Opera browser wants to make old videos look sharper with its Lucid Mode
Opera browser has a new feature called Lucid Mode. It makes old videos look slightly better, by sharpening them.
Lucid mode in Opera browser
The problem with most old videos are the resolution they were shot in, the lower it gets, the blurrier the image looks. Opera aims to address this by adding a CSS sharpening filter to videos and images on web pages. This feature is driven by hardware acceleration, handled by your computer's GPU.
The option is disabled by default, you can toggle it in 3 different ways. Open the sidebar and toggle Sharpen videos on all sites, and optionally enable the 2nd setting, Sharpen images on all sites. You may also configure these options from the browser's settings page: opera://settings/lucidMode
The third way to toggle it is by simply opening a web page that has a video, when you click the play button, a button labeled "Lucid Mode off" will appear, click on it to
switch it on, or off.
When I read about it at the announcement page, and saw the ad for it, I thought this is just a gimmick. My expectations weren't high, but I wanted to see how Lucid mode works. Some videos appear to have a grainy effect, this was noticeable in videos that had a very low resolution.
In videos that had a decent amount of detail, the results appeared marginally better. If you observe the images carefully, you may notice that various objects in the background and foreground appear slightly sharper in Lucid Mode.
The filters are similar to shader effects like HQ4x, xBRZ, ScaleFX, that you may have used in game emulators. There is still a bit of noise here and there in videos with Lucid mode enabled, but you can't do much about it. The feature appears to make some changes to the brightness and a color correction effect to sharpen the image quality.
When it comes to animated videos like cartoons, the difference in the quality is quite prominent, and not in a good way.
In this screenshot, you can see that the colors appear brighter, but the cartoon's vivid outlines standout even more in Lucid Mode. This results in fuzzy pictures and lines, it almost looks like a video game's graphics with anti-aliasing disabled, which sort of ruins the whole experience. This is where the toggle is useful, if you don't want the feature, turn it off with a click.
Speaking of which, there is no option to hide the pop-up that appears over videos, it disappears for a few seconds, but it is shown every time you pause and resume a video. This could get annoying if you watch a lot of videos, or keep pausing videos often. Opera should have provided an option to hide this pop-up.
Lucid Mode does not work out in video pop-out (Picture-in-Picture) mode. Text in videos may appear a bit sharper when Lucid Mode is enabled, but text on dark backgrounds were garbled. While it supports images, the output quality depends on the type of content in the image, text may appear sharper, but graphical content tends to take a hit.
Opera's video about Lucid Mode is nowhere close to the real deal, but the feature is fun to use, though it's quite flawed. It won't magically remaster blurry videos to 1080p quality, but it might make them look slightly better. That's the thing, it's a gamble really, sometimes it looks better, sometimes it makes it worse. This depends on the original quality of the video, its compression, etc. I think Lucid Mode shouldn't be a toggle, it needs more controls, so users can choose the level of sharpness, and other details to fine tune the image.
Don't let me dissuade you from trying it, Lucid mode works on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and more. Try it for yourself. Download Opera browser 93.0.4585.70 for Windows, Linux and macOS from the official website. The company has finally managed to include the zero-day security fixes for issues (CVE-2022-4262) that were reported nearly 2 weeks ago.
What do you think about Lucid Mode?
I usually use MPV to watch Youtube video, it has some very nice shaders to improve low quality video like Anime4K for animes and FSRCNNX for normal movies. That’s good enough for me to sometimes enjoy high quality videos, despite having bulleyes.
I tried Lucid just now, it’s far from ready for general usage.
I tried it on the video Me at the Zoo and the difference it makes the image slightly more saturated and more pixelated rather than sharper.
Same goes for images, it has something like “edge detection” that makes the images just worse. It’s like some 7 year old kid discovered Photoshop filters and went ballistic with them.
For now I will keep these off and wait for it to improve.
Ha ha. Yes, it is making videos rather colorful and tries to smoothen them, but ends up with jagged lines and pixels. It’s okayish for some videos, but for the most part it makes them hard to see.
The image smoothing is woeful as you say, I tried it on some screenshots here at the blog, and they were practically unusable.
Don’t let Iron Heart know you are using Chinese Opera, he will disown you.
Thanks @Ashwin for this useful article. AMD drivers also has video enhancements like this. :]
You already have the ability to set video sharpening system wide using the video drivers.
Opera, a browser no longer used for good reason is trying out a redundant feature.
I am sure the 12 people who use the new Opera and the 4 of those who can’t find the control panel
will find this article fascinating.
Sad how Opera lost the plot and is just adding gimmicks now.
Vivaldi is the new Opera, but Vivaldi is also full of gimmicks and rarely useful things, also very bloated.
Presto Opera wasn’t better either – they also kept adding useless things that nobody cared about, that’s why Opera never had more than 2% market share and still doesn’t. Back in those days Firefox was the king and Opera was a joke, it always was.
I only use it, because it feels faster than other Chromium alternatives, which feel like they are becoming slower after a few months of use, even on an SSD. That’s the only reason why I use Opera – because it’s fast and lightweight.
Opera today doesn’t have anything other than speed going for it. Even if they streamline and clean all the bloatware crap from it, people will still choose other browsers over it. But Opera 14 when it switched to Blink was really good for a few versions, it was clean and fast and did not have useless clutter, they added that later, but somehow surprisingly kept the browser lightning fast.