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Author Topic: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?  (Read 16901 times)

uaiomex

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Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« on: July 03, 2014, 03:57:44 pm »

I got this job in which I'm selling 20 prints for decoration at a hotel. These images are part of my stock. I need some to be double the size and a few a little more. The files are mainly from Canon 5D and 5D2. A few are stitched files done with TS glass.
Years ago, I had GF but lost it when I switched to Mac. I've been experimenting upsizing in PS in 10%'s while applying a very tiny (ten times too) amount of USM. They look sharper than without USM but display a little artifacts at 100%. Most possibly they won't show in print but I'm afraid they do.

I was thinking that maybe it was time for me to spend a little money to get a state of art application of this kind.
Final work will be printed up to 41 inches on Epson EhMat
Can someone help with suggestions, ideas and comments?
TIA
Eduardo
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Paul2660

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 05:55:44 pm »

One thought process, I have gotten away from the incremental process, for me takes too long and I don't see much gain.

Software to consider would be Blow up, Perfect Resize (former GF) and Photozoom Pro.  I would lead with the later and use the Spline 64 as the uprez algorithm and look at Lanzcos.   My method is to get the image sharp before the uprez, then use Focus Magic after the uprez, if needed.  

I print everything now from LR, and for Epson you need to use 360 or 720ppi for the best results.  For this size work, I would stay with 360ppi.  

You can also simply try allowing LR to uprez the image for you if you are within 180 to 240ppi, and apply some output sharpening.  LR does a very good job getting out the final image and often times, I can't see much difference between a 240dpi shot uprez'd to 360 with one of the software tools I have referenced and printed in LR at 360ppi and using LR to print a file from 240dpi, as 360ppi output with respective output sharpening.  


This works for me and my customers but I am very sure you will get a lot of other ideas.

Paul
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 12:46:42 pm by Paul2660 »
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uaiomex

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 07:25:08 pm »

Thank you Paul. Terrific so far.
Eduardo


Paul
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digitaldog

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 08:49:03 pm »

You might want to try using software you own (?) like Photoshop/ACR or Lightroom:
http://www.digitalphotopro.com/technique/software-technique/the-art-of-the-up-res.html?start=1#.U7X52VYZovg
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AngusP

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 09:39:26 pm »

Photoshop CC new Image Size is sooo much better
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 10:16:38 pm »

Photoshop CC new Image Size is sooo much better

Better than what? Lightroom? Can you scan and post a jpg of a comparison for two prints from the same photo using CC versus LR?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Paul2660

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2014, 07:51:08 am »


CC does have a bit of an advantage with the process where you can select it to "retain details".   The advantages are slight to me eyes, and on larger prints like the OP needs, probably hard to see any differences.  Jeff Schewe mentioned in a different post he had noticed a possible improvement with the new CC algorithim, but it didn't seem enough for him to change his workflow yet.

To me one of the hardest things to do, is print and scan back to show on the web.  A lot of details can be lost back in the scan and more than likely more sharpening needs to done to the scan, just do to the nature of scanning. 

Displaying crops of the final uprez'd images at 100% might better, but even then it's pretty hard to see the differences. 

You have to go back to the OP's original need, hotel work.  Most of the folks looking at these will never be pixel peeping IMO.  They will see them in passing.  Any of the current software tool sets out there can do the job. 

Paul
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2014, 08:40:59 am »

I think you are right.
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TonyW

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2014, 10:37:17 am »

... I've been experimenting upsizing in PS in 10%'s while applying a very tiny (ten times too) amount of USM. They look sharper than without USM but display a little artifacts at 100%. ...
I am not sure that upsizing in PS by small increments is a good idea as it may actually add more artefacts than a one step process.  I think that Adobe Chris Cox has stated such and if memory serves Bicubic Smoother rec. with the one step process to get the best out of the image.

Having tried Perfect Resize with a few images vs PS CS5 and CS6 I came to the conclusion that there was not a huge difference between applications and although the PS versions slightly softer (brought back by modest sharpening) these were my preference.  Of course original image content and quality must play a significant role so it may be that certain images will respond better in one application than another.  

IMO worth while downloading the developers demo's and actually having a play with your images and comparing the results against your versions PS or LR - you may be pleasantly surprised that you do not have to incurr added expenditure.  On the other hand... :)
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digitaldog

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2014, 11:05:16 am »

Having tried Perfect Resize with a few images vs PS CS5 and CS6 I came to the conclusion that there was not a huge difference between applications and although the PS versions slightly softer (brought back by modest sharpening) these were my preference.

