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Author Topic: PKS Sharpening Shoot-Out  (Read 16100 times)
Jonathan Wienke
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« on: October 10, 2007, 11:43:24 AM »
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Having just acquired PK Sharpener, I'm undertaking the project of comparing it to my current workflow (Focus Magic + my midtone sharpening action). Since PKS has a plethora of options and I've only had it a short time, take the results with a small grain of salt, since I'm not nearly as intimately familiar with it as I am with my current workflow. If anyone more familiar with PKS notices any glaring errors in the settings, feel free to point them out.

The test image is crop from a 1Ds capture of downtown Trier, taken on an overcast day. DR is just barely within the limits of the sensor, and there is a lot of fine detail and a bit of noise to make getting the detail without too much noise a bit of a challenge. No noise reduction or sharpening was applied in ACR or afterward. I'll post a link to the original 16-bit crop as soon as I can get it uploaded somewhere over my crappy connection, but in the meantime, feel free to play with the attached JPEG and post your results.

[attachment=3536:attachment]

This post's comparison is limited to capture sharpening; PKS vs Focus Magic. PKS settings were as follows: Expert High Resolution Digital Capture, Medium Width. Focus Magic's settings were: 1 pass 2 pixel radius, 25%, then 1 pass 1 pixel radius, 25% source set to Digital Camera for both passes.

Some points of interest:
In the bottom left area, the Merkur Spielothek sign is brought into clearer focus by FM than PKS, without the noise in the wall above the sign being accentuated as it is with PKS. In general, PKS accentuates noise much more than FM, but focuses sharp edges less well. When the PKS smoothing layer is turned on, the noise accentuation goes away, but edge sharpening becomes even less effective. PKS appears to be USM-based, whereas FM actually attempts to mathematically unravel the effects of blur. FM appears to me to do a significantly better job overall of undoing the effect of an AA filter than PKS and USM-based sharpening in general, which is why I don't even use my own action for capture sharpening.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 12:22:51 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Schewe
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2007, 12:19:45 PM »
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[attachment=3521:attachment]

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=145116\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Uh huh. . .we, I'll have to take your word since the attachment ain't visible...
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 12:42:34 PM »
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Uh huh. . .we, I'll have to take your word since the attachment ain't visible...

Sorry, technical difficulties, fixed now.
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sniper
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 12:43:14 PM »
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Uh huh. . .we, I'll have to take your word since the attachment ain't visible...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=145124\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I can see it ok on EI.   Wayne
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sniper
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2007, 12:43:52 PM »
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Damm you just beat me too it.  Wayne
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2007, 12:49:19 PM »
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Jon, I also use FM for capture sharpening - do you do any automation for output sharpening?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2007, 01:03:34 PM »
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Jonathan - OK I found you here. I'll likely have further comment after I receive from you the raw file and do some work on it.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2007, 01:19:49 PM »
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Here's the link to a 16-bit ProPhoto TIFF file of the image crop; my crappy slow connection won't let me upload anything larger. At least you all can play with the exact same pixels I am.

http://www.visual-vacations.com/images/200...17_0078crop.tif

And to recap some of the discussion from the Dan Margulis action thread that started this thread:

Quote
That raises what may be the key issue in this comparison: the distinction between real image texture and noise.

It seems to me as if there is some cleaning-up associated with the FM workflow that hasn't happened - yet - with the PKS workflow, so could it be that the PKS workflow is sharpening some noise while the FM workflow is suppressing the noise and sharpening the edges?

Based on my memory of the scene, I'd be inclined to say that in the areas where PKS appears to be finding more detail (roadway and rooftops), the detail isn't really there; it's definitely noise in the sidewalk/roadway and the front of the building, and the texture of the slate tile rooftop is definitely exaggerated compared to real life. The standard-issue German slate roof tiles are only about .5cm thick, and are the same color on the edges as the side, and under the flat lighting of the overcast day, the edges of the tiles shouldn't be nearly that blatant. It's an effect really more appropriate for creative or output sharpening, as it goes quite a bit past the mandate of simply undoing the softening effect of the AA filter during capture. Overall, Focus Magic's treatment is much more true to the subject.

Focus Magic has a noise reduction option in the dialog, which is set to Auto and disabled so that you can't change it. It doesn't do anything aggressive, but if you look at the FM vs original sidewalk area under the yellow striped awning, you'll see that there are a few noise specks in the sidewalk that are subtly de-emphasized after FM. It's very subtle and unobtrusive effect, but is there.

