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Author Topic: Too many ways to sharpen,so confused!  (Read 7303 times)
Dan Berg
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« on: June 02, 2009, 05:40:15 AM »
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I mainly use Lightroom with its develop module sharpening. I recently purchased Nik Sharpener Pro with its 2 shapeners.  I use Genunine Fractals 6 for uprezing large canvas prints and it has its sharpning. Back to Lightroom for printing and it has its sharpener. Get the drift?
Printing on an Epson 7900 with pretty good finished output but I just need help with a sharpening workflow. What to use ,in what sequence and what not to do. Any help is greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 07:31:16 PM by Dan Berg » Logged

pegelli
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 06:32:49 AM »
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A good bit of reading on the background of sharpening, masking etc. can be found here. Look for the tuorial "put a fine edge on your sharpening skills". Even though I don't use the tools this website provides it helped me understand better what sharpening and edge masking was all about.

With regard to my workflow, I just put all sharpening in all intermediate applications (like Noise Ninja, Genuine Fractals....) off, so I only sharpen twice:

Capture sharpening in the lightroom develop mode
Output sharpening for a specific medium/size in Photoshop CS using Photokit Sharpener (allthough I have started to dabble at the Lightroom print output sharpening).

For me this gives the most consistent results I understand best. There might be better ways but I haven't found them yet.
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pieter, aka pegelli
Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 12:24:30 PM »
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Actually one would be better off reading this: Thoughts on a Sharpening Workflow by Bruce Fraser since what he wrote there and in Real World Image Sharpening for Photoshop (and PhotoKit Sharpener) is the basis of Lightroom's sharpening...the stuff from TLR is really very derivative of what Bruce wrote.

Bottom line is that in Lightroom you have 2 of the three phases of Bruce's workflow; Capture Sharpening in Develop to regain the loss of sharpness due to the digitizing process and Output Sharpening when print (or export) out of Lightroom. The only phase that Lightroom doesn't yet have in a real useful condition is Creative Sharpening (although negative clarity ain't too bad). For substantial creative sharpening you will need to use Photoshop and/or the Nik Sharpener you got.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 07:28:04 PM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Actually one would be better off reading this: Thoughts on a Sharpening Workflow by Bruce Fraser since what he wrote there and in Real World Image Sharpening for Photoshop (and PhotoKit Sharpener) is the basis of Lightroom's sharpening...the stuff from TLR is really very derivative of what Bruce wrote.

Bottom line is that in Lightroom you have 2 of the three phases of Bruce's workflow; Capture Sharpening in Develop to regain the loss of sharpness due to the digitizing process and Output Sharpening when print (or export) out of Lightroom. The only phase that Lightroom doesn't yet have in a real useful condition is Creative Sharpening (although negative clarity ain't too bad). For substantial creative sharpening you will need to use Photoshop and/or the Nik Sharpener you got.


Thanks for the links.
Thought I understood a decent amount about sharpening, just was not sure how to handle it with all my plugins.
I will try it again with GF6 sharpening turned off. I had been using Lightrooms and the only thing I will work on a little is how to use Sharpener Pro in the workflow.
Thanks for the help.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 07:30:43 PM by Dan Berg » Logged

pegelli
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 09:47:11 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Actually one would be better off reading this: Thoughts on a Sharpening Workflow by Bruce Fraser since what he wrote there and in Real World Image Sharpening for Photoshop (and PhotoKit Sharpener) is the basis of Lightroom's sharpening...the stuff from TLR is really very derivative of what Bruce wrote.

Bottom line is that in Lightroom you have 2 of the three phases of Bruce's workflow; Capture Sharpening in Develop to regain the loss of sharpness due to the digitizing process and Output Sharpening when print (or export) out of Lightroom. The only phase that Lightroom doesn't yet have in a real useful condition is Creative Sharpening (although negative clarity ain't too bad). For substantial creative sharpening you will need to use Photoshop and/or the Nik Sharpener you got.

Jeff, thanks for these links. I never knew I was only referring to a summary of more extensive material available.
That's what I like about this site: never a dull day and always something to learn    
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pieter, aka pegelli
adam z
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2009, 10:16:58 PM »
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Ok, I have a similar but slightly more simple situation to the original post. I set capture sharpening in Lightroom, but am not sure how high I should be setting it. I then go on to do selective sharpening in photoshop using the unsharp mask.

So what I need to know is how do you decide where to set the sharpening level at in Lightroom for capture sharpening (I usually use between 10 and 25), and how will this affect later processing? Should I just use the same setting for every shot at this stage?

