However, it doesn't work well on angles intended to be sharp. The dolphin is not a good example to test such a potential flaw.

Mostly good for Mario (0, Redundant)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236112)

It seems to me that they've optimized their algorithm for recreating cartoony line-art style graphics. This works great if it was the initial intent (ala the Super Mario World graphics they used in most of their examples), but it falls down on many other art styles. Something like an old Sierra game (mid-series Kings Quest, Space Quest, etc...) are likely to be a hot mess. I bet most of Doom is a disaster too. So it's a cool tool, but the applications are limited by the original art design.

Re:Mostly good for Mario (3, Funny)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236188)

Which is exactly what TFPDF says. Your rating : 10/10 on reading skills, 1/10 on creativity ...

Re:Mostly good for Mario (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236502)

I bet most of Doom is a disaster too.

Wasn't the picture in the original article where they show how it fails on those kinds of graphics, in fact, from Doom?

This is not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236130)

The network affiliate I work at still ingests all content (other than the network feed) in SD, and of course upsamples it to 1080i. Ive noticed certain spots that are mostly line art, they upsample very convincingly with almost no artifacts. It is the photorealistic stuff that doesn't upsample very well.

Flash image tracing (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236176)

This looks a lot like what you might end up with if you use the image tracing function in Flash to convert bitmaps into...vectors.

The best I've come across (2)

Vectify (2196762) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236216)

I redraw bitmaps as vector art as a little side business, and I have to say this is the best "livetrace" automated program I've come across. Shameless plug: Vectify.com [vectify.com] . Still no substitute for hand drawn (rounded corners that should be sharp; variable, wobbly line widths; but very good for an automated process). I've scanned through the PDF paper, and it looks like it's too CPU intensive to be used in retro games in realtime: from page 6, "There are many avenues for future work. Obviously, it would be nice to optimize the performance of the algorithm so that it can be applied in real-time in an emulator." As someone who used to play old games via dosbox and SNES9x, having something like this as a selectable filter option one day would be welcome. Now that I think about it, this kind of thing would be useful for app developers who want to scale up low-res artwork to work on higher res displays (like going from the original iPhone to the iPad). At least, it could be used as a starting point to further manual refinement.

Re:The best I've come across (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236278)

I wonder if it would be feasible to cache these results.... by definition these sprites don't change appearance very often. If you could detect that sprite A is being drawn at point X,Y, and just draw the cached and pre-generated high-res vector art in the right location, would that be any more practical for real-time rendering?

Re:The best I've come across (1)

Vectify (2196762) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236380)

Many of these old games use a "sprite sheet" or "sprite page," basically just a big bitmap with a bunch of little sprites in various stages of animation. Do a Google Image Search for "sprite page" to see what i mean. If this new technique were added to an emulator, could it "prescan" the ROM and run the vector trace while the game is loading up? If performace of all of these vector lines animating at once is an issue (think flash animation), the emulator could just temporarily rasterize the vector trace at a much higher resolution, so you're moving around high-res sprites on the screen.

Re:The best I've come across (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236416)

The disadvantage of 2D is that animating sprites requires a new texture for each frame... upscale all of those, and you might run out of video memory. Something like Mario might work, but I'm not sure about Street Fighter. (Conceptually, of course. In reality you'd probably bundle an entire animation into one larger texture)

enhance (1)

laurent420 (711504) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236318)

*clickityclackity* "enhance." *clickityclackity* "enhance!"

Re:enhance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36236344)

Damn it, Ramathorn!

The Real Test (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236370)

The real test for the Kopf-Lischinski algorithm will be how it can handle Nethack [bbspot.com] .

Looks VERY similar to known scaling methods (0)

mdragan (1166333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36236510)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_art_scaling_algorithms [wikipedia.org]
After the vectors are rasterized, I see no difference between the results of this method and those used by scaling algorithms like: 2xSAI, Super2xSAI, SuperEagle, HQ2x, HQ3x, etc.
The novelty might be that it generates vectors, but the algorithm must be quite similar.
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