Thoughts on Topaz Sharpen AI

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on Topaz Sharpen AI? I’ve been thinking about buying it and was wondering if anyone could share their experiences.

I have not used it personally, but have read in several other photo forums complaints about both Topaz Sharpen AI and Topaz Denoise AI being very slow. I have Denoise, and it is slow, using a 7 year old GPU (3GB). From my reading, Topaz requires a very robust GPU (video card) for both of these products to not be slow. This is from Topaz’s website concerning Denoise:

Based on this, I would not recommend it unless you have at least a 4 GB GPU, and with large files it will probably be slow.

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Yes, big GPU helps. I have used Sharpen occasionally and find that the results are not great due to artifacts. …Jim

I have not used Topaz Sharpen AI, but do use AI Clear quite a bit and find that it not only removes the noise, but does a selective sharpening that usually works for most of my images. Sometimes I have to pull the slider back to 80-90%. Just a thought.

I’m getting excellent results from Sharpen AI (as well as DeNoise AI). Most of the time, the Auto setting does a great job. It can be a bit heavy-handed, depending on the image. And I find that what I see viewing the image in the Topaz app is not quite the same as what the result looks like in LR or PS. Once in a while I have to go back and run the file again at lower settings.
The newest version of Sharpen AI lets you use the app with a brush instead of a global adjustment, so you can just sharpen certain areas of the photo.
Is it slow? Yes, but I find it tolerable. With a 46MP Nikon Z7 capture, my computer took 2 minutes from start to finish when I clicked on Apply. My computer is a 5-year old 15" MacBookPro, 2.8GHz, with 16GB ram, and for processing I use a 27" external monitor. If I compare the time it took to use Sharpen AI with the time it would take me to finesse all the sliders to do the sharpening in Lightroom, there is not much difference and the Topaz app usually (not always) gives me a better result.
Topaz offers a free trial of the app, and I encourage you to give it a try.

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Hi David,

@Sean_Bagshaw made a really good video which answers your question.

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I’m just starting out with the Topaz suite. The comments about it being “slow” hit home… though speed isn’t a huge bother for me, I must say this is the first time I’ve heard my iMac whine about anything in protest.

I had an older version of Sharpen AI (purchased in December), and haven’t used the new version yet, but in my limited use I haven’t found something I could use to my satisfaction on a high res photo. I found that the way it rendered some textures (e.g., mammal fur) looked too artificial.

I’ll be curious how the selective processing in the newer version goes. I’m also interested to try out Clear, since Shirley mentioned it’s sharpening effects (something I’ve noticed as a byproduct in some of the other apps).


To clarify, in that video and a few others on my channel the Topaz app I show is Gigapixel AI which is for sizing images…but it also does some sharpening and denoise as part of the sizing. I assume it is using the same engines for sharpening and noise removal as their Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI apps do. I haven’t tested the Sharpen AI app yet, but I have heard many good things and their AI apps purportedly improve with time as they “learn”. I plan to try it out one of these days to see what it can do.


I have Topaz Sharpen, DeNoise and Gigapixel AI. They do take some time to work (especially Gigapixel), but I don’t find it objectionable. I am using them all a 5 year old mid-range desktop PC, and a one year old mid-range laptop.
Sharpen AI works FAR better than “traditional” sharpening methods, but like anything else, it can be overdone. The trick is to try all the modes (sharpen, focus and stabilize). Each works differently to make up for why the image isn’t sharp to begin with.
DeNoise AI works very well to get rid of noise, again as long as you don’t overdo it. The beauty of it is that as opposed to other methods that sacrifice image sharpness to get rid of noise, it maintains the image sharpness. I’ve had noisy images come out looking as smooth as glass.
As for Gigapixel, I tested it initially with a 10mb JPEG. I had Gigapixel double the size of the file, and when I was done I enlarged a section of both images until they were the same size on my screen. I couldn’t tell which file was the original, and which was the enlarged image.
I think they’re all great. You do need some decent hardware, but not anything too outrageous, and you have to learn how to use it to get the best results.

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