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Author Topic: PKS Sharpening Shoot-Out  (Read 15516 times)
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2007, 04:22:42 PM »
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John Paul Caponigro's High Pass mid-tone contrast enhancement technique (available on his website)

Mark,

I cannot find this on his site. I have an old HP Saaaharpen action of his and would like to compare them. Can you relocate that? Thanks.
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Kirk Gittings
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2007, 04:34:29 PM »
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Mark,

I cannot find this on his site. I have an old HP Saaaharpen action of his and would like to compare them. Can you relocate that? Thanks.
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Kirk - here it is: [a href=\"http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/lib/downloads/technique/HighPassContrast.pdf]JPC High Pass Contrast[/url]

It's a free download and a very good tool - easily adjustable to taste. I created an Action of the steps.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2007, 07:21:24 PM »
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In my case I'm using ACR as the RAW converter.  So if I tell it to open the object as a smart object in photoshop I'm good as I can always go back.  If I need to change sharpening I can do so.  (As an aside I use the clarity slider to do my local contrast adjustments in ACR.  So I can see how it will interact with the sharpening right away.  ACR 4.2 is the greatest thing since nipples.)

As to the output sharpening I think I agree.  Trial and error has given me a decent feel for output sharpening.  But I still end up burning paper.  Doesn't take that many bad prints to get to $99.


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Dark-Penguin,

My issue with using sharpening in the raw converter is one of control after the fact. If I sharpen there, then render the image, then say I do some other stuff including local contrast enhancement and find I don't like the resulting package, I may need to unscramble the omelet by reverting to the raw image and re-doing the sharpening, re-rendering and re-doing whatever else I had already done in Photoshop. Frankly, I'm not sure why it's worthwhile having a sharpener in a raw converter altogether, especially as PKS offers a layer-based solution at all stages. I can see it for Lightroom which aims to be a self-contained workflow for all the real basics, so it is needed there, but Camera Raw is a (increasingly powerful) prelude to Photoshop.

Turning to your "voodoo" on Output Sharpening, if you find this voodoo, then you are a good candidate for PKS. Believe me I have no commercial relationship with PixelGenius whatsover - you're just hearing this from an intensive user. It has that combination of quality and ease/flexibility of use that just makes it a compelling piece of software.

Because sharpening is such an absolutely critical part of the whole image creation process, it is the LAST place I personally would draw the line for spending on plug-ins. (There are many others far more expensive and less useful.) Whether one uses this or some other solution for output sharpening, the key thing is to get it right. One of the first things that always hits me when I examine photographs in galleries or craft shows is whether they have been under or over-sharpened. It is the first tell-tale of craftmanship in print processing, because it so obviously affects the overall photographic quality of the image.  One will see this before noticing, for example, whether the hue of a colour is several degrees to the right or left of where it should be.
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luong
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« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2007, 12:37:57 AM »
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That was my workflow, but I found the DxO interface and output functions user unfriendly. Instead, I've created objective settings in LR for removing all vignetting (I used an opal diffuser and a specific methodlogy to come up with settings that limit subjectivity regardless of the lighting in the image.), and then run PTLens in an action to remove distortion. This workflow also means that the demosaicing gets done in LR instead of DxO, which I found to alter colors and WB in a manner I wasn't fond of. It also simplified my workflow.
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The DxO user interface gets in the way only if you try to do adjustments, but if you just use it to correct optical defects and run it in batch, it's fairly efficient. If you save as DNG, the colors are not not altered. My reasons for using ACR/LR after DxO are precisely better controls and color more to my taste.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2007, 01:28:21 AM »
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So I made two images with that - one at level 2 and the other at level 4. I printed those as well. The image at level 4 is a toss-away - very obvious halos. The image at level 2 is acceptable. When I put this image side-by-side with the PKS image excluding the mid-tone contrast enhancement, I find the PKS result generally preferable. It is "sharper" (but perhaps had I run FM at level 3 it would have been awash!), the detail of texture in the road and the roofs is better - and this is not sharpening noise, I'm talking about real edges. But more a propos, the FM result seemed uneven - it did a pretty good job on the left hand-side of the image, and as one moves to the right, the quality falls off relative to the PKS image - such that the blue and white sign for the M&S shop is very obviously more distinct in the PKS result than in the FM result.

