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How to enlarge a picture and see the person in the pic clearly?

Posted on 2009-07-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-03
How to enlarge a picture and see the person in the pic clearly? You see it in movies where a group of people enlarge a photo and the picture is slowly analyzed (sometimes pixel by pixel) and enlarged without the picture getting blurry.
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Question by:rodstevens
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ryangiglio earned 130 total points
ID: 24852470
As far as I know, you see that in the movies for a reason.

If the information isn't in the photo, it's simply not there.  All enlarging a photo does is increase the size of the pixels.  You can't get any more detailed than a pixel when it comes to photographs.

I'm sure there's some kind of 3rd party software that attempts to guess and fill in the information but it's not going to be as accurate as you see it in the movies.

I hope someone can prove me wrong though.
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by:lherrou
lherrou earned 100 total points
ID: 24852604
rodstevens,

As ryangiglio says, not everything we see in movies can be believed. And, you can't make information out of something that isn't there. However, sometimes it is possible to enlarge a photo at least to some extent, and see greater detail. Photoshop is a great tool for this, but IrfanView (www.irfanview.com), a free tool, does pretty well. There are also some professional tools for this, and as you might expect, they work reasonably well - the best known of these is Genuine Fractals (http://www.ononesoftware.com/products.php) - but they still can only do so much.

Cheers,
LHerrou
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by:bullmonkey
bullmonkey earned 100 total points
ID: 24855292
zooming in on a movie will only give you an enlargement of what you can see at that moment and it will certainly become pixelated as from a movie the best you are gonna get is a screen capture at that resolution,
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by:BongSoo
BongSoo earned 120 total points
ID: 24859477
I agree with ryan and Lherrou. The best results I ever got attempting something like this were by using photoshop (not ruling out the other tools, it was just what I used) enlarging the image only in increments of 50% and between 150 - 400%, using 'nearest neighbor', and then by using an unsharp mask to try and pull out some detail. Even then, the results were hardly what I would consider within the realm of what I think you are asking.
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by:statler01
ID: 24862913
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by:statler01
statler01 earned 50 total points
ID: 24863118
I could have done a little better on the animation there, but it was good enough for what it's for.

That was created by making a low resolution version of an image, and then enlarging a piece of it, overlaying the original resolution over the enlarged piece, then animating a fade from one to the other.

That's how it's done in the movies (sometimes with some more dramatic effects added in), but there's not a good way to do it in reality.

There are some great raster to vector products out there for line art, but I haven't seen one that works well for photographic images. The other softwares that upsample images I haven't been impressed with enough to justify spending the money on...
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Author Comment

by:rodstevens
ID: 24864009
statler01,

 That's what I am looking for... Did you make that animation yourself? Can you explain how that's done... Maybe step by step would be great...

;-)
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by:BongSoo
ID: 24864033
wait, let me get this straight - This wasn't a question about how to reall do it - you just wanted to simulate something???
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Author Comment

by:rodstevens
ID: 24864078
Hmmmm, I am confused. Is the animation that statler created just an animation???


Hmmmmm.
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by:ryangiglio
ryangiglio earned 130 total points
ID: 24864141
Statler's image is just a simulation.  The end result is actually the original full quality of the photograph.  What you have to do is reduce the quality and then make an animation to increase it until it is back to full.

It isn't possible to increase the quality of an already full-quality photograph, enhancing it in a movie-like fashion.  If the information isn't there, there's no way to create it.
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Expert Comment

by:statler01
ID: 24866011
My apologies for any confusion with the above graphic. It is a Hollywood style fake. (Which is exactly what you see in the movies). The graphic and explanation were intended for two purposes: To show roughly how it is done for a movie effect. I basically worked backwards, taking a high resolution image, and turning it into a low resolution image, then simulating the enlargement by bringing back part of the original high resolution image.
The other reason was because it was fun to make. I had never done something like that before, and it's always fun to try new things.

THE IMPORTANT PART: As noted above, there is no way to do this well in real life. There are some softwares out there that make pretty bold claims about what they can do. As I said above, the raster to vector stuff works ok with line art, but not so much with photographs. The stuff that resamples images isn't worth what they charge for it. (in my opinion)
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by:lherrou
ID: 24866083
Well, I will say Genuine Fractals works quite well, but ONLY when you are already starting from a high-resolution image (say 6+megapixel) and increasing it to poster size and beyond. If you are starting from something already cropped and compressed, it's not going to be able to do much.
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Assisted Solution

by:BongSoo
BongSoo earned 120 total points
ID: 24868918
For what its worth, I consulted a LEO digital forensics specialist who confirmed that there is no known (ie. top secret) software that can anything like this. They use photoshop just like we do. ;-)
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