Sunday, May 6, 2012

Up-size me, please

Today, I have been playing around with some old reject images as test subjects. My issue was, 'how to print at large sizes (say 1m wide) when you only have a camera with a 10Mega-pixel sensor? To print with good quality at 1m width would requires an image about 50Mp in size - larger than the new Nikon D800 and well into the outrageously expensive medium format digital category. However, Mp is a square measure and, while the long edge of my 10Mp sensor is 3,872px, a 50Mp sensor would be about 8,640px - only a 2.2x linear increase.

Conventional wisdom (and my own prior experience) says that you can't increase an image by 220% and get good quality (even using professional re-sizing tools)  but today I tried some other techniques and came up with a solution that provides good sharpness and smooth detail without obvious artifacting. Even with my perfectionist, pixel peeping, ways I would be hard pressed to detect the up-sizing, if I didn't know. Basically, after cleaning the image of any digital noise, a standard "bicubic smoother" upsize, followed by a pass through Topaz 'In focus' and a light touch with Topaz 'Detail', provides a large image file that I am happy to work with.

Of course this web picture is not 1m wide, so you can't see the results, but if you are a Topaz user you can try for yourself and see what results you get. This is not something to be applied at the end of the processing - it is something to do at the start, so that you have a large digital file entering the normal post-processing cycle. done this way, you can still provide some additional output sharpening using whatever tool you prefer at the end.

Anyway, re-sizing aside, this image had quite grown on me by the time I had finished. :-)

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