Monday, July 7, 2008

SI Pro v2.5 plug-in

Often times, the images that we receive are quite useless for court presentations. Take this image. 512x288 will be way too small to put on a poster to present to the jury. How are we to "blow this up" and make it presentable without blurring it to oblivion? Enter Fred Miranda's SI Pro v2.5 plug-in, now available for Photoshop CS3.

This new version of the plug-in offers some cool new features like pre-set and custom paper sizes, pixel dimension, margins, printer resolution ... or you can interpolate your images by scale. He's even added a downsampling option. More good news is the ability to work in 16 bit mode.

After downloading and installing the plug-in, you'll find it in the Automate menu, File>Automate>SI Pro 2

The Settings drop-down works the same as his other plug-ins. You have the ability to save and load settings, allowing you to speed up the process. The Interpolation drop-down offers three choices, Fine, Normal, and Coarse. Normal is the recommended and default option. The Fine option isn't recommended for slower/older systems. Think of these settings as intensity levels. Try Normal first, it should work just fine for most images.

As for Sharpening Level, there are three options here as well - No Sharpening, Low Sharpening, and High Sharpening. I would recommend selecting No Sharpening as we sharpen with a different tool after this step in our workflow. We don't want to oversharpen the image.

The Original Size window is quite handy. It shows your original file settings - in this case 512x288 for Pixel Dimensions and 7.11"x4" relates to your paper size. Resolution is also listed. For non US users, the Units drop-down lets you work in metric - the plug-in performs the conversion automatically.

If you select the Reduce Color Noise option, the plug-in will reduce the file's chroma noise before interpolation. As we will have addressed noise in a previous step in the workflow, we'll leave this box unchecked.

Now for the fun part, the Sizing Method. No more guessing. If you are interpolating for a print output, select Size for Paper. Then, simply enter the paper size and output resolution of your target device. You can even add a margin for those printers that don't support borderless printing. For this example, I went for a poster sized print. You can choose one of the listed sizes or use your own custom size. The Sizing Method also allows for interpolation based on a desired pixel dimension or percentage.

Once you've made the appropriate settings choices, click the OK button and watch it go (or I should say watch it grow).

Give it a try and I'm sure that you'll like it as much as I do. For less than the price of a good steak, this little gem can be yours.

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