Plug-in for Blowing Up Images
AKVIS Magnifier can increase the size of an image to about 400% without noticeable artifacts or halos. When installing the plug-in, you have to choose between three licenses: two that allow you to use the plug-in for personal use, and one (the most expensive) that allows for commercial usage.
The plug-in’s speed is good, but nothing to brag about. The results are as good or slightly better than the resizing algorithm in Photoshop, but in order to get usable results, you’d better turn off GPU acceleration, at least if you’re on an iMac with a standard graphics card. I increased the size of the same Photoshop image using AKVIS Magnifier, Alien Skin’s Blow Up 3, and Photoshop. All three delivered comparable results, with Photoshop falling behind when going over 200%. AKVIS Magnifier didn’t work at first. There were streaks all over the image, as if someone had attacked the image with a knife.
I repeated the test several times without success, until I called support. After a bit of hand wringing and the repeated assertion that numerous customers are happy with the plug-in, my contact asked me if I could turn off GPU acceleration. That did the trick. Apparently, AKVIS Magnifier has compatibility problems with some graphics cards, but this isn’t mentioned anywhere on the site or in the documentation (which resembles a brochure for AKVIS’ other products more than a user guide).
When I finally got the plug-in to work, it offered acceptable results up to 400%.
Price: $89–249 (depending on license)
Hot: It magnifies
Not: Compatibility problems (graphics card); complex licensing