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Author Topic: sharpening-Lightroom vs PhotoKit in Photoshop or both?  (Read 22286 times)
Eric Brody
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« on: February 12, 2010, 10:50:33 AM »
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PhotoKit sharpener has been recommended to me by a friend from whom I took a course and whose work I respect. As I read through all the material and search various fora, I get more and more confused about input sharpening. Martin Evening's Lightroom 2 book and Schewe and Fraser's latest book on sharpening discuss the apparently excellent algorithms in Lightroom's input sharpening and how they are similar to the input sharpening in Photokit Sharpener. I have emailed him for his own ideas, since he's quite knowledgeable but thought I might get some other ideas here.

What should the workflow be? I import my files into Lightroom, adjust them there, and then go on to Photoshop for more detailed work, then print with Photoshop (CS3), using output sharpening at the final print size. Should I ignore, set to zero, the Lightroom sharpening, and do everything in Photoshop with Photokit, or should I use the Lightroom sharpening and if so, how does that affect input-content sharpening down the road in Photoshop with PhotoKit and, is it redundant or worst, will I oversharpen?

Thanks so much.

Eric
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PeterAit
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2010, 10:59:30 AM »
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Quote from: brodyer
PhotoKit sharpener has been recommended to me by a friend from whom I took a course and whose work I respect. As I read through all the material and search various fora, I get more and more confused about input sharpening. Martin Evening's Lightroom 2 book and Schewe and Fraser's latest book on sharpening discuss the apparently excellent algorithms in Lightroom's input sharpening and how they are similar to the input sharpening in Photokit Sharpener. I have emailed him for his own ideas, since he's quite knowledgeable but thought I might get some other ideas here.

What should the workflow be? I import my files into Lightroom, adjust them there, and then go on to Photoshop for more detailed work, then print with Photoshop (CS3), using output sharpening at the final print size. Should I ignore, set to zero, the Lightroom sharpening, and do everything in Photoshop with Photokit, or should I use the Lightroom sharpening and if so, how does that affect input-content sharpening down the road in Photoshop with PhotoKit and, is it redundant or worst, will I oversharpen?

Thanks so much.

Eric

PK Sharpener is indeed a great tool. Using PKS in Photoshop gives you more flexibility than input sharpening in LR because you can select the degree of sharpening based on the amount of detail in the photo. LR input sharpening is supposed to be excellent but it is "one size fits all" pretty much. My workflow is very similar to yours, and I always set sharpening to 0 in LR and do it in PS. I do lots of other adjustments in LR, but not sharpening.

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Peter
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 11:02:14 AM »
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Hi,

The sharpening in Lightroom is essentially based on PhotoKit Sharpener. The algorithm is probably a bit better in LR as it's coded directly instead of using the methods available in PS. For instance the detail slider adjusts halo intensity, a control that is not available in PS.

What missing from LR is creative sharpnening. My suggestion would be to use LR for capture sharpening, use PS and PKS for creative sharpening (if needed) and use LR for output sharpening and printing.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: brodyer
PhotoKit sharpener has been recommended to me by a friend from whom I took a course and whose work I respect. As I read through all the material and search various fora, I get more and more confused about input sharpening. Martin Evening's Lightroom 2 book and Schewe and Fraser's latest book on sharpening discuss the apparently excellent algorithms in Lightroom's input sharpening and how they are similar to the input sharpening in Photokit Sharpener. I have emailed him for his own ideas, since he's quite knowledgeable but thought I might get some other ideas here.

What should the workflow be? I import my files into Lightroom, adjust them there, and then go on to Photoshop for more detailed work, then print with Photoshop (CS3), using output sharpening at the final print size. Should I ignore, set to zero, the Lightroom sharpening, and do everything in Photoshop with Photokit, or should I use the Lightroom sharpening and if so, how does that affect input-content sharpening down the road in Photoshop with PhotoKit and, is it redundant or worst, will I oversharpen?

Thanks so much.

Eric
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francois
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 11:02:55 AM »
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Eric,
Here's my workflow:
• Import and tag photos in Lightroom.
• Adjust and capture sharpen in Lightroom.
• If I need to go in Photoshop, I use Edit in Photoshop command from Lightroom (Optional).
• Perform creative sharpening (using PKS) and other stuff in Photoshop (Optional),
• Save the image in Photoshop (Optional).
• Print from Lightroom.

I must say that, these days,  my photos are rarely edited in Photoshop.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 11:03:46 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 11:07:26 AM »
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Hi,

Yes I also use PS less and less. The problem with PS is essentially that the parametric workflow is broken. So if I want to make a small change to capture processing I need to redo everything in PS.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: francois
Eric,
Here's my workflow:
Import and tag photos in Lightroom.
Adjust and capture sharpen in Lightroom.
If I need to go in Photoshop, I use Edit in Photoshop command from Lightroom (Optional).
Perform creative sharpening (using PKS) and other stuff in Photoshop (Optional),
Save the image in Photoshop (Optional).
Print from Lightroom.

