by ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

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I want to enlarge an image to a bigger size. This will cause pixelation.

So I want to apply some treatment to it in Photoshop that will suppress some of this pixelation. Of course I cannot generate new pixel information, only smoothen it etc. so that the pixelation is not so much apparent in full views and prints. Example, one effect popular with photographers is to copy the image into a second layer, set its blending mode to overlay or soft light etc., then apply a blur to it. This somewhat smoothens the image. But it also changes its appearance into a glowy kind of look (which is the aim, usually).

I want a treatment that will fake the appearance of a higher-res smooth image without too many side-effects.

Any tricks of this kind?

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See for an "is it possible" question, which has some practical advice in the answers as well, but isn't as pointed as your question. – mattdm Dec 26 '11 at 15:27
Also take a look at a case study by jrista. – Esa Paulasto Aug 28 '13 at 4:37
See also here… – Matthew Lock Apr 20 at 7:54
up vote 15 down vote accepted

If you've tried enlarging in Photoshop, the first thing is to experiment with the resampling algorithm (photoshop suggests bicubic smoother as the best for enlarging, but I have found it to be image dependent (if you have an image with a lot of edges vs a portrait or landscape).

Rather than smoothing, blurring I would suggest using a denoise program next, because they are smarter than any layer tricks, and can denoise while retaining sharpness.

Or you can use a product that is made specifically for this purpose, like Genuine Fractals. It promises up to 1000% enlargement without loss of quality.

Jeff Atwood has a blog post about this here: Better Image Resizing

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I love this comment from the article: "if I really needed the Lena image that large, I'm better off hunting down old copies of Playboy and scanning them myself. Or at least that's what I tell my wife..." – fortran Jul 12 '13 at 14:56

I have found the free waifu2x very good for upsizing images. You can try an online demo. It uses "Deep Convolutional Neural Networks" to predict what the missing image data should be. It works better for line art, but is definitely acceptable for photos.

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I'm normally skeptic on resampling programs, but this one make a decent result on some tests I made, inclusive on jpg noise removal. – Rafael Jul 10 '15 at 20:31

Based on this research paper, "Super-Resolution From a Single Image", from 2009 I found an implementation called QE SuperResolution which is an ok implementation.

The examples on the above page are just stunning (click the "SR" button to see the super-resolution version), and I doubt you could find anything better than that as of 2015.

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Worth noting that the company which made QE SUperResolution does not seem to exist anymore. You can find a archive of their website at… – mattdm Oct 19 '15 at 20:12

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