How many times have you been handed an image destined for print only to discover that the resolution is 72dpi, far too low to be successfully printed? In an ideal world you’d be able to get hold of a higher-resolution version of the image, but the reality is often a shrug from the client or someone tapping their watch. You really only have two options: increase the resolution in Photoshop or use Genuine Fractals from onOneSoftware.
This program uses an intelligent proprietary algorithm when upscaling images that considers more information than Photoshop’s bicubic method and consequently builds a better image. When compared to an image enlarged using Photoshop‘s standard bicubic resampling, Genuine Fractals wins hands down. However, depending on the source material’s quality and the amount you want to enlarge the image by, you may find yourself with enlarged JPEG artefacts and other issues negatively affecting the final result.
Genuine Fractals scores points by identifying edges and maintaining their apparent sharpness. Zooming into images upscaled with the software, edges do look slightly fake; like the effects of the Median Noise filter, but there’s no denying it works at normal magnifications.
There are a couple of drawbacks to using Genuine Fractals. The software is painfully slow, especially when compared with Photoshop’s native resizing methods and the resizing only works on flattened images. But perhaps the biggest problem is that the results are not hugely different from bicubic, particularly Bicubic Sharper method that Adobe introduced in newer versions of Photoshop. Certainly, an image resized with Genuine Fractals looks better, but only marginally so, and it becomes difficult to justify the expense, especially for the Pro version, which allows the upscaling of CMYK images in addition to RGB. On the plus side, users of the latest version of Genuine Fractals no longer have to save an image as an STN file before applying the software.
If you want the best upscaling technology around, Genuine Fractals is the only way to go; but for most users Photoshop’s Bicubic Sharper will provide an acceptable alternative.