Alien Skin’s Blow Up 3 ($199) is a world-class plug-in for Photoshop that intelligently increases the resolution of an image for use at larger sizes. They claim that it can scale an image up to 10 times its original size without stairstep, halo, or fringe artifacts.
The newest version is faster, with support for Lightroom and presets for common paper sizes. Blow Up 3 even automatically pre-sharpens the image to compensate for ink diffusion, when the proper paper type is selected beforehand.
Unlike competing products, Blow Up supports CMYK, RGB, Lab, Grayscale, and Duotone image modes, resizes multilayered documents without flattening, can create a new image when resizing, and works with 8-, 16-, 32-bit and RAW images.
Other features include:
- Auto Crop: chooses the most interesting part of the image
- Auto sharpening for output medium
- JPEG artifact cleanup via slider control
- Crop To Size: apply cropping and resizing at once
- 100+ presets that rotate image and sharpen appropriately for output medium
- Batch processing
- Speed: multiprocessor and multi-core aware
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.