Convert a Low Resolution image into a High Resolution one using Photoshop CC

We encounter it regularly: icons or vector images, often PNG files, which are out of focus/granular. Especially vector images, which are icons in principle, should be infinitely scalable and therefore razor sharp. Fortunately, you can easily convert blurry, low-resolution images into a sharp vector file. How? You can read all about it in this article.

onscherpe afbeelding scherp maken voor na

As an example we take the PNG file below of 2 hands shaking eachother:


As you see, the image is quite blurry / unsharp. To make it sharper, we do the following:

Step 1: Open the image in Adobe Photoshop CC

Open the image in photoshop CC 202o and unlock the layer.

Step 2: Remove the background

Remove the white background with the help of the magic tool. Your image now looks like this:

onscherp icon transparant

Step 3: convert into smart object

Open the layer panel, right click on the image layer and select the option ‘Convert into smart object’

icon omzetten slim object

Step 4: Add a new layer

Add a white backgroud layer below the image layer.

onscherp icon nieuwe laag

Step 5: Gaussian blur

As you see, the lines of the image are not smooth. Especially when you enlarge the image to about 1000 px, this is good visible. That’s why we are going to smoothen the lines. Select layer 0 (the smart object), go to  filter > Blur > Gaussian blur and take a radius value. We used the value 5,0 (on the enlarged image), but you can play with the values to customize it to your situation.

icon gaussiaans vervagen

Step 6: New adjustment layer

Make a new adjustment layer (indicated with red cicle in the image below) and select the ‚curve tool‘.

icon aanpassingslaag

Step 7: set the curve values

In the curve tool  adjust the value  in the output and input fields. Just play around a bit with the values and see which values are best for you to smoothen the lines of the vectorised image. After adjusting the values in those fields, the  image looks better with refinement on the  edges,more  like a vector image

icon aanpassingslaag curve

Step 8: Merge layers

Merge all layers and save the file in your required format.

The result

Below you see the end result. It is a vectorised image that you can enlarge to the scale you’d like without blurring.

scherpe vector afbeelding