Last updated: September 4, 2023
Are you looking for a simple and effective method to enlarge your images without losing the quality ? You've come to the right place, this article has all the answers you need!
Why does enlarging an image ruin its quality?
When an image is magnified, it tends to lose its sharpness, and details may become blurry. Why does this happen?
The main reason is related to how digital images are structured. Most of the images you come across online (JPEG, PNG) are bitmap or raster. These images are made up of a mosaic of pixels, each of which has a specific color and brightness. When you look at the image as a whole, these pixels combine to create a cohesive image.
Imagine a mosaic of colored tiles. From a distance, the pattern or image on the mosaic is clear. However, if you move closer or enlarge the mosaic, you will begin to see the individual tiles. Similarly, as you zoom or magnify a bitmap image, individual pixels become more and more visible, creating a pixelated effect.
When you enlarge an image, you are essentially telling your software to add more pixels. However, since the information for these new pixels does not exist in the original image, the software must "invent" them based on the existing pixels. This process is called thethe interpolation. Unfortunately, interpolation can lead to a blurry or distorted image, as shown in the image below:
Conversely, when you reduce the size of an image, the quality degradation is usually less noticeable. This is mainly because removing pixels when downsizing makes pixel blocks less noticeable.
It is therefore for these reasons that enlarging an image is often a trade-off between size and quality. However, with the advancement of artificial intelligence techniques, it is increasingly possible to minimize the loss of quality when enlarging images.
So what is the best solution?
The secret lies in the efficient filling of "gaps" when adding new pixels, ensuring that these harmonize with the pixels existing surroundings.
Understand that an image does not simply expand like a rubber band. In reality, during enlargement, new pixels are inserted. To maintain a consistent appearance and preserve image quality, these new pixels should adopt a color that matches that of neighboring pixels.
However, it is important to keep in mind the limitations of magnification. You cannot, for example, turn a small, low-resolution image into a high-quality poster. Although quality will inevitably degrade with enlargement, there are techniques to minimize this degradation and achieve relatively good results.
Among the most widely used techniques for image enlargement are the fractal compensation and use of artificial intelligence. Fractal compensation generally offers better results than traditional interpolation methods when it comes to enlarging an image.
At the same time, artificial intelligence techniques, thanks to advances in deep learning, can more accurately predict which pixels to add when zooming in, often with superior results.
In the rest of this article, we'll walk you through the process of using these two techniques to enlarge your image with the image editing software appropriate.
Enlarge an image without losing quality with Gimp
GIMP, historically recognized as a free alternative to Photoshop, offers an effective solution for enlarging images while minimizing quality loss.
Here are the steps to enlarge images using GIMP while preserving quality:
- First of all, download and install Gimp on your computer if you haven't already.
- Next, open GIMP and load the image you want to resize.
- Access the scale and image size functionality through the menu Image »Image scale and size.
- Enter the new dimensions you want for your image.
- In the field 'Quality', select 'LoHalo' as the interpolation method. This method is particularly effective in minimizing the loss of quality when resizing.
- Click on the 'Scale' button to apply the changes.
And now, voila ! You can now save your enlarged image to your computer.
Enlarge images using IrfanView
IrfanView is a popular and user-friendly photo editing software, especially suitable for novice users. However, note that it is only available for Windows operating systems. The tool makes it easy to resize images, and this process is made simple with IrfanView.
Here's how to proceed:
- Start by download and install IrfanView on your computer.
- Once installed, open the image you want to resize with IrfanView.
- Access the resize option by navigating through the menu Image > Resize/Resample.
- In the window that appears, enter the new dimensions you want for your image.
- Finally, select Lanczos (slowest) from the filter drop-down menu. Be sure to check the box Apply sharpen after Resample to improve image sharpness after resizing.
IrfanView will now resize the image according to your preferences. Once this process is complete, you can save your resized image to your computer.
To illustrate the effectiveness of this method, here is an example image before and after applying the resizing process with IrfanView
Achieve optimal magnification with the help of Photoshop
For those looking for high-quality results, Photoshop, one of the most popular image-editing software, offers a robust set of tools for enlarging images. Here are the steps to enlarge an image in Photoshop while preserving the quality:
- Open Photoshop and load the image you want to enlarge.
- Go to the menu Image then select Image size.
- In the dialog box that opens, you can enter the new dimensions for your image.
- In the section Resampling, make sure the option is enabled and the resampling method is set to Preservation of details 2.0. It's an advanced interpolation technique that uses artificial intelligence to preserve detail when zooming in.
- You can also adjust the level of noise reduction and detail preservation as needed.
- Once you have made these settings, click OK to apply the changes.
Your image is now enlarged with optimized quality. Don't forget to save your work when you're done.
Use Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI to magnify an image
One of the AI-based image magnification tools that has gained popularity is Gigapixel AI from Topaz Labs. Indeed, it uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the quality of magnified images.
This is a significant advance over traditional image enlargement methods that rely on interpolation algorithms.
Here's how to use Gigapixel AI to enlarge an image:
- Start by install Gigapixel AI on your computer. Topaz Labs offers a free trial version, which allows you to try out the tool before deciding to purchase it.
- Once installed, open Gigapixel AI and import the image you want to enlarge by clicking Open or by dragging and dropping the image into the program window.
- In the field Resize, enter the desired size for your image.
- Then let Gigapixel AI process your image. Processing time will vary depending on image size and selected magnification level.
- Once the image is processed, you can preview the result before exporting it. Finally, click on Save to save the enlarged image to your computer.