Jpeg Enhancer is a program that can restore or undo the damage to images resulting from low-quality Jpeg compression, including “jpeg artifacts” and the “blotchy look”.
It features a before and after dual pane interface and straightforward manipulation of the processing filter.
In a nutshell, this program will take a Jpeg image and attempt to make it less blotchy and/or pixellated, and more of an approximation of its original state.
It purports to do this using a technology that doesn’t simply blur the image to “fix” it but actually restores them. The first question, of course, is…
Does it work?: and the answer is… it depends. To some extent it does work; or at least it is possible to arrive at a result that is better or more usable than the original. You can decide to (a) work at experimenting with the filter, or (b) just run the default processing settings, which can produce fairly decent results.
The user interface: Jpeg Enhancer features dual before and after panes that can be positioned horizontally or vertically or stacked up. You can zoom in and out of the image and move it freely (both panes will zoom or move in sync). There are 2 modes of filter manipulation; simple mode, which allows you to move a single “filter strength” gauge and experiment with the results, or advanced mode, which breaks the process down into 4 distinct filters that you can set individually: “Blotchy look removal”, “Artifacts removal”, “Sharpness”, and “Crispness” filters. You can experiment with these and see the changes live on only a part of your image; for the actual processing you have to press the “process” button, which can be readily undone if you don’t like the result.
Other tools: the “median noise reduction” filter is accessible through the “other tools” menu, and feels like an afterthought. I experimented with this and it seemed to do nothing but blur the image (and not in a good way). You can simply ignore.
Why five stars?: because this program delivers a fast and easy way to do what someone who is adept with Photoshop can probably do with a handful of filters and years of Photoshop experience. The default settings might improve your image quite a bit, or you can experiment with custom settings. Best of all, its free.
Version tested: 1.8