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Does your FM workflow in this image include your actions after FM, or only FM?

The capture sharpening comparison I did involved FM vs PKS with the specified settings, no other tweaking.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 01:32:25 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2007, 01:58:34 PM »
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Here's the link to a 16-bit ProPhoto TIFF file of the image crop; my crappy slow connection won't let me upload anything larger. At least you all can play with the exact same pixels I am.

http://www.visual-vacations.com/images/200...17_0078crop.tif

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=145143\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jonathan, that link doesn't download anything. I get an Apple Quicktime logo in feint blue with a question mark in front of it. Haven't a clue what's going on.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2007, 02:06:00 PM »
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Jonathan, that link doesn't download anything. I get an Apple Quicktime logo in feint blue with a question mark in front of it. Haven't a clue what's going on.

Try right-clicking, Save Target As... or your browser's equivalent. A 16-bit TIFF isn't going to display properly in IE or any other browser I know of. Save the file and then open it in PS.
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Schewe
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2007, 02:22:51 PM »
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That image was processed through Camera Raw 3.7...and while I know you don't have CS3 yet (right?), I suspect you could get a lot better processed file out of CR 4.2. Also, I note you didn't have History tracking on, so it's impossible to really know what was done to the file although the CR settings are still in File Info.
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2007, 02:22:57 PM »
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Jonathan, I use PK sharpener for capture sharpening on very high res (low noise) files all the time  but I find Scan back sharpen setting to be the most precise and I adjust the opacity to what looks good on each particular file at 100 persent. Sometimes I mask out certain smooth areas I don't want sharpened). I'm not using a scan back so using this setting on high res (digital back) files is maybe a no no, but I find this works best for me and my files.  you might give the scan back setting a try. eleanor

Quote
Having just acquired PK Sharpener, I'm undertaking the project of comparing it to my current workflow (Focus Magic + my midtone sharpening action). Since PKS has a plethora of options and I've only had it a short time, take the results with a small grain of salt, since I'm not nearly as intimately familiar with it as I am with my current workflow. If anyone more familiar with PKS notices any glaring errors in the settings, feel free to point them out.

The test image is crop from a 1Ds capture of downtown Trier, taken on an overcast day. DR is just barely within the limits of the sensor, and there is a lot of fine detail and a bit of noise to make getting the detail without too much noise a bit of a challenge. No noise reduction or sharpening was applied in ACR or afterward. I'll post a link to the original 16-bit crop as soon as I can get it uploaded somewhere over my crappy connection, but in the meantime, feel free to play with the attached JPEG and post your results.

[attachment=3536:attachment]

This post's comparison is limited to capture sharpening; PKS vs Focus Magic. PKS settings were as follows: Expert High Resolution Digital Capture, Medium Width. Focus Magic's settings were: 1 pass 2 pixel radius, 25%, then 1 pass 1 pixel radius, 25% source set to Digital Camera for both passes.

Some points of interest:
In the bottom left area, the Merkur Spielothek sign is brought into clearer focus by FM than PKS, without the noise in the wall above the sign being accentuated as it is with PKS. In general, PKS accentuates noise much more than FM, but focuses sharp edges less well. When the PKS smoothing layer is turned on, the noise accentuation goes away, but edge sharpening becomes even less effective. PKS appears to be USM-based, whereas FM actually attempts to mathematically unravel the effects of blur. FM appears to me to do a significantly better job overall of undoing the effect of an AA filter than PKS and USM-based sharpening in general, which is why I don't even use my own action for capture sharpening.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=145116\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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luong
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2007, 03:07:41 PM »
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It's also been my experience that the sharpening in PKS is not strong enough for 1DsII files. I use superfine and fine most of the time, but when I need more sharpening, I resort to Photoshop smart sharpen. PKS, if I understand Fraser's writing, is mostly USM-based, while smart sharpen could be closer to what FM does.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2007, 03:08:46 PM »
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Have you tried fixerlabs focusfixer? Also a deconvolution type sharpener. I would be curious how it compairs I have had good luck with it. I run it 2 times at small amounts.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2007, 03:33:46 PM »
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That image was processed through Camera Raw 3.7...and while I know you don't have CS3 yet (right?), I suspect you could get a lot better processed file out of CR 4.2. Also, I note you didn't have History tracking on, so it's impossible to really know what was done to the file although the CR settings are still in File Info.