I take it when I do my selective sharpening, I should still leave these areas slightly under sharpened, and I should then sharpen the whole image before printing. Is this correct, or is the capture sharpening just an overall sharpen up, while, the second stage is to creatively sharpen, for example the eyes on a potrait, and then print without touching the sharpening on other areas? Hope that makes sense.

HELP!
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Schewe
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 10:53:23 PM »
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Quote from: adam z
I set capture sharpening in Lightroom, but am not sure how high I should be setting it. I then go on to do selective sharpening in photoshop using the unsharp mask.

The concept of Capture Sharpening (what you are doing in Lightroom) is to regain the apparent sharpness lost in the digitizing process. You can not (and should not) use capture sharpening to sharpen for effect or try to recover missed focus or camera/subject motion. A good clean well shot image only need slight sharpening to be sharp. An image that looks "good" at a 1:1 screen zoom is where you want to be. Any creative sharpening should not break that same approach...you can't really re-sharpen something that is soft.

Once that's done the Output Sharpening in Lightroom takes care of the rest...for print or screen.
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bjanes
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 09:49:39 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Bottom line is that in Lightroom you have 2 of the three phases of Bruce's workflow; Capture Sharpening in Develop to regain the loss of sharpness due to the digitizing process and Output Sharpening when print (or export) out of Lightroom. The only phase that Lightroom doesn't yet have in a real useful condition is Creative Sharpening (although negative clarity ain't too bad). For substantial creative sharpening you will need to use Photoshop and/or the Nik Sharpener you got.

Bruce's capture sharpening actually has two components. The first component is to address the loss sharpness imposed by the capture process. This is applied without a mask but with blend if options to protect the shadows and highlights, and Bruce referred to it as sharpening for source. The parameters of this pass are not varied for a given camera. The second component is related to image content--high frequency vs low frequency-- and is often used with an edge mask to protect the edges in the image. For this first phase of capture sharpening, some photographers use a deconvolution method (such as Focus Magic) to mitigate the effect of the blur filter used with most DSLRs. So far as I know, how these two components of capture sharpening are implemented in ACR/LR is not publicly documented. In some cases, there may be an advantage in "roll your own" capture sharpening.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 09:51:20 AM by bjanes » Logged
adam z
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 10:03:17 AM »
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Schewe, I understand the basics and that if a shot isn't sharp, there is no bringing it to life. I am just unsure of how much sharpening to apply at this stage. With LR (I am still using LR1 atm) the default sharpening is 25, and sharp shots look pretty good around there. I just thought that may be too much at that stage of the process, however perhaps it is not as sharpening for output to printer usually looks oversharpened on screen. Are you saying that capture sharpening should pretty much leave the image on screen the way you expect it to look when finished (viewed at 100%) - or should I perhaps back off from there at this point?

Still confused. What is an average setting that you, or others use in LR? Do you set your capture sharpening to suit each individual shot, or does the setting usually stay the same for shots taken with the same camera, or at least the same lens. I'm at a stage where I am just trying to pull every last bit of quality out of my shots. As I don't currently have my own printer, it is hard to test and come up with my own results, hence why I ask what others are doing.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2009, 10:08:56 AM by adam z » Logged
adam z
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 08:27:17 AM »
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Sill wondering about how to decide on the amount of capture sharpening to apply - can someone sehd some light on this please?
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Schewe
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2009, 12:38:06 PM »
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Quote from: adam z
Sill wondering about how to decide on the amount of capture sharpening to apply - can someone sehd some light on this please?


Use your eyes and practice...
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adam z
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2009, 01:06:13 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Use your eyes and practice...

Well obviously, but what I mean is after capture sharpening when viewed on screen at 100%, should the image (sharpness) look the way you would like it to look when finished in print, except without the little extra selective sharpening applied (as this will obviously be done in the next stage)? I am assuming so.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2009, 01:15:49 AM »
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Quote from: adam z
Well obviously, but what I mean is after capture sharpening when viewed on screen at 100%, should the image (sharpness) look the way you would like it to look when finished in print, except without the little extra selective sharpening applied (as this will obviously be done in the next stage)? I am assuming so.

No.

For capture sharpening - only apply enough to remove the inherent softness of the AA filter in your camera. It just takes a bit of practice as Jeff said.

What you are looking for is to make the image look 'good' at 100%.

Here is a good way to practice - in the Develop module select the before/after compare mode. so that you have the same image size by side.

Then holding down the option key to turn the image to B&W for making the sharpening easier to see (as sharpening effects the luminance channel) slowly slide up the sharpness amount until you see the softness in the image disappear. By having the original to compare to on the left its easy to see when you have optimally capture sharpened the image. Its key to get this stage right - to little or to much just makes everything else down the line more difficult.

