Printing Large: How Big Can You Go? A Sampling Of Resampling Programs Page 2

PhotoZoom is a new version of an old favorite, S-Spline. Sporting a new easier to use interface, PhotoZoom #6 is an excellent option that works as well as, and in some cases better than, its more expensive competition.

6. PhotoZoom is a new version of S-Spline which some claim to be the best re-sizing method available.

Genuine Fractals and pxl SmartScale use their own proprietary re-sizing methods and claim that enlargements of up to 1600 percent with no visible loss of quality are possible. Of the two, I've had the best results with pxl SmartScale. The familiar Photoshop style interface and the ability to use regular TIFF files--Genuine Fractals requires you to convert to their own format--all fit into my workflow naturally. I haven't tested SmartScale to its limits, but prints up to 24x96 on the HP 130nr look great with no obvious image degradation. Both of these programs make it easy to set a specific print size which helps keep the image re-sizing optimized #7.

7. If you're used to Photoshop, you'll have no problem figuring out pxl SmartScale. It has the look and feel of an Adobe application. Simple adjustment options allow you to fine-tune your enlargements.

For this story, I enlarged the same image using all of the applications mentioned earlier #8 & #9. The source image was a 5-megapixel JPEG enlarged to 16x20. pxl SmartScale gave me the best results but only by a small margin. This shows the original image used and a full-size section of that image from each of the programs.

8. I started out with this image, a JPEG shot with a 5-megapixel Canon G5. The goal was to create a 16x20 print.

So, are these programs worth it? As usual, it depends. If you use Photoshop CS or Elements 3.0, I'd use the built-in re-sizing function. If you regularly print poster size or larger, then I recommend pxl SmartScale. Users of older versions of Photoshop, PaintShop Pro and Digital Image Pro should be happy with Stair Interpolation Pro or PhotoZoom.

9. The same area shown at full size from each of the programs discussed here.

Jon Canfield is the co-author of "Photo Finish: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Printing, Showing, and Selling Images," and the author of "RAW Confidence." Jon also writes the Output Options column for eDigitalPhoto.


Fred Miranda


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