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Get Better Resampling Quality in Photoshop & Photoshop Elements

Try Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic Sharper

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Image Size Resample Quality Options in Photoshop
User Interface © Adobe - Screen shot © Sue Chastain

Get Better Results Resizing Photos in Photoshop

Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements 3 introduced two new interpolation methods you can use for better quality when resampling images. If you rarely change settings from the default Bicubic method, you may never even notice the two new methods are there. These options are available in the image size dialog as well as the image size section of the Save for Web dialog.

  • Bicubic Smoother should give you better results when increasing image size.
  • Bicubic Sharper should give better results when reducing image size. Photoshop help warns that this method may produce an over-sharpened image, and to try using standard Bicubic if this occurs.

I don't know about you, but I can never remember when to use bicubic sharper and when to use bicubic smoother. Here is a mnemonic I came up with to help me remember:

In Preferences > General, you can specify which interpolation method is used as the default when images are resized through the image size command, or when transforming layers.

  • Bicubic smoother is better for upsampling and it comes first in the menu. It's up above sharper.
  • Bicubic sharper is better for downsampling and it comes last in the menu. It's down below smoother.

Photoshop CS6 and later introduced another option for improving image enlargement quality:

  • Preserve Details presents a noise reduction slider which can be adjusted to smooth out noise as you upscale the image.

Related: Make Photos Bigger With Minimal Loss in Quality

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