SmillaEnlarger is a free, open source program that enables enlarging/magnifying bitmap images in high quality.
Based on original algorithms, this standalone software uses a number of filters that are designed to remove some of the typical artifacts generated by the enlarging process and “fill in” image information to achieve a much higher quality image than image enlargement algorithms typically employed in most applications.
If you work with images you will doubtlessly have seen situations where you would have liked to use a larger size image than what you had to work with but was not able to do so because of the quality degradation involved (e.g. pixellization/artifacts/loss of detail).
What SmillaEnlarger can offer, in this case, is a handful of potentially very useful filters that can circumventing some of these problems in order to produce a high-quality enlarged version of an image. More notes below:
- How it works: load your desired image, then use the controls on the left hand side to determine the new, desired size of the image (you can set the width/height, move the slider, or enter a value for the zoom % in the box; I set this to 400% in my example shown above). Next use the controls for the five filters on the right to manipulate the image; click “preview” to see the effect this has on the output image. Finally, click “calculate” to process.
- Note on the “zoom box”: the purpose of this is solely to zoom in on an area with a lot of detail/artifacts/noise, in order to be able to visually evaluate what the filters are doing. Actual resizing happens using the controls underneath it.
- The filters: five in total; Sharpness, Flatness, PreSharpen, Dithering, and DeNoise. If in doubt as to which values to use, start with all filters approx set to the middle value (this will likely produce a good result anyway). Experiment by changing and clicking preview.
- Cropping the original image: right click on the original (left side) image and draw a selection with the mouse to crop it.
- Formats supported: JPG, BMP, PNG, TIFF, PPM
- Portable: all you have to do is unzip and run.
Wish list (or how this software can be even better):
- Quick pre/post previews: the option to quickly show the original un-processed preview, and/or flip through the original preview without processing and the new preview post processing. Currently it seems the only way to do that is to click “undo clipping”, which strangely re-sets the position of the zoom box making instant comparisons impossible. Another cool option would be to have 2 windows showing simultaneously for pre/post processing.
- Provide “suggested filter values”: which the program might calculate based on what it thinks is a good starting point. A “reset” button that centers all filter values would be nice too.
- Rename the action button: for some reason its labeled “Calculate”, and it took me 10 whole minutes to figure out that that’s the action button, and I consider myself software savvy. “Go”, “Save”, or even “Process” would have been so much more intuitive.
The verdict: a very nice addition to you image-manipulation bag of tools (especially those of us who are not Photoshop wizards and cannot approximate this function with an arsenal of plug-ins).
Version Tested: 0.8
Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 8 megs).