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How to upscale images in Midjourney for higher resolution and image quality

Midjourney cannot generate images larger than one megapixel right now, but what if you need higher quality?
By
December 18, 2023

Midjourney can generate stunning images out of virtually thin air with the right text prompt. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that the images lack a lot of detail once you zoom in. It may seem especially obvious on larger displays, where images will quickly look pixelated or blurry once you start zooming in. So can we upscale Midjourney images to make better-looking AI-generated images and how far can the resolution go? Here’s everything you need to know about improving image quality in Midjourney.

QUICK ANSWER

To upscale images in Midjourney, you'll need to first isolate the image of your choice from the grid of four using the U1, U2, U3, or U4 buttons. Once isolated, you can click the Upscale (2X) or Upscale (4X) buttons depending on your desired quality level. You can also use a third-party upscaling service to upscale your Midjourney images instead. Keep reading to learn more.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What is the resolution of Midjourney V5 images?

Midjourney on smartphone stock photo (4)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

In Midjourney and other AI image generators, upscaling means increasing the image’s resolution. But it’s not enough to edit images or stretch their dimensions to a large canvas. The upscaled picture must also have enough detail to not look pixelated or blurry on a high-definition display.

So how much resolution does a typical Midjourney image pack without upscaling? The answer’s simple: around one megapixel or 1024×1024. These AI-generated images will look fine on a smartphone screen. But once you zoom in or move to a larger display, you’ll quickly notice that the images don’t look very detailed.

Midjourney generates 1024x1024 images by default, which translates to one-megapixel.

For context, most smartphones capture incredibly detailed images since virtually all cameras boast at least 12MP of resolution. That’s way higher resolution than even high-end televisions. The popular high-end 4K or 4096×2160 display resolution only translates to approximately eight megapixels. And most computer monitors are lower still, with 1080p translating to 2.1MP. Most of the streaming media we consume also gets delivered to us at these resolutions or higher.

With that in mind, Midjourney’s one-megapixel figure doesn’t seem so impressive. According to Midjourney’s docs, the V5 model’s default 1024×1024 output is equivalent to generating a lower-resolution image with the last-gen V4 model and then upscaling it. What if you need to upscale even further? Here’s how to do that.

How to upscale images in Midjourney

midjourney isolate image u4
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Whenever you generate a new image, Midjourney presents you with a grid of four images for each prompt (pictured above). Below this grid, you’ll find a series of buttons labeled U1, U2, U3, and U4. The letter U once stood for upscale but it’s now just a way to isolate the image from the rest of the grid. Still, clicking on one of these buttons is the first step in our upscaling journey. In the above example, we’ve clicked U4 and isolated the fourth image.

Once the image is isolated, the Midjourney bot will send it separately alongwith a new set of buttons. Among these, you’ll find the option to Upscale (2x) or Upscale (4x). Click on one of these buttons to upscale the image.

midjourney upscale 2x button
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

Keep in mind that using the upscaler will eat into your GPU allowance, which can be as little as 10 hours per month if you’re on the cheapest Midjourney plan. According to Midjourney’s docs, doubling the resolution will take twice as much time as generating a standard four-image grid. Using the Upscale 4x option, meanwhile, will use up six times more GPU allowance than a standard four-grid request.

How do I upscale images to max in Midjourney?

midjourney example prompt
Calvin Wankhede / Android Authority

With previous versions of Midjourney, you could click an “Upscale to Max” button to boost image resolution far beyond the initial 512×512 preview. That option no longer exists as of Midjourney V5. That said, you can go up to 4x the original resolution, which nets you a 4096 x 4096 px image.

So is there a way to upscale images without relying on Midjourney to do all of the work? Yes, there is a whole host of upscaling AI tools you can use. Here’s a short list of the best options:

  • Gigapixel AI: If you’re looking for the best possible result, we believe you can’t go wrong with Topaz Labs’ Gigapixel AI. It’s a pro-grade image upscaler, however, so it does come at a cost. Still, you can check out the free trial to see if it meets your needs. It can upscale up to 600%, so it would result in a 6144×6144 image when used with Midjourney’s output.
  • chaiNNer: Need to upscale an image for your own use? You probably don’t need a pro-grade upscaler in that case. chaiNNer is an open-source project that you can download and use for free. It’s not as simple to use, but the GitHub page has instructions to get started.
  • Let’s Enhance: Unlike the previous two upscalers, Let’s Enhance doesn’t need you to download an app. To upscale a Midjourney image to 4K, for example, you simply need to upload the picture and wait a few minutes. You can upscale 10 images for free and subscribe to a plan after that.

You may also want to consider trying out a different AI image generator. In our comparison of Midjourney vs. Stable Diffusion, we found that the latter offers more customization options, including the ability to generate higher-resolution images.

Once you’ve upscaled your image in Midjourney, you can use its nifty Zoom Out feature to effectively change the virtual focal length. If you’re an anime fan, give Midjourney’s Niji Mode a try.


FAQs

In the latest version of Midjourney, the highest possible resolution is fixed at 1024×1024. Clicking on one of the four upscale buttons does not currently upsample or upscale the image.

To upscale a Midjourney image for printing, I’d recommend using a third-party upscaler like Gigapixel AI or chaiNNer. Midjourney does not offer a built-in upscaler as of the latest release, so it can only generate one-megapixel images.