So, you come across an old picture on your Facebook timeline and wish to get it printed in large format. Or perhaps you have a memorable photo from the past that you want to upload on your blog or social media channel.
But the problem is that the image in hand is tiny for both purposes and requires you to enlarge the size before sharing it with your physical and virtual world.
Naturally, your first instinct is to try your hand at resizing using any traditional software like Microsoft Paint. However, when you make an attempt, you find the picture losing its quality and becoming blurry. It makes the image look very unprofessional, making you hesitant about continuing its use.
Fortunately, you don’t have to either!
In this article, let’s talk about the solutions that can help you enlarge the size of pictures without sacrificing quality.
Table of Contents
Why Pictures Lose Quality When Enlarged?
Nearly all images on the internet are supported by the Bitmap (raster) format. Whether you are using a JPEG picture format, PNG, or GIF, you will eventually have to convert it into a bitmap for use on a web-based platform.
All bitmap images are made up of hundreds and thousands of pixels. Each of these pixels carries a single color and is set on a fixed location of the picture.
When you enlarge these images, the pixels become more visible as they do not adapt to the fluctuation in size. As a result, the whole picture loses its quality and becomes blurrier. In fact, if you zoom in further, you will actually see the image consisting of square boxes in different colors.
Alternatively, degrading the size does not make any difference to the end result of a picture. This is because the pixels become less visible when you shrink the image’s size, and therefore, there is no quality loss.
How To Enlarge Pictures Without Losing Quality
Thanks to advanced technology, there are several tools available to enlarge pictures without compromising on quality. The process they use is called Fractal Interpolation and helps compensate each pixel to match with the surrounding others.
Here, let’s take a look at some of the tools available to help you make these alterations with minimal effort.
Upscaler by Stockphotos.com
The Upscaler by Stockphotos.com is a top-rated image enlarging tool for its ease of use and versatility. It features a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface allowing the users to conveniently upscale their low-resolution pictures with a single click. And that too, right from their desktop.
The upscaler offers 3 free upscales without any subscription. With the free offer, you can enlarge the picture up to 2x the original image.
However, suppose you have a lot of pictures that require enhancement. In that case, the upscaler gives the option to choose from the many budget-friendly packages. These will let you upscale images by 4x and 8x while also supporting multiple image formats.
Another bonus perk of the Stockphotos.com upscaler is the ability to crop images according to the required social media guidelines. With social media usage as one of the most popular online activities, we all have pictures to share with families and followers. Well, with the tools’ premium packages, you can easily adjust the size of your enlarged image as per the leading platforms. And that too, without blur, artifacts, and visual noise.
Compatibility: Any Windows and MAC browser
Supported image formats: JPG, PNG, WEBP, & BMP
BigJPG is another web-based software that uses Deep Convolutional Neural Networks to identify visual distortion and enlarges the picture without impacting the quality. Plus, it comes with a mobile app that lets you upscale pictures on the go – at any time.
BigJPG comes with both free and paid packages. With the free service, you can enlarge a limited number of pictures up to 2x and 4x. You can upgrade to a premium package for bulk images that lets you upscale 500, 1000, and 2000 pictures per month, respectively.
The paid versions are deemed to offer faster processing and enhanced stability. You can also upscale up to 16x when subscribed to the premium packages.
Compatibility: Any Windows and MAC browser, Android, iOS
Supported image formats: JPG and PNG
Photoshop is perhaps one of the most popular image editing software. It is also one of the most complex and more geared towards professional designers.
However, it has an Image Resample feature that lets you upscale the pictures without suffering quality loss. But note that it is best to resample by gradual 10 percent increments for best results.
Here is how to upscale the picture using Adobe Photoshop:
Open the image you want to enlarge on the Photoshop software.
Go to the application menu and choose Image > Image Resize.
Go to the Pixel Dimensions section and change the unit to ‘percent’.
Check the Constrain Proportion option and set the width/height value to 110.
Go to resampling options and choose Bicubic (smoother).
Click on OK to enlarge the picture. You can continue the above steps by specifying 10 percent increments until you reach the desired size of picture.
Once you are satisfied, save the image on your device.
As you can see, there is a bit of a learning curve associated with Photoshop. However, if you do have the software installed, you can upscale the pictures conveniently by following the above method.
GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop for Windows, MAC, and Linux users. It boasts numerous photo editing features that you will only find in premium software. Plus, it is open-source and allows developers to update for further functionality.
Above all, it can upscale pictures with lossless technology – similar to Photoshop.
To upscale a picture on Gimp, simply open the image you want to alternate. On the application menu, go to Image > Scale Image. Here, you will need to enter the dimensions and the preferred quality using Sinc( Lanczos3) from the Interpolation option.
Finally, click on ‘Scale’ and save the image once you are satisfied with the results.
Irfanview is another free photo editing tool available only to Windows operating system users. It is open source and is constantly updated to provide the members with new tools and support.
However, Irfanview is not web-based, and you will have to first download the software on your computer.
To upscale/enlarge images on Irfanview:
Upload your picture.
Click on Image and select Resize/Resample from the drop-down menu.
Set New Size (enter the desired height/width)
Click on Size Method > Resample > Lanczos.
Tick on Apply Sharpen After Resample.
The best feature of Irfanview is that it allows you to set the preferred size in one go. Apart from upscaling, it also hosts a ton of photo editing features like cropping, bulk processing, filters, and optimization.
More Tips To Help You Enlarge Images
These were just some of the tools that can help you upscale pictures with minimal quality loss. Besides these, there are a number of tips you can follow to ensure the original quality of your images is maintained.
Use Vector Images
Vector images are the second most popular type of format used on the internet. They are also the only form of graphics that can be enlarged without facing quality issues. However, they are ideal only for simple images such as logos that are easy to represent mathematically. If you convert complex photographs into vectors, you probably won’t get the intended results.
You will first have to convert the pictures into vector format, upscale, and then revert back to bitmap for web use. Vector Magic is one tool that can aid you in converting traditional pictures into vectors using automated and manual settings.
Shoot Using The Maximum Size Possible
If you are capturing images in RAW format, you will probably find the end results in their enlarged capacity. However, if you choose to shoot in jpeg, it is important to set your camera to the highest quality setting possible.
Remember, the higher the quality of your jpeg image is, the larger you will be able to print a photo without impact on quality.
Aim For Low ISO
The ISO setting is one of the three elements that photographers use to control exposure. The higher your ISO is, the more roughness you will see in the end result.
To eliminate the grain or visual noise, I recommend that you use a low ISO when shooting. You can also try decreasing shutter speed for a longer exposure. Keep in mind that you will have to keep your camera shake at a minimum for the best results.
Go For The Bigger Original Image
If you are shooting pictures from a camera you bought in the past five years, it is safe to say that you will get images boasting a high resolution.
However, if you have a choice, my suggestion is to go for pictures shot using cameras with higher megapixels and DPI (dot per inches) settings. These pictures will enable you to get quality enlargement results with minimal artifacts and distortion.
The impact of visuals on a digital medium cannot be ignored. Numerous studies also support its importance and rank it one of the best sources for personal and professional engagement. However, you cannot ignore the quality of pictures when uploading on the internet. And with the help of these tools, we hope that you don’t have to either!
Try the above tips and tools and get started on your photo enlarging process. Good luck!
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