Detail Preserving Upscale in After Effects CC

The latest release of video tools for Creative Cloud contained over 150 new features. One of these is the new Detail Preserving Upscale effect for After Effects, which enables you to upscale content without negatively affecting quality – no pixelation, no loss of contrast. In fact, this is very closely related to the new detail preserving resize in Photoshop (which I recently covered here).

This new feature enables you to be able to dramatically scale content for special effects, or convert low resolution content to HD or even Ultra-HD formats without sacrificing quality.

Check out the video below to see it in action. I’ve included two examples of using the Detail Preserving Upscale to convert to 4K Ultra HD. One old/historical video upscaled to 4K, and one is a 1080p video upscaled to 4K. In both of the examples, you will see that there is better contrast and less pixelation in the final upscaled result.

Here are some screen grabs from the editing process. The center (small) image is a still from the original source clip at 100% size.  The image on the left is resized using After Effect’s normal scale transform, and the image on the right uses the new Detail Preserve Upscale effect.  If you look closely, you can see that the image on the left has more pixelation, and there is less contrast in the face.  With Detail Preserve Upscale, lights are lighter, darks are darker, and you don’t have pixelation/distortion.

Detail Preserve Scale Comparison (scaled to 800% size)

Detail Preserve Scale Comparison (scaled to 850% size)

If you’d like to see the final result, check out the JFK video below. You’ll just need to set YouTube settings to “Original” resolution to see the full size videos, though you’ll need a 4K monitor to see the video at full resolution.

Change YouTube Resolution

Change YouTube Resolution

JFK at 4K