Exactly what I've observed as well. Over the years, I've tested a number of these 3rd party products. Output has always been to a print as viewing the differences on-screen is not indicative of what one would see output on the print. Last year I did a Webinar on this and again found Perfect Resize with default settings (it has far too many IMHO) didn't produce output as good as using Lightroom or Photoshop with proper capture sharpening (default in the case of LR). That was more important to the output quality than any of the various products or techniques including Step Interpolation. Output sharpening was equally applied to all images. LR and Photoshop were faster to process the data by far, LR at the time was a tad better than PS all things being equal. My friend Mac Holbert (formally of Nash Editions) did similar tests and concluded that if one has to take a tiny original, say 640x480 and make huge enlargements, these 3rd party products did produce better results for him but anything short of 200-300X, Photoshop did the job better, faster, cheaper.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2014, 11:46:25 am »

My friend Mac Holbert (formally of Nash Editions) did similar tests and concluded that if one has to take a tiny original, say 640x480 and make huge enlargements, these 3rd party products did produce better results for him but anything short of 200-300X, Photoshop did the job better, faster, cheaper.

Hi Andrew,

A 200-300% enlargement is peanuts (like upsampling from 360 PPI to 720PPI without real details). No wonder you see little difference, especially when you do not properly sharpen after upsampling. Try producing decent magnifications of 4x to 12x, like discussed in this thread and this thread. And those 10.5x upsampled image crops are not even post resize output sharpened ...

It also explains why people prefer the output from Qimage rather than PS or even LR. Much sharper output even in print on matte media. Quality upsampling followed by quality output sharpening makes a difference, an increasingly huge difference with increasing upsampling percentages.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 11:56:36 am by BartvanderWolf »
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Some Guy

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2014, 11:54:26 am »

Another shameless plug for "Qimage Ultimate."

Might pay to install Windows via Parallels since it is only Windows based.  Apple seems to screw things up with their Colortune idea and locking out certain print driver and management aspects.  Apple, for me, is a very poor printer's OS choice - short of going into QTR or something exotic that isn't Windows supported as well.

Sure beats Adobe on sharpness and noise, imho.  You can fine tune the sharpness within it too, or even print RAW straight with newer version.  Can't stand to print via any other software now as it manages the print aspect so much better.  Plus, it does new stuff like unclog nozzles, etc. that printer people need.

One can "Save (image) to a File" rather than print after they apply its sharpening algorithms and then print via other methods and compare the sharpness and noise reduction too.

Seems it is a serious labor of love for the owner/programmer.  Least he addresses issues with it faster than Adobe can too who seems to lag behind him.

SG
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Chris_Brown

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2014, 11:57:48 am »

I've been enlarging images from a Canon 1Ds I/II/III to tractor-trailer rig coverings for about ten years. I've used Photoshop, Genuine Fractals and Blow Up. At the pixel level there was a visual difference. At reproduction size, viewed from 15', the differences in enlargement algorithms were not significant. With the new algorithms in PS, I have stopped using 3rd party software for any enlargements. I have not tried PhotoZoom Pro, though.

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Paul2660

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2014, 12:54:11 pm »

Another shameless plug for "Qimage Ultimate."

Sure beats Adobe on sharpness and noise, imho.  You can fine tune the sharpness within it too, or even print RAW straight with newer version.  Can't stand to print via any other software now as it manages the print aspect so much better.  Plus, it does new stuff like unclog nozzles, etc. that printer people need.


I have not looked at Qimage in several years, always liked their upgrez options, but reall photozoom pro has most of the same ones.  I am also curious, how is Qimage checking or clearing nozzles?  I can see it running a pattern, but for it to do a clean it would have to interface to the utility level of the print driver at least with Epson.  Not doubting your word, just interested. 

As I stated earlier in my first post, LR and CC work great for sizes up to 36 x 72 at 360 ppi, which is about the largest print I make personally.  If you to billboard size or semi-truck, all bets are off as now you are talking so large, that no one is going to walk up and pixel peep.  Here is one of the areas where "blow up" works very well and "perfect resize".  As both of these software tools were meant really for very large prints originally. 

