Most cameras these days take very large photographs, often 5,000 pixels across; a size far larger than most of us need to share photos with friends, or post photos online. Making a photo smaller and retaining a crisp, sharp image is child’s play. What about blowing up a photo and making it larger than the original image? That’s not so easy and few apps for the Mac do it well.
Enter Blow Up.
This Mac utility lets you blow up a photo to double or triple the original size and yet retain most of the crisp sharpness of the original without visual artifacts. If the proof is in the taste of the pudding, then visual examination of a Blow Up should raise your interest level.
Here’s an original photo.
Ordinarily, blowing up even a high resolution image will result in the standard jaggies or visual stairstep artifacts. Some photo enhancement apps apply what is known as bicubic interpolation to smooth out the jaggies to create a sharper image.
Blow Up’s method results in an even sharper image. Look closely at the original on the left, and the 200-percent enlargement from Blow Up on the right.
Click on either photo for a larger, pop-up view with more detail?
How does Blow Up accomplish a sharper image? Obviously, Blow Up’s technology is proprietary, but creating a much larger image or photo without the typical visual artifacts is easy.
Blow Up is a professional level plugin for Macs and Windows PCs running Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Photoshop Lightroom, so it’s not a product aimed at the average Mac user. The plugin interface is rather simple, though. Drop in the photo and crop or resize as needed. A slider bar sharpens edges and grain can be added or reduced using a similar slider bar, so some trial and error is required.
Blow Up can handle photos or images stretched to 300,000 pixels per side, which just happens to be the maximum that Photoshop can handle. It can even handle CMYK images and 16-bit/channel images often used by the photo and printing pros.