Signs of the Times - August 2013 - (Page 34)

SOFTWARE UPDATE By Theresa Jackson Theresa Jackson operates Orchard View Color (Escondido, CA) and has more than 20 years’ experience in prepress, graphic design, color management and photography. Email her at Image-Enlargement Software Up-scale plug-ins are nice, but not always necessary. Many people say Photoshop, on its own, can’t adequately enlarge images. This worry, in part, has led to the unconnected development of imageenlargement and “upscaling” software. I’ve recently evaluated (Alienupscale three plug-ins – Blow Up 3 Skin), Perfect Resize 7.5 (onOne) and PhotoZoom Pro 5 (BenVista). The results were somewhat surprising. All three plug-ins run within Photoshop CS6 and, once installed, are easily accessed via the “Automate” menu. When tagged, each displays a proprietary plug-in panel whose preview window allows you to adjust settings before you commit the image to scaling. Each plug-in presents sharpen settings and, in every test situation, returned sharper images than Photoshop. For the record, I use Photoshop’s default “Bicubic Automatic” setting when upscaling, and I’m not convinced an upscale plug-in is necessary for every Photoshop user. For example, despite the sharper results, I believe a plug-in (or software) choice depends on the original image quality, plus the output intention, workflow and the user’s skill level. Perfect Resize High-resolution, 16-bit, original image I started my evaluation with full-res, 18-megapixel, 16-bit images from my Canon 7D camera. I tested two shots – an architectural-type photo of a brick building with palm trees, and a portrait of a teenage girl. I scaled the images 500%, using default settings for each. The scaled images weighed in at more than 2.5 gigs. All three plug-ins created a sharper upscale image than Photoshop, but, interestingly, the Photoshop result was acceptable. With some postscale sharpening, the Photoshop image looked quite good, which means initial, good-quality, highresolution images may or may not require the extra time and expense of a third-party plug-in. Expectedly, the result hinges on your workflow and intended output. Photoshop was also the fastest at upscaling. It scaled the image within eight seconds. The next fastest was Blow Up at 1 minute, 18 seconds. Perfect Resize needed 9 minutes, 28 seconds and PhotoZoom Pro required 11 minutes, 45 seconds. I used PhotoZoom’s default setting: S-Spline Max, Photo Extra Detailed. Also, scaling from Photoshop reduces overall time by not requiring Blow Up 34 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / AUGUST 2013 / Photoshop the plug-in load time, which is not included in these timed results. Photoshop alone is much faster, but the peripheral plug-ins outdo Photoshop CS6 for sharpening edges and reducing flat-area artifacts. They also provide a preview of chosen settings before scaling. Low-resolution, stock-photo images Next, I tested low-res, 8-bit, .JPEG images, scaled at 1,000% and 1,500%. The results distinctly separated the software. Photoshop created a soft, grainy image that lacked distinct details. Blowup created a highly filtered look, with razor-sharp edges and watercolor-style flat areas. Perfect Resize and PhotoZoom Pro shined in this test, with similar, yet more impressive, results. Low-resolution .JPEG logo I finished the testing with a 300 x 369-pixel logo that I created from a vector original. I scaled it 1,500%, which created a 4,500 x 5,535-pixel image. The Photoshop result was, as above, soft and pixilated. Blow Up was barely acceptable. Perfect Resize was good. PhotoZoom, scaled with the S-Spline Max, Graphics – Extra PhotoZoom

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2013

Signs of the Times - August 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Cloud-based signshop software
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Esko Kongsberg XN finishing system
Technology Review - Gerber Edge seminars
Sign Museum News
New Products
Standing Their Ground
Commercial-Sign Company 1 on 1’s
Dynamic Displays at LAX
Advertising index
Editorially speaking

Signs of the Times - August 2013