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I work for a company that makes software to display 3d visualisations. We often grab still images from this software to use in printed media but clients often request the images be print quality and large (300dpi @ A2 or A1 sizes). We have a 30 " cinema display so we can capture images at 2560 x 1600 but I'm wondering if there is any software that would enable me to "fake" a higher resolution (either using the video card scaling or some other method). We use Nvidia Gaming video cards (GeForce 9800 GTX, GTX 280, etc) and our software is directX based.


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Can you set your video card's resolution to higher than your monitors? Obviously you won't be able to see it, but perhaps you could script your machine (in AutoHotkey or something) to increase the resolution and then take a screenshot, and then lower the resolution? – Matthew Lock Sep 9 '09 at 4:04
typically can't set it higher than monitors res, at least not through nvidia control panel. Custom resolutions need to be tested before they are accepted and all the larger ones I've tried seem to not be accepted because they're beyond the monitors native resolution – Matthew Walker Sep 9 '09 at 4:31
To the answers below. Resizing is an option I guess but technically I'm still losing detail. I remember with some laptops I've hit situations where the desktop was larger than the viewable screen area and the screen slid around when the mouse reached the edge of the scree. Does anyone know what this is called and how you make it happen? This may be one way to fake a higher res in the 3d application – Matthew Walker Sep 9 '09 at 4:32
300dpi @ A1 is equivalent to having a resolution of 14031 x 9921 pixels, which is equivalent to 139 megapixels. I don't think any graphics card can output to that resolution now. – caliban Sep 9 '09 at 5:07
caliban: an A1 poster is rarely required to have a full-size detailed image. If you have a poster, you can go with a somewhat lower resolution most of the time. But normal screen resolutions are ridiculously tiny for printing. – Joey Jun 7 '10 at 22:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

At a previous job we had exactly this requirement.

The only solution we found that worked was to split the scene into many small views and render those off screen and then stitch the resulting bitmaps together to make one bitmap of the required resolution.

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We do a similar thing at the moment. Its a combination of adjusting the field of view of the cameras viewport, then capturing a number of images that fit within the original view, then stitching them all together. Unfortunately we're hitting a bug in our rendering when we do this and as a result we're getting an artifact that spans across the stitched image. I was hoping someone had a way of faking a higher resolution so we could just capture a single image at the required resolution but I suspect you're right in saying that splitting may be the only way. cheers – Matthew Walker Sep 10 '09 at 12:57
@Matthew - It sounds like your approach is very similar to the one we used. It took us several attempts to get it right, there were some really tricky bugs due to our calculations not being 100% accurate. – ChrisF Sep 10 '09 at 13:03

The industry gold standard for up-sampling images is Perfect Resize 7, and I have used it to up-sample images many times its original size for large format outdoor advertisements. ZERO complaints from clients so far (it helps to not let them step too close to the outdoor advertisement too.)

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That's pretty cool. Is there anything like that with an API you can call from your own program, say like ImageMagick offers? – Matthew Lock Sep 9 '09 at 4:11
Unfortunately not that I know of. I just checked with my friend who works in EA (Asia) marketing - they take screenshots with a 2560x1600 resolution monitor, and then run batches through GF too, for their production artwork. – caliban Sep 9 '09 at 5:09
2560x1600 to 14031x9921 is not a problem with GF. What I recommend you to do is to download a trial version of GF and test it out for yourself. You will be surprised at the detail retaining capabilities of GF. – caliban Sep 9 '09 at 5:10

I don't think this is possible. However, depending on their complexity, you might be able to vectorize the still images (either by hand or by using something like Vector Magic), and then scale them up as needed.

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