Enlarging poor source - photo

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by costabunny, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #1
    I have a little question. I have a photo that mum wants a bit bigger (she lost the original and only has the stamp sized one (which was damaged badly and I have fixed as much as my skills allow).

    Problem is she would like it bigger. Now I know the whole pixelation thing, but I am sure there is some way to interpolate pixels or something.

    Is there a photo wizard here that can help me a little please?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Tatooine
    #2
    This is an example of why you should always Back Up Your Data Before You Lose It, and buy and keep a high-quality print of the photograph.

    There are several problems with what you want. The first problem is that you have a digital image size that won't even make a 4x6 inch print. Where's the print? If you had the print, it could be scanned and enlarged.

    The second problem is that the digital file that you do have appears to have been ruined by image compression, which results in severe image artifacts even at small size.

    The only way to get what you want is to rewrite all the pixel data and manually rebuild the image. To do that, you would need to know more about the missing details that were lost. Even worse, the image looks like it was done with a tiny pocket camera. The blown highlights on the faces and the lack of depth-of-field markers between the people and the background will make it even harder to extract and rebuild.

    There are software programs that are designed to enlarge the pixel resolution of an image, but they won't do well with your problem. Garbage in, garbage out. If you know what you are doing with the missing details, it would probably take me about four weeks to rebuild it, going through each pixel group one at a time and essentially making a new image layer over the old one. Since the image appears to have no real significance, I suggest dropping it. Surely there are professional photographs that can substitute for this low-quality snapshot.
     
  3. costabunny thread starter macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #3
    Yes um thanks. As I said this is a lost photograph of my mums with her brother and sister while they were alive. The original large image was lost and all that she has left is the wallet sized (postage stamp almost) image that has creases on.

    I fully understand all the things you have said (tho I strongly disagree with the 'no significance' statement as how the hell do you know what significance this photo has???).

    I am trying to do the best recovery I can given such a poor starting medium (a very small print from a disposable camera). The photo means the world to my mum so I will pursue recovery how ever I can.

    As I also stated the image attached is the best I have managed to clean up in photoshop. Just wanting to see if there is something further I can do to get a little bigger print for her.
     
  4. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Tatooine
    #4
    An apparent significance would be something related to an event, a unique snapshot of history as some event was taking place. Something like this photo should have many various copies from throughout the years, particularly from professional studio photographers.

    If the image artifacts were not caused by digital compression, it fooled me. I don't see any indication of printing DPI. There should be dots visible in the image, and you should have about 300x300 DPI resolution in the digital file. The scans that I do are at least 600x600 DPI. From that type of scan, there is something that can be done. You need to run that print through a professional scanner. Do you have a photography store that might do photo restorations?
     
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #5
    Do I understand that the "original" in this case is an actual photo? It sounds like it is, but just want to confirm that.

    If so, how did you scan it? It may be that you need to start with a much better scan. A good flatbed scanner that also does film is what you are looking for. I know that you don't have the film, but the resolution on those scanners is sufficient to take a 35mm negative (~1 by 1.5 inches iirc) and create a useable print. I am sure you will get something better than what you have now by getting a good scan. Scan at the highest optical resolution. Also try the highest resolution period - with the interpolation. What the heck, eh? You can compare the two files to see which suits your needs better. Look for somebody nearby with an Epson V700 or V750, for example.

    Also, don't scan into JPG, then edit and save JPG. JPG is a "lossy" compression. Each "save" loses information. Work with TIFF if possible, or PSD (Photoshop).

    Good Luck.
     
  6. costabunny thread starter macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #6
    Thanks guys - I may try starting again (I did scan it at 600DPI with a HP flatbed) and yep I always work in Tiff unless I want to export for web/family-onna-disk.

    I am pretty organised when it comes to maintaining image quality as best as I can. (prob why my hard disk is sooo full)...

    Tomorrow I'll take a second look at the tiff (unaltered). I don't know anyone with pro scanners and want to see what I can do before we go to the expense of a pro-restoration.

    I'll update you and see how I get on ... :)
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #7
    OK, I don't know how much of this you already know.... so please forgive me if this is old news....

    Scanning at 600dpi means that if you scanned a 1 inch by 1 inch photo, you could only make a 2 in by 2 in print at 300dpi (though you could sneak a bigger print by printing at 200 dpi. If you can scan at 1200dpi then you can double the size of the print with the same quality as your original print. My scanner does, iirc, 4800dpi so it's possible yours will scan higher than 600dpi. In this case, maxxing the scanning dpi seems to be called for.

    Head for an office supply store (like Staples if you them where you are). Get the sales person to point out the scanner with the highest resolution, and then ask them for a sample scan. It might work.

    cheers
     
  8. costabunny thread starter macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #8
    well I used the photoshop enlargement resampling to double the image size and did a little repair work (from the original 600DPI scan) and after cropping have an image that prints ok at 14cm. Framed and mum is over the moon (its plenty good enough for a wall piccy).

    thanks for the advice guys n gals :)
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    Excellent!! Sometimes we forget that "good enough" (for a photographer) is "absolutely terrific" for our clients (or mum, in this case). :)
     
  10. costabunny thread starter macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #10
    You said it! (took me years to learn that sometimes 99% is very acceptable!)
     

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