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The transformation of image signals between the continuous domain of the real world and the discrete domain of modern data processing can have a significant effect on quality and efficiency. Analysis based on perceptual rather than mathematical considerations has been carried out. A series of experiments based on the analysis has shown that substantial improvement over usual techniques can be achieved by the use of a cascade of a presharpening filter combined with Gaussian presampling and interpolation filters. The resulting ``sharpened Gaussian'' filter, although not exactly circularly symmetrical, gives a high degree of isotropy. Each element in the cascade is separable, so that computational efficiency is high. A favorable tradeoff is achieved among sharpness, smoothness, and the effects of aliasing. Subjective testing, in comparison with other commonly used filters, has shown the clear superiority of this filter.