Upscaling a photograph always means trading resolution for size. And while Photoshop’s “preserve details” scaling does a pretty good job, there’s a freeware program called “A Sharper Scaling” that can do it even better.
The program—which is available for Windows users only, sorry Apple folks—was developed by Steffen Gerlach, and on his website he compares it to Bicubic Interpolation (BI), BI and sharpening, and Photoshop Preserve Details with noise reduction set to zero.
Even in the small comparison images there, the difference is obvious. Here’s just one of the samples he uses. From left to right, it shows 150% scaling using bicubic interpolation, BI + sharpen, Photoshop Preserve Details, and finally, A Sharper Scaling:
The difference is a bit more obvious when upscaling a graphic, shown here at 200% in the same order as above:
If you’re a Windows user, there’s really no reason not to give this simple program a shot. When you open it up, you’ll be greeted by a very simple interface that will let you use your own image or try out one of three sample images provided for you so you can see just how much better the program is than traditional algorithms.
After that it’s as easy as uploading a photo, selecting the scale size or upscale percentage, and letting the program do its thing.
To learn more or download the freeware for yourself (it’s compatible with Windows 7 and up) head over to the Sharper Scaling website by clicking here.