Thursday, August 4, 2011

Supersize Me

Does this sound familiar? You get a great shot of a subject, but the subject doesn't fill the frame.
By Rick Sammon Published in Quick Fix


Reducing noise in Photoshop is an option, too. Go to Filter > Reduce Noise. Now, go to the Advanced setting and select the Blue channel. You'll want to select the Blue channel because most noise shows up in that channel. If you still need more noise reduction, you can reduce noise in the other channels.

There also are plug-ins for reducing noise, including DeNoise from Topaz Labs ( and Dfine from Nik Software ( I've used these plug-ins with excellent results.


Now that your smaller segment of an image has reduced noise, it's time to upsize your image. However, you simply can't change the height and width to the desired size and press OK. You need to do a bit of work to get there. You want to use what's called the Upsizing Step Method. Basically, you increase the size of an image by only 10%—one step at a time until you get to the desired size. Before you press OK, you need to select Bicubic Smoother when you Resample your image. Don't miss this step. It makes a big difference.

Another option is to use Genuine Fractals by onOne Software ( Genuine Fractals uses its own unique method of upsizing an image—to 1,000%! I haven't upsized an image that much, but I can say that this plug-in is amazing.


If you still notice some noise in your picture after your upsizing procedure, fear not. Here's a quick fix for reducing or eliminating the noise—actually hiding the noise.

In Photoshop, go to Filter > Convert to Smart Filter and then select Gaussian Blur. Zoom in on the most important part of the image, and apply a small amount of blur.


Because you selected Convert to Smart Filter, you can use the filter as you would an Adjustment Layer and a Layer Mask in Photoshop—painting out the blur over the subject, the eagle, in this case. The idea here is to think and work selectively, which is my number-one tip for working in the digital darkroom.


Another method of hiding the grain is to use a filter to make a picture look more like a painting, one in which everything in the frame is soft. Here, I used CrispStyle in Topaz Clean from Topaz Labs. Everything is soft, so our eyes aren't searching for grain or sharpness.


Here's the original file from which I made my CrispStyle, greatly cropped image.

The next time you find yourself with too short a lens to capture the shot you want, take it anyway—and remember, you have options in the digital darkroom.

Rick Sammon, teaches stuff like this at his workshops. He also teaches you how to get better in-camera pictures. Check out his work at

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