Photoshop offers users many powerful editing tools and allows users to manipulate, edit, and enhance their images in various ways. A common use of Photoshop is to enlarge a photo without sacrificing quality. Something that can’t be said for most of the image-enlarging tools out there.
Usually, photographers would tell you that you can make an image smaller, but you can’t increase the image size because the pixels don’t exist. However, Photoshop has developed AI tools that accurately add and blend new pixels into an image. You can also use a plugin that uses AI to rescale the photo.
I will show you three easy ways to enlarge your image with some tips and tricks to achieve the best results and prevent loss of quality. You may need to enlarge your photos for many reasons, such as for creating wall art, posters, and large advertisements. Whatever your desired result is, these methods will help you achieve it.
3 Ways To Enlarge Images In Photoshop
After learning these three methods, you will have all the tools you need to choose the best method to create beautiful and high-quality images with ease.
All you need is a good-quality image, to begin with, as these methods won’t improve the quality of pictures that are lacking too much.
These methods simply preserve the existing quality of your photo. Below is the photo I’ll be resizing in these examples:
1. Using Preserve Details 2.0
The Preserve Details 2.0 feature is available in Photoshop CC 2018 and later versions. This tool is arguably one of Photoshop’s most intuitive and advanced AI technology that assists photo editors.
The benefits of using this method are that it’s quick and can be used on any image file (the photo doesn’t need to be in RAW format). This resampling method also prevents artifacts in the picture and doesn’t oversharpen existing details but adds in new pixels relatively accurately.
This method won’t improve the quality of an image that is originally low-quality. It can only preserve the current quality of your photo. There is also a limit to how much you can increase the size of an image while still maintaining the quality.
To view the effects of the upscaling method and see if the details are preserved, it’s best to zoom into the image. Use Control + + (Win) or Command + + (Mac) to zoom in. I zoomed to 300%.
Step 1: Open The Image Size Dialogue Box
When you are ready to resize your image, open the image size dialogue box by going to Image > Image Size. You can also use the shortcut Control + Alt + I (Win) or Command + Option + I (Mac).
The Image Size box gives details about the photo, such as the file size, image dimensions, resolution, and a preview of the image.
Step 2: Link The Width And Height Dimensions Together
When resizing an image, you should ensure that the width and height values adjust together to prevent the image from distorting. If you increased the height by 200 pixels but only increased the width by 100, it would distort the photo by squishing the sides.
To ensure that the image ratio remains the same, you need to link the width and height values and then only change one value, and the other will adjust automatically to keep the ratio the same.
Click on the link icon to turn it on or leave it if it is already enabled. When the link is active, there are two lines that move toward the values.
At this point, you can also change the units to a specific type if you need. Click on the drop-down menus next to the width, height, and resolution values to select the unit type, such as pixels, inches, points, etc. I will leave mine as pixels and pixels/inch.
Step 3: Set The Resample Option To Preserve Details 2.0
Next, you must ensure that the Resample option is checked at the bottom of the window. Click on the box if it isn’t selected yet.
Then, use the drop-down menu to select the Preserve Details 2.0 option from the list.
Step 4: Change The Image Dimensions
Now that you have linked the values and selected the resampling option, you can increase the image size by changing one value, either the width or height. You can also adjust the resolution and let the image size adjust automatically. For this example, I will change the resolution to 150 pixels/inch and let the image dimensions adjust accordingly.
When you select the Preserve Details option, a Noise slider appears at the bottom. You can use this setting to reduce any noise created in the image when you increase the size. Use the preview window to adjust the noise if needed.
Click OK when you have adjusted the size and noise to accept the new image size.
Step 5: Check The Details In The Larger Image
Your image will now be zoomed in further as the image size has increased. You can check the quality at the same percentage you zoomed in on earlier. Mine was at 300%.
You can zoom out further to compare the original quality with the quality of the larger image.
2. Using Super Resolution In Camera Raw
The second method to enlarge an image is the Super Resolution function in Camera Raw. This feature allows you to increase the resolution of a RAW image while preserving the quality, which is useful when you need to print large-scale photos for advertising, posters, or wall art at home. The feature doubles the image resolution.
The AI features of the function work to slightly improve the image resolution while, at the very least, maintaining the photo’s quality, which prevents a loss of quality even while upsizing the picture.
Upsizing an image often increases noise depending on how much you increase the file size. Increasing the resolution too much can lead to quality loss, especially when using a low-quality image, to begin with. The feature can only add new pixels based on the information already present in the original image.
The process is quite intensive, which makes the resizing process slower than other methods. This feature is only available on RAW files that automatically open in Camera RAW.
Here’s a zoomed-in view of the original image if you want a good idea of the quality changes after resizing.
Step 1: Open Your Image In Camera Raw
You will need an actual RAW file for this feature to work. Open your file in Camera RAW by opening it in Photoshop or through Bridge. You can use this feature if the image automatically appears in the Camera RAW workspace.
You can use the tabs on the right-hand side to add adjustments to the photo, such as changing the exposure, contrast, or highlights and shadows. Once you have added basic edits to the image, you can use the Super Resolution function to enlarge it.
Step 2: Select The Enhance Feature
Select the Enhance feature by right-clicking (Win) or Control + clicking (Mac) on the image in the filmstrip at the bottom of the window and clicking on Enhance. You can also select multiple photos to enhance at once if you’d like.
Step 3: Select The Super Resolution Option
In the Enhance Preview window, you will have two options. Check the box next to Super Resolution to double the image’s resolution.
