#46 Free Upsize PS action comparison

This Proportion200 Photoshop action will enlarge your images by 200%. I’ve tested it against all of the PAID competitors and found it to give equal or superior results.

The method uses Staircase Interpolation. We do a small amount of sharpening between each 10 percent incremental step to keep things crisp. If you are using an old version (legacy) of Photoshop, the action will work but calls for JPEG noise reduction to eliminate artifacting. Just skip that step or do it in advance of the action with a standalone filter – or not at all. Depends upon the quality of the original image.

No signup or registration is required. This is a great way to get low-cost 72dpi images suitable for 300dpi print. The higher the dpi resolution of the original the better the results. I don’t recommend passing the image through Proportion200 more than three times – but you can be the judge of when to stop. An ugly image is still going to be ugly when it’s enlarged – even more so.

My hat is off to my brother Brad Teare who built this action to my specification and then agreed to generously donate it to anyone who might benefit from it. Try it out!

Janice Campbell, of The Grid, collaborated with me to produce a comparison of commercial Blowup 3 Photoshop Plugin ($149 US) against Proportion200 (the freebie digital PS action enlarger).

Janice supplied a digital camera photo of a perched butterfly. It’s size is 1497 w x 1500 h pixels @300dpi. Janice said it was straight out of the camera and just cropped to a square. No resizing, downsizing, or filters
were applied. She also provided a doubled image (200%) that had been increased in Blowup (5.1MB JPEG). The final Proportion200 resize ended up being 2.8MB file size JPEG.

I show the original here at 720 pixels wide so it fits on this page.

Original at half size to-fit 720 px column width.

I sampled the exact same area from The Blowup enlargement and a Proportion200 enlargement (single-pass, no doctoring).

After examining the results, Janice did the experiment again but ran the image through “Dfine 2” from Google
part of a $149 filter plug-in package. Dfine 2 is a noise reduction filter. Final image weight is 3.4MB JPEG. That sample is also included for comparison. Read the captions, please, since they ended up in an odd order.
Here are the results:

Blowup combined with Dfine noise reduction -sample. $149 Blowup + Dfine $149 = $298
Blowup plugin 200% comparison $149
Proportion200 action freeware $0

Matthew Barron comments | Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:58 pm
“VISUALLY, I FIND the smoother gradient of Proportion200 more appealing on screen. From experience, I know that smooth gradients show the artifacts of JPG compression in print. Also, smooth gradients tend to band on digital presses. For that reason, I thought I’d like the sharper, yet noisier Blowup 3 version. But upon printing, I found The Blowup 3 version also blew up the noise in the original photo, which looks distracting in print. Though the Proportion200 version did print the JPG artifacts like I thought, the banding wasn’t so great as I thought.

Therefore, I recommend using the Proportion 200 and adding noise afterwards in Photoshop. And who can beat that at that price?”