Photo Editors?

I have several photos taken in Viet Nam. They are old, and not very good quality. And small. It is hard to pick out who the people are. I have enlarged them with Arc Photo Studio and MGI Photo Suite. The quality is so bad when you enlarge them that you are looking at pixels. Nothing seems to help with clearing it up on these programs. (I know, I've tried everything and every combination of things.) Anyone happen to know of a program that will enlarge and not reduce the photo quality?
Merci ;) Janie
Thanks Viper. I couldn't find any freeware, and I did have a version of that to try. Only problem is, it wouldn't do anything so you could test out if it worked well or not. I may end up just giving it a shot anyway.
Are they already digital, or are you scanning them?
If scanning small originals, use the highest optical resolution of your scanner.

If already digital, Irfanview - makes a pretty good job of enlargement - the Lanczos interpolation filter is about the best for sharpness.

I believe there is a trial version of "Genuine Fractals", supposedly the most powerful enlargement program.
Personally, I reckon it's just fractal hocus pocus, and you could do as well by other methods.

Some people swear by carrying out really big enlargement in several steps.

I would start by applying a sharpen or "unsharp mask" if the original benefits from it - you want the original as good as it can be, before the next step.

You cannot recover detail that just isn't there though, the best any enlargement can achieve is to keep edges there that should be, and stay smooth where it should be - the outer limits of those two being:

1. Pixel magnify, no interpolation (sharp, but ugly)
2. Linear interpolation (soft/blurred)

The best interpolation algorithm has to make a good guess if there is an edge that should be sharp, or a gradient that should be smooth - that's why you MUST sharpen the original if it needs it, to strengthen that clue.

If you want to try some other software, in alt.comp.freeware (newsgroup) they have been raving about Photofiltre

There IS an English version - and remember, Telechargements = Downloads
Thanks LTR, I'll give those a shot. The pictures were pre-scanned and mailed to me from 5/7 CAV soldiers that knew my brother before he died. I need to get in farther on the pictures to see if that's him in them or not. I'll for sure let y'all know how I do.
I downloaded everything, and thanks for the translation, I never would have known what it was.
I couldn't get the trial of Genuine Fractals to run.
Irfanview helped a little.. but am I ever happy with the Photofiltre! Whatever they are saying in French on the reviews, they are right!!!
It cleared up one picture enough so that I can 100% for sure say I don't know if that's my brother or not!! But I can not tell if it's him or not a lot more clearly! :rolleyes: :D ;) **giggle**
Well, I wasn't suggesting PhotoFiltre as a solution, but the folks over at the freeware newsgroup are saying it's the best freeware photo editor - BAR NONE.

Serif Photoplus (ver 5.5 from ) used to have a good reputation in the group, until it was found that it checked for updates and offers (not selectable!), and that Serif have a habit of giving you the hard sell on upgrades.

Another one worth looking at... ImageN from - oops, looks broken, and can't find the download - it has, or HAD, more resample filters than Irfanview.
This MIGHT be a valid download
I got Imagin installed, but have no idea how to open it! I've played around with the settings but don't want to mess up too much.
ImageN does look a little bizarre - at the start, you see something that looks like a camera of some kind.

Right click for options.
The first thing you might like to do, is Configure program, and choose a different startup view (eg. open menu bar at startup).

But working from the camera view...
Right-Click and go for File Open.
To resize with your choice, use change size - if you just go to enlarge, it will use the automatic choice.
From the change size menu, you can resize, and undo, so you can try the (17, I think it was) methods - though I doubt you'll do better than Lanczos.

It's a bizarre program, and the supplied multi-option filter has its uses and abuses, but it's the wierdest program.

One other warning, unless you turn the feature off, it serves images from a mini-webserver.

Make sure that "allow remote access" is unchecked, unless you really WANT to serve your images out over your internet connection!
Now that I have the hang of running the ImageN program, I have to say that it is one of the best I have ever worked with. I can't believe it is free!