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Resizing for Poster-Sized Prints

So, since you saw earlier how much resolution you need to have to create a decent-sized print, how do photographers get those huge poster-sized prints without having super-high-megapixel cameras? It’s easy—they upsize the images in Photoshop, and the good news is that unless you need to resize your image by more than 300%, you can do this all right in Photoshop without having to buy a separate resizing plug-in (but if you need more than a 300% size increase, that’s where those plug-ins, like OnOne Software’s Perfect Resize, really pay off).

Step One:

Open the photo you want to resize, then go under the Image menu and choose Image Size or press Command-Option-I (PC: Ctrl-Alt-I). When the Image Size dialog appears, to the right of the Width field, you’ll see a pop-up menu where Inches is chosen. Click on that menu and choose Percent (as shown here). Both the Width and Height will change to Percent, because they’re linked together by default. Then, turn on the Resample checkbox at the bottom.

Step Two:

Now, type in either 200% or 300% (although there is some debate about this, it seems to work best if you move up/down in 100% increments) in the Width field (again, since they’re linked, the Height field will automatically change to the same number).

Step Three:

At the bottom of the dialog is a pop-up menu that decides which algorithm is used to upsize your photo. The default is Automatic, and I use that for most everyday resizing stuff, but when it comes to jumping in big increments, like 200% or 300%, I switch to Bicubic Smoother (which Adobe says is “best for enlargement”), as shown here.

Step Four:

Vincent Versace breaks this rule. According to Vincent’s research, the key to his resizing technique is to not use the sampling method Adobe recommends (Bicubic Smoother), but instead to choose Bicubic Sharper, which he feels provides better results. So, which one is the right one for you? Try both on the same image (that’s right—just do a test print), and see if you can see a visible difference. Here’s the final image resized to around 25x16" (you can see the size in the rulers by pressing Command-R [PC: Ctrl-R]).

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