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Enlarging images without losing clarity


New Member

I am new here. I just had a question I hope you "guru's" can help me with. I am working with an image (a floor plan) and it was originally 30" wide, and had incredible clarity. It has since been shrunk down to 2" wide. I want to enlarge the image again, but when I do, the image becomes very pixillated (sp?) Is there a way to enlarge this image (about 20" wide) without losing clarity, and especially readability? Any help you guys could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
Here are the steps:

1. Get the original


Really your options are limited when you're working with something that small to that big. PS is pretty good at doing resizes when the aspect ration is retained (hold down shift while dragging from the corner of the resize box), but 2" to 30" is a long way, and wouldn't do much for your text.

Your only other alternative is to redo it in Illustrator or CAD.
Welcome to forum, Shaun.

We're talking of minute line drawing detail here. By shrinking down a 30" to 2" and resizing it to the original you end up with the blur coz much of the data has been lost in the resizing. Sharpen or sharpen mask can help a bit but you won't be able to regain the original crispness.

My best advice is not to shrink the drawing plans to more than a fifth of its original. In your case, for really big one's, one-third size at 150dpi will be safe. Detail will still be there. File size may be a big, but it's best to preserve detail. Why did you shrink it to 2" in the first place?

Check what I'm up against here. original size 300 dpi, 22" shrunk to 300dpi, 2" and enlarged back to 300, 20".

Are you an architect or renderer?

You really need the original. I tried the same thing with a small version of a file and it never did turn out the way I wanted it to. Hopefully there is a way for you to obtain the original file. That would help you so much. Welcome!!! Love your signature. Isn't it a wonderful force of life in your heart? I don't ever want to go back to the old me. [excited]

Wow V our posts hit at the same time...thanks!!!!!
lindaw said:
Love your signature. Isn't it a wonderful force of life in your heart? I don't ever want to go back to the old me. [excited]

:nod :)
Nice to hear from you

Welcome Shaun at U of Colorado.

Hope you become a permanent contributing member, asking questions and also answering questions when you have "the answer" or an "option" or, a good "idea" or, as you can see, just a thought about anything!

Good luck on your problem. Once you shrink it down, you can never go back , he he he he. No graphics programs (that I know about) can intuitively find where to put back the extra pixels. (gives a with sympathy look).


I really didn't expect so many replies so quickly!! I really appreciate the help. To answer some of the questions, I am an architect-in-training. I am actually in school at the University of Cincinnati but I am on an internship working for an architecture firm here in Colorado. In any case, the original was not saved after he shrunk it down unfortunately. What I have done is gone into CAD and redrawn it and plotted as an EPS file at a huge scale. I brought it back into Photoshop and it looks so much better now. I guess there was no easy way to do it, although I was hoping! :D But thanks again for all the replies. I really appreciate it, and I hope that I can contribute some of my knowledge (as limited as it may be). Take care guys!
I was thinking that for next time you could inport the image into a vector program and convert the raster image into a vector image (I would imagine a tool under a menu to do this), then when you save it, the file should be much smaller then a raster image, and contain all the detail! with little amount of work! This would work better with an image with fewer colours. I remember my Flash trial being able to do this. I would imagine Freehand, Illustrator, Xara or Corel Draw could also do this.

This can't really help you this time, but next time it could!
I agree.

I use Corel extensively. Although exporting from AutoCad to Corel causes deformation most especially with arcs. There's a corel script available to fix this problem. I've downloaded it but yet to experiment with it.

Shaun, check this past thread and tell me what you think. Its a few renders. The second whose DP was done and angled in Autocad, exported to Corel to create the building and exported to PS for other retouch (landscaping). The client didn't have any elevation or other drawings except the DP. The rest of the images are freehands.


Hey vee-

I think all the renderings look awesome! I wish I had your skill in hand-rendering. The second one you say was drawn in AutoCAD? Have you ever experimented with AutoCAD's rendering capabilities? There is a plug-in available called Accurender. It is a great plug-in for rendering very life-like images. I have used it a few times. But other than that, I think you have great talent...especially on such a short time frame!! ;)
Thanks, man.

All our CAD operators were busy at the time preparing the working drawings. I was assigned the task to prepare the renders.

I'm not that good with CAD so for this project, I took a different approach.

I did the buildings in Corel coz I could do it faster compared to using Autocad. Considering I had a single DP and a single freehand side elevation of each building with no dimensions, what a headache. I had to eyeball the thing as if doing a freehand.

Welcome Shaun AIT to the forum and enjoy your stay! :)

Oooooh, when I read about how you unknowlingly neglected to save your original file, my heart ached for you... haven't we all been there and learned that lesson (save/save/save...) the hard way! [honesty]

Vee - your architectural renderings (thanks for posting the thread) are totally awesome!!! :perfect: :perfect: :perfect:

I hope that you acquired a few new toys after all that pressure & hard work?
Welcome to the board ShaunAtUC.

Just look around and you will discover what this board is all about and what makes it special. I hope to see you more on this board :perfect:
Hiya Shaun, welcome to the community. [excited]
Hope you enjoy your stay.

I'd just like to echo a few things already mentioned, and add a bit more about this kind of thing, if i may...

As far as scaling images UP in PS, that's usually a bad idea if it's any more than 20-25%. Particularily if the image is in a rasterized (bitmap) format. The pixels will only get torn apart, and there's just not a lot that can be done to maintain image clarity or resolution. That's the nature of bitmaps.

On the other hand...
If you had the ambition, and the time, one might be able to trace the smaller version using Paths, after which the group of Paths could be scaled up to the necessary size, and either filled or stroked, or both... to reproduce the original image at a more functional resolution.

This solution can be tedious, but it does work.
It's essentially the same as tracing the image in a vector application, or even a lot like doing it in a CAD program too i imagine.

Thanks for all the welcomes. This seems like a wonderful place to get and give info and I am sure I will be frequenting these pages quite often. "Keeper" yeah, that's basically what I did in AutoCAD. I brought the image in as a raster file, traced it, and exported it at a very large size. Once I got it back in Photoshop, I added fill, and just cleaned up a few things. It worked well, but like you said, it was tedious. Hopefully I will not have to do that anymore!!!