If you have the LL Video tutorial on LR2.0 this is quite well covered - if you dont have it - buy it.

Practice, practice practice is key.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 01:48:02 AM by Josh-H » Logged

DaveCurtis
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2009, 03:04:21 AM »
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Quote from: adam z
Well obviously, but what I mean is after capture sharpening when viewed on screen at 100%, should the image (sharpness) look the way you would like it to look when finished in print, except without the little extra selective sharpening applied (as this will obviously be done in the next stage)? I am assuming so.

Jeff is absolutely right.  (He kinda usual is     )

Forget about printing. You are trying to get your image to look good at 1:1 on the monitor. Not too soft that the details appear lost and not to sharp that it looks crunchy.  Every image will be different so you can't just dial in the same sharpening parameter. After you process a few 1000 images you will get the hang of things.
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adam z
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2009, 07:13:10 PM »
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DaveDN and Josh-H

thank you! This is the kind of reply I wanted.

I have processed a few thousand images in Lightroom and this is the one area that i have always been worried about with my workflow. I am pretty sure that I know what you both mean, and will be playing around with it. It is all too easy when you have hundreds of images from a shoot just to choose a setting and use it on all images, but really this is guess work, and I have not been happy. Now that I have a solid idea of what to aim for, I can get to it! I thought it would be strange to sharpen to a full "{looks good on screen at 100%" level, but this is just what I read into with some previous posts. This would not realy allow for sharpening for the web or optimising sharpening for viewing as a full screen slideshow on a particular viewing device etc.

Once again, thanks.

Adam
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Jack Varney
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2009, 09:53:04 PM »
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Quote from: Josh-H
No.

For capture sharpening - only apply enough to remove the inherent softness of the AA filter in your camera. It just takes a bit of practice as Jeff said.

What you are looking for is to make the image look 'good' at 100%.

Here is a good way to practice - in the Develop module select the before/after compare mode. so that you have the same image size by side.

Then holding down the option key to turn the image to B&W for making the sharpening easier to see (as sharpening effects the luminance channel) slowly slide up the sharpness amount until you see the softness in the image disappear. By having the original to compare to on the left its easy to see when you have optimally capture sharpened the image. Its key to get this stage right - to little or to much just makes everything else down the line more difficult.

If you have the LL Video tutorial on LR2.0 this is quite well covered - if you dont have it - buy it.

Practice, practice practice is key.

Josh, I am not clear on your steps here. Do you convert to B&W by reducing saturation to zero? Is so, what does holding the <alt> key do. On my PC I only see the desaturated B&W next to the color image.
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Jack Varney
Josh-H
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2009, 11:48:40 PM »
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Quote from: Beachconnection
Josh, I am not clear on your steps here. Do you convert to B&W by reducing saturation to zero? Is so, what does holding the <alt> key do. On my PC I only see the desaturated B&W next to the color image.

The ALT /  Option key when held down - whilst moving the sharpening slider - makes the image temporarily B&W.
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Schewe
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2009, 11:54:13 PM »
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OMG...

You all know that if you zoom into 100% and you hold down the option (mac) Alt (win) key that you get a preview of what parameter you are setting, right? I mean the sharpening is all done in luminance so Amount displays the luminance data only. Radius and Detail display previews of their parameters and masking shows the on-the-fly edge mask ACR/LR can generate...

Seriously, this is old hat, right?

I mean people really must know the basics of using the friggin' tools, right?
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Josh-H
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2009, 12:06:44 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
OMG...

I mean people really must know the basics of using the friggin' tools, right?

Couldnt agree more - if people just ponied up the measley $30 odd dollars for the LR 2.0 tutorial or anyone of the myriad of books or online tutorials out there they would get this stuff without the same questions being repeatedly asked.
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Jack Varney
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2009, 06:55:31 PM »
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Quote from: Schewe
OMG...

You all know that if you zoom into 100% and you hold down the option (mac) Alt (win) key that you get a preview of what parameter you are setting, right? I mean the sharpening is all done in luminance so Amount displays the luminance data only. Radius and Detail display previews of their parameters and masking shows the on-the-fly edge mask ACR/LR can generate...

Seriously, this is old hat, right?

I mean people really must know the basics of using the friggin' tools, right?


Aha! It is, on the PC at least, the 100% zoom that allows the ALT key to make the change to B&W. Othwerwise only the small view in the Details panel switches to B&W.

Thank you Jeff and Josh.
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Jack Varney
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