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  #1  
Old November 13th, 2009, 05:53 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Default Best way to enlarge an image

A friend has asked me to print this image for him.


However, it is tiny. I tried enlarging it with cs4 but it looked awful, even after sharpening. What is the best way to go about this?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 05:59 AM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
A friend has asked me to print this image for him.


However, it is tiny. I tried enlarging it with cs4 but it looked awful, even after sharpening. What is the best way to go about this?

Hi Rachel

I can't see the image at the moment - not on my home computer - but the amount of enlargement an image will take is dependent on several variables including the level of detail in the image, the print substrate (canvas is quite forgiving), the viewing distance, your an=bility to add noise to trick the eye and just viewer sensitivity to images lacking real detail. I once printed a 16 by 12 from a 1.3Mp P&S image and it looked fine, but it was not detailed and I was careful about upressing and sharpening.

Mike
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  #3  
Old November 13th, 2009, 06:33 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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This is 450 x 300 and is an image of a musical band in black and white.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 06:38 AM
Michael Fontana Michael Fontana is offline
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450 x 300 pixels? that's good enough for a stamp.

Your friend is kidding; you need something with beef on it, either a big print or a bigger file.
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  #5  
Old November 13th, 2009, 06:40 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
A friend has asked me to print this image for him.


However, it is tiny. I tried enlarging it with cs4 but it looked awful, even after sharpening. What is the best way to go about this?
Hi Rachel,

Who has the copyright of the image, are we allowed to modify it.
Is this the original/only file, or is there a TIFF version available (it might give a bit more accuracy to work with).

Cheers,
Bart
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  #6  
Old November 13th, 2009, 06:53 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I will double check copy right. There is no copyright in the file info, but it was taken with a 10D. I'm wondering if 10d is a pro camera?

The man center back is my friend. He asked me to print the image. It's a keepsake photo as he no longer plays with that group. Unfortunately that is all he has.

This is a some of his music.
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  #7  
Old November 13th, 2009, 07:20 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
I will double check copy right. There is no copyright in the file info, but it was taken with a 10D. I'm wondering if 10d is a pro camera?
The 10D is an earlier consumer/prosumer camera (assuming we're talking about a Canon model), but that doesn't really matter. If the photo was taken by a Pro, then the Pro probably has the copyright, and the original file (3072 x 2048 pixels). That would be a better starting point for a print.

Quote:
The man center back is my friend. He asked me to print the image. It's a keepsake photo as he no longer plays with that group. Unfortunately that is all he has.

This is a some of his music.
We should at least put in a reasonable effort to find the photographer. When that fails, we can try our skills on the tiny version as provided.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #8  
Old November 13th, 2009, 07:38 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I'm looking for the email now.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 07:56 AM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Hi Rachel,

Qimage has much better re-sampling algorithms than the bi-cubic used by PS.

I have an A3 print from an old 2.5" b&w photo made by careful scanning and then printing with Qimage which looks fine when viewed at a reasonable distance. Having said that though, I doubt that it will be possible to enlarge a small JPEG very much.

Regards,

Stuart
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Old November 13th, 2009, 08:01 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I'll look in to that, thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 08:10 AM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Hi Rachel,

Quote:
I tried enlarging it with cs4 but it looked awful,....
It will look awful on the screen. Have you tried printing it?

Later.........

I've just used Qimage to make an A4 print (now destroyed) which, although a tiny bit soft, looks quite presentable when viewed at a distance of 12".
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Last edited by StuartRae; November 13th, 2009 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Addition
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  #12  
Old November 13th, 2009, 11:07 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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No, I've only viewed it onscreen. I might print and see how it looks.
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  #13  
Old November 13th, 2009, 06:34 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I checked copyright again. It was not taken by a pro, no copyright issues. I'll email the band boss and see if there is a bigger image available.
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  #14  
Old November 14th, 2009, 02:52 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
I checked copyright again. It was not taken by a pro, no copyright issues. I'll email the band boss and see if there is a bigger image available.
Hi Rachel,

Thanks for checking. It can also lead to a better quality print for your friend. Even when the original image file is no longer available, perhaps a good quality print on glossy paper can serve as a basis, either by photographic reproduction or scanning.

