Upscaling Low-Resolution Images to Clarity Using GIMP

January 08, 2024Amanda Brown

Have you ever stumbled upon a beautiful picture online, only to be disappointed by its pixelated mess upon closer inspection? Or maybe you unearthed a cherished family photo from the depths of your hard drive, its once-vibrant details now blurry and indistinct. Low-resolution images can be a real bummer, limiting their use and diminishing their emotional impact.

Upscaling low-resolution images can be a tricky task, but with the right image editing tool like GIMP, you can significantly improve their quality and clarity. This post will tell you how to upscale images with GIMP.

GIMP Upscale Image

Part 1. How to Use GIMP to Upscale Images Without Losing Quality

GIMP is a free and powerful image editing software that offers various useful tools and techniques to fix low-resolution pictures. It lets you increase the image size by specifying desired dimensions. GIMP offers various interpolation algorithms to fill in the missing pixel information when upscaling.

Access GIMP Image Upscaler

Built-in Scale Image Feature in GIMP

Step 1.
Ensure you have the latest GIMP version installed on your computer and launch it. Add the low-resolution image file to GIMP.
Add Low Resolution Image to GIMP
Step 2.
Go to the Image menu and choose the Scale Image option from its dropdown. In the Width and Height fields, enter your desired dimensions. Under Interpolation, choose Lanczos for moderate upscaling or Sinc (best quality) for the highest quality but slowest processing. Click the Scale button to increase the image resolution with GIMP.
GIMP Upscale Image Feature

GIMP Increase Quality of Image

After upscaling an image, you can apply a gentle sharpening filter to enhance details without introducing artifacts. You can access several helpful enhancement options from Enhance under the Filters menu. For instance, you can use Sharpen to enhance details without over-sharpening. Upscaling can sometimes amplify existing noise. Use GIMP's noise reduction filter to smooth out unwanted graininess.

GIMP Filters to Increase Quality of Image

To preserve the highest quality, save the upscaled picture in a lossless format like PNG or TIFF. Avoid JPEG, which introduces compression artifacts.

Increase Image Resolution with Resynthesizer Plugin

If you are editing a complex image, try using the Resynthesizer plugin to get a better upscaling result. You can install it from GIMP's official plugin repository.

Step 1.
Open GIMP and load your picture to it. Click the Filters menu, locate Enhance from its drop-down list, and then choose Resynthesizer.
Step 2.
In the Synthesis method, choose Auto-detect or experiment with other options like Texture synthesis. Adjust the Synthesis scale slider for the desired level of detail. These methods analyze the image's texture and patterns to recreate them in the upscale area.

Adjust the settings like Search Size and Blend Mode for fine-tuning the result. You can preview the upscaled image. After that, click the Synthesize button to confirm your operation.

Experiment with different methods and settings to find the best results for your specific image. Upscaling large images can be resource intensive. Be patient and allow GIMP sufficient time to process.

Part 2. Best GIMP Alternative to Increase Image Resolution

While GIMP is a fantastic free option for upscaling images, it may not always be the best choice for everyone. While it can improve the quality of upscaled images, complete elimination of quality loss is impossible. Consider AI-powered upscalers like Aiseesoft AI Photo Editorfor advanced results. It uses advanced machine learning algorithms to upscale images with impressive accuracy and detail preservation.

Compared to GIMP's interpolation methods, AI Photo Editor uses advanced AI algorithms specifically designed for upscaling images, often producing more realistic and detailed results.

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Step 1.
Download and open AI Photo Editor. Click Select Image(s) to add your photo. Its interface is intuitive and straightforward, making it suitable even for beginners. You won't need to fiddle with complex settings like in GIMP.
Select Image
Step 2.
Select your desired upscaling factor and click Start to resize the image file while improving its resolution. It offers a wider range of image editing tools beyond upscaling, including noise reduction, sharpening, color correction, and more.
Choose Upscale Level
Step 3.
You can preview the upscaled image and then click Save to export it with the correct format.
Before After Comparison

Part 3. FAQs of GIMP Upscale Image

Does GIMP have a sharpening tool?

Yes, GIMP has a sharpening tool in its Enhance option. It offers several different ways to sharpen your image, depending on your specific needs and the type of image you are working with.

Is GIMP as good as Photoshop?

Both GIMP and Photoshop are powerful image editors, but they cater to different needs. GIMP, free and open-source, shines with its versatility and customization, while Photoshop boasts industry-standard tools and performance, but at a cost. For basic editing and learning, you can use GIMP. For pros and advanced features, Photoshop reigns supreme.

Does GIMP require a license?

GIMP does not require a license in the traditional sense. You can use, modify, and distribute it without any restrictions or fees. However, it's important to note that the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which GIMP is released does come with some obligations. For example, if you modify GIMP and distribute your modifications, you must also release the source code of your modifications under the same GPL license. That ensures everyone can benefit from any improvements made to the software.


Sometimes, we encounter a cherished photo trapped in low resolution, plagued by pixelation and blurriness. While low-resolution images can be frustrating, GIMP offers a powerful and accessible toolkit to combat them. This post shares helpful tips to upscale images using GIMP and Aiseesoft AI Photo Editor. By following the guide, you can easily improve your photos.

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