I am curious about what others have experienced working with these two products, and what anyone could tell me about the settings in PhotoZoom.
Your findings are similar to mine, Photozoom gives the best results for significantly upsampled output. I've shared some findings in this thread
. Also relevant is the discussion about which PPI
should be the goal for enlarged output. And here
is another related discussion.
As for the (S-Spline Max) settings, there are only a few in PhotoZoom Pro. My recommendation is to be careful with the sharpness slider when doing extreme magnifications. The edge detail can become too sharp looking compared to the rest of the image detail, in which case you can reduce the sharpness amount all the way to zero if needed. The result will still look good.
Having said that, do try and print a crop. You'll lose some resolution in the print process, so some additional/excess sharpness can help, especially when you enlarge to, and print at, the proper native printer resolution
PhotoZoom does not create halo artifacts during the upsampling, so the optional additional sharpening with USM could be used to beef up some larger detail (perhaps best tuned if the output viewing distance is relatively fixed), although I'd prefer to do that with dedicated tools which offer more control and multiple ranges of detail size (e.g. TopazLabs Detail plugin). Adding a bit of grain
can help to give some texture to areas that could look too smooth, and therefore I would use that especially for the huge enlargements. Although the control is called Film grain
, I don't think film
grain is that useful for printing, but grain is (and that is more like what PhotoZoom produces). We do not need actual new noise 'detail', but just a suggestion of more subject surface micro-detail from light and shadow.
The Artifact Reduction
control is mainly useful for images that already had artifacts (e.g. stair stepping of edges and lines) to begin with, which will get accurately magnified by PhotoZoom.
P.S. I just tried to also do some of those resampled image crops in the referenced threads with Perfect Resize for comparison, but it crashes as a standalone application (should not be affected by its most recent Photoshop update related issues).