Just to make sure, copyright doesn't belong only to professionals. The photographer, no matter his/her professional status has the copyright (unless a contract exists stating otherwise, e.g. hired hand). When the image was taken as a friendly gesture, I have less of a problem with accommodating the request for a better starting point for printing than Photoshop manages (and Photoshop is not very good for the task).

The subject of enlarging is an interesting one by itself, and can be subject to almost religious debate on various forums. It would be a worthwhile subject for OPF as well, so we could use your tiny image as an example if that's okay with those involved. Increasing a tiny image to a size fit for decent output dimensions, is not much different from using a larger file for exhibition size prints such as Nicolas Claris does. It's all about preparing optimal input for a given print process, and resampling/enlarging is often a significant part of it.

Cheers,
Bart
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Old November 15th, 2009, 02:45 AM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Hi Bart,

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter of up-sampling. Currently the best I can find is the 'hybrid' method in Qimage, but I suspect there may be better.

It will of course be difficult to judge which is best without printing, because as Rachel discovered all severely up-sampled images look awful when viewed on a monitor.

Regards,

Stuart
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  #16  
Old November 15th, 2009, 06:47 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartRae View Post
Hi Bart,

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter of up-sampling. Currently the best I can find is the 'hybrid' method in Qimage, but I suspect there may be better.

It will of course be difficult to judge which is best without printing, because as Rachel discovered all severely up-sampled images look awful when viewed on a monitor.
Hi Stuart,

As usual, it depends on the enduse of the image. In general, it doesn't matter how a close-up looks (on screen), it only matters how it looks at the intended output viewing distance/magnification. Another criterion that may be important is how long it takes to produce an enlargement. For most purposes, it would not be acceptable if it took several hours per image to produce an enlargement.

Having said that, there are a couple of methods that have a foundation in scientific research and that have a reputation of producing a good compromise between the possible artifacts associated with interpolation. Subject matter, e.g. line drawings instead of photographic images, can play a role in choosing the best compromise.

In general, an algorithm known as 'Mitchell' (from the researchers Mitchell and Netravali) strikes a good compromise when upsampling/interpolating. It retains some of the sharpness, but avoids severe blocking, ringing, and aliasing. It is a specific mix of parameters used in a more general cubic filter algorithm.

Qimage, with an emphasis on print output, offers a very efficient workflow and it delivers high quality output. It also offers the Mitchell type of interpolation, but also some other methods. I prefer the Hybrid SE method (only available in the Studio Edition) for general work, because it delivers very natural enlargements with an even better suppression of jagged edges than the Mitchell method does, but at the expense of a little sharpness (there is always a trade-off). The Hybrid (i.e. non SE) method adds a little edge contrast which might turn into visible halos, but only on very large magnifications. Hybrid SE offers a very good startingpoint for further sharpening, e.g. time consuming deconvolution sharpening, when one prints to a file instead of a printer.

There are also other applications/plugins that can help with enlarging, but they require input for the best results, and are not always the best solution for a specific task. For the best results, one should have a good understanding of the specific goal and output modality. Qimage offers a very good path to quality output, but the interface takes a bit of getting used to. For most photographers who produce printed output, it's a no-brainer, a must have program for the toolkit. It is a Windows program, but it apparently also runs fine on Macs (e.g. with Parallels).

Cheers,
Bart
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  #17  
Old November 15th, 2009, 12:03 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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End-use for this image is as a personal memento for Dan. I'm going to fiddle with it in photoshop and have it printed so I can see the difference myself. And I'm very, very interested in Qimage.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 08:04 AM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Hi Bart,

Thanks for the info.

Quote:
In general, it doesn't matter how a close-up looks (on screen)....
Indeed. What I was trying to say that it's impossible to judge how well the up-sizing works without printing (or whatever).

