Can you enhance the quality of a low-resolution image?
It’s a familiar scene: A detective asks someone to “enhance” a blurry image on a computer until it becomes clear enough to make out a key piece of evidence. Does this work? Not the way Hollywood does it.
It used to be that the only way to resize a smaller photo into a larger, high-resolution image without highlighting poor image quality was to take a new photograph or re-scan your image at a higher resolution. You could increase the resolution of a digital image file, but you’d lose image quality by doing so.
But today, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom have features that can help you increase resolution while upholding visual quality. It may not be movie magic, but it’s pretty close. For aspiring detectives and photographers alike, features like Super Resolution can quadruple the size of your photos using AI, giving you the clean edges and detail you need to make the most of any shot.
How resampling affects resolution.
Every digital image has a certain number of pixels. The more pixels an image starts with, the higher the resolution. When you add or subtract pixels from an image in Photoshop or Lightroom, that’s called resampling.
Decreasing the number of pixels is called downsampling, which removes data from your image. Increasing the number of pixels is called upsampling, which adds data to the image. When you increase the number of pixels in an image without adjusting the dimensions, you are adding more pixels into the same amount of space and increasing the resolution (or amount of detail) held within each inch.
Sometimes photographers will downsample images to save storage space or make load times faster for online images. Upsampling is trickier, however, since Photoshop has to guess how newly added pixels should look.
Resampling made smarter.
Chances are that you won’t want to play the guessing game with photo resolution, especially for images you want to print. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) come in handy. With Super Resolution in Photoshop and Lightroom, you can dramatically increase image resolution while keeping image quality in good shape.
Say you snapped a great photo of your friend in a group portrait, and your friend wants to turn it into their new headshot. Normally, cropping a small section of a photo and increasing its size would lead to major pixelation — not exactly the look your friend is going for. You could try upsampling to add pixels to the photo, but it might take some work to get the picture looking good enough to use.