Have you ever tried to increase the resolution of a photo using editing software?
Maybe you want to convert a low-resolution image to a higher resolution so you can print it out bigger.
Fortunately, image processing apps have come a long way, and creating high-resolution images is actually easier than it sounds.
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The greater the image resolution of the photo, the larger we can print it, and the more ‘heavily’ we can crop into it.
I’ll be explaining how to increase the resolution of an image using 3 popular photo editors, including one handy free online option.
How to Increase Image Resolution While Preserving Image Quality
Option 1: Create a High-Resolution Image with Topaz Gigapixel AI
Gigapixel AI is an AI image upscaler software application developed by Topaz Labs – a software company that makes many great standalone photo editing tools.
Gigapixel AI is a very simple interface using artificial intelligence technology to enlarge your images by up to 600%. What’s more, you can do so without any noticeable image quality drop or distortion.
The overall process is incredibly simple yet delivers professional outcomes in increasing image resolution.
Another great benefit of Gigapixel AI is that it uses face recognition technology to retain detail and sharpness while increasing the size of the image considerably.
Similar software from other developers simply fills in missing pixels when up-scaling an image. However, Gigapixel AI uses machine learning to understand how new pixels should be created by sampling millions of similar images.
- Step 1: Download Gigapixel AI
First, you’ll need a copy of Gigapixel AI to follow along – fortunately you can download a free trial here.
I also recommend you check out the other Topaz products while you’re there since they all provide efficient (and affordable) solutions to common photography problems.
You can save money by buying Gigapixel as part of the Utility Bundle too.
As with any new software, check the system requirements Topaz products need to run on your computer. Compare your computer’s specifications against these to make sure Gigapixel AI will run smoothly.
This is important as the software will draw upon a considerable amount of your computer’s processing power.
Getting started with Gigapixel AI is really quite simple. As mentioned, the interface is minimal and there’s a natural learning curve of how to work within it.
In fact, when you first launch it there are links to tutorials on how to use the software.
Once you have the software open, you’ll see that in the centre of the screen there’s a folder icon with the word Open. You can either drag and drop your images here or click on the icon to bring up an open dialogue tool.
With this step, you can select both single and multiple images.
Gigapixel AI won’t work with RAW image formats such as those straight out of the camera. It will support .png, .tiff and the most common format of .jpeg. If you’re working with a RAW file, use a RAW Conversion application first.
Your original image will appear in the left half of the screen with a preview loading in the right half.
Step 3: Resize Your Image
Now that you’re ready to resize your image without losing quality, it’s time to take a look at the menu panel on the right-hand side of the screen.
Working from the top down, the first thing you’ll see is a Navigator screen with the full image displayed. With this, you can select what area of the image you want to view while making changes.
You first select how much you want to scale up your image. You can choose to resize via Scale, Width or Height – I went with Scale as it’s much simpler to control image size.
You can then select the Magnification with either the preset buttons from 0.5x up to 6x or you can enter a custom setting.
You can now control how much the image is corrected by the software. You select the Auto setting and the AI functions kick in to make the image look right.
Alternatively, you can select the Manual option and finely Suppress Noise, Remove Blur and then turn Face Refinement on or off.
Face Refinement is a powerful tool that’s best used for portrait photos that you’re wanting to scale up significantly. This does a great job of minimising distortion. Just keep in mind that on your screen it may not look perfect but when you print it out at a large scale it will look crisp.
As you make changes to the image, the software will constantly update the preview. With the original and preview side by side, you can compare them.
Once you’re satisfied with the controls you’ve fine-tuned and the look of the preview, it’s time to wrap it up.
You can now hit the Save button and this brings up a dialogue box. With this, you enter the Image Format, Filename, Save Directory and Colour Profile.
Image Format gives you the option to change it to JPEG, JPG, TIFF, TIF and PNG – I find JPEGs are the easiest to work with. The Save Directory is how you can choose the destination of the image on your computer.
Colour profiles are usually specific to your camera and they determine the way colour is represented by that device. The Colour Profile option lets you keep the original profile or select a custom one.
All that’s left to do is hit the Save button and the software works its magic. Processing a single image takes around a minute and a half and while that happens. The progress will be shown as a percentage at the bottom of the screen.
The image will be downloaded to your selected destination folder ready for viewing.
By following this process in Gigapixel AI, the image sharpness is noticeably increased as is overall quality.
Also, the facial recognition AI and resulting clean-up are almost flawless. I notice no degradation or distortion in images rescaled in this way.
Option 2: How to Increase Resolution in Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is a pro-level photo editing application with a powerful set of features. It’s developed by Adobe who also make Lightroom for desktop and mobile devices – this is a RAW image editor and image management solution.
Where Gigapixel AI is a dedicated resizing tool, Photoshop is a far more complex and feature-packed option. It’s really a graphic design application that works particularly well with editing images and graphic elements.
