Photo AI struggling to recover faces if it has half-closed eyes

I am using Photo AI to enhance some old photos for the family tree and in general it is remarkably good but I have noticed that it struggles if the photo shows someone with half closed eyes

Steps to reproduce issue:

  1. This is a screen grab of the faces in an exemplar image

  2. Step 2 Use Autopilot settings

  3. Step 3 Screen grab of result - it is very good on three faces but the woman in the red top has not worked well

Wonder if anything can be done to improve performance in this instance

Topaz Photo AI v1.3.0x on Windows

Are they digital photographs or scans?

The one uploaded is almost certainly a scan of an old print
Some that I have been working on are scans from 35mm transparencies.
Success rate on recovering faces is very high from either source - most impressive

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Hi @julian.allen, unfortunately, if you are working with film scans, the results for these photos are going to be very hit or miss.

Our apps have been all trained on photography purely from modern-day digital cameras. In essence, this means that when our AI models come across a photo from a film camera, oftentimes it doesn’t know what it’s looking at. This is due to film photography (especially scans of older prints) behaving much, much differently than modern digital cameras. Things like film grain, scratches or tears on prints, and artifacts from scanning, all are factors that our algorithms have not encountered before when they were trained on digital images.

It’s possible for our software to have occasional success when processing film images, but the photographs would need to be extremely low-noise and would need to be free of all other blemishes. I’m afraid that if you are not getting notable results with Photo AI, and you’ve tested out all of the parameters within the app, the film photo you are working with is likely unable to be improved further with Photo AI’s current build due to the aforementioned limitations of our software when it comes to film photography. Unfortunately, film photography was never a use-case that we intended our software to work with.

Hope this can help clarify things a bit, please let me know if you have any more questions I can answer.

This is something I’ve not expected. I have thousands of old family photos (genealogy work) that could really benefit from some processing. I’m not expecting photo damage to necessarily be corrected, but overall improvement (noise and sharpening) are really important. I have seen problems with the eyes too, not just half closed but partially shaded due to side lighting is a problem.

It would be nice if film/print processing could become a priority for your products too. After all, there’s almost 200 years of traditional (chemically processed) images out there. Digital photography has only been a reality for what, 25 years now? Old document scans is another area too that really needs help. I have family images myself that go back to about 1850.


There is lots of different techniques to recover old photos and scans that range from Photo Restoration companies that accept the images, then scan and restore them.

There are also online apps and scanner software that will assist in restoring images.

I would first recommend in investing in a high quality scanner and appropriate software, such as Epson’s Easy Photo Fix for a start:

Then appropriate software to help with the restoration process such as HitPaw software.

Using free software or pixel editors such as PS or GIMP is a tedious process.

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