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PhotoZoom Pro 6 Increases Quality of Enlarged Images

Back in March I wrote PhotoZoom Makes Enlarging Photos Better Than Just Resampling. Recently the folks at BenVista released a new version of PhotoZoom and so you’ll have to decide if the free (older) version supplied with Corel PHOTO-PAINT meets your needs or if it is worth spending $99 to upgrade to the latest version.

In order to help you make that decision, I’ve put together a list of the features that are improved compared to the bundled version.

  • New & improved S-Spline image resize technology: S-Spline Max
  • Higher quality image enlarging & downsizing
  • Powerful new technology for reducing JPEG compression artifacts and noise
  • Film Grain and Vividness settings, for an increased natural look
  • Improved cropping: resizing specific portions of images has never been easier!
  • Split screen previewing: compare different resize methods at a glance
  • Batch conversion: resize huge amounts of images in one go
  • Faster image processing through multi-processor support and GPU acceleration
  • Optimized presets for different types of photos and graphics
  • Resize profiles: select your favorite resize method and size settings with a single click
  • Can also be used as a stand-alone application
  • Can also be used as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop (and Photoshop Elements)
  • Can also be used with OS X (incl. 10.9 Mavericks support)

What do the folks at BenVista have to say about the latest release? “In PhotoZoom Pro 6, we have reinforced our S-Spline Max algorithm with improved detection of tiny details and subtle edges. During enlargement, these are now being reconstructed in a smart way, yielding extremely true-to-nature results. The improvements are particularly spectacular with low resolution originals, which often contain lots of delicate details,” says D.S. Schoolwerth, CEO at BenVista.

Schoolwerth adds, “Moreover, PhotoZoom Pro 6 comes with a new option to enhance the vividness of photos. This comes in very handy when enlarging originals that look a bit dim or lacklustre. PhotoZoom Pro 6 will not only turn them into perfect enlargements, but can also bring these photos to life by adding some extra sunshine.”

OK, all of that sounds good, but how do the results compare? I grabbed a sample image from the BenVista Web site of some fruits (shown above). Then I enlarged it to ten times the original size (from 293×195 to 2930×1950) with PhotoZoom Pro 2 and PhotoZoom Pro 6 using similar settings. Including the full sized enlarged copies is much too large for this post, so I cropped a slice from each of them. The two images are below with the sample from PhotoZoom Pro 2 on top and PhotoZoom Pro 6 on bottom. Which one looks best to you?

I did run into a glitch with one of the new features in PhotoZoom Pro 6. By default, the GPU acceleration was activated. I was unable to complete any enlargements with it activated. Once I turned it off, everything worked great. The purpose of GPU acceleration is to speed up the enlargement, but this specific example was so quick that I couldn’t even time it. If I had to guess, it was less than 5 seconds.

As I tested the two versions against each other, I brought in extra sets of eyes and asked which enlarged version they felt was better. Everyone agreed that the new version produced the best results. Considering the enlargement I performed on this image, I thought the results were pretty darned good. Sure, we’d all like more details but they simply don’t exist in the original and the S-Spline technology does an excellent job in re-creating details as best possible when enlarging. If your projects require enlarging images, this is an upgrade you should seriously consider.

About Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is the author of thirteen books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He has been a contributor to numerous magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site and many more, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics and Web conferences.

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