Quote:
Qimage ........... but the interface takes a bit of getting used to
You're not joking :)

Regards,

Stuart
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  #19  
Old November 16th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Tim Palmer Tim Palmer is offline
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If you are just going to "play around" in Photoshop and not use a 3rd party product, then here is a trick I've used with fairly good success.

Convert the image to LAB space.
Select the "L" channel.
Enlarge about 20% of desired end result size.
Repeat the enlargement in small increments until the goal is reached.
Apply any unsharp masking you may want.
Select LAB channel (combined).
Convert back to original or desired color space.

The 3rd party programs work better, but if you are playing around or on a budget give it a whirl.

Tim
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Old November 16th, 2009, 12:31 PM
StuartRae StuartRae is offline
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Hi Tim,

Thanks for the suggestion. It appears though that it can be dangerous to flit in and out of the Lab colour model, especially if you don't perform all conversions in 16-bit. I've seen it suggested that you can lose over 80% of colour information by converting from the RGB model to the Lab model in 8-bit.

Regards,

Stuart
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  #21  
Old November 16th, 2009, 06:08 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I have official permission to use the photo: "Sure...please use that picture for whatever means you'd like." I will cc the email to Asher if anyone remains concerned. And, unfortunately, that's the only extant version of the image it seems.
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  #22  
Old November 17th, 2009, 05:10 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
I have official permission to use the photo: "Sure...please use that picture for whatever means you'd like." I will cc the email to Asher if anyone remains concerned. And, unfortunately, that's the only extant version of the image it seems.
Hi Rachel,

This is about as far as I can take the small JPEG (8 x 6.7 inches on a 96 PPI screen):




If you like, I can send you a link by PM to a larger version for printing. Just let me know what type of printer is going to be used (300 or 360 PPI), so I can prepare it for those specs at the same size (or another size).

Cheers,
Bart
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Old November 17th, 2009, 05:26 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Super! Please do send (or I can pm my email to you).

I will have it printed at a local store-type printing place (similar to shutterfly quality).
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  #24  
Old December 1st, 2013, 01:45 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Rachel,

This is about as far as I can take the small JPEG (8 x 6.7 inches on a 96 PPI screen):




If you like, I can send you a link by PM to a larger version for printing. Just let me know what type of printer is going to be used (300 or 360 PPI), so I can prepare it for those specs at the same size (or another size).

Cheers,
Bart

Interesting that the faces suffered the most but could be cleaned up in a software dedicated to portraits, such as Portrait professional, but one would limit it to getting rid of obvious blotchiness and avoid harming the edges.

Asher
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  #25  
Old December 1st, 2013, 06:28 AM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is online now
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Most important are the expectations of the person wanting the print. Just like some of my wedding or portrait customers who would make prints from the online 450 or 500 pixel proofs that I would provide for making their selection - your person will likely be quite satisfied just to have a print, even though it cannot live up to a high standard that a photographer would want.

From a normal viewing distance, I was even quite surprised when I recently visited the home of a couple in Nicaragua who I supplied a 4x6 print to last year. They had the print scanned and enlarged at a local print shop, to 16x20 and had dropped the background out to make a nice portrait that is framed and hanged on their wall. While I would never sell a final portrait of that quality that would cost them $400 for that size - - - most people can't tell the difference - especially if there is nothing to compare to and it comes cheap or free. People view larger prints from a greater distance - no from inches away where they may recognize all of the imperfections.

Please do not make a judgement based on what you see on your own screen, or from efforts being made online to show you the effects of enlargement. They mean nothing. You will have to print the file to see the result. It is the only way. The simplest and best option for my upsampling, is using Photoshop and Bicubic Sharper. When I send files to professional labs, their very expensive RIPs will generally do a slightly better job, and so I send the file as-is.

In your case, you could end up spending hours and hours and in reality see no appreciable difference - - - or at least not a difference that the person who asked you would recognize. BTW - a suggestion above of adding noise to the file when upsizing, will cover many of the artifact issues when printed. I often do this.
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