Before we jump in, here’s a little background! ARIA The ANIMATION was animated in 2005 using “digipaint.” (for a little more background on digipaint, we recommend reading Justin Sevakis’ “Answerman” article over at Anime News Network)
Simply put, ARIA was animated with only Standard Definition in mind. Characters and backgrounds were adjusted, panned, scaled, and transformed digitally. In High Definition, the increased image resolution makes these digital adjustments more noticeable. To counter this, the original video upscaling that was performed used a high amount of noise reduction and edge smoothing which also resulted in a considerable loss of detail and an increased amount of blurriness. Excessive edge smoothing will make fine details blur together and look “smudged.” Excessive noise reduction causes loss of color, making something that previously had color texture appear as a solid “blob” of color.
With this in mind, we’ve been working on our own upscale and are ready to share some examples of what you can expect in this release.
Note that these sample images are JPEGs, so of course there will be minor differences in terms of image compression between the two images, as well as what you will see in the final Blu-ray.
Mouse-over the images below!
In this first example, pay special attention to the clouds and trees. Also, President Aria’s eye appears smudged in the Japanese Blu-ray.
Keep an eye on the stairs and the buildings in the background!
Here you can see the difference in detail in the water and the characters.
Check out the line work on the boat!
The texture in the buildings is restored.
High resolution images can be downloaded here.