Using ESRGAN, Links, And Other Information

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Now that you have installed ESRGAN you can upscale images. There are a few different ways of using ESRGAN. Below I will document the official one. This should work for everyone, but there are a few different applications designed to make the life of the users easier as well as to prevent common pitfalls of using ESRGAN.

Things you need to know before you use ESRGAN

  • ESRGAN supports only RGB images, that means it will remove alpha / transparency channels if present and it won't work with grayscale images.
  • ESRGAN is limited by the amount of VRAM you have.

But there are ways around both. At the time of writing this there are some popular tools used by a lot of us to solve this:

Honh's / Ptrsuder's IEU (Image Enhancement Utility)


  • Easy to use GUI which makes it easy to use for users who don't love CLI yet
  • Image splitting works completely different compared to Deorder's scripts
  • Windows only for now. (Linux support is being worked on by the author, but not public yet)
  • Has a lot of advanced options available without the need to write any scripts
  • Some new unique features:
    • It can upscale seamless(tiled) textures (landscape textures for example)
    • It can use a different model for the alpha channel
    • It can upscale each channel separately (Red, Green, Blue and Alpha)
    • It can now interpolate models right in the UI
  • It is still somewhat experimental, so please report any bugs and issues you have to Honh on Discord, or on GitHub repository
  • The Download is under IEU.Winforms Releases

Deorder's scripts (CTP)


  • They require Bash and imagemagick, both of which are available for Windows, Linux and MacOS, on Windows you can use git bash, msys2 or Cygwin. There are others, but those are the main options
  • They run from a bash terminal. That makes them harder to use for many people who never used a CLI (command line interface) tool, but allow for an incredible automation potential
  • They include scripts for training as well as using ESRGAN
  • You can use them for a lot of other Neural Networks not just BasicSR / ESRGAN
  • Don’t use WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) if you run ESRGAN on a NVIDIA GPU since WSL doesn’t support GPU acceleration, which makes it unable to run ESRGAN in CUDA mode
  • The scripts follow UNIX philosophy, each script has one function, that way you can script basically anything you want thanks to the power of bash, it allows you to emulate every feature of other tools like IEU and more, if you have the time and patience to do so

Use ESRGAN The official Way (just ESRGAN, no other tool)

  1. Put the pictures or textures you want to upscale into the LR folder
  2. If you want to use a model with a scale other than 4, you need to edit the test.py file. Just open it with your text editor and change the scale to the one from your model. The scale of each model is documented on our wiki. If you want to run an artifact removal model, like my jpg model for example change scale=4 to scale=1
  3. Open a terminal window and navigate to the esrgan folder
    • For Windows Shift right click in your esrgan folder and select Open PowerShell window here. For some users it might say Command Line instead, if that is the case for you click on that and procced
    • For Linux / MacOS users the process is similar. File managers like Nautilus for example allow you to open a terminal in a folder. If that isn't an option for you can can also navigate using commands. cd allows you to navigate and pwd shows you the current folder. cd .. goes one directory down (for example from /home/combi/code/git/ctp to /home/combi/code/git). Use cd /path/to/whatever to navigate to absolute (full) paths or cd some-folder-in-the-current-folder to navigate to a folder in the current open folder. (pwd = print working directory; cd = change directory) If you want to find out more about a command you can just type man the command-you-want-to-know-about or use the internet
  4. Enter:
    1. For Nvidia GPUs
      python test.py models/${theModelYouWantToUse}
    2. For other GPUs / integrated Graphic
      python test.py --cpu models/${theModelYouWantToUse}
  5. Don't enter ${theModelYouWantToUse} Instead replace that with the name of a model of course As an example, for the default model it would be: python test.py models/RRDB_ESRGAN_x4.pth
  6. That was it, the results will be in the results folder

Tips when using ESRGAN

  1. When upscaling compressed textures use a 1x decompression model for the format first and or downscale them first by at least 50% with ,code>nearest neighbor or box filtering first, before upscaling them in ESRGAN
  2. ESRGAN runs much faster on Nvidia GPUs, you can compile pytorch yourself for AMD GPUs but at the moment that is quite difficult to do
  3. If you run out of VRAM, use Deorder’s scripts, which will split the texture in smaller parts first
  4. If you have textures in sub-folders, use Deorder’s scripts, they fully support sub-folders
  5. If your textures contain an alpha channel (transparency), use Deorder’s scripts, split and recombine the color and alpha channels
  6. Try out different models. On our GitHub you will find a lot of different Models, that we trained our self
  7. If you are still not happy with the results despite having tried out different models, consider training your own and sharing it with us later

Additional Information

Consider Linux

  • Almost all Neural Networks including ESRGAN / BasicSR were made with Linux in mind.
  • The installation is a lot easier, not just for ESRGAN but also for other neural network applications.
  • Neural Networks perform better on Linux. Better as in faster. If you want to train your own model or upscale a lot of images that will make a big difference.
  • There are a lot of different Linux Distributions, you can choose any of them, if you decide to go that route:
    • I recommend Arch Linux unlike most other Distributions it allows you to completely customize your installation, but requires a lot of time and patience, there is a nice written guide on it's wiki. The main advantage beside the possible customization is that arch has no version it is a rolling release, which means as soon as there is an update you will get it, that includes the Linux kernel and drivers, so you might have a better time on arch based distributions than on others
    • If you don't have time or patience to install it the hard way, Manjaro is also a good option which is based on Arch Linux, it has a lot of useful tools preinstalled.
    • Finally, while I don’t like it, many people use Ubuntu, many tools where made on that distribution, mainly because so many people use it, but despite that you might have a harder time there, especially with installing the NVIDIA driver, CUDA and other requirements.

Windows

  • When upscaling large images (depending on your GPU for example 1000x1000px images) on Windows, it's possible for the operating system to kill the ESRGAN process if it takes too long. This can be fixed using the Nvidia Nsight Monitor app that is installed alongside the CUDA toolkit. Here are Instructions for doing so