As LR and CC have gotten so much better, I tend to stay with them, as it's so nice to just let LR do the final uprez and output sharpen at 360ppi.

Lots of good info in this thread to consider.

Paul
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uaiomex

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2014, 01:09:40 pm »

Thanks guys. Very helpful information.
Since the upsizing won't go more than 400%, I'm thinking on using PS bicubic smoother and perhaps buy Focus Magic for final sharpening. Its $69.00 price seems appropriate. Gf or PhotoZoomPro are mucho dinero, imo.
Eduardo
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2014, 01:27:28 pm »

I've been enlarging images from a Canon 1Ds I/II/III to tractor-trailer rig coverings for about ten years. I've used Photoshop, Genuine Fractals and Blow Up. At the pixel level there was a visual difference. At reproduction size, viewed from 15', the differences in enlargement algorithms were not significant.

Hi Chris,

Viewing distance is indeed a great equalizer. However, even then it would be wasteful to not optimize output sharpening for those larger viewing distances. Human vision has a contrast sensitivity function that peaks around 8 cycles/degree viewing angle, and drops off at higher spatial frequencies. Not optimizing for that by sharpening the upsampling blur, and boosting the small to medium detail contrast would leave viewing quality on the table, unused. Topaz Labs Detail is perfect for addressing both issues (without adding halos), but also earlier in the workflow, for Creative 'sharpening'.

Quote
I have not tried PhotoZoom Pro, though.

It's somewhat similar to Blow-up in adding vector-like edge detail that exceed native resolution, but with less rounding of sharp edges than BU. Also recent versions of 'Perfect Resize' allow to add 'real' resolution to edges.

Cheers,
Bart
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digitaldog

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2014, 03:57:54 pm »

A 200-300% enlargement is peanuts (like upsampling from 360 PPI to 720PPI without real details). No wonder you see little difference, especially when you do not properly sharpen after upsampling.
Yup, but it's rare I'll ever need to upsize much past that amount. Real data is more desirable!  ;D
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Some Guy

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2014, 06:26:53 pm »

..... I am also curious, how is Qimage checking or clearing nozzles?  I can see it running a pattern, but for it to do a clean it would have to interface to the utility level of the print driver at least with Epson.  Not doubting your word, just interested. ....

Paul, here is the video on the newest Qimage version regarding the "Unclog feature":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcmmyYroPOQ

I've used it to unclog a PK and a C ink in an Epson recently.  It was off only 3-4 days before it dried up maybe 3 nozzles of those two and I got a bad nozzle print off the printer's menu.  Nice that it doesn't blow all the ink, compared to the Epson software or driver that use all inks.

Now it's running well again, but I just need to make sure I run the thing every 3 days maybe since it is hot and very dry here with the A/C running 16 out of 24 hours.  Gotta love them $600 utility bills!  NOT!!!

SG
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2014, 12:47:56 am »

I looked at a good part of the video and indeed it is a neat feature for those using printers that require all the channels to clean a printhead. Of course in the Epson x900 series printers, and I believe several others though not sure, one cleans the channels in pairs, and a regular cleaning cycle for a pair uses VERY little ink. So the usefulness of this feature depends on the printer one is using. For those of us on OSX, of course QImage is not available without installing Windows as a VM under Parallels or some such. While workable, I must say having been on OSX for close to four years now after using Windows for the previous fifteen, I don't think there's much value-added going that route and there are potential headaches.

The real solution to nozzle clogs in Epson printers isn't any of this, however. It is to keep the printer in a sufficiently humidified room and to print at least several real photos with it every two to three days. 

But this is all kind of OT.
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dgberg

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Re: Today's best app for upsizing/sharpening for prints?
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2014, 06:28:46 am »

Mark and all,
As the subject has been discussed Ad nauseam it still seems to never answer all the questions.
Take this workflow for example. To control file size we resample all of our large files for canvas prints in CC or Perfect resize to 180 ppi.
Then uprez in Lightroom to 360 for printing. We save the the smaller 180 ppi print file to our print folder and it is ready for future uprezzing/printing.
A 40x60 print at 180 ppi is 221mb the same file resampled in CC to 360 ppi is a 884mb file,the difference in file size is huge.
We have done this dozens of ways but just do not see differences that would warrant resampling  to 360 pip in CC or PR and then be stuck with all those extremely large files.
Missing anything?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 06:50:34 am by Dan Berg »
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