2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality

thumbnail   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture QualityUp-scaling, upsizing or digitally increasing the size of a picture is perhaps less of a requirement than the opposite i.e. cropping. The basic nature of a photo makes any change in its natural dimensions an ill advised task. As any guy who has dabbled with graphic tools will tell you, enlarging a raster or bitmapped image from its natural size results in blurring and fuzziness. In general, a loss in quality. But sometimes, the discouraged becomes the required. Even if it’s a bad idea, here are just three reasons why we might want to do it,

  • For converting a digital photo for an enlarged hard print.
  • For flipping a photo from vertical to horizontal and stretching it.
  • For making an obscure image area more clear.

And here’s a simple reason why we should not ““

Pixels are the smallest units of an image. The number of pixels in an image is called the resolution.  Imagine an image composed of thousands of little squares or dots. Each little square (or pixel) has its own color information. Enlarging an image using any program means increasing the pixel size or separating the pixels and this results loss in image information and lowers quality.

Upsizing an image also means that the program needs to figure out how to compensate the increase in image area. At best, an image editing program approximates how to represent the extra information.
Image manipulation involves a lot of mathematical rules called algorithms.

For those interested in more background, a Google search gives a lot of info. For instance, here are a couple of resources ““

– A tutorial on image interpolation and digital photo enlargement.
Increasing Image Resolution ““ from About.com

So casting aside the overtly theoretical stuff (important nonetheless!) let’s dive into two useful photo tips to resize images without too much of a drop in quality.

FIRST METHOD: The Re-sampling by 10% Technique

Here’s a brief but brisk way to digitally increase picture size. This old photo tip involves using an image editor to resample an image by gradual 10% increments. Photoshop easily handles this using the Image Size commands.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop. (Screenshots are of Photoshop CS2)
  2. Click on Image ““ Image Size from the menu. Alternatively, right click on the image title bar and select Image Size.
  3. Choose Bicubic Smoother in the Resample Image dropdown.
  4. In the Pixel Dimensions setting, use the dropdown to select Percent instead of Pixels. Make sure the little chain link is set”¦else check the Constrain Proportions setting.
  5. To resize the image by 10%, change the width/height to 110 from the earlier 100 percent. Click OK to resize the image by 10%.Image Size   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality
  6. You can continue to resize by increments by 10% till an optimum size where you can see that the visual quality hasn’t degraded by much. To undo a previous action, click on Edit ““ Undo Image Size or use the History palette to select an earlier state.

The snapshot below shows a section of an image taken through five increments of 10%. From an initial size of 500 X 369 to an enlarged size of nearly 800 X 600.

Image Resize   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality

If you need to resize images more often, creating a Photoshop Action which does the job automatically is always better.

  1. In the Actions palette, click on the New Action icon.New Action Palette   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality
  2. Give it a descriptive name like Resize By 10. You can also assign a shortcut key from the Function Key dropdown. Click on Record and start following through the steps mentioned earlier (Step 2 to Step 5). The actions get recorded and can be replayed again and again with a click of the play button (or the function key) for any selected image.New Action   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality
  3. After each increment, visually assess the image quality. After a certain percentage, image loss with blurring will be perceptible.

The resize by resampling can be achieved by any good photo editor. If you do not have Photoshop, you can resize similarly with the free IrfanView. The commands and there location might differ, but the technique is nearly the same

IrfanView   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality

IrfanView

If you don’t have an image editor close at hand, then there’s an online option too.

SECOND METHOD: The Reshade Method

The second photo tip is to "reshade." Reshade.com offers a standalone image enlargement software package for Windows. The photo enlarger though is a paid download. As an alternative there is an online image resizer which is free and does the job equally well.  The free online service though limited offers some notable features”¦

  • You can use it directly from your browser (via a URL or an upload).
  • You can resize images for free to any standard monitor resolution (max 1920x1200px).
  • You can zoom to 2X of your original image size i.e. maximum 200% of the original resolution.
  • You can crop part of an image, remove noise and improve its quality.
  • You can upload images without a login which imposes certain restrictions like your images won’t be stored (that’s good in a way!), only allowed 3 uploads a day and you won’t be able to crop an image.onlineImage resizer   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality

Browse to a locally stored image or submit it through a URL. The Submit button takes you to the image resize settings (as shown in the screenshot). Along with the resize settings, Reshade gives you five image enhancements checkboxes to play with ““ Center crop, Stretch, Denoise, Smooth and Crop.

Reshade editor   2 Ways to Digitally Enlarge a Picture Without Ruining Picture Quality

You can then proceed to download it to your computer or post it to forums or social networking sites with the links provided. Do keep in mind that if you intend to post it, then it’s better to login and keep it in your online account.

Enlarging an image from its native resolution is paid for by lower quality. The best advice that goes around is to take a picture with the highest resolution possible and then downsize it. But in situations which ask for image upsize, these two solutions can prove helpful.

Do you have a tried and tested method to resize an image? Do you have any photo tips of your own? Let us know”¦

Image Credit: Cartel Soviet

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16 Comments -

venkat

I am not getting quality pic by increasing picture size nor resizing picture ,I use sngait to edit images though images not appear that much clearly in blogger blog the same image looks clearly in wordpress blog,in my blogger blog the reader has to open the image in seperate window to see what’s the difference, what I had to do make mages look clear in blogger blog .

Angelina

Do you use Bogger’s image uploader, or do you host it externally and then use html to embed the image into your blog post?

Angelina

hm… It might also help to run the resized image through a sharpen filter, but once again, at small increments (to make sure you don’t overdo it).

honey

that’s good.H really love it!!!

Aaron

Genuine Fractals 5.0 is the best thing I’ve used. It’s not free, but it does an amazing job.

Saikat

Yes, paid solutions are there (3 or 4 I think). Probably, Genuine Fractals is the best. The two mentioned are the ‘quick and dirty’ techniques.

venkat

I use Windowslivewriter(WLW) as blog editor and I am disappointed as no reply from this article’s author yet.

Saikat

Hi Venkat,
A picture uploaded directly from the Blogger Post Editor is most probably compressed. That’s done to prevent people from uploading inordinately large sized photos which slows down the rendering of the photos and the page. Plus takes up server space. So upload the picture from an external photo hosting account like Picassa or Photobucket.

P.S: Angelina hinted at the right approach. Thanks Angelina.

Dave

I have to disagree with the ‘small increments’ bit – a little quality is lost with every resize, so several best to do it in one go.

My other tip would be to get a calculator, and try to make sure that your new size is a sensible multiple of the old one, ie if your new image is 1.5x as big as the old one, the quality will be better than one that is 1.27639x as big, as this makes the maths much more straightforward.

Saikat

Although, I could be wrong…I think the small increment and checking it after each, helps more because you can stop it at the point visual quality starts to degrade. That’s a thought,and yes the sensible multiple advice is well made and taken.

mansoor

hello dears!
i am mansoor
how can i make my pctures eaisaly
what is the easy way
hope u replay me in my email