Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Better Way to Enlarge Images

Enlarging Using Photoshop

Here’s our image at our starting point. This is zoomed to 100%, only a paltry 150 pixels wide.

As we can see, this is painfully low resolution. Let’s improve things somewhat with a basic enlargement.
Navigate to Image > Image Size. Where it says “Resample Image” you can change the type of anti-aliasing used to enlarge and smooth the image. Change it to “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement).” By default, Photoshop uses “Bicubic.”
Notice the difference in the Bicubic Smoother version on the left versus the basic “Bicubic” enlargement on the right. Changing the type of anti-aliasing can make a huge difference the edges in your image, helping to keep them smoother, less jaggy. This can make a big difference

Improving Detail in Enlarged Images

Most Photoshop users don’t go beyond RGB or CMYK. Today, we’ll be using a different color mode called Lab Color. Switch any enlarged image (we’re going to be using our image from before) and change it to Lab color by navigating to Image > Mode > Lab Color.
Make sure you have a channels panel open by going to Window > Channels. Then select the “Lightness” channel or click the  beside the a and b channels as shown.
With “Lightness” selected, we’ll perform a Smart Sharpen filter by going to Filter > Smart Sharpen.
The settings above worked for our example quite well, but feel free to fiddle around and find your own. You’ll probably want to keep your “Remove” setting to “Gaussian Blur” as shown above.
You can remain in Lab Color or convert back to RGB. Unlike a conversion between RGB and CMYK, RGB converts perfectly to Lab without any noticeable color shift. In either color mode, select your combined channelset by pressing Ctrl + 2.
It’s not perfect, but the comparison of before and after is pretty dramatic. Our updated image (on the right) has a much richer skin texture and doesn’t look like it was enlarged nearly 2000% from an image 150 pixels wide.


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