When it comes to increasing the resolution of an image, in Photoshop the process is known as resampling. This is where the image data is increased according to the scale that you want for the final image.
Downsampling is decreasing or deleting the number of pixels in an image. Conversely, resampling or upsampling means that new pixels are added to the image.
- Step 1: Download Adobe Photoshop
Although you can buy Adobe Photoshop on its own, it makes more sense to get it as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan here (you can also download a free trial too).
You’ll also get cloud storage and the ability to edit your images on the free Photoshop iPad app, and keep everything in sync with your computer – now, that’s cool!
Be sure to check the system requirements Adobe products need to run on your computer. Compare your computer’s specifications against these to make sure Photoshop will run smoothly.
- Step 2: Open An Image in Photoshop
Opening an image in Adobe Photoshop is really straightforward, even if editing photos has a steeper learning curve.
First, you can simply drag your image and drop it into the Photoshop icon on your desktop. Secondly, you can run Photoshop and then from the opening screen hit the Open button and select your file.
And finally, from the File dropdown menu select Open and choose your image.
Your image will appear on the screen with a range of toolbars above it and to either side (remember that Photoshop is a far more complex and comprehensive tool).
Being a more powerful tool, you can open (and save) a much wider range of image file formats. Plus, if you’re wanting to work with a RAW file, Adobe also offers a standalone RAW conversion tool.
- Step 3: Resize Your Image
Changing an image’s pixel dimensions in Adobe Photoshop is straightforward. Doing so affects its onscreen image size, image quality and its printed characteristics – should you want to print large scale.
From the Image dropdown menu at the top of the screen, select Image Size. This will bring up a dialogue box where you can manage the image dimension and resolution.
By default the image size will be set to Dimension – it’s going to be far easier if you change this to Percent. You can then change the Height or Width percent value to whatever amount you want. But be warned, the file size will jump dramatically and this can make storing larger images difficult.
Make sure that the Resample box is ticked as this will ensure upsampling works.
Next to this is a dropdown menu that lets you control the outcome of the process. Automatic is the default but you can choose varying outcomes that the software will aim for.
I select Preserve Details (enlargement) to ensure optimal sharpness and resolution.
Once you’ve made your selections, you can hit the OK option to complete the image resizing.
The process is exceptionally fast and you will be returned to the editing screen with your upsampled image. From there you have a range of options to continue editing with the full suite of Photoshop tools. Or, you can export the image to a destination folder on your computer.
To do so, simply select the File dropdown menu and then the Export and Export As sub-menus.
An Export dialogue box will appear and from here you can choose the File Format and Image Quality. You can also manage the size of the download and the size of the potential print size.
Finally, you can manage the colour profile with the Colour Space tool and then hit Export. The image will be immediately saved to your destination folder ready for viewing and use.
Using this process in Photoshop delivers upscaled images that have a level of resolution that correlates with the image size. Aka, the level of detail and sharpness is optimal but the file sizes are massive.
Now you just need to decide what to do with your resized image.
Option 3: Increase Photo Resolution & Enhance Images Online with Let’s Enhance
There are a few options for free online image resizing available in 2022, but we’ve chosen a handy app called Let’s Enhance.
The photo on the homepage is a nice digital art piece, but you can use Let’s Enhance to increase the resolution of any digital image.
The app is actually an AI image upscaler, using AI to do other crazy things like fix pixelation and blur, correct colours and lighting and even remove JPEG artefacts.
If you’re a business or need to create hundreds of higher resolution images, there’s a paid service which includes an API, but for free use, here are the steps:
- Step 1: Drag and Drop to Upload
You can either click the ‘Try for Free’ button or drag and drop your image straight from your digital camera or hard drive.
- Step 2: Create a Free Account
In order to use the service, you need to create an account – by doing so, you’ll get 10 free images to resize.
- Step 3: Confirm your Email and Start Using App
Once you’ve confirmed your email, you can start using the app for your image resizing needs. You can select from various image sizes to create a super-resolution photo – just keep an eye on the file size, as the bigger the photo, the more processing power you’ll need to edit it!
Higher resolution images are fun for enormous prints, but some low-powered computers will struggle to open the files if you need to enhance your images or do further post-production work to them.
Increase Resolution & Image Quality: Final Words
So there you have it – a simple guide for how to increase the resolution of an image. This can certainly be useful if you find yourself needing to do high-quality prints of images and the image size and quality aren’t up to scratch.
Of course, there are other software programs and methods you can use to increase photo resolution and pixel dimensions of a photo, but these two are some of the most popular and effective available in 2022.
If you’re currently a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud or plan to become one, Adobe Photoshop 2022 does a fantastic job at increasing the resolution of any image.
However, if you’re looking for a tool that you can purchase once (with no annual subscription fee) to create your first high-resolution image, Topaz Gigapixel AI is your best bet.
Have you ever tried to upscale image resolution? Got any other tips or questions for us? If so, leave a comment.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias toward the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.