Enlarge a photo and it quickly becomes blurry as extra pixels are added. What if you could enlarge photos without losing quality? What if you could recreate the original? This tool does it!
If you have ever had a small photo and tried to enlarge it, you will know how bad it can get. It looks fuzzy, pixelated, and frankly terrible. The result is not something you would like to use anywhere or show anyone.
You may have photos taken a long time ago on phones or digital cameras with low resolutions. For example, the first digital camera I had took photos that were 320 x 256 pixels. These days I wouldn’t shoot at less than 10x the width and height and 8 million pixels more photo information.
You might not have digital photos that old, but you could have some low resolution images that you would like to print on paper, use on web pages or presentations that really don’t have enough pixels. Adding them by using a photo editor to increase the size just results in a blurry mess. Try it and see.
There are utilities and websites that specialise in enlarging images and they use a variety of techniques to try to minimise the loss of quality. Some web-based photo enlargers like Photo Enlarger and Image Enlarger are interesting, but the results are not a great deal better than what you can achieve using a photo editor and filters.
I tried both of these websites, but the results were a long way behind AI Image Enlarger. It uses “SRCNN (Super-Resolution Convolutional Neural Network) structure, an end-to-end trainable network.” Few people will know what that is, but basically, it means it uses artificial intelligence to enhance images when they are enlarged.
However, it works, it produces the best quality enlarged images I have seen. The results are impressive and it manages to recreate details in the image that simply weren’t there in the original. It has to be guessing at the pixels it inserts when it enlarges images, but those guesses are usually spot on and the results are fantastic.
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Examples of enlarged photos
Here is a photo of a train that was originally 500 pixels wide (technically, I shrank it to 500 pixels first) and I enlarged it to 2000 pixels using GIMP. This is the best quality I could manage.
I then enlarged the same 500 pixel wide image to 2000 pixels with AI Image Enlarger and the results is an image that is not far off perfect.
Here is a photo of a laptop computer that has been enlarged using GIMP.
and the same image below was enlarged with AI Image Enlarger. The result is an order of magnitude better and the result is a useable image instead of a blurry jagged mess. Compare the screen edges.
These images are just small sections of a larger photo and have been optimised for the web, but hopefully you can still see the difference. The quality difference is even greater when comparing the originals side by side on the computer screen.
Use AI Image Enlarger
AI Image Enlarger is an online service that can be accessed using a web browser, Windows PC, Apple, Mac, Android phone or iPhone. The PC, Mac and phone apps simply upload the image and then download it after it has been enlarged, so the results are exactly the same no matter how it is accessed.
The website lets you drag an image from the computer’s disk and drop it on the web page to upload it. You choose the size from 2x, 4x or 8x, select the type from Artwork, Photo, Face or High-Grade, and then click Start. After a brief wait, the enlarged image can be downloaded.
The Windows PC and Apple Mac apps are very similar and here is the Mac app. Drag and drop a photo on it, select the options you want, submit it, wait, then download it.
What it costs to enlarge images
You must register and create an account at the website to use the site or the software and a free account enables you to enlarge 19 images. There is a limit on the size of images that can be uploaded for free of 1200 x 1200 pixels. I used a free account.
A Premium account is $14.99 a month and allows 99 images per month up to 2000 x 2000 pixels to be uploaded. A Pro account allows up to 999 images a month to be enlarged for $39.99 a month.
The Mac, PC and mobile apps upload photos for processing online, so the image limits apply to them too.
I uploaded one image that it failed to enlarge. It was an extremely detailed and unusual one, but the the others I enlarged exceeded my expectations. I suggest you try it, but use your 19 free enlargements wisely.
Enlarge images with Upscaler
Upscaler is a free web service from Stockphotos that can be used to enlarge photos using AI techniques to enhance the image. The result is an enlargement that is better than most people can achieve with a photo editor.
Only JPG, PNG, WEBP and BMP can be uploaded and there is a maximum width and height of 2000 pixels. There is a login button on the page, but it can be ignore and you can simply upload an image, resize it and download it for free.
Drag the vertical bar left and right and you can see the image before and after enlargement. It gives you an idea of what to expect. On the right is a panel that enables you to select 2x, 4x and 8x enlargement. There are also three smoothing algorithms to choose from.
What makes this service stand out from others is the download options. In addition to downloading the enlarged images, you can also choose to download images optimised for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
This is typical collection of files downloaded from Upscaler. It could be a useful feature for some people.
So how good is Upscaler and what are the results like? Here is an example, with the first image enlarged in Preview on the Mac and the second one enlarged with Upscaler.
The enlarged image is fuzzy and slightly blurred. It is not one you would want to use anywhere. The upscaled image is much better and is sharper and has more detail. It is not perfect by any means, but it is much better than I can achieve in a photo editor.
I found the upscaled images reminded me of a slight oil painting filter effect that you might find in the effects collection of a photo editor. It is even more obvious in a photo of a cat I enlarged. There are two other smoothing algorithms that can be used instead if you don’t like it.
Upscaler is good, but with my tests, I liked the results of AI Image Enlarger slightly better. However, there is no limit on the number of images you can enlarge with Upscaler, so you may prefer it if you are on a budget.