FM (like USM) works best when you don't try to do everything with a single radius value. A pass at radius 2, 25%, followed by a pass at radius 1, 25% will be better than one pass at radius 2, 50%. It's kind of like using the midrange knob to turn up the treble.

Regarding your noise analysis, I don't buy it. The texture that PKS is pulling out of the building facades and roofs is completely unrealistic. Yes there is texture, but what PKS is finding would be appropriate for a shot from 10 meters' distance, not 150+. Given the resolution of the camera and lens, the facade of the buildings should be rendered as a fairly smooth color without a lot of texture. And the same goes for the roof texture, for the PKS rendering to be plausible, the roof tiles would have to be 4-5cm thick. The tiles' actual thickness is less than 1/2 centimeter, and at 150 meters or more, the edge lines should be somewhat indistinct, especially given the flatness of the lighting. If you want to say PKS rendering is more visually appealing, I have no argument with that, but realistic, true to the original subject? I say no.
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lllusion
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« Reply #45 on: October 12, 2007, 02:26:48 AM »
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Without trying to hijack this thread to digress into a DxO discussion, I'll just clarify my previous post with the following responses:

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... if you just use it to correct optical defects and run it in batch, it's fairly efficient.
Efficient in a batch, agreed.

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If you save as DNG, the colors are not not altered.
This was not what I found in my tests. It also tended to block shadows. What's more, I don't like the way it modifies the file name and/or saves in subdirectories.

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My reasons for using ACR/LR after DxO are precisely better controls and color more to my taste.
Yep, the controls in DxO are, IMHO, annoyingly clumbsy and slow. In the end it made no sense to pay $300 for lens distortion correction that PTlens also does in a batch for $15. The down side is that I have to manually set vignetting correction controls in LR, and have had to create noise reduction profiles in Noise Ninja.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2007, 02:27:30 AM by lllusion » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #46 on: October 12, 2007, 07:00:55 AM »
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FM (like USM) works best when you don't try to do everything with a single radius value. A pass at radius 2, 25%, followed by a pass at radius 1, 25% will be better than one pass at radius 2, 50%. It's kind of like using the midrange knob to turn up the treble.

Regarding your noise analysis, I don't buy it. The texture that PKS is pulling out of the building facades and roofs is completely unrealistic. Yes there is texture, but what PKS is finding would be appropriate for a shot from 10 meters' distance, not 150+. Given the resolution of the camera and lens, the facade of the buildings should be rendered as a fairly smooth color without a lot of texture. And the same goes for the roof texture, for the PKS rendering to be plausible, the roof tiles would have to be 4-5cm thick. The tiles' actual thickness is less than 1/2 centimeter, and at 150 meters or more, the edge lines should be somewhat indistinct, especially given the flatness of the lighting. If you want to say PKS rendering is more visually appealing, I have no argument with that, but realistic, true to the original subject? I say no.
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Jonathan, I fully understand your argument on the noise analysis, however there are three considerations here: (1) I'm using what several big-name gurus in the trade say is now the best application on the market for analyzing and mitigating noise, and I spent a fair bit of time yesterday afternoon doing just that, not only globally, but locally on numerous patches of the image so I could understand where the noise is lodged and what type it is; I'm relying on data the application processes, not only my eyes. (2) The very detailed sharpening that PKS picked up better than FM in my test prints relates mainly to the edges of the roof tiles and the crack in the road; that is a visual observation. A Canon 1Ds with a good lens capturing an image as that one was captured (I've done many like it in cities all over the place) DOES pick-up fine detail like small road cracks, road dirt and roof tiles very easily. (3) The results from both applications do not show sharpening artifacts on the building facades, where Noiseware also shows there to be insignificant noise levels.

