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The Cool Trick for Turning Small Photos into Poster-Sized Prints


Generally speaking, shrinking the physical dimensions of a photo does not create a quality problem—you can make an 8 x 10 into a 4 x 5 with little visible loss of quality. Increasing the size of an image is where you run into problems (the photo often gets visibly blurry, softer, and even pixelated). However, digital photography guru (and Photoshop User columnist) Jim DiVitale showed me a trick he swears by that lets you increase your digital-camera images up to full poster size with hardly any loss of quality visible to the naked eye, and I tell ya, it'll make a believer out of you.

Step One. Open the digital-camera image you want to increase to poster size. The image shown here was taken with a 3.2-megapixel Nikon digital camera. It's physically 4.727″ wide by 4.787″ high, at 300 ppi.
Step Two. Go under the Image menu and choose Image Size. When the Image Size dialog appears, make sure Resample Image is turned on, and change the Resample Image Interpolation Method to Bicubic Smoother. Switch the unit of measurement pop-up menus in the dialog from Inches to Percent (as shown) and type in 110, which increases your image by 10%. Believe it or not, when you increase in 10% increments, for some reasons it doesn't seem to soften or blur the image. It's freaky, I know, but to believe it, you just have to try it yourself.
Step Three. To get this image up to poster size, it's going to take quite a few passes with this “increase-by-10%” technique, so I recommend creating your own custom Action to do it for you at the press of one key. Here's how: Go under the Window menu and choose Actions. When the palette appears, click the Create New Action button at the bottom of the palette. When the New Action dialog appears, name your action “Upsize 110%,” and then choose a Function Key (F-key) that you want to assign this Action to (I chose F11). Then, click the Record button and repeat Step Two. After you've increased to 110%, click the square Stop button at the bottom of the Actions palette to complete your recording process. Now, every time you press the F11 Function Key (or the F-key you actually assign) on your keyboard, your current image will be increased by 10%.
Step Four . Here's the final image, increased from approximately 4.75″ x 4.75″ to approximately 20″ x 20″, and even onscreen, the loss of quality is almost negligible, yet the image is the size of a standard, full-sized poster. I had to run the Action 15 times to get up to that size, but because I wrote an Action, it took only a fraction of the time (and trouble). Thanks to Jimmy D for sharing this amazing, yet deceptively simple technique with us. Jim rocks!
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