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Upsizing an Image with Minimal Quality Loss

May 11, 2005 by
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The secret is in percents!

How many times has it happened to you? You find the perfect image for that newsletter, web site, brochure or what have you, and DANG, if only it were a little bit bigger! Arg. If the graphic had been created in Illustrator (an .eps, see NOTE below), enlarging it sans quality loss would be a snap. Alas, our beloved image is made of fragile little pixels (meaning it's a .jpg, .tif, or .gif) meaning we must use pixel-based image manipulation software such as Photoshop or Elements. Indeed, the Universe can be a cruel and harsh place.

NOTE: Graphics created in Illustrator are vector-based, which simply means that a complicated set of instructions is used to “describe” the image (these instructions are written in a language called Postscript). Photoshop and Elements are raster-based, meaning it uses actual dots (pixels) to make up an image.

However, surprisingly enough, both Photoshop and Elements can increase an image size in 10% increments without a huge loss in quality. In a pinch, this can be super useful. Be forewarned: with great power comes the need to practice great restraint! You may find yourself tempted to do *more* than 10% at a time. Resist that urge. Anything over 10% at a time leads to *major* quality degradation and that’s bad, mmmkay? Stick to 10% increments at a time, even if it means doing it 10 or more times to get the size you want.

Step 1: Open the coveted image and from the Image menu, choose Image Size.

Step 2: Make sure that Resample Image is checked (circled in red below).

Step 3: Change the unit of measure pull down menu from inches to percent (also circled in red below), and type in 110.

Repeat steps 1-3 until you reach the desired image size.

That's all there is to it! I hope you enjoy this little emergency image fixer-uper :)