want to turn low res web image to higher res print ready image
April 21, 2011 10:37 PM   Subscribe

What are some websites, software or photoshop plug ins to turn a low resolution image (ie. something I grabbed from the web) into a high resolution image (ie. something that I can use to print)? Something that is good enough to make the image look good at 16 by 11 or so.

When I was in the entertainment industry, there were programs or adobe plugs that could turn a low res image into a hi res image. Not that it would vectorize it but actually "change" it to high res. I think there is even a website that will do it for free for the first 5 images.

I have used programs like these 7+ years ago and I forgot what they are even called. Thank you hivemind!
posted by barnacle fan to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you can sort of manually do that in Photoshop just by changing the dpi from 72 to 300+. I think that's called up-rezzing but I've always been under the impression that true up-rezzing isn't possible...?
posted by iLoveTheRain at 10:39 PM on April 21, 2011

You need to rasterbate!

(related: Rasterizer)
posted by jsturgill at 11:12 PM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

The program I remember a print shop using was "Genuine Fractals", which looks to have been renamed "Perfect Resize 7" at some point.
posted by hades at 11:28 PM on April 21, 2011

Yeah, Genuine Fractals (or it's successor as mentioned above) is the only one I know about.
posted by bz at 11:44 PM on April 21, 2011

I used the command-line program autotrace for this once, long ago. I don't know how current incarnations of it compare to newer vectorizing tools, but it might at least be a useful search term for you.
posted by teatime at 12:10 AM on April 22, 2011

When you're talking an about an extreme enlargement like this, bear in mind that regardless of what software or technique you use to do it, how good it will look will be largely dependent upon how far away you are from it when viewing it.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:35 AM on April 22, 2011

Can you tell us what type of image it is? Photograph? Logo? Illustration?

I once turned a 320x240 pixel image into a 12x12 300 dpi record cover. Luckily the image had to look somewhat degraded and was mostly flat colors to start with. Still, here are some techniques.

You start with your basic up-rezzing. Just tell photoshop what size and dpi you want it to be. Then be horrified with the result. That's fine to start with.

Treat edges differently from contiguous areas. The edges are going to get soft so be prepared to make edge masks so you can (over)sharpen those edges while not adjusting the non-edges.

You'll also use the inverse of this mask to do some blurring. Smarter people than I recommend surface blur, although that's newer than when I had to do this.

Can you degrade the image afterwards? Adding grain to the sharpened edges/smooth non-edges really helps to unify it. This might not be appropriate for your image though.
posted by Brainy at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

You're talking about up-rezing software. Genuine Fractals or Perfect Resize as it's currently called and Alien Skin BlowUP are the big guns, but Photoshop itself can do a possibly acceptable job. Here's a comparison test, and here's a useful google start.

My requirements aren't too stringent, but I get perfectly serviceable and what I often find quite remarkable results in Photoshop just by dragging small images onto an empty file the size and resolution I want and using Transform and the Shift key to drag-enlarge it to fill the page. Looks awful until you hit Return and PS does an automatic up-rez.
posted by dpcoffin at 9:49 AM on April 22, 2011

Using the image size function in Photoshop, you increase the size of the pixel dimensions of the image by 10% (input 110% in the pixel dimensions box). You'll only need to do that for either the width or height box, and make sure that you have "constrain proportions" checked. Do that until you get to the resolution you want. This result will get you results that are comparable to Genuine Fractals and you won't have to buy another plug-in.
posted by photovox at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2011

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