Photoshop Transformation Here’s what to do when you are stuck with a low res image

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So you are stuck with a low res image. What to do?

The first thing is to look at the image, and try to find the clues that make it obvious it is low res.

In this case, the photo has a heavy grain that might be hard to remove. It also has a lot of artifacts around sharp edges, which might be caused by a scanner or photo editing software. The artifacts are different on different parts of the image, so they were probably not in the original picture. An easy way to confirm this would be to look at some other similar images and see if they have the same artifacts. If so, then these can be removed during resizing.

One way to remove the grain is with Photoshop’s “smooth” filter. Another is by blurring the image – but only along one axis. This makes some interesting distortions, but doesn’t change the size of objects very much; it mostly just smears them around. You can get a quick and dirty high-pass effect by blurring an image (Filters -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur).

Then you can start playing with color balance and levels until you have something that looks good. To get rid of noise in an image, use filters under Filters ->

The process of transforming your low res image into a piece of crypto art is not that complicated. It’s just a few steps:

1. Convert your image to grayscale, if it isn’t already.

2. Change the mode of the image to “Lab” in Photoshop, or “LCH” in Gimp. If you don’t know how, ask someone who does.*

3. Set the Lightness slider to 0 and the Channels slider to 80 (or 100, depending on which you are using). This will make your image black and white, with a lot of contrast.*

4. Choose a color to use for your foreground color (the topmost swatch in the toolbox). The color you choose should contrast well with your background color.*

5. Paint over any parts of your image that you want to make more visible using this foreground color.* You can use either a round brush or an airbrush for this step; if you use an airbrush, hold down shift while painting over each part of the image with it for even coverage.*

6. Go over those parts of the image again with another color that contrasts even better with your background than the first color. This

The photo on the left is a great example of how easy it is to get a low res image from your phone. This is a shot I took of some friends using an old-school camera at the beach. The original file was over 4 times the resolution of the one you can see here.

The key to this example is that each “pixel” in the original file was much wider than the ones in the final image, so that even after downsizing, we still preserve 100% of the detail without any sharpening filters, and without any loss in quality whatsoever.

This is possible, because we are going to layer multiple images together using Photoshop’s transform mode. To do this, I opened up my photo in Photoshop and created some new layers: 1) A blank layer (which will become the background) 2) A color fill layer (to give us some texture and 3) An image layer which contains the actual texture we want to add.

1) Create a blank layer by clicking on “Create a new layer” icon at the bottom of your screen: 2) Hit SHIFT+CTRL+N or go to Layer>New>Layer 3) Select your foreground color by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+C (or go to Edit>Color

In order to minimize the space needed to store a digital image and to improve the speed with which it can be accessed, all digital images are pixelated. That is, every pixel in a digital image has been reduced to a number, and so when you zoom in on part of an image on your computer screen, you are actually looking at an array of numbers rather than at more pixels.

Trying to make out what’s on a low res photo of an ant—or some other subject—is like trying to look at a book through an opaque piece of cellophane that’s been crumpled into a ball. So, if you want to be sure that there is no ambiguity about what you’re seeing, it’s always wise to zoom in as far as possible and then use Photoshop or another photo editing program to zoom in even further.

These pictures were obtained by zooming way in on much lower resolution photos.

If you don’t have access to high resolution photos (and most people don’t) then here is what you do: take a picture of whatever it is that you want to see at high magnification using your smart phone camera set at its highest resolution. Then when you get back home or wherever there is wifi where you can upload the high res

Now we have an issue. The image is low res and the object seems very high res. We will have to do some magic with Photoshop to make this work.×500.jpg

Open the image in Photoshop (or the graphics program of your choosing). Go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold. This will create a black and white version of your image:×500.jpg

Go back to the color version of your image and select the Magic Wand tool (or choose a selection tool that you prefer). Click inside the selection to place it, then hit delete on your keyboard.

Now you want to give some depth back to the object that was just deleted, so go Image > Adjustments > Levels (or use the levels slider in your program). Move the top of the triangle under the histogram over slightly until it looks like there is a bit more depth – but not too much!×500.jpg

This technique doesn’t always work, but when it does it can save hours of work!

You can use this method to do anything with your image: add other people, remove unwanted objects, change the background, etc. Let’s say you have a beautiful picture of a person and you want to add another person in the picture as well.

For that you need a picture of the person that will appear on the original image. Let’s say you have one and you will transform that picture into black and white. Now we are going to use some filters in Photoshop to cut the person out from the background.

First of all apply Filter > Sketch > Photocopy. Then go to Filter > Blur > Motion blur and set its value to 1px. This way we are adding a little bit of movement to the subject in our picture. Now we are going to add some color via Filter > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. After that we are going to create a layer with our subject over the original image.

To do this go to Layer > New > Layer or press Ctrl + Shift + N and call it color copy or something like that. Then go back to our first layer (the black and white one) duplicate it (Ctrl + J) and set the blending mode of this new layer into Soft Light.


Whether you are a designer or simply want to spruce up your photos, the best way to improve the quality of a low-resolution image is to first use Photoshop’s Resample Image feature and then run it through the Unsharp Mask filter.

Let’s say you have an image that is scaled too small for printing or publishing on the web. In this case, you can increase the resolution of the image (within limits) using Photoshop’s Resample Image feature. The image above shows one half of what a photo might look like if it is scaled incorrectly for use in a design or publication. You can see that it does not have sharp lines and lacks detail from being scaled down too far. Below, you’ll find two steps that will fix the problem by increasing the resolution and sharpening the image:

Step 1: Increase Image Resolution with Resample Image

Open your low-resolution photo in Photoshop and follow these steps:

Select File>Image Size

In the Image Size dialog box, set Resolution to 300 pixels/inch (or higher if needed). To do this, click on Advanced Options and enter 300 in the Resolution field. Click OK.

You should now see an image with sharpened edges! To save changes, click OK in the Image Size dialog

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