I'm posting the 16-bit converted TIFF crop and the settings I used for the comparison so far, so that anyone who wishes to verify my results can do so, and try alternative and possibly better approaches. If all the sharpening comparisons here start from the same image, even if the image could be improved by being run through a different RAW converter, at least we're comparing apples to apples by starting with the same set of converted pixels. And if someone wants to post a different image as a guinea pig for an additional round of sharpening comparisons, I'm not opposed to that, either.

If we are going to compare RAW converters, I'm game; but lets do that in a different thread so that we're not trying to compare too many variables at once. Fair 'nuff?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2007, 03:38:12 PM »
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Have you tried fixerlabs focusfixer?

Nope, but you're welcome to download the 16-bit TIFF of the crop and try it yourself and post the results here. Since you're more familiar with the program than I, you might get better results.

http://www.visual-vacations.com/images/200...17_0078crop.tif
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bjanes
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2007, 05:45:47 PM »
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This post's comparison is limited to capture sharpening; PKS vs Focus Magic. PKS settings were as follows: Expert High Resolution Digital Capture, Medium Width. Focus Magic's settings were: 1 pass 2 pixel radius, 25%, then 1 pass 1 pixel radius, 25% source set to Digital Camera for both passes.

Some points of interest:
In the bottom left area, the Merkur Spielothek sign is brought into clearer focus by FM than PKS, without the noise in the wall above the sign being accentuated as it is with PKS. In general, PKS accentuates noise much more than FM, but focuses sharp edges less well. When the PKS smoothing layer is turned on, the noise accentuation goes away, but edge sharpening becomes even less effective. PKS appears to be USM-based, whereas FM actually attempts to mathematically unravel the effects of blur. FM appears to me to do a significantly better job overall of undoing the effect of an AA filter than PKS and USM-based sharpening in general, which is why I don't even use my own action for capture sharpening.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I find the application of a deconvolution technique to remove the effects of the anti-aliasing filter to be most interesting. The trouble with deconvolution techniques is in obtaining a point spread function (PSF) that describes the mechanism that produced the blur so that the deconvolution can undo it. I presume that the FM assumes a Gaussian function with a variable radius. The PSF required for removing the effects of an anti-aliasing filter might be different.

There are interactive deconvolution filters that allow the PSF and deconvolution to be observed in real time. An example is [a href=\"http://www.reindeergraphics.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=212&Itemid=158]Fovea Pro[/url] from Reindeer Graphics.

Focus Fixer is another deconvolution method. They promise a White Paper that will describe the limitations of USM, "Has USM had it's day". They think that it has. If PK wants to remain competitive, I think that they also might have to move beyond a USM based approach. I have asked Jeff if they are working with these methods, but thus far I have no response.

Bill
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2007, 06:23:36 PM »
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It's not true that deconvolution cannot produce completely out of focus detail.
Have a look at http://www.bialith.com/Research/BARclockblur.htm
It seems from comments from Dr Tadrous and others that commercial photo programs are useing mainly the Van Cittert algorithm which is not much better than USM. Bill, I'm playing with the Lucy -Richardson algorithms which are available. I've yet to get onto Landweber, which has impressive results in Tadrous's work. . Perhaps someone could help. I'm geting email bounces from astrophysicists.
Adobe's Smart Sharpen is onto something, but it's a bit crude at the moment. It does combine USM with some sort of deconvolution. You need to excange the Gaussian Blur option for Lens Blur and check Advanced. I think the two approaches to sharpening should be available seperately as they do completely different things. To really make use of deconvolution you need a lot of iterations, which would be disasterous with USM. USM is a perceptual edit , and does not reconstruct wavefronts.
Cheers
Brian
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 06:59:21 PM »
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I ran the tiff through focusfixer once and then twice using the settings that work well for my 5D ((no AA filter)(deplurr.9,threshold0)) saved as quality 9 jpegs.
Probably not optimum for Jpeg compression but a place to start.
Marc

[attachment=3537:attachment][attachment=3538:attachment][attachment=3539:attachm
ent]

first is no sharpening, second a single pass (deblurr .9) and the third is 2 passes each deblurr .9
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 09:12:54 PM by marcmccalmont » Logged

Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 07:34:31 PM »
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Marc, what are the differences of treatment between the three shots?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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