If you’re new to the world of image resizing, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons, and magically your image has transformed to a different resolution. However, changing the size of images can often result in reduced quality and a loss of detail in reality.
Luckily, there are ways to minimise the quality lost when resizing photos. It is even possible to replace a missing detail if you need to make something bigger. In this article, we’ll explain why you might need to resize images, how to do it without losing quality and suggest a few easy-to-use tools for editing photos for you to use.
What are the most common reasons for image resizing?
You might need to resize an image for several reasons, almost all of which are due to the desired end format. Here are a few of the most common:
To reduce the file size
One of the most apparent benefits of resizing images is that it can reduce the size of files on your system. This means you can free up storage space on your machine or quickly transfer files to other devices when resolution isn’t a priority.
To increase page-load speeds on your website
One of the most common reasons people resize images is for websites. There’s no point in having a massive 4K image on your website if most people will be viewing it on a 1080p phone screen. As well as image compression, reducing the size of images is a common way to increase page-load speeds, so users have a quicker, more enjoyable browsing experience. It also reduces the bandwidth required, making it significantly cheaper for users browsing on mobile devices with 4G or 5G networks.
Why images lose quality when resizing
When you reduce the size of an image, you’re reducing the number of pixels being used to display it, therefore introducing a loss of detail. Unfortunately, when you increase the dimensions of an image, it doesn’t increase the number of pixels. This means that you’re left with the same amount of detail in a larger resolution, which is why images become pixelated when you try to increase their size.
If you have the storage space available, it’s always a good idea to keep a full-resolution copy of your images if you intend on changing the size again at a later date. Resizing the same image multiple times can introduce an even greater loss of quality each time you need to resample. This is because the resolution you convert to often won’t be a direct multiple of the original resolution. Instead, your editing tool will need to shift the boundaries of each pixel each time.
Is it possible to resize an image without losing its quality?
The short answer is no. The long answer is- kind of. In a traditional sense, whether you’re increasing or decreasing an image’s size, you will be left with an image that has a reduced level of detail. However, there are certain steps you can take to minimise the loss of quality when resizing images.
For example, increasing image sizes by multiples of one (e.g., 2x, 3x, or 4x) or decreasing image sizes in even fractions (e.g., ½, ¼, or ⅛) will reduce the places in which your editing software needs to ‘fill in the gaps’ between pixels. It is especially helpful when resampling an image multiple times.
It’s also possible to increase an image’s size without loss of quality using machine learning. Machine learning-powered algorithms can use artificial intelligence to fill in the missing detail based on other photos in their knowledge base — more on this below.
The best applications for resizing images
Crello is a free graphic design program with an easy-to-use interface and thousands of ready-made templates from which to choose. It also comes with a suite of tools for editing images right from your desktop browser (for example, you can use it to make background transparent for free). So if you’re only looking for a quick and easy way to change the size of photos, Crello can do just that with no extra fuss or complicated settings. Best of all, you don’t need to download anything – it’s entirely browser-based.
Suppose you’re looking to resize large numbers of images in one go. In that case, Adobe Photoshop has some clever batch-import and scripting features that can help you do so with relative ease, though you’ll probably need some knowledge of image formats and possibly some coding skills as well.
Of course, Photoshop offers basic resizing tools too – but at £9.99 per month for Adobe’s photography plan, it might be a bit expensive if you’ll only be using it for resizing images.
Topaz GigaPixel AI
If you need to increase the size of an image without losing detail, Topaz Labs have some clever software tools for resizing images. This includes a machine-learning-powered algorithm that can fill in the missing element in your photos. Topaz isn’t free, but it is a helpful tool to have in your toolkit if you need to upscale low-resolution images regularly.