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Supersizing in Synthetik Studio Artist

Using the new resizing algorithm on imported images By Dave Nagel
Synthetik Studio Artist 3.5 introduced a new feature called "Supersizer," an algorithm for enlarging images while enhancing and preserving detail as much as possible. In this tutorial, we'll take a look at the process of supersizing images in a variety of workflows.

Here's a detail of the sample image that I'm going to be working with. This is an image of a high-rise building, and I've selected a portion of the image to show you that will illustrate the weaknesses of regular bicubic interpolation and the strengths of Studio Artist's Supersizer.

The first example below shows the image enlarged 400 percent using bicubic interpolation. This is the basic image resizing algorithm used in applications like Adobe Photoshop and others. (Studio Artist also uses bicubic interpolation except when you specify the Supersizer algorithm.) As you can see, this image has some series problems when enlarged--specifically jagged edges in areas where contrast is highest.

Now here's the same image enlarged using Supersizer.

Big difference.

I should caution that Supersizer is extremely effective on a wide variety of images, but, of course, there are limitations. Supersizer can enlarge and enhance images, but the better the quality of the image you're starting out with, the better the quality of the supersized image. If you have soft, extremely noisy or artifact-laden images, you're not going to get a great enlargement using any algorithm. Supersizer seems to work best cleaning up edges and working with detailed images that have distinct areas of contrast. That's where you'll find it most useful--at least from my experience.

Supersizing basics
We'll begin with the most basic use of supersizing: applying the Supersizer algorithm to an image using Studio Artist's default settings. (Note that this process is slightly different when working with Alpha enabled on the canvas. We'll get to that next.)

1. To begin, launch Studio Artist. If you already have Studio Artist open, choose File > New Source Image and Canvas. Either way, you'll be presented with the same series of dialog windows.

2. In the first dialog that pops up, select the image you want to supersize.

3. In the next dialog, adjust the image size settings to the new image size. For this example, I'll enlarge my image 400 percent.

4. Now Studio Artist's interface will pop up with a source image loaded and a blank canvas staring at you. Assuming that you're not working with alpha enabled on your layers, you can now simply apply the supersizer. To do this, choose Canvas > Layer Commands > Set Layer to Supersized Source. Or simply type Shift-Command-B.

The supersized image will then appear in your canvas. Here's the result.

5. If that's all you want to do, you can now save out your supersized image using a simple Command-S.

Supersizer with a side of alpha
Now if, as is the case with me, you work regularly with layer alpha enabled, the process is slightly different. If you follow the instructions above, nothing will happen at all on your canvas--which is, I suspect, the cause of the confusion some people experience when trying to use Supersizer.

So here's how you need to do it if you have alpha enabled on your layers.

1. Again, launch Studio Artist, or chose File > New Source Image and Canvas.

2. In the first dialog that pops up, choose the source image that you want to enlarge.

3. In the second dialog, set the new image size that you want for your image. Again, I'll set mine to 400 percent.

4. Now Studio Artist's interface will come up with the source image loaded and a blank canvas facing you--most likely a blank, black canvas, since that's the default when using layer alpha. (You can also see in the screen shot below that I have my alpha set to "On" in the Layer palette.)

5. Now you need to set the background to Source Image manually. To do this, click the pull-down menu at the top right of Studio Artist's interface, and select "Source Image" from the list of available options. (If nothing happens on your canvas, hit the little arrow button next to the pull-down menu. That will force the source image onto your canvas.)

6. At this point, you can now apply the Supersizer. Choose Canvas > Layer Commands > Set Layer to Supersized Source. Or simply type Shift-Command-B. When you do this, Studio Artist will calculate the new image and then display it on your canvas, replacing the previous enlarged image.

7. Now you can save your supersized image using Command-S.

Manipulating supersized images
Now, to this point, we've assumed you're doing nothing but supersizing your image, then saving it out. But if you want to continue to manipulate your supersized image, you'd do well to replace your original source image with the new supersized version. The reason for this is that the little source image you began with is still loaded up as the source image. So any brushes or effects that you apply that use the source image as a component of its operation will be using the original, unscaled image, rather than the new supersized version.

There are two easy ways to move the supersized image into the source window.

1. The first is simply to save the supersized image that's on your canvas (Command-S), and then load it back in manually as the source image (File > Open Source Image). Now the supersized version is loaded on both your canvas and in the source window.

2. The second and more useful way in many cases is to use the command that moves the supersized image into the source window. To do this, choose Canvas > Canvas Image to Source Image.

Why is this second option more useful in some cases? Well, there are times when you need to work a Supersizer command into a Paint Action Sequence. You can record this step and play it back much more easily than you could if you required the manual loading of a supersized source image. So it'll just save you time when batch processing images.

That's it for now. If you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in the Synthetik Studio Artist forum at DMN Forums by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:synthetik studio artist, supersize, studio artist, resolution, alpha


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