Magic Turns Old Pixel Characters Into Modern HD Characters

Illustration for article titled 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.

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Johannes Kopf and Dani Lischinski are the men behind an algorithm that is able to take an 8-or-16-bit pixellated 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.

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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".

Illustration for article titled Magic Turns Old Pixel Characters Into Modern HD Characters

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

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DISCUSSION

Some more examples here.

I recommend scaling the image back down to 1:1 to get a clearer idea of how the different images compare at their real size. They actually look pretty neat, and they would definitely look better on an HDTV. In fact, I think it would look more similar to the original game (when played on an SDTV) than the pixelated version played on an HDTV.