FM Stair Interpolation (SI v2.2)- For all digital cameras & film scanners

Everyone involved with digital imaging has heard about Genuine Fractals. This utility claimed to do a better job interpolating digital images than Photoshop's bicubic engine. Now I would like to introduce a new utility. It's called SI.

In my opinion, Photoshop's Bicubic interpolation, when done in several small steps (like SI is designed), yields better results than the expensive Genuine Fractals plugin. In addition, it works in 16-bit mode!
I have many examples which prove this point. Using the Stair Interpolation (SI) action, will make your interpolated images look sharper and make beautiful 8x10, 13x19, or even 20x30 prints. After running the action, the SI images are clearly superior to Genuine Fractal's and much better than if you had used Photoshop Bicubic alone. FM SI v2.0 is compatible with Photoshop 6. 7 or higher (PC and Mac)

 

The resized image below shows how the full image looks like. The original image used for comparison was a 1440 x 2160 16-bit Tiff file - about 18mb in size -- D30 100-400IS, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 400, RAW

 


 

1.5x Full Size

Genuine Fractals v2.0 
 Stair Interpolation (SI)
Photoshop Bicubic Interpolation

 


 

2.0x Full Size

Genuine Fractals v2.0 
   Stair Interpolation (SI)
Photoshop Bicubic Interpolation

 


 

Many users requested Qimage's Lanczos and S-Spline to be added to the same comparison. Below are the results using the "3.0x full size action"

3.0x Full Size

Genuine Fractals v2.0
 Stair Interpolation (SI)
QimagePro Lanczos
  S-Spline v2.1

 

In my opinion, Lanczos interpolation is really good as well, but you do not need to purchase QimagePro for this purpose. Check out IrfanView. It is free and has Lanczos interpolation built-in. If you are looking for my information, Roger Cavanagh recently posted a review and comparison tests. Here is the link to his page. Keep in mind that there is no one “right” interpolation method. Their intent is to trick our eyes into believing that the pictures have more detail than actually exists.

Which one is the best method? My answer is: it depends. It depends on the amount of interpolation and the subject. As you can see from the above examples, the SI action is clearly the winner for this subject. Keep in mind that much like Genuine Fractals, this action works better with faster systems.

If you have an old system and not much RAM, this action may run slow, but it is well worth the extra time. (The new v1.1 should work better for slower systems) The 1.5X, 2.0X, 3.0X, and 4.0X options refer to the amount of up-sampling (interpolation) relative to your image size. My intention was to make this action compatible with any digital camera. Therefore, I chose these commonly used increments.My advice is to choose between the given choices that closely match your output print size and then use Photoshop's "image size" to fine-tune it.