How to Increase Image Resolution in Photoshop (Guide)

How to Increase Image Resolution in Photoshop (2024 Guide)

Looking to print your photos big or use them in high-resolution designs? You‘ll need to increase their resolution. Low resolution images look pixelated and blurry when enlarged. Hi-res pics stay tack sharp at larger sizes.

As a professional photographer and Photoshop expert, I‘ll show you how to increase image resolution the right way using Adobe Photoshop. Follow these steps to resize your images for crystal clear results every time.

What is Image Resolution?
Image resolution refers to the amount of detail in a photo. It‘s commonly measured in pixels per inch (PPI). The more pixels per inch, the higher the resolution.

High resolution images have more detail and look sharper, especially when printed at large sizes or displayed on high-definition screens. Low resolution photos look soft, blurry, and pixelated in comparison.

The Relationship Between Image Size and Resolution
It‘s important to understand that pixel dimensions (image size) and resolution (pixel density) are linked. Increasing an image‘s pixel dimensions without changing the amount of detail will spread that detail over a larger area, decreasing its resolution.

For example, a 2000x3000px image at 300ppi has much more detail than that same image resized to 4000x6000px but still at 300ppi. No extra detail was added so the perceived sharpness is lower.

The lesson: aim to start with high resolution images whenever possible. Increasing resolution after the fact has its limits. But if an image is too small for your needs, Photoshop can help. Here‘s how:

How to Increase Image Resolution in Photoshop

Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop and go to Image > Image Size.

Step 2: Uncheck "Resample". This locks the ratio between pixel dimensions and resolution. Increasing dimension values will decrease resolution and vice versa.

Step 3: Boost resolution to your desired amount, usually 300ppi for standard printing. Notice how the pixel dimensions decrease to maintain the same amount of detail.

Step 4: Now check "Resample" and select "Preserve Details 2.0" from the drop-down. This is Adobe‘s most advanced upscaling algorithm as of 2024.

Step 5: Increase the pixel dimensions to your target size. Photoshop will intelligently interpolate new pixels to increase resolution while minimizing quality loss. Experiment with the noise slider for a balance of detail and smoothness.

Step 6: Click OK to apply the changes.

Pro Tip: Work non-destructively by duplicating your image layer first (Ctrl/Cmd+J). That way you can always revert to the original if needed.

Sharpening for Extra Crispness
Increasing resolution often softens an image. Counteract that with these sharpening tricks:

Unsharp Mask (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask) increases contrast along edges for a crisper look. Start with Amount 50-100%, Radius 1-2px, and Threshold 1-3 levels.

The High Pass filter (Filter > Other > High Pass) boosts overall sharpness. Set it to 2-4px, then change the layer blend mode to Overlay or Soft Light. Adjust opacity to taste.

But there are limits…
As amazing as Photoshop is, it can‘t work miracles. No amount of upscaling will add detail that wasn‘t captured in the original photo. Significantly increasing resolution will always degrade quality to some degree.

For extreme enlargements, explore dedicated AI upscaling software like Gigapixel AI or ON1 Resize AI. These tools use machine learning to "hallucinate" photorealistic detail better than Photoshop‘s algorithms.

The Importance of Starting Big
Whenever possible, capture photos at your camera‘s highest resolution setting. More pixels = more editing flexibility.

For stock images and graphics, choose the largest size available. You can always scale down, but scaling up is trickier. Aim for 300ppi at your intended output size for the best balance of quality and file size.

Output Considerations
Different mediums have different resolution requirements. For crisp prints, aim for 240-300ppi at the final print size. Large canvases and posters can look great at 150ppi.

For web and social media, display resolution is more important than pixel density. 1920px wide is plenty for full-screen desktop viewing. 1080px is ideal for Instagram. When in doubt, use double the display size for wiggle room.

Advanced Techniques
For the ultimate control, try outputting separate versions of your image optimized for highlights, midtones, and shadows. Combine them with luminosity masks for targeted sharpening.

Or explore frequency separation to independently adjust texture and tones. Split your image into high and low frequency layers, then sharpen the details while leaving colors untouched. It‘s like a smarter, more organic version of Unsharp Mask.

Experimentation is Key
Every image is unique and there‘s no one-size-fits-all solution to increasing resolution. Use the techniques explained here as a starting point, then experiment to discover what works best for each photo.

The more you practice, the more you‘ll develop an intuition for balancing quality and file size. Always zoom in to 100% to check sharpness, but don‘t forget to evaluate the overall image too. Perfection is in the nuance.

Increasing image resolution in Photoshop is both an art and a science. As powerful as the software is, starting with high quality, high resolution photos will always produce the best results.

Aim to capture as much detail as possible in-camera or choose large stock images. Then use tools like Image Size, Unsharp Mask, and High Pass to optimize resolution and sharpness. For extreme upscaling, explore dedicated AI solutions.

Most importantly, don‘t be afraid to experiment. Push your images to the limit, but always prioritize quality over quantity. With practice and patience, you can master the art of increasing resolution for superior prints and pixel-perfect digital displays.

Now go enlarge some photos and make them look their best! Feel free to reach out with any questions. Happy editing!

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