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  1. TL;DR - If you're considering paying $300 for Topaz Video, download Selur's Hybrid and select the CAS and NNEDI3AA boxes under the vaporsynth filter section. Observe results, tinker with settings and filters if needed/wanted, select "compare view" at bottom right of filter tab and play video to see what it will look like. Don't be intimidated because if you hover over a selection a description will appear in the box on the right.

    Full version:

    I have been lurking and reading for a month or so after getting some old 70s recordings I wanted to improve for my family, and, of course, I looked at and tested Topaz. It did okay but it's extremely expensive for a one-year version license, so after a test drive I searched for opinions and was brought here. I read through the 20 page "so where's all the Topaz Video Enhance AI discussion?" discussion, and based on the reading I started tinkering with Selur's Hybrid software. It is absolutely incredible, and I cannot thank him enough for creating it. I've gotten dramatic improvements on my needs just from selecting the CAS and NNEDI3AA boxes under filtering.

    An aside: I am dating myself but I'm old enough to remember the 80s-90s shareware releases, and being able to try a product and pay/donate if it suits your needs. Thank you for incorporating something similar (although I don't think you requested payment at all), and thank you for a reminder of that "old" internet of people creating valuable tools for other users just to be creating valuable tools for like-minded people. I've seen other software here that is similar, and a thank you goes out to those folks as well.
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  2. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Most advanced users here came to the same conclusion that you described,why pay when there's better free software out.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  3. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Topaz is nothing more than inferior software with a GUI for dummies. Those who like to twist, slide and yank stuff, rather than read and grasp the learning curve. It's not refined, and it's not quality.

    There is a case to be made combining VEAI with other methods, but I find it a weak argument, mostly attempting to justify it as not terrible (rather than good of it's own merits).

    Remember to donate some bucks/quid/dosh/etc to selur. The "old internet" needed donors to survive, while the "new internet" markets BS to you (ie Topaz, complete with their cherry picked, arguably fake, "samples" to "prove" their "quality").

    selur deserves more credit that he gets, and Topaz deserves less grift.

    selur takes Avisynth / Vapoursynth, and puts it into an amazing GUI. What you're doing is actually scripting, but selur made it easy for a novice such as yourself.
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  4. I second this! My opinion about Topaz and Hybrid is quite similar. It's a shame that people who "construct" a rather bad GUI around existing "engines" earn a lot of money, because people are meanwhile too lazy (or stupid?) to learn how to use a free tool, that has 1000% more capabilities.
    A consequence of since 30 years increasing and incereasing spoon-feeding for grown-ups, for a generation who grew up with extreme advertising, with only the one goal to "generate" money out of their growing apathy...
    The most unbelievable thing for us older people is, that Topaz costs a lot of money while Hybrid is absolutely free.
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  5. Personally, I would be interested in it more if they would sell (ideally cross-platform) Avisynth/Vapoursynth plugins and basically charge for model and plugin updates.
    From what I read, Topaz frequently updates its models and since they seem to train them themselves, I understand that they charge money for that.

    Cu Selur
    Last edited by Selur; 18th Nov 2023 at 16:55.
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  6. Ok, at least a surplus value.
    It was not my goal to blame the makers of TOPAZ. They just do what is normal today (plus model training, ok...).
    Was more a general lamentation about this whole spoon-feeding and dumbing down of the mass...
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  7. I know Selur produces gives Hybrid away for free, and he is always working on it and responding to bug reports, and i am using it at this moment, but I disagree with the assessment that it is a great GUI.

    It has a lot of functionality but it feels like something designed in Lazarus, a piece at a time, as if Selur created a basic design and then as time went by decided to add more an more stuff and it ends up with a very kludgy feel to it.

    Hybrid is not alone in this regard, VidCoder, MediaCoder, a bunch of these free utilities feel like they was very little planning to them, the developer just decided to add stuff and put it wherever he felt there was room.

    Another one is Staxrip, and don't get me wrong, they both have good functionality to them but they need to be restructured.

    Shotcut is another one.

    For me, some of the best UI's for a video related app are AviDemux, xvid4psp (the original version), Openshot.

    If It's any consolation to Selur, I also think Premiere and Resolve are poorly designed.

