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Genuine Fractals Software Review

Res Up Your Images with Genuine Fractals

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Dateline: 02/12/00

Genuine Fractals allows you to encode low to medium resolution files to a scalable, resolution-free format... these files can then be opened at any resolution you choose.

Addendum (01/09/02): Since this review was originally written, scanners and digital cameras have come gotten cheaper and more powerful. There are also new technologies for increasing image resolution. While Genuine Fractals is still a worthwhile option to consider, it is no longer the only choice. To learn about other options for increasing image resolution, visit the link below.

  • Increasing Image Resolution

    The resample command in most imaging software uses a process called interpolation for increasing the size of an image. The interpolation process estimates the values of the pixels the software needs to create based on the existing pixels in the image. Resampling via interpolation is better than resizing an image without interpolation, but results in serious blurring of the resized image, especially in areas where there are distinct changes in color. Genuine Fractals 2.0 and Genuine Fractals Print Pro attempts to break through these limitations with its award-winning resolution-on-demand technology.

    Genuine Fractals allows you to encode low to medium resolution files to a scalable, resolution-free format called STiNG (*.stn). The STN files can then be opened at any resolution you choose. There are two options for saving images with Genuine Fractals: lossless and visually lossless. The lossless save option creates a file about half the size of the original. The visually lossless save option creates a file approximately one-fifth the size of the original, with little or no visual difference in quality when the file is enlarged.

    Genuine Fractals operates as a plug-in to Photoshop and other Photoshop plug-in compatible image editors. In my tests, I used it with Adobe Photoshop 5.5, Corel Photo-Paint 9, and Paint Shop Pro 6.02. Genuine Fractals adds the STN file type your program's Save As File Types list. When saving to the STN format you are given the choice to save with the lossless or visually lossless options. ( Click here for a screen shot )

    When opening STN files, the Genuine Fractals interface appears where you can specify the desired image size in pixel dimensions, inches, dpi, picas, points, lines, or bytes. You can also specify the image color mode and palette type. Genuine Fractals 2.0 allows you to work with RGB, Grayscale, Indexed, Duotone, and Multichannel color modes. The Print Pro version adds support for CMYK and CIE-Lab color modes. The interface has a cropping tool to render only a portion of the original image. In addition, you have the choice of three different rendering options for quality vs. rendering speed.

    There isn't a lot to learn about using the software, and the interface is very easy to understand. So the burning question is, how well does it work? Browse the links below for the results of my tests:

    All in all, I have to say that if given the choice, I would much rather use Genuine Fractals to increase the resolution in my images than any other method (as of this writing). Genuine Fractals gives me a reason to think about finally purchasing a digital camera... something I've avoided until now because I felt that the cameras in my price range didn't have enough resolution to produce high quality prints.

    If you do own a digital camera and you'd like to increase the size or improve the quality of your prints, Genuine Fractals can definitely help. If you often find yourself having to produce items for print from screen resolution originals, this product could be very valuable to you. If you just want to save on the amount of disk space required for archiving images, it can give you a workable solution. If you often find that you have a need to increase the resolution of your images for any reason, you should consider this product.

    Genuine Fractals is available for Windows and Macintosh. Visit LizardTech, Inc. for purchasing information, upgrade offers, FAQs, a gallery, tutorial, and more. A trial version download is also available.

    Introduction | Test 1 - Fill | Test 2 - Photo | Test 3 -Logo

    Addendum (01/09/02): Since this review was originally written, scanners and digital cameras have come gotten cheaper and more powerful. There are also new technologies for increasing image resolution. While Genuine Fractals is still a worthwhile option to consider, it is no longer the only choice. To learn about other options for increasing image resolution, visit the link below.

  • Increasing Image Resolution

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