Oct 6 2003
Extensis pxl SmartScale
Remember that scene in Blade
Runner where Harrison
Ford as Rick Deckard slips a photo into his computer and is able to search
the minute details of the tiniest parts of the image? He zooms in and instead
of degrading from the increased scrutiny, the image only gets better and reveals
information that allows our hero to track down his prey. Wouldn’t it be cool
if there real was a way to take an image of finite resolution and somehow extract
and interpolate unseen detail from it? Of course it would. But Blade Runner
was only science fiction, the truth is that the more you zoom into an image
the worse it looks. And when you enlarge an image the only detail that is revealed
is the fact that you are sadly lacking in pixels.
Now that I’ve burst your bubble, let me offer something to lift your spirits:
SmartScale from Extensis is a Photoshop plug powered by PixelLive, Celartem
Technology’s advanced scaling engine. SmartScale helps save you from those tough
situations where you are forced to use an image of insufficient resolution by
preserving the color and brightness data contained in that image and creating
a high quality scaled interpretation. Obviously it can only do so much. Having
SmartScale in your arsenal does not mean you can get away with purchasing lower
resolution stock photos with the assumption that you can always crank the size
1600% (SmartScale’s maximum) to manage higher end jobs. Uh uh, it’s impressive
advanced technology but it’s not magic.
Extensis has taken this advanced technology and wrapped it in an intuitive
interface that allows users to quickly and easily experiment with settings to
arrive at the best possible result. Unlike other similar utilities, SmartScale
does not require the use of any proprietary image format. You can scale any
image you can open in Photoshop without any Export/Import nonsense. SmartScale
goes one better: you don’t even have to open the image first: you can crop and
scale it before Photoshop even gets it’s mitts on it.
I know, that’s all well and fine, but how is the image quality? Not to shirk
the issue, but it honestly depends on the image in question: garbage in, garbage
out. You can’t focus a lens once the shutter has clicked. If your image is blurry
and lacking edge detail, SmartScale will do its best but it will only be able
to add resolution, not detail.With finer photography, SmartScale will preserve
the detail in the image through the scaling process allowing its use in larger
projects than it was ever intended. Very impressive.
Extensis offers pxl SmartScale for US$199.95 and has a downloadable
30-day demo available.
If you design my the seat of your pants and frequently have the need to add
resolution to images, pxl SmartScale will save your bacon. Get it now.