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I need to scale an image up quite a bit and would like better results than the normal resampling... I remember a few years back in these situations I would use AlienSkin BlowUp at a place I worked at and it was pretty good.

As there are a few plugins out there, I was wondering which are the better ones to invest in nowadays?

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  • Photoshop has come a long way since these types of plug ins were first introduced - content aware features had a great deal to do with that. In many, many, many cases the internal interpolation done by Photoshop is as good or better than many of the plug ins available. – Scott Sep 8 '14 at 5:29
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SizeFixer

SizeFixer is the first product, in my opinion, that produces sharp results without the smudgy feel that most of the plugins have. While the slow speed and lack of a batch facility are drawbacks, the results are stunning.

Below are some comparisons:

Versus Perfect Resize (Genuine Fractals):

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Versus Blow Up:

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Versus Photozoom:

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Original Image:

enter image description here

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  • Could you add the original image there as well? – Joonas Sep 8 '14 at 6:45
  • @Joonas, yes, added at the end – Rosenthal Sep 8 '14 at 11:34
  • So after a bit of cropping and resizing in photoshop, it seems that the resize is around 190%. The photoshop upsize quality is nearly identical to Blow Up, as far as these example images go. – Joonas Sep 8 '14 at 12:21
  • @Joonas try running a 1 px gaussian smart sharpen after resize ;) – joojaa Sep 8 '14 at 13:18
  • @joojaa, it looks good in screen but not in paper. – Rosenthal Sep 8 '14 at 18:53
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I have tried all of them and I use them every day. I can say for sure the best is Benvista Photozoom, but you have to learn how to use it. For the best results in the negative scans I work on generally I use the (fairly obscure and hidden but unmatchable in terms of natural effect of resizing) "BSPLINE" algorithm with careful settings dependent on the image, and then I do some post sharpening in photoshop, by whatever means.

Photoshop's algorithms most often produce artifacts and the other Photozoom default options are very harsh but in some circumstances can be very useful. You really need to have in mind your output resolution and how it will look on paper and that comes with experience.

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I asked a similar question recently on photoshopgurus. I think that, to a certain extent, the best plugin for a particular enlargement depends on the content of the image (and possibly the look that you're going for).

The original image in the examples above is quite busy, with a lot of detail at the pixel level. For an image like this, you probably don't want to use Blow Up as it picks a few hard edges which makes it look like a painting (unless that's what you want).

I'm not sure about Photoshop's built in interpolation. It appeared to me that it didn't try to follow any edges and that the 'Preserve Details' just added a Smart Sharpen after rescaling, which doesn't really cut it for keeping sharp edges.

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