Blow Up: Getting Started

Blow Up: Getting Started

Learn to use Blow Up 3 like a pro with this tutorial. This is the best place to start.

In Photoshop, go to the Filter menu and you should see Blow Up 3 at the bottom. Blow Up is an automation plug-in, so it’s handled a little bit different than other plug-ins, it also lives in the File–>Automate menu. If you’re using Lightroom, watch the Blow Up 3 Lightroom video. For now, let’s go over some of the basics.

The left side contains the thumbnail navigator and custom user settings. The center is where you preview the effect. On the bottom of the preview area are tools for zooming and panning inside of the preview area. Over on the right, you can adjust the results. The buttons here on the top-right are for the different resizing modes.

If you’re unclear what a slider does, just hold your cursor over the title and the hover help will give you a brief description. If you need additional help, choose Help under the question mark button, or press F1 or ⌘?. This will take you to our online help.

I’m going to hide the left pane for now; I won’t be using it in this video. Hiding it gives me a little bit more real estate to work with. If you want to show or hide panes, click the toggle arrow on the sides.

Now let’s resize this image for print at 16×20. I’ll choose the crop and resize mode because the aspect ratio of this image will not properly fill the print. Here, where it says document size, I want to choose Photographic-16×20.

You can see the crop window in the preview panel. Let’s adjust it. I’ll grab one of the sides and move the crop in a bit. I can move and crop however I’d like in the preview panel. Changing the crop does not change the output size. That’s why the aspect ratio is preserved to match 16×20. To flip the orientation, use this button. The button just below is reset. I’m going to undo the reset button with ctrl or ⌘Z.

Once we have the crop area the way we want, we can fine-tune the enlargement. The settings here, Sharpen Edges and Add Grain, can affect the quality of the enlargement. The majority of the time you don’t need to touch them. But, it’s good practice to zoom in close and take a look. I’ll press 1:1.

You can increase the sharpening and grain but only go as far as you have to. Stop before sharpening becomes obvious. You want to recreate the grain that was in the original image. Usually, it’s just barely enough to see.

Lastly let’s sharpen for output, which compensates for ink diffusion in the paper. For this example, I want to print on glossy paper. I’ll choose that from the preset list right here. You can fine-tune the amount here on the right.

Blow Up will duplicate the image before resizing by default. This makes resizing non-destructive. You can change this behavior in the preferences panel here under the question mark or with ctrl or ⌘K. Here at the bottom is the checkbox for duplication.

Now that I’m finished, I’ll press OK or hit enter/return.