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by Jim Whitcomb
Adobe Photoshop CS3/CS4/CS5
Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
You can create hi-resolution artwork images and then convert them to low-resolution. But if you convert a low-resolution image back to a hi-resolution image you can’t restore the lost pixels—resulting in a less than stellar image. We’ll show you how to clean up the pixilated mess.
To clean up a low-resolution image, we’ll:
Many times we receive low-resolution artwork files from co-workers or clients who want us to use them in ways they never were intended. For example, the sales department needs a four-color brochure produced in a day and wants to imprint a distributor’s logo. The only way, with such short notice, you can get a copy of the logo is off the distributor’s website. What do you do? The answer: By using the Selection tool and a few painting techniques, you can clean up the artwork and end up with a usable image.
Open the low-resolution image
To follow along using our example, download the Low_res.zip file from the URL given at the beginning of this article. Next, launch Photoshop, choose File > Open, and when the Open dialog box appears, navigate to where you’ve stored the Low_res.jpg file, and click OK (Open in Windows).
Study the example
To begin, let’s study our example shown in A. This is important because we want to identify the various areas of the artwork so we can then decide what we want to do to clean up them. The artwork is a simple logo consisting of four areas: a black border, a tan background, a gradient colored capital letter, and a line of black text. Let’s work on the border first.
Clean up each section one at a time
Before we begin, we must first convert our file to a high-resolution image. It won’t look any different as a hi-res file, but if we clean up the low-resolution image, and then convert it, we’ll be right back where we started. Choose Image > Image Size, and the Image Size dialog box appears. The only thing we need to do is enter 300 in the Resolution text box, and then click OK. Let’s work on the border first.
Before we begin, let’s rename the Background layer. Double-click on the Background layer name and when the New Layer dialog box opens, enter Original in the Name text box, and click OK. When the Layer Properties dialog box opens, enter Original in the Layers Properties text box, and click OK. Now we’ll create a new layer to work on. Click on the Layers panel’s pop-up menu, select New Layer, and when the New Layer dialog box opens, enter Border in the Name text box, and click OK. The border is a simple rectangle, which we can easily redraw with the Pencil tool. Choose the Pencil tool from the Tools panel, and then, from the Brush Preset Picker on the tool options bar, select a brush tip that matches the width of the border, such as the Soft (or Hard) Round 9 pixels. Now, locate your pointer at a corner of the border, and drag four lines using the border as your guide, as shown in Figure B.
Now, let’s create the background. We can use the background shape to help us. Choose the Magic Wand tool from the Tools panel and on the tool options bar, enter 10 in the Tolerance text box, and then select both the Anti-aliased and Contiguous check boxes. Now, move your pointer to a white area just outside the border and click. Now, choose Select > Inverse. Next, create a new layer following the same steps as described earlier, and na...