Your advice on better ways of using FM is well-taken as you know the application better than I do. I should do more testing with FM - I think my results are indicative as far as they've gone, however not conclusive - more variants are needed; but I am limited to JPEGs and a small number of trials unless I buy a license for it. I may yet do that because it has its place in the aresenal for those images where a deconvolution process would be the obvious tool of choice.
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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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« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2007, 07:10:09 AM »
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I've shot about 130,000 frames over the last 5 years. You?
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The question wasn't directed at me, but I can't help being a bit teasing here. It implies that you've been making about 1 photograph every 7 minutes over every eight-hour day in the past five years. I guess operating in burst mode part of the time, you could still take a week-end off and maintain the average   Serious though, that's a huge amount of photographing!
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Gregory
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« Reply #48 on: October 12, 2007, 10:54:40 AM »
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I've shot about 130,000 frames over the last 5 years. You?
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that's incredible. I envy your passion and dedication.

my library has a paltry 18,000 images including many personal family/gathering images. of the 18,000 images, at least two thirds are almost certainly sub-standard and need to be revisited and deleted.

130,000... wow!
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #49 on: October 12, 2007, 11:40:10 AM »
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The question wasn't directed at me, but I can't help being a bit teasing here. It implies that you've been making about 1 photograph every 7 minutes over every eight-hour day in the past five years. I guess operating in burst mode part of the time, you could still take a week-end off and maintain the average   Serious though, that's a huge amount of photographing!
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But to crunch the numbers in a bit different context - shooting 1,000 frames every other weekend for five years gets you pretty close to 130k  
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #50 on: October 12, 2007, 12:00:16 PM »
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But to crunch the numbers in a bit different context - shooting 1,000 frames every other weekend for five years gets you pretty close to 130k 
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You're right - still pretty intensive though - assuming 8 hour days on Saturday and Sunday it averages out to about one shot every minute for all of those 16 hours. Not impossible.  
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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laughfta
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« Reply #51 on: October 12, 2007, 04:55:54 PM »
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You're right - still pretty intensive though - assuming 8 hour days on Saturday and Sunday it averages out to about one shot every minute for all of those 16 hours. Not impossible. 
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Okay, then 3-4 bursts a minute for just one hour every other weekend--now he's starting to sound a little lazy.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #52 on: October 12, 2007, 06:52:37 PM »
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Okay, then 3-4 bursts a minute for just one hour every other weekend--now he's starting to sound a little lazy.
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Maybe somebody will steal his motor drive.  
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rdonson
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« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2007, 07:45:05 PM »
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But to crunch the numbers in a bit different context - shooting 1,000 frames every other weekend for five years gets you pretty close to 130k 
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If you shoot sports its not a stretch to take 700-1,000 shots per event.  It depends on the sport but 1,000 shots/week might be a slow week for some.
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Kalin Wilson
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« Reply #54 on: October 12, 2007, 10:56:55 PM »
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He would run images through DxO and output a linear DNG and then run through Camera Raw for tone & color and finally used PKS for capture sharpening through to output sharpening.

I find this interesting and encouraging. This is my current basic workflow. I like the demosaicing of LR more than DxO, so I use the DxO plugin, converting a non-adjusted Raw image in LR for editing in DxO. Apply optical adjustments only (lens focus, lens softness, CA, vignetting, distortion) in DxO, then make exposure, tone, and color adjustments in LR. Creative sharpening and output sharpening I do with PKS in CS3.

What I've probably been missing is that I was considering the DxO stage as capture sharpening, mostly due to the obvious image quality improvement. I was afraid to oversharpen at the beginning.

1. So is the recommendation to apply standard capture sharpening after DxO?
2. Has anyone experienced a detriment to DxO by demosaicing in LR.

I've been happy so far, but I will have to see what capture sharpening with PKS after DxO does.

Thanks for the info, Jeff.

