Towards Real-Time 4K Image Super-Resolution
Over the past few years, high-definition videos and images in 720p (HD), 1080p (FHD), and 4K (UHD) resolution have become standard. While higher resolutions offer improved visual quality for users, they pose a significant challenge for super-resolution networks to achieve real-time performance on commercial GPUs. This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of super-resolution model designs and techniques aimed at efficiently upscaling images from 720p and 1080p resolutions to 4K. We begin with a simple, effective baseline architecture and gradually modify its design by focusing on extracting important high-frequency details efficiently. This allows us to subsequently downscale the resolution of deep feature maps, reducing the overall computational footprint, while maintaining high reconstruction fidelity. We enhance our method by incorporating pixel-unshuffling, a simplified and speed-up reinterpretation of the basic block proposed by NAFNet, along with structural re-parameterization. We assess the performance of the fastest version of our method in the new NTIRE 2023 Real-Time 4K Super-Resolution challenge and demonstrate its potential in comparison with state-of-the-art efficient super-resolution models when scaled up. Our method was tested successfully on high-quality content from photography, digital art, and gaming content.