    BTW, Selur, since Hybrid already supports kvazaar, any chance of adding uvg266 support, since both are made by the same people?
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  8. @sophisticles: Main reason no H.266 encoder is included in Hybrid, is that there is no decoding support (aside some basic stuff) in libav and thus in mplayer/ffmpeg/l-smash/ffms2/... Creating content you can't decode doesn't really make sense to me.
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  9. afaik. that decoder is currently only 10bit 420/422 and doesn't support Intra Block Copy and Palette.
    I usually check https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=174940 for updates about vvc.
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  10. Originally Posted by sophisticles View Post
    ....Hybrid is not alone in this regard, VidCoder, MediaCoder, a bunch of these free utilities feel like they was very little planning to them, the developer just decided to add stuff and put it wherever he felt there was room......
    .....BTW, Selur, since Hybrid already supports kvazaar, any chance of adding uvg266 support, since both are made by the same people?
    So you question the continued addition of functionality to Hybrid (and other "GUIs"), but at the same time request a new addition .....
    Last edited by Sharc; 22nd Nov 2023 at 08:49.
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  11. I myself wouldn't call Hybrid beautiful, problem is:
    a. I'm no graphic designer
    b. time is limited, and I prefer doing bug fixes and adding features&co instead of working on ui code.
    c. there are simply tons of options (see the image) and Hybrid sometimes doesn't even offer all options available.
    Hybrid is mainly adjusted to my workflow and assumes that the user knows what he is doing.
    I offer it for free and think that there are enough other encoding interfaces users can use aside from Hybrid and as soon as the features are not worth the trouble I would recommend to look for another gui.


    Cu Selur

    Ps.: If someone is knowledge about building l-smash source on Ubuntu and knows how to get it working (https://github.com/Selur/hybrid-vapoursynth-addon/blob/master/build-plugins/plugin-vsl...sh.not.working doesn't work anymore) let me know, atm. this is hindering me to release new versions.
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  12. Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
    So you question the continued addition of functionality to Hybrid (and other "GUIs"), but at the same time request a new addition .....
    The "addition" I inquired about would not require any significant restructuring of the GUI, rather a new option in the drop down menu and associated tabs.

    As i said, I don't like the overall design of most GUIs, good UI design, even text based UI design, takes a lot of planning.

    Think of it like someone preparing a burger meal.

    One person takes his time, plans it out, decides that the burger will be 2 patties, a toasted bun, 2 types of cheese, beef bacon, honey mustard, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, with a side of fries and prepares everything so that it all comes together at the same time.

    The other person decides he will make a burger and starts cooking, then when the meat is nearly done decides to add a second patty, when that's almost done decides to cook some bacon and mushrooms, then remembers that he would rather have the bun toasted, When everything is put together he decides to make some fries and then at the last minute decides he's going to cook some mushrooms also.

    In both cases you end up with a burger with the same ingredients, but in the second scenario you end up with a greasy, poorly cooked meal.

    Don't get me wrong, Hybrid has a lot of functionality, as does Staxrip and Shotcut, but I don't think too many people would argue that AviDemux is a superior GUI, or that the original xvid4psp was a better design.
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  13. It is not possible to have it all (real life), you seam to not understand what it takes, that sheer amount what is collected AND constantly updated. Also an author effort to constantly ask for plugin updates and such.
    Not mentioning updates for UI software alone like Qt version. It would take to redo stuff perhaps in Qt6 (so far Qt5 is used I think), which is another knowledge on top of things. How much overhead one can take and be able to offer for free?
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sophisticles View Post
    For me, some of the best UI's for a video related app are AviDemux, xvid4psp (the original version), Openshot.
    - Avidemux is awful, buries everything under multiple layers. Even experienced users are not aware of some of the options.
    - Openshot is blah, like a kiddie version of Premiere or FCP. It's the tool you uses when you don't know much, and stubbornly don't want to learn. The output is what you'd expect.

    If It's any consolation to Selur, I also think Premiere and Resolve are poorly designed.
    - Premiere is pretty intuitive.
    - Resolve is a stripped down color corrector "NLE" with crappy output options/

    Originally Posted by Sharc View Post
    So you question the continued addition of functionality to Hybrid (and other "GUIs"), but at the same time request a new addition .....
    Sometimes people are idiots. "That's terrible. Give me some more! It's free, right?"

    Originally Posted by Selur View Post
    I myself wouldn't call Hybrid beautiful, problem is:
    a. I'm no graphic designer
    b. time is limited, an.
    I often find that "appearance critics" couldn't design a box with a right-angled ruler.

