Alien Skin's Blow Up

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Blow Up
by Alien Skin
June 12, 2007
Blow Up: Introduction BlowUp: The BlowUp Interface Using BlowUp
BlowUp: Comparisons BlowUp: Comparisons (Part 2) BlowUp: Comparisons (Part 3)
BlowUp: Specifications BlowUp: Conclusion

Alien Skin BlowUp
Features: Enlarge images up to 1600% (4x) their original size without halo and stairstep artifacts.
Requirements: Adobe Photoshop or Elements
Official Website: Alien Skin
MSRP: $199.00 / Alien Skin Owners: $149.00
Current Price: Click for best price
  • Intuitive and simple GUI
  • Upsample images to several times their size without noticeable degradation
  • Very few observed jagged artifacts and halos
  • Supports 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit images
  • Supports CMYK, RGB, Grayscale, Lab, and Duotone images
  • Works within Adobe Photoshop or Elements for quick and easy additional image management with Adobe filters and processes
  • Images appear more realistic
  • Geometric artifacts are minimized
  • Film aficionados will especially like this application
  • Processor-dependent which means the more processing power you have--the quicker Blow Up will upsample large images
  • None observed
  • Offer batch upsampling with destination folders
  • Have the option to open the application with always having the percent, inches, cm, etc. choice permanent (i.e., if you're a person who wants to use the percentage most of the time, it's a pain to constantly change it)
Alien Skin's Blow Up is quite the powerful image upsampling tool. I was surprised to see it is actually better than Adobe's own bicubic upsampling and even more surprised to discover Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 has been surpassed. This is the third Alien Skin product reviewed by DigitalDingus and from using their applications, I can affirmatively say they know digital imaging technology, inside and out.

Processing images does take about 25-50% longer than Adobe's own upsampling or even GF Print Pro 5 when using a comparable dual 1GHz processing computer. This is due to a more advanced algorithm being used. When being processed on dual 3.6GHz system, the differences are minimal. So, Alien Skin's processor-dependent architecture is working.


Alien Skin uses a smarter processing scheme by including small grains to the upsampled image. The user can add more grain if necessary, but I found Adobe's own noise filter was preferred for the sample images I used. However, this is not to say Blow Up's grain selector is not needed, because I am sure there are images where a much more fine detail of grain is better handled by it than the Photoshop noise filter.

The addition of "film-like" grains to the upsampled images makes the images more realistic. In fact, they resemble my film images. I can certainly tell Blow Up is a close relative of Alien Skin's Exposure application, as the grain quality is very familiar and welcomed.

As noted in the comparison pages, Genuine Fractals Print Pro 5 has a more digital geometric shape to their upsampled images which makes the images look unreal. Now, here's the funny thing about these types of applications. You don't know what "better" is until you've seen something better come along. After all, how do you know an upsampled image is of excellent quality if the application you're using doesn't have anything to compare it to. Suffice it to say GF Print Pro 5 is a good application, but Alien Skin demonstrates there is something better.

After upsampling an image 1000%, it was even more clear which application was more true to its orginal. Blow Up still maintained the overall shape of the original without deviating. Even after printing out the upsampled versions of the three images, I found Blow Up's image more realistic. GF Print Pro 5 was still "unreal", and interestingly enough, Photoshop's version was a tad better. Thus, I can affirmatively say I highly recommend Alien Skin's Blow Up. This is yet another stellar program from a company who knows digital imaging.

Home Reviews Forums News 2015 2013 2012 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
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Articles Archived Websites (Pre-DigitalDingus): D100 Lounge E-10 Club | Contact