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ATPM 14.08
August 2008




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by Mark Tennent,

How to Get Pxl SmartScale Running on Intel Macs

One of the few refugees left behind during the switch from an IBM G5 to an Intel Xeon–powered Mac was a little Photoshop plug-in named pxl SmartScale. When we tried to run it, the dialog boxes were messed up, and Photoshop crashed trying to enlarge an image with SmartScale. That is, until we worked out a little wrinkle to get it running on Intel.

SmartScale is invaluable because it scales images by a far greater degree than either Genuine Fractals, SmartScale’s rival in digital enlargement, or by using Photoshop’s built-in bicubic interpolation. They introduce too many artifacts, halos, and jagged edges as the degree of enlargement increases. Whereas SmartScale, on the other hand, has extra tools to control sharpening and edge smoothing so that images can be increased up to 1,000% and stay usable. It’s also a lot faster than Genuine Fractals.

Better still, SmartScale works in the image’s color mode rather than converting it to RGB on the fly. Our version of Genuine Fractals 4.1 does this before resizing, then converts back afterwards. We’ve never noticed any color shifts during the conversions, but they take time to achieve, especially on larger photographs. Finally, the best feature of SmartScale is that it also increases the size of any paths inside the image, whereas Genuine Fractals leaves paths at the original size. Clipping paths inside images enlarged in Genuine Fractals have to be remade.

How to Do the Dirty Deed

We found how to get SmartScale Intel-icized by accident. Both SmartScale and Genuine Fractals’ most recent publisher has been onOne Software. SmartScale was originally an Extensis product, but Extensis sold it and Genuine Fractals (originally LizardTech’s) to onOne in 2005. OnOne has stopped supporting SmartScale in favor of Genuine Fractals 5, a $300 plug-in. We downloaded the demo version.

Peek inside Genuine Fractal 5’s .pkg file by holding down Control and clicking on Show Package Contents. Then delve into the Contents/Resources folder where there are two versions of the onOne Library, one for PowerPC and one, presumably, for Intel. We copied the second into the Photoshop plug-ins folder, replacing the existing version still there, and fired up Photoshop again.

SmartScale now runs without a glitch, as does Genuine Fractals, which also seems to be, perhaps, slightly speedier than when using the old PowerPC library.

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