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Enlarging an image in Photoshop

From: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

Video: Enlarging an image in Photoshop

Reducing an image is a pretty simple process. Photoshop simply needs to throw out any extra pixels that it can find to get the image size down to where it needs to be. Enlarging is trickier because Photoshop may need to make up pixels, and that's where you can begin to degrade your image if you're not careful. So we've reduced this image. Let's take it the other direction. I've gone back to my original file, which has the original full pixel count. You can see, I'm currently at 4288 x 2848, for a 17 x 11 inch image, at 240 Pixels/Inch.

Enlarging an image in Photoshop

Reducing an image is a pretty simple process. Photoshop simply needs to throw out any extra pixels that it can find to get the image size down to where it needs to be. Enlarging is trickier because Photoshop may need to make up pixels, and that's where you can begin to degrade your image if you're not careful. So we've reduced this image. Let's take it the other direction. I've gone back to my original file, which has the original full pixel count. You can see, I'm currently at 4288 x 2848, for a 17 x 11 inch image, at 240 Pixels/Inch.

If all of this is going by way too fast and you skipped the "Reducing an image" movie, go back and watch that now because it goes into detail about how this Image Size dialog box works. So I'm going to do is go up. Let's say that I wanted to print this image 24 inches wide. Very often, before I do a resizing, I'll play around with the Image Size dialog box, just as a calculator to get a sense of exactly how much I can size an image, what kind of interpolation I'll need to do, and so on and so forth.

I begin that play by unchecking the Resample Image box. I want to see what can happen with just the native pixel count in my image. So for example, I know that I'm going to print at 360 pixels per inch. That means without any interpolation, my image is going to print at almost 12 x 8. But I'm wanting to go to 24 inches wide, so if I dial in 24, that means my Resolution is going to drop to 178. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I need to send the print to the printer at the printer's native resolution, which in the case of my Epson printer is 360.

So I'm going to need to do a lot of interpolation to get from 178 to 360. With experience, you're going to learn how large amounts of interpolation affect your image and whether you like that effect or not. I'm okay at this point with going from 178 to 360. I know that from experience. If I wasn't, I might see that 178 number right now and go ooh, actually I can't take this image that big, maybe I'm going to back off down to, say, 19 inches. That gets me to 225. That's going to be less interpolation upwards.

And so sometimes I'll make some image-size decisions based on that resolution number that I'm seeing. But again, that kind of just comes from experience, and it also comes from your personal taste: how much softening in an image are you willing to put up with, because that's what's going to happen here. We're going to soften image as we enlarge it, and we were possibly going to introduce some artifacts. But I'm going to stay committed to this 24-inch-wide idea. That's going to me a 24 x 15 inch image and without resampling, I am going to be down to 178 pixels per inch.

Just to recap, if I were to send the image to the printer like this, the printer would resample the image up to 360. I don't know that it's going to do as good a job at resampling as Photoshop does, but more importantly, that resampling that it does at that stage could mess up the sharpening that I'm going to apply after I resize. So I want this image at native resolution. That means I need to resample. With the Resample Image checkbox checked, my pixel count is now editable, and so I can go in here and dial in 360.

And I can see up here that I'm doing a whole lot of upscaling. I'm going from a 69.9 million pixel image to 283.7. That's a lot of going up. So my interpolation method is set to Bicubic Automatic. That is going to tell Photoshop to use Bicubic Smoother, which Adobe thinks is best for enlargement. If you're using a version of Photoshop that does not include Bicubic Smoother and Bicubic sharper, that is an older version of Photoshop-- and even some versions of the Creative Suite do not have these options--then you're going to need to go for Bicubic.

When you resample with Bicubic it's best not to do this big a jump all at once. Let me cancel out of this and show you how you're going to do this in steps with a Bicubic resampling. It's best to only go with Bicubic, to only go up in about 10% increments. So what I am going to do is I am going to start my setting my Resolution to 360, which gets my size down to 11 x 7. Now I'm going to check Resample. That locks my resolution into place and now I can start playing with size.

I'm going to switch over to Percent, and I'm going to go up 110%. I'm going to set to Bicubic, say OK, and let it do that interpolation. Now I'm going to go back to Image Size and see what my size is. I'm at 13. Well I need to get up to 24, so I'm going to Percent. I'm going to dial in 110%, and I'm going to keep doing those 10% steps until I get up to the size that I want.

That's one of the great advantages of newer versions of Photoshop is they have these newer interpolation methods that work much better and don't require those intermediate steps that the old Bicubic resampling did. So, let's just put this back where we had it. 24 inches wide, at 360, on Bicubic Automatic. It's going to give me a whole bunch of new data. I am going to let it sit there and think about that. Depending on the speed of your computer, this will take more or less time, and then when it's done I have this. Now I'm currently looking at 30%. I am going to zoom in some.

