Alien Skin Blow-up

A while back, I announced the release of Alien Skin BlowUp. A short time later, I was sent a copy of the software by the folks at Alien Skin and whilst I had played with it for quite a while. It wasn't until I actually had to use it to work on an image from a cell phone that I really appreciated the features of this excellent utility.

The image itself was of a child that recently died in a traffic accident and the only recent images the parents had were those taken on their Cell phones. The image was barely VGA quality and suffered from a lot of artifacting (blocking), due to heavy JPEG compression. So I decided to try BlowUp and see if I could get a decent sized image out of this picture. I tried using it on its own and found that although I could resize the image fine the results were less that acceptable because of the heavy artifacting.

I then went back to the original image and used an image recovery utility to eliminate the blocky artifacts. Once I was happy with the corrected image, I then used BlowUp to resize the image with excellent results.

What really helped, were the photo grain controls contained within BlowUp, as these controls help to add an organic feel back into your images. I was able to take a very poor 640x480 image and turn it into a fairly respectable photo.

The bereaved family were very happy to have the resulting photo, and I was happy to have brought some light into what was a very dark time for the family of the poor child. Based upon my experiences with it, the only suggestion I can make to Alien Skin for improving what is already an impressive tool, is to add the capability for removing compression artifacts directly into BlowUp.

For more information on Alien Skin BlowUp visit the product page here. BlowUp retails for US $199.00 although, if you happen to be the owner of another Alien Skin product, you can also purchase an upgrade package for US $99.00.