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How to upscale images in Midjourney for higher resolution and image quality
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 upscaling images in Midjourney.
Midjourney doesn't currently have an upscaler for its latest V5 model. Clicking on the U1, U2, U3, or U4 buttons will not improve the image quality either. We recommend using a third-party tool or service to upscale your Midjourney images. Keep reading to learn more.
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What is the resolution of Midjourney V5 images?
In Midjourney and other AI image generators, upscaling means increasing the image’s resolution. But it’s not enough to stretch the dimensions of an image to a large canvas. The upscaled picture also needs to 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. If you view these AI-generated images on a smartphone, you probably won’t find anything amiss. But once you zoom in or move to a larger display, you’ll 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. So what can we do to improve it?
How to upscale images in Midjourney
When you generate a new image, Midjourney presents you with a grid of four images for each prompt. Below this grid, you’ll find a series of buttons labeled U1, U2, U3, and U4. The letter U in Midjourney stands for upscale.
However, on the latest Midjourney V5.1 model, clicking on one of the upscaling buttons doesn’t actually improve image quality at all. Instead, the bot will only send the selected image without the rest of the grid. The resolution simply does not increase at all.
Midjourney's latest model already delivers higher resolution images than earlier, but you cannot upscale them further.
According to Midjourney’s docs, the V5.1 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 further? Unfortunately, they have yet to release an upscaling model for V5. But luckily you can use a couple of workarounds to upscale images beyond Midjourney’s capabilities.
How do I upscale images to max in Midjourney?
With previous versions of Midjourney, you could click an “Upscale to Max” button to boost image resolution far beyond the initial 512×512 preview. As mentioned above though, that option no longer exists as of Midjourney V5. The default output of 1024×1024 is the highest resolution you can get.
You may be able to upscale images to max if you switch to the Midjourney V4 model instead. To do this, simply add the
–v 4 parameter before sending a prompt. However, you should know that the older model isn’t as good at translating text into images. So even though you might be able to upscale beyond V5’s capabilities, the image might not look impressive to begin with.
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.
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.