~Kalin
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bjanes
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« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2007, 09:10:14 AM »
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Bruce and I both worked with Jeff Chien from Adobe who was primary engineer (along with a few others) when they developed Smart Sharpen. Bruce's problem was that while deconvolution algorithms may have a lot of promise when the optical defects can be known and an algorithm specifically designed to remove a known defect, it's not clear that "general" deconvolution algorithms can be derived without knowing the exact aberration it will be used against.

That was Jeff's problem with Smart Sharpen...he actually showed us a 50 pass iteration that could effectively remove an applied gaussian blur, but he first needed to know the EXACT PSF that could attack the specific blur. Once known, multiple passes could essentially rebuild a soft image into a sharp image with little or only small defects...

Using deconvolution algorithms for removing specific camera shake is another area of interest because you can actually measure the shake involved and the line of bias and then go about removing that camera shake from the image. But, again, this is neither easy nor quick.

Smart Sharpen has both a Lens Blur as well as a Motion Blur mode...but there are no parameters to adjust the Lens Blur mode and you can't combine modes without separate runs...
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Jeff, you have summed up the situation with deconvolution algorithms quite well. When the PSF is unknown, blind deconvolution methods, which are being developed, can produce an approximate PSF. The ImagesPlus astronomical program that Roger Clark uses offers the adaptive Richardson-Lucy algorithm with noise amplification control. Its Point spread functions include: Choose box, Gauss, binomial, or custom function. Having a MIT PhD is astrophysics helps in choosing an approximate PSF, bit the process is a bit difficult for most of us.

Focus Magic uses a PSF for defocus, where a point source is spread out into a disk. One can identify point sources in the image and choose an appropriate pixel value for the deconvolution as shown in their tutorial. Motion blur and defocus can be handled simultaneously.

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Bruce had determined, after Smart Sharpen shipped, that there was no compelling reason to adapt PKS to incorporate it...he actually was more interested in DxO and used that earlier last year and was pleased because it offered a method of fixing a lot of lens defects all in one fell swoop. But I'm not sure if he thought of fixing lens defects in the same light as doing capture sharpening. He would run images through DxO and output a linear DNG and then run through Camera Raw for tone & color and finally used PKS for capture sharpening through to output sharpening.

But his time with DxO was rather short and came after finishing his first edition of RW Image Sharpening.
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Bruce did sum up his impression of smart sharpening in his sharpening book and he found few advantages for it. He stated that the Gaussian PSF gave about the same results as USM, and recommended the lens blur PSF for general use and the motion blur PSF for removal of that defect. However, smart sharpening was in its first iteration and may have improved with CS3. Also, did Bruce have enough time with the algorithm to learn how to use it to best advantage?. After all, he had been using USM for years and had worked out how to use it with edge masks and layers modulated by opacity and the blend if sliders and what radius and amount would give the intended results.

About half of the book is dedicated to capture sharpening, which uses USM. For smart sharpen, we have about one page of documentation in the PSCS3 manual. I doubt that many of us know how to optimally use smart sharpen. Should it be used with a mask or blend if options? When should one use the more accurate function? Should it be used in conjunction with USM?


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All of this research is all very interesting, but to put something in a shipping product that can have a useful impact given the wide range of shooting conditions and lenses that photographers use is another thing. And correcting for very specific lens defects is very complicated as the potential matrix of defects is large–particularly zoom lenses whose defects vary along the focal length make something like DxO seem like a more logical solution. But, again, that still doesn't mean it's a "capture sharpener" per se...
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That is true for a shipping product when PK was introduced, but as this and other threads show, some people are interested in deconvolution algorithms and are beginning to use them for capture sharpening. Your own work with Adobe in incorporating capture sharpening in to ACR has diminished the role of PK in capture sharpening, and the other algorithms discussed may diminish its use further. However, its role in output sharpening remains. Would you agree?

I'm not familiar with DxO. I know that it offers correction for various lens defects, but does it use deconvolution? Certainly, correction for light fall off and chromatic aberration do not use deconvolution, but deconvolution could be used to correct for spherical aberration and astigmatism.

Bill
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