You can use the preview box on the left to see the changes in the image. Click anywhere on the picture to zoom into the image. Click and hold on the image to view the photo without the enhance function applied, and let go of the mouse to view the enhanced view.
Step 4: Click Enhance And Check The File
If you are happy with the new resolution, click on Enhance to make the changes.
Wait a few moments for Photoshop to apply the enhancing effect. The time it takes to apply the effect depends on the size and original resolution of the image. Once the effect is applied, you will notice a second image appear in the filmstrip.
Photoshop automatically saves the enhanced image as a new file in the same location as the original. The new file is named the same as the original, with “-Enhanced” added to the name. The second file in the filmstrip is the enhanced image.
You can zoom in to the same spot as you did in the original to view the quality differences.
You can now continue editing the enhanced image as needed. You won’t be able to enhance the image a second time, as the feature can only be used once per photo.
3. Using Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Plugin
The last method I recommend to enlarge your image using Photoshop is through the Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Plugin. Once you download the program, you can install it into Photoshop to use on your pictures.
Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI is a specific program aimed at enlarging images, allowing you to increase the size of a photo by up to 600% while retaining the quality of the pictures, which is a lot more than the Image Size option can manage. In some cases, the plugin improves the quality of the picture.
The program also offers customization options to adjust the image detail, noise, and texture to produce the best results. You can also use Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI to batch-enlarge groups of images, and the program is compatible with PNG, JPG, TIFF, and other file formats.
The downside to using this option is that the program isn’t free. While you can use a free trial version of the program, it saves the final image with a watermark. You must purchase the paid version to use the program without the watermark on your image.
The plugin is also complex and requires an additional learning curve on top of understanding Photoshop if you are still unfamiliar with the program. Due to the AI processes used to enlarge the image, it will take longer than the other methods, and you have limited control over the outcome.
However, the plugin is an excellent option if you need to upscale your images for printing purposes while retaining the quality. Here is how the plugin works when enlarging the image below, which I have zoomed into to show the quality differences.
Step 1: Download The Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Plugin
To use the plugin, you need to download the Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Plugin before installing it into Photoshop. You can download the free trial or buy the program on the Topaz Labs website. Select the option you would like and download it onto your computer and follow the necessary steps to install it on your computer.
Step 2: Open The Plugin In Photoshop
Once you have the program on your computer, you can install it into Photoshop. To add the plugin to Photoshop, open the image you want to enlarge in Photoshop and go to File > Automate > Topaz Gigapixel AI. Remember to add any adjustments to the picture before opening the plugin.
The Topaz Gigapixel AI program will open, and it may need to download some files to work with the image you opened in Photoshop. Give the program time to download the necessary files.
Once the program has downloaded the necessary files, you’ll see your image in the preview window with an updated resolution. Click on the image to view the file’s original resolution. Let go to view the updated resolution again.
You can then move through the settings tabs on the right to determine how you’d like to resize the image.
Step 3: Select The Resize Mode
The first tab is the Resize Mode, which lets you choose how you want to resize the image. You can choose between Scale, Width, or Height.
If you want to increase the scale of the entire image, select the Scale option. This allows you to increase the scale by 0.5 times, 2 times, 4 times, or 6 times, or to input your own scale, to which you can add a value between 0.20 to 999.
If you have a particular width or height value you’d like to image to be, you can select that option and input a value. The opposite side will adjust to match the new value you added.
Whenever you choose a scale or width/height value, you can click on the image to apply the new values and see how the image looks. You will also see below the picture the original size, the scale that the image is increased by, and the new dimensions of the enlarged image.
Step 4: Select The AI Model
The next settings tab allows you to select the AI model. There are a few options to choose from. They work as follows:
- Standard: The standard option is best for animals, landscapes, portraits, and nature photography
- Lines: Works well with images that feature lots of lines, such as architecture, cityscapes, and pictures that feature text
- Art & CG: This option is best for images that aren’t photographs, such as paintings, drawings, and CGI
- Low Resolution: Use this option if you have a low-resolution image to begin with, as it will preserve the original details from the picture
- Very Compressed: The last option is best used on small, old, or scanned photos.
Step 5: Adjust The Noise And Blur Settings
The next settings tab deals with the Noise and Blur settings. You can adjust the sliders to suppress the noise in the image and reduce the blur as needed. You can also click the auto button (next to the lightning icon) to let the program use AI to determine how much these settings need to be changed.
Step 6: Adjust The Additional Settings
The last tab lets you adjust additional settings such as Face Recovery and Gamma Correction. You can turn the face recovery option on and adjust the strength if your image contains faces. This option softens areas of the face while keeping the essential details. This option works well on pixelated faces.
The Gamma Correction option works to correct any brightness and luminance problems that may be evident in the resized image.
Step 7: Apply The Enlargement And View The Changes
Once you have adjusted the settings as needed, click Apply at the bottom of the window to confirm the changes.
You can now see the differences in the image before and after resizing the photo. Since my image was low-resolution, to begin with, you can see how the program has improved the quality while enlarging the photo. In my example, I upscaled the image from 512×768 pixels to 3072×4608 pixels, which is a 600% increase.
Once you have applied the changes, the image opens as a new layer in your Photoshop document above the original image layer. You can delete the original layer and edit and save your new photo as needed. These three methods are great ways to increase the size of your images while retaining the sharp quality your image originally had. But if you regularly need to resize your images, I highly recommend giving Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI a try by downloading their free trial here.