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I want to use the following image in an HD video:

Source image

I'd like to use this image at a width of 400 pixels. As far as I know, there are no higher resolution versions available so I'm looking to scale up the small image that I do have. Now I know this comes with some perceived quality loss, but at least then I'd be able to use it in my video. I want to give special attention to the text areas, which are presented on a near-solid color background. I care less about the image because it isn't essential to my video.

I have Photoshop Elements 10. Currently the image looks like this when scaled up to a 400-pixel width:

Scaled image

Are there any tools I can use to make the end result a little more legible and less blurry?

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Make sure you have permission, this is a copyrighted image –  Clara Onager Jul 16 '12 at 9:55
    
You're right, the copyrights should not be overlooked here. I'm making YouTube videos explaining some of the game's mechanics. As far as I know, this might be considered "teaching" under American fair use laws. Furthermore the publisher of this game might wish to encourage these kinds of videos since it brings new people into their (fairly complicated) trading card game. It's a gray area. The worst thing I can invision happening is that they'll invoke the DMCA and I have to close my channel. If you or anyone else familiar with copyright laws has any thoughts on the matter, please let me know. –  Pieter Jul 16 '12 at 10:24
    
I've found Hasbro to be a pretty good company with regards to this sort of thing. If you email them and explain what you're doing they'll almost certainly give you permission and maybe even sling you a few cards that you can scan. –  Clara Onager Jul 16 '12 at 10:36
    
That's good to hear! It's better to seek permission than ask forgiveness, but I don't know how to go about contacting their intellectual property department. Is this procedure much work? Plus I didn't think they'd bother to pay attention to a small fish like me at this point. I mean, I'm only just starting out with the channel. –  Pieter Jul 16 '12 at 10:43
    
Size doesn't matter, as to who to contact you need to do some searching on some search engines and it's better to get an agreement when you're a small fish than be bait for the legal department when you're a big fish. Also, Hasbro may actually have higher resolution images that they would let you have. Third item on search: hasbro.com/corporate/community-relations –  Clara Onager Jul 16 '12 at 12:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

As already mentioned you can use some sharpening and other techniques to help reduce the blurriness when you scale images up.

You can use the sharpen filters directly in Photoshop (unsharp mask is usually the most applicable for this), or try a dedicated program like this (free 30 day trial): http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/perfect-resize/

An example of the result scaling to 400px from that technique here:

just unsharp mask

Which definitely looks a lot less blurry, but still not great.

Hopefully it might be adequate for your needs.

However, if that is not good enough & you really want to improve the text you might even consider reproducing the text over the top of the sharpened image.

An example (using Baskerville & Caslon in this example - which are not a perfect match unfortunately) which illustrates what that might look like... looks better but requires a lot more effort and the typefaces are not perfect matches.

with text updated

You can download the PSD template I made, if you think it might be of use

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Image search on your text will reveal higher res versions eg.

Image: http://img.aegen.nl/PS/Morgue%20Toad.jpg

Site: http://aegen.nl/cards/planeshift/morgue-toad

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You found a higher resolution version of the central image that will certainly come in handy. Not every card I want to use has a higher-res image somewhere on the internet though, so this might be a one-time workaround. That still leaves me with the text and solid color backgrounds to process. Got any tricks I can use? –  Pieter Jul 15 '12 at 8:11
    
Why not simply use the second link provided, the "site" link in the answer, and use the zoom function of the browser? It appears the background is provided with a bit higher resolution than what is shown at 100% zoom so it might give you what you want. –  Lasse V. Karlsen Jul 15 '12 at 20:48
    
They didn't use the original font and the reconstructed card looks different there. –  Pieter Jul 16 '12 at 10:13

The traditional way to sharpen blurry images is to use the Sharpen filter in Photoshop (or another image processing program). However that can leave you with unpleasant looking artefacts depending on how much you use it (or overuse it).

If you have the original cards available then scanning them would be a better solution.

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