1. Technology

Increasing Image Resolution - Software

Not long ago, there weren't many options for increasing resolution other than using your editing software's built-in resampling methods. Today, we are faced with more possibilities than ever. Here you'll find stand alone software and plug-ins that have been specifically designed to increase image size and resolution with minimal loss in quality.

Of course, it's always best to capture the resolution you need right from the beginning. If you have the option to rescan an image at a higher resolution, by all means, do that before resorting to software solutions.
  1. Image Size and Resolution

Alien Skin Blow Up 2 Image Enlargement Plugin Review and Rating
Alien Skin Blow Up 2 can enlarge your images in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements with better results and with more functionality than competing products. The interface is straightforward and easy to use, but you might have a hard time justifying the cost against the printed results unless you do a large volume of extreme enlargements.

Alien Skin Blow Up Image Enlargement Plugin (Win/Mac)
Alien Skin Blow Up can enlarge your images in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements with better results and with more functionality than competing products.

Extensis pxl SmartScale (Win/Mac)
Extensis pxl SmartScale uses 'PixelLive' advanced technology to resample images up to 1600%. The plug-in does a better job of image upsizing than Photoshop alone and it's easier to use than similar products, but I'm still not sure its worth the price.

Genuine Fractals (Win/Mac)
LizardTech's Genuine Fractals software (formerly from Altamira Group) attempts to break through image resolution limitations with its award-winning resolution-on-demand technology. Genuine Fractals is available for Windows and Macintosh. It operates as a plug-in to Photoshop and other Photoshop plug-in compatible image editors. Check out my tests and review.

Bearded Frog Enlarger PRO (Win)
Digital image enlargement software. "Obviously we can't invent detail which does not exist in the input image, however, we are able to use our revolutionary algorithms to keep sharp areas of the image remarkably sharp, and also retain the texture and feel of more subtle areas without excessive blurring." US$70.

HumanSoft XFile (Win/Mac)
HumanSoft XFile is a Photoshop-compatible image enlargement plug-in for Windows and Macintosh. It will work in any program that supports the Photoshop plug-in standard. XFile offers Lanczos interpolation algorithms and a special XFile technique. It works on both RGB or CMYK images. It can be purchased for approximately $55 US.

Intelligent Upsampling: Stair Interpolation (SI)
Demonstrates how using the Stair Interpolation action can produce better enlargements than Photoshop's bicubic interpolation or the Genuine Fractals plus-in. Includes enlargement examples, and a information on how to purchase the SI action for Mac and Windows.

Kneson Imagener Image Enlarger (Win)
Stand-alone software for enlarging images without loss in quality. Available in two versions: Enhanced ($19.95 US), and Professional ($49.95 US).

PhotoResampling (Win)
"Photoresampling is a fine digital images processor able to smooth & focus picture's details whenever you need to resize it. PhotoResampling is capable to work with lots of algorithms."

PhotoZoom Professional (Win/Mac)
PhotoZoom Professional (formerly S-Spline), uses a patented interpolation method to increase image resolution in an intelligent, less destructive way than standard interpolation. This is stand-alone software--not a plug-in.

Reshade (Windows & Web-based)
Reshade creates high quality large resolution images from lower resolution ones. Besides the stand-alone desktop software for Windows, there is also an online service which can be used for free.

STOIK Smart Resizer (Win)
"This program offers you various methods to resize digital photos including new STOIK Smart Resize algorithm which allows to enlarge digital images up to 1000% without loss of visual sharpness. You will find it useful for multiple tasks – from quality zooming to increasing resolution of digital photos to creation of good-looking photo thumbnails."

SupaImage Enhancement Software (Mac)
SupaImage creates a higher resolution image by combining details from two similar digital images. You'll need two similar shots, but they need not (and should not) be identical. Using a complex algorithm, the features of the two images are compared and combined into a larger image of enhanced detail. A save-disabled trial is available for download and the software costs $85 US. Mac OS-X only.

Visionary Solutions ResizeIT! (Win)
ResizeIT is a Photoshop-compatible plugin for Windows that works in any image editor supporting Photoshop plugins. It provides several interpolation methods for resizing, including: ResizeIT's own Cubic and Linear, Lanczos Windowed Sinc Function, Cubic Spline Interpolation, and Cubic Polynomial Interpolation. A demo download is available. Costs $25 US to register.

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