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Is it possible to make a .jpeg photo larger without losing "quality"?

I have a photo that is 450px x 750px and would like to make it 3 times bigger for web not print?

I've been told that Illustrator is the tool to make it happen and I have Illustrator CS6.

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"I've been told that Illustrator is the tool to make it happen", Slap that person and say "NO!" –  SaturnsEye May 14 at 10:07

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

To say it short: No.

Images in jpg format are not vector based images. Vector based images can be resized without to lose quality. Bitmap images contains colored pixed. If you try to double the size one pixel has to grow to 4 pixel with the same color. Result: If you want the image 3 times bigger you will see the original pixels in your image.

It depends on your image if it is changeable to vector format or not. An usual photo (portrait of a human, mountains, landscape etc.) is not changeable to vector format.

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its a buddha statue, black and silver. So I guess its not changeable? –  Abdo El-Madhoun Sep 28 '13 at 15:42
@AbdoEl-Madhoun if you have corel draw try to vectorize the buddha with this program. As far as I know is Corel Draw the best program for that. It has a vectorize function. At last it depends on the number of colours, shadows, can the colour be vectorized (needs an area to be filled with colour, ...) –  Kurt Sep 28 '13 at 15:48
Thank you for your help –  Abdo El-Madhoun Sep 28 '13 at 16:16
@AbdoEl-Madhoun you are welcome! –  Kurt Oct 2 '13 at 13:46

As stated you cannot increase the size of a .jpeg without loosing quality but there is a margin of tolerance that you can increase the size of a .jpeg before it is noticeable.

Take my hero for instance (original file):

enter image description here

If I import this image into Photoshop and go to Image > Image Size (Shortcut Ctrl+Alt+I for PC or option/alt+cmd+I for Mac)

enter image description here

Change pixels to percent

enter image description here

You can change the percentage to 110% and repeat this till you receive a notable difference in quality. NOTE IF the image is high quality you can usually do an increase no more than 10 times from experience but as stated, this depends on the quality of the image you are adjusting.

enter image description here


enter image description here

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Ok and oldie but goodie question; here I go:

Some definitions/aclarations:

1) Quality is a process, is taking care on each step of it.

In a case of resampling an image there is no "quality" loss, (except if you make mermelade of your own photo, probably compressing it like hell) What you have is information loss when you downsample it. You have a "information guess" when you upsample it.

2) There is no CSI program that perform miracles in the terms you need (However, I have seeing some forensic image processing program that fairly shows a licence plate from a very low resolution image, or from a very narrow angle. The result was ugly, but you could clearly see the licence plate.)

3) So, the programs use diferent "guess" methods to try to asign information to the new pixels.

Some real tests

Here is a controlled exercise of resampling. Reset your browsers zoom so you see them in real size.

a) In the center are 3 images. The reference image is the one marked 100%

b) Next to it there are some smaller marked as 300% and 200%. They are 1/3 and 1/2 respectively, when they are upscaled they will have a resampled ratio as marked.

The programs used (in order of appearance):

1) Just scaled (this is the so popular "pixelation", the technical name is "nearest neighbour") 2) Irfan view Lanczos Filter

3) PhotoZoom 4) Reshade

Photo: Scott F. Snyder Model: Amy Lee Fathbruckner

  • The normal Photoshop bicubic filter looks simmilar to Lanczos Filter.

  • This is an oldie test, there is a chance the programs now make a better result, but do not expect a quantum leap.

  • They have no aditional process. You can add a small sharpening after the initial resampling. Photoshop has one marked as bicubic sharper.

  • I would resample in round numbers. Not 150%, not 234.567%

  • If you simply strech it inside Ilustrator or simmilar, the result will be like sample No. 1.


In my opinion, a 200% upsampling is acceptable. A 300% just in case of backgrounds.

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You can try photoshop bicubic followed by a smart sharpen with 1px for 200 and 2 px for 300 gauss shaped. Anyway this answer belongs to number one. Mitchell is close to lanczos but cheaper (michell is a bicubic with optimized factors) –  joojaa Aug 15 at 15:17
It could be interesting making a extension of the post, making some diferent sharpening methods... To my to do list. –  Rafael Aug 15 at 15:19

PhotoZoom Pro 6 creates larger images (up to 1 million by 1 million pixels), it also produces higher quality results. PhotoZoom Pro 6 is equipped with S-Spline Max, a unique, patented image resize technology which excels at preserving clean edges, sharpness, and fine details.

enter image description here

Gimp is a free software. It can also be used to resize images with minimum quality loss. However, I should warn you that the result will not be as good as PhotoZoom.

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> resize images with minimum quality loss. That is totally misleading. The "quality" Will be poor in any case. P.S. This post sounded like an add Xo) –  Rafael Aug 15 at 15:16

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