    Tools need to be functional, not "pretty". That doesn't discount terrible UI, where stuff is hard to find. Or garish appearance. Most serious users of software just want it neat, not hard to find options (not buried, obtuse). Candy-coated crap is what those Chinese companies mostly do, taking freeware and cramming into a fugly GUI. Even Windows abandoned the stupid Candy Crush look back with Windows 95.

    Originally Posted by sophisticles View Post
    As i said, I don't like the overall design of most GUIs, good UI design, even text based UI design, takes a lot of planning.
    It also requires that the OS stop changing stuff "because we can". It screws up UI, and literally starting over required. So you err on the side of safety.
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  15. Tools need to be functional, not "pretty". That doesn't discount terrible UI, where stuff is hard to find.
    Problem is, the more options you have, it gets more and more challenging to not make some options hard to find, especially if you can't say 'this is what you should use this tool for'. *gig*

    Cu Selur
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  16. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by sophisticles View Post
    For me, some of the best UI's for a video related app are AviDemux, xvid4psp (the original version), Openshot.
    - Avidemux is awful, buries everything under multiple layers. Even experienced users are not aware of some of the options.
    Avidemux GUI isn't awful. In fact much of the appeal of Avidemux comes from its clean easy to use GUI, that even newbies can manage.
    Could it be improved ? sure, but dev-time is likely limited, and cross-platform development isn't easy. Adding new features while keeping an uncluttered GUI is a challenge, that requires going back to the drawing board from time to time. If the devs lack the motivation to do this, the result will not be great (it might still be OK though). Feature creep is usually a bad thing long term (how long before they completely ruin the youtube video player UI ?) and users need to understand this when making feature requests.
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  17. Originally Posted by Selur View Post
    Tools need to be functional, not "pretty". That doesn't discount terrible UI, where stuff is hard to find.
    Problem is, the more options you have, it gets more and more challenging to not make some options hard to find, especially if you can't say 'this is what you should use this tool for'. *gig*

    Cu Selur
    It is a question of hierarchy. And that may be what was meant by "from the beginning... a lot of planning...".
    Planning from the beginning, what is used most often, and what has to be configured in lower levels of hierarchy, only if it is really needed by users who really know what they do. That's what a good GUI is all about.
    I think in respect of the mass of functionality and possibilities, and in respect to the fact that it "grew" with the time and additions, Hybrid is quite clear arranged, could be much worse. It also could be a bit better, of course, but who wants to do this job again from the beginning?

    Just short: Someone said, "Premiere" was a good GUI... The worst GUIs with the most confusing workflow I know, are Adobe GUIs. Worst of all the old "Encore". And I know quite well what I am talking about, since the Eighties I made a lot of GUIs with the priority of being ergonomic, and thought from user-side.
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    Topaz VEAI is ultimate solution, there is no single proof of different statement.
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  19. Captures & Restoration lollo's Avatar
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    Topaz VEAI is ultimate solution, there is no single proof of different statement.
    There is nothing Topaz VEAI can do that cannot be matched or beaten by AviSynth/VapourSynth.
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  20. Originally Posted by richardpl View Post
    Topaz VEAI is ultimate solution, there is no single proof of different statement.
    I'm certainly not disparaging Topaz. I liked it and considered purchasing it, and that paid tool absolutely appears to manage mostly the same things that Selur's free Hybrid and a half dozen or so other free tools can accomplish. My only point is that before some casual user without a lot of specific scripting needs lays $300 down on one year of updates of Topaz they might want to try a couple of basic settings listed above in Hybrid and see if that suits them.

    I bet $300 it probably would.

    That said, if Topaz did what lots of companies do and made their professional tool free for non-commercial use (since they clearly have lots of commercial users, even going so far as to say "Built by pros, for pros" and "Trusted by major film studios, photographers, and creative pros everywhere" on their advertising underneath the Nike, Netflix, Nasa, and Amazon logos), that might be different. But they don't, which is why I posted what I did. 95% of "ultimate solution" is probably pretty close to "ultimate solution" for the majority of folks that are just looking for a quick fix to a couple of old videos.

    But this is certainly not to discourage anyone from giving that $300 to Topaz. It looks like there's even a Cyber Monday sale right now where you can get the video and the photo and they'll throw in their denoise filter and their sharpening filter for the bargain price of $300.

