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So, a while back I was looking for ways to improve the textures of a particular game, and I came across a Pixel Smoothing algorithm for the game Terraria.

I particularly had an interest in using this with the minecraft textures, as they are each seperated into image files. This filter takes the pixels around an area and its color, and apparently the algorithm generates the image solely on that?

However, terarria has some sprites Merged with Frames and Gridlines, and it causes grahpical errors and stretched sprites. So its not completely compatible with it.

Heres the link to the particular post: https://forums.terraria.org/index.php?threads/enhanced-version-of-the-textures-of-terraria-1-3-0-8.39115/

As you can see, I want to create THIS effect with any pixel based photo, is something like this possible with a basic algorithm or extension for PDN, or maybe just a program or site online that can create this effect?

See the Sprites below that the XNB filter was applied to.

enter image description here

If anyones got any idea of what this effect may be Called, or if they have resources to show me where and how I could create this effect myself, please answer below.

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4 Answers 4

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There's a GIMP plugin called G'MIC. Once installed, you can do Filters > G'MIC > Repair > Anti-alias. Apparently there's also a version of the plugin available for Paint.NET but I've never tried it. As you can probably guess, the name for such an effect is "anti-aliasing".

Here's the link: https://gmic.eu/download.shtml

I have no affiliation with the software developers or the website.

Here's the before and after

enter image description here

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  • This is very close to the effect I want. Is there an easy way to remove the "blur" or is that just kinda part of it that cant be helped Feb 17, 2020 at 16:21
  • You could add some "unsharp mask" filtering afterwards, but not too much.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 17, 2020 at 16:38
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Your original seems to be pixel art which is scaled to a bigger size with nearest neighbour method to save the pixelization. Other common scaling methods would generate blur.

Photoshop's Filter > Artistic > Cutout would make the wanted smoothing, but it isn't available in Paint.NET. Cutout makes this result in the right:

enter image description here

Cutout has limited number of simultaneous colors, so the shapes are filtered separately with different settings.

As a workaround with Paint.NET's standard effects do the following:

  • apply few px gaussian blur or use an image version which is upscaled from pixel art with a blurry method such as bicubic resampling.

  • apply Effects > Artistic > Oil Painting to generate sharp edges:

enter image description here

If you happen to have the image in the original pixelated form which isn't scaled up you can apply a image enlargening program which removes jaggies but keeps sharp borders. I know two well working enlargeners. They are Smilla (=freeware) and On1 Resize (=commercial). And there's several more of them.

Remember: No effect is a replacement for a high resolution original image if the work was created in such format.

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  • can you show me the photoshop filter? If I really put in time, I can get it. Feb 17, 2020 at 16:22
  • It's inserted to the answer.
    – user287001
    Feb 17, 2020 at 17:11
  • honestly I think the oil painting one looks better than the photoshop filter lol Feb 17, 2020 at 19:18
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Just for the sake of Q&A, I actually kinda dissected the original filter's creator's project and made my own

Located here, it explains in detail: https://github.com/skylerspark/Realistic-Pixels

Its just a program that seems to grab the corners of textures and images, and then shrink around those corners AS it also enlarges the image.

It doubles the resolution, leaving this nice effect afterwards.

Heres the original texture (16x16): input

when used, it created this texture (32x32): ouput1

then I decided to multiply the original texture up to 32x32, and then use the program, I got this:

64x64 image: 64x64

Looks pretty nice for a 16x16 exponentially doubled twice...

Give credit and upvotes to the other people who spent time upvoting, I just wanted to post this here in case anyone actually wanted this actual effect.

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There're several neural models for ESRGAN which provide upscaling for pixel art. One such model is NMKD's UltraYandere. This is the image it produces:

The first two images look pretty similar. The eye's contours look much better, but it lost a few details.

I'm not familiar with "XNB", but the original "HD" upscale looks very similar to what I get from xBR 2x. I use 2D image Resizer for this which includes many pixel resizing algorithms. I think I got it from GitHub. It seems to include plugin for Paint.NET too, if you're interested in that.

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