To change image size in Photoshop, you can use an interpolation method such as Bicubic Smoother or Bicubic Sharper for resampling the pixels. Resized images often lose image quality, most noticeably when enlarged. They can display a stair step or halo around some edges, often referred to as fringe artifacts.
Alien Skin Blow Up 2 is a plug-in for enlarging images to extreme print sizes. The plug-in uses an interpolation method which increases the size of the image while maintaining smooth, sharp edges. You can enlarge 8, 16, or 32 bit images in almost any color space, including CMYK, Lab and Duotone, making this plug-in perfect for both amateur and professional photographers as well as graphic designers. You can automatically create a duplicate of the image before resizing and even control the amount of photo grain that appears in the enlarged image. Blow Up 2 includes over 100 presets for preparing photos for print, saving you time and numerous calculations of the dpi and aspect ratio involved in resizing images for print.
Alien’s Skin Blow Up 2 can resize up to the limit of 300K pixels per side. You can download a demo version of Blow Up 2 at Alien Skin.
So let’s start!
Choose the image you want to enlarge. Download this image here.
Step 1. Launch Photoshop and open the photo.
Step 2. Click File and choose Automate option.
Step 3. Choose Alien Skin Blow Up 2
The Alien Skin Blow Up dialog box appears.
Step 4. Click the Settings tab. The list of presets for resizing images for specific sizes and output destinations appears.
Step 5. Click the arrow by an output size, such as Large Photo Paper. A set of paper sizes and types appears.
Step 6. Click an output size and paper type such as 16×20 (300 dpi), Inkjet Luster. A crop rectangle appears on the photo.
Note: Alien Skin Blow Up 2 attempts to center the subject inside the crop rectangle.
Step 7. Click and drag inside the crop rectangle to frame the photo if necessary. I will drag the rectangle so the bird to be located in the left side of the photo.
Step 8. Click the Controls tab. The Controls options appear.
Step 9. Click Duplicate Image Before Resizing.
Step 10. Click OK. A progress bar appears.
Blow Up enlarges a duplicate of the image and assigns the same name as the original but with the word copy.
Here you go! You have enlarged your image and also kept its high quality properties.
Note: When using Blow Up’s Sharpen Edges slider be careful and try to avoid making the enlarged photo appear too smooth. You can also sharpen the original first with Photoshop’s Sharpen filters.
You can use Blow Up’s Add Grain slider to visually restore overly smooth details by applying artificial film grain. For extreme enlargements, however, you may need to use Alien Skin’s more powerful Exposure plug-in to add the correct amount of grain.