    (In Hybrid the 20 to 25 denoise and sharpening filters are under the "filtering" tab if anyone is looking for them BTW)

    Again, my point is just to thank Selur for creating the tool and to encourage casual users to check a couple of boxes in Hybrid and see if that gets 95% of "ultimate solution."
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  21. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by User_Name View Post
    (since they clearly have lots of commercial users, even going so far as to say "Built by pros, for pros" and "Trusted by major film studios, photographers, and creative pros everywhere" on their advertising underneath the Nike, Netflix, Nasa, and Amazon logos),
    Marketing bullshit.
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  22. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Originally Posted by User_Name View Post
    (since they clearly have lots of commercial users, even going so far as to say "Built by pros, for pros" and "Trusted by major film studios, photographers, and creative pros everywhere" on their advertising underneath the Nike, Netflix, Nasa, and Amazon logos),
    Marketing bullshit.
    I was hoping it was tongue in cheek enough to not have to be that direct.

    If Amazon and NASA and Nike etc. are the main customers then it seems odd that Joe Nobody would need to drop $300 to convert a three minute VHS rip of his Nana who had passed in 1987.
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    I thought Sophisticles was nice enough about his criticism of Hybrid to allow him to request a new feature. On the one hand, "never bite that hand that feeds you" and on the other, "if you don't ask, the answer is always No".

    I did find Hybrid challenging and IIRC Lord Smurf did say, a while ago, that Hybrid was not for newbys.

    As for:
    Originally Posted by Lordsmurf
    Avidemux is awful, buries everything under multiple layers. Even experienced users are not aware of some of the options.
    Seriously? Compared to Hybrid?

    Originally Posted by Lordsmurf
    Marketing bullshit.
    You've completely misinterpreted, LS. @Username said "If they said... "but they don't...". Topaz never said any of your "marketing BS".
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  24. If using Hybrid and just starting with Avisynth, Vapoursynth and all, one has to ask. Because it is not possible to create a simple newbie GUI for the range of possibilities of what can be done there. There is no book how to use it (cannot be, range is too much) , so one has to ask or read for months. There is no other way. Same as using some a professional software where study is needed beforehand.

    Topaz strength might be with nice dropdown list with model selection, testing some models with particular scenes only etc. and done. Model selection is quite important and some models are better for some sources but not for another. So Topaz user does not study much at all anything. Selects model, plays with settings and model selection for , I don't know, one day, and uses it. Tons of things are done behind scenes. Hybrid has those details but one has to know what is doing and test it as well. Those two softwares are not for a comparisons at all, not sure why someone would say that is better than the other. Not sure how model selection is designed in Hybrid (did not see it lately) but notes what model is for what would help. If Hybrid uses internally some sort of template structure whilst gathering workflow, some 10 basic possible gui selection (with drop-down list) which would select video processing (vs script ready for hybrid with source plugin , filters, particular model for ai enhancing) would try to catch Topaz in simplicity. But that would need user help here or elsewhere, where users would provide best possible templates (vs scripts, models and ai method, ffmpeg cmd lines) for particular source VHS, DVD particularly some anime DVD (and watch how things would explode, particularly here ) . But again that is again work on a top of current work effort, there might not be a room for some extra.

    I actually have constructed years ago, gui with this setup, template design, where one experienced user can just upload to a co-worker a template/project file to other person, then that template file is loaded, then that user just loads a video file and then just encoding can be fired. Never seen similar constructed method used like that. So if Selur uses some sort of internal project before final execution, then that could be used for export and import, where users would provide those for a particular type of video.
    Last edited by _Al_; 28th Nov 2023 at 00:20.
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    Originally Posted by richardpl View Post
    Topaz VEAI is ultimate solution, there is no single proof of different statement.
    Heh, nope TOPAZ is particularly poor at denoising. Very poor.
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  26. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I did find Hybrid challenging and IIRC Lord Smurf did say, a while ago, that Hybrid was not for newbys.
    From https://www.selur.de/ it should be clear:
    Hybrid is intended for advanced users.
    It's not intended to be a tool used by everyone. It's not intended to please amateurs who need a wizard-like interface..
    If you don't know the basics about containers, video formats, etc. Hybrid is not meant for you.
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    Precisely the point, Sharc.
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  28. "Built by pros, for pros" and "Trusted by major film studios, photographers, and creative pros everywhere" on their advertising underneath the Nike, Netflix, Nasa, and Amazon logos
    wasn't posted accidentally, and the quotations weren't mistakes. It comes directly from the Topaz website:
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    If that is the case, you wrote that poorly, because it clearly reads as though the other companies said those things, whereas TOPAZ "if..." and "But they don't..."

    In any case, I doubt that TOPAZ would have something like that on it's website if those companies didn't use it.

    For the record, I've never used TOPAZ.
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