By Neil Bennett | on February 09, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 110.31 . 206.84
Pros: Excellent enlargements; better than main rival Blow Up at larger scaling.
Cons: The Professional Edition’s CMYK support is pricey if you don’t want its other, photographer-specific functions.
This review is taken from our group test of Photoshop CS4 plug-ins.
An enlargement tool is key to every print-based designer’s toolset: such creatives often have to deal with images that aren’t high-res enough, and Photoshop’s own Image Size dialog’s enlargements are blurry and lacking in detail.
Genuine Fractals 6 is available in two versions. Both feature the same scaling engine, but the Standard Edition supports RGB images only. The Professional Edition works with CMYK images, has Gallery Wrap, and can run as a plug-in for Lightroom and Aperture (if you have Photoshop).
Gallery Wrap reflects the edges of images outwards so that canvas prints have bleed without cropping your image. It’s of niche interest – as are Aperture and Lightroom support for non-photographers. So most designers will still be paying almost twice the price of the Standard Edition for CMYK, and feeling ripped off.
Geniune Fractals’ main rival, Alien Skin’s Blow Up 2, offers CMYK support as standard but is sold online for $249, so due to exchange rate changes, it isn’t as affordable as it used to be – but at around £169 at the time of writing, it’s still substantially less expensive. Blow Up 2 also supports the 64-bit version of Photoshop, which Genuine Fractals doesn’t.
200% enlargement using Genuine Fractals
200% enlargement using Blow-Up
200% enlargement using Photoshop
New in both versions of Genuine Fractals is a batch-processing system that works with folders of images, and can produce two versions of images – at different sizes and with different settings (which Blow Up can’t). They also gain texture-control presets.
Geniune Fractal’s main draw over Blow Up 2 is that once you get over 250 per cent, results are more detailed. However, if you don’t generally enlarge images beyond 200 per cent, Blow Up 2’s more affordable CMYK support could make it the better option.
Supported hosts: Photoshop CS2-CS4