Now, I'm not going to do too much fretting over what I see here at 100%. The image is definitely softer, but what I'm looking for are these kinds of things. These stair-stepping patterns that came in here, that's the result of the interpolation. You may look at them here and go, oh my gosh that looks terrible, but remember, we are looking at individual pixels right now. Remember, too, that when this is printed 24 inches wide you're going to stand back from it. I'm even standing back from my monitor right now and those artifacts don't look so bad.

But that's the kind of thing you can end up with from really severe upsampling. The other thing that's happening is that this bit of dark edge that's come around the finger here is being exaggerated a little bit. But overall, I'd say this resizing went very, very well. The only way to find out for sure if my sharpness and my artifacting is acceptable is to do a print and check it out. This image will still need some sharpening, and we'll cover that in the next chapter.

Just remember that when you're scaling up you need to pay attention to resolution just as you always would when you're scaling down. Try to assess how much scaling you are doing and for your first large prints, pay attention to that degree of scaling so you can learn to develop a sense for how much scaling you can get away with. And remember, it's Bicubic Automatic or Bicubic Smoother if you have those choices; if not, then it's Bicubic in 10% increments.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Inkjet Printing for Photographers
Inkjet Printing for Photographers

68 video lessons · 14356 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring why we print
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding what you need for this course
      3m 25s
  2. 13m 29s
    1. Why inkjet printing?
      4m 36s
    2. Understanding ink types: Dye vs. pigment
      4m 26s
    3. Discussing considerations for black and white
      1m 48s
    4. Reviewing the features
      2m 39s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Printing and your workflow
      3m 3s
    2. Printing black-and-white photos
      6m 49s
    3. Understanding the histogram
      7m 37s
    4. Understanding what localized adjustments are used for
      2m 38s
    5. Explaining the histogram with a practical example
      6m 51s
    6. Making a localized adjustment in a practical example
      5m 30s
    7. Evaluating a localized adjustment in a practical example
      2m 29s
    8. Refining a localized adjustment for effect
      13m 36s
    9. Making a gradient adjustment
      6m 47s
    10. Paying attention to viewing conditions
      4m 49s
    11. Summing up
      1m 50s
  4. 54m 36s
    1. Understanding pixels, printer dots, and resolution
      2m 44s
    2. Understanding resolution
      2m 33s
    3. Defining resampling and interpolation
      3m 41s
    4. Understanding where resizing fits into your workflow
      2m 12s
    5. Defining native printer resolution
      2m 39s
    6. Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size
      2m 1s
    7. Reducing image size in Photoshop
      9m 11s
    8. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using Canvas Size
      4m 34s
    9. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using the Crop tool
      5m 15s
    10. Enlarging an image in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    11. Creating a triptych
      3m 55s
    12. Creating a triptych using Automator on a Mac
      4m 5s
    13. Exploring the aesthetics of print size
      4m 39s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding how sharpening works
      3m 18s
    2. Sharpening in JPEG mode
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring sharpening workflows
      3m 47s
    4. Sharpening in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    5. Looking at noise reduction
      1m 46s
    6. Sharpening output with Smart Sharpen
      11m 52s
    7. Understanding selective sharpening
      4m 25s
    8. Sharpening through an edge mask
      7m 17s
    9. Reviewing high-pass sharpening
      4m 30s
    10. Applying aggressive sharpening
      8m 53s
    11. Exploring advanced sharpening techniques
      9m 7s
    12. Exploring the Print dialog
      11m 35s
    13. Proofing at smaller sizes
      3m 3s
  6. 53m 9s
    1. Exploring how color works
      2m 5s
    2. Reviewing color models
      2m 56s
    3. Defining gamut and color space
      9m 55s
    4. Reviewing when colors go out of gamut
      4m 54s
    5. Configuring Photoshop's color settings
      5m 47s
    6. Changing color space in Camera Raw
      4m 7s
    7. Working in an advanced color space
      6m 13s
    8. Assigning a color space in Photoshop
      2m 20s
    9. Correcting a color image
      9m 17s
    10. Printing a color image
      3m 30s
    11. Evaluating the print
      2m 5s
  7. 34m 46s
    1. What is color management?
      4m 16s
    2. Profiling a monitor
      8m 45s
    3. Evaluating a monitor profile
      4m 37s
    4. Exploring paper profiles
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding soft proofing
      11m 51s
  8. 24m 33s
    1. Understanding how paper quality affects the appearance of black in prints
      3m 26s
    2. Looking at third-party papers
      3m 46s
    3. Looking at paper finish
      3m 44s
    4. Understanding paper traits
      6m 31s
    5. Discussing paper choice and presentation
      7m 6s
  9. 23m 18s
    1. Printing a black-and-white image
      11m 45s
    2. Printing a color image
      11m 33s
  10. 1m 16s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 16s

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