I must say that, these days,  my photos are rarely edited in Photoshop.
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francois
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 11:12:48 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Yes I also use PS less and less. The problem with PS is essentially that the parametric workflow is broken. So if I want to make a small change to capture processing I need to redo everything in PS.

Best regards
Erik
Erik,
That's exactly why I avoid the Photoshop route if possible. A possible workaround would be to use smart objects but I haven't investigated much.
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Francois
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 11:17:16 AM »
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Quote from: brodyer
PhotoKit sharpener has been recommended to me by a friend from whom I took a course and whose work I respect. As I read through all the material and search various fora, I get more and more confused about input sharpening. Martin Evening's Lightroom 2 book and Schewe and Fraser's latest book on sharpening discuss the apparently excellent algorithms in Lightroom's input sharpening and how they are similar to the input sharpening in Photokit Sharpener. I have emailed him for his own ideas, since he's quite knowledgeable but thought I might get some other ideas here.

What should the workflow be? I import my files into Lightroom, adjust them there, and then go on to Photoshop for more detailed work, then print with Photoshop (CS3), using output sharpening at the final print size. Should I ignore, set to zero, the Lightroom sharpening, and do everything in Photoshop with Photokit, or should I use the Lightroom sharpening and if so, how does that affect input-content sharpening down the road in Photoshop with PhotoKit and, is it redundant or worst, will I oversharpen?

Thanks so much.

Eric

If you do the capture sharpening in LR using the LR sharpener in the Develop module, you are sharpening the file before rendering and that may be technically advantageous. You do have considerable control over the strength and applicability (with the mask feature) of the sharpening in LR, and it performs very, very well (from my experience with it over at least a thousand prints), so I would recommend doing the capture sharpening in LR. If you need "creative sharpening", you would do that in PS where it is available, and if you are printing from CS3, do the Output Sharpening from PS too. Just avoid repeating the Capture Sharpening in PS if you have already sharpened in the Develop Module of LR as recommended here.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 11:57:21 AM »
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I personally never liked the PKS capture sharpener (although the output sharpener is pretty good). My problem with it is the use of an edge mask. This makes no sense to me for capture sharpening (unless you're shooting noisy high-ISO), because the AA filter and bayer interpolation don't just affect edges; they also affect fine details which can benefit from capture sharpening. At least with LR/ACR capture sharpening you can disable the edge mask.

For capture sharpening, I prefer deconvulation-based sharpening. I use Focus Magic. But I take all images into Photoshop, so trying to stay with an all-parametric workflow isn't an issue for me. (I don't like the LR paradigm, prefer to stick with Bridge/Photoshop).
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 12:55:02 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I personally never liked the PKS capture sharpener (although the output sharpener is pretty good). My problem with it is the use of an edge mask. This makes no sense to me for capture sharpening (unless you're shooting noisy high-ISO), because the AA filter and bayer interpolation don't just affect edges; they also affect fine details which can benefit from capture sharpening. At least with LR/ACR capture sharpening you can disable the edge mask.

For capture sharpening, I prefer deconvulation-based sharpening. I use Focus Magic. But I take all images into Photoshop, so trying to stay with an all-parametric workflow isn't an issue for me. (I don't like the LR paradigm, prefer to stick with Bridge/Photoshop).

That's why PK Capture Sharpener Pro has four settings depending on the frequency of the image detail. For high frequency images you can use Super Fine Edge Sharpen and it does a great job. Much more satisfactory to my taste than Focus Magic, which I find pretty rough - that program is very good for unearthing information which is blurred, but otherwise I wouldn't use it as a general sharpener meant to counteract anti-aliasing or more generally the softening effect of digitzation processes. But, "chacun a son gout".
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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 #9 on: February 12, 2010, 02:17:12 PM »
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Hi,

Regarding parametric workflow vs. Bridge/Photoshop it is really simple. If the parametric workflow is not advantageous than there is no need to use it. If all images are edited in Photoshop the parametric workflow will be broken and there is little reason to use Lightroom. ACR has the same controls, by and large, as Lightroom. In addition, any RAW converter can be used in a non parametric workflow.

For me the parametric part of the workflow is important, so I use Lightroom.

Regarding different sharpening techniques I used to use Focus Magic, but they never made it work with Intel based Macs, so I did a lot of testing on different tools and it is not obvious to me that any sharpening tool would be vastly superior to others.

The reason that edge masking is preferable is that agressive sharpening will also increase noise. The is little reason to sharpen surfaces with little detail, like the sky.

The main advantage with using LR for printing is that it takes care of both upscaling and sharpening for output.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: JeffKohn
I personally never liked the PKS capture sharpener (although the output sharpener is pretty good). My problem with it is the use of an edge mask. This makes no sense to me for capture sharpening (unless you're shooting noisy high-ISO), because the AA filter and bayer interpolation don't just affect edges; they also affect fine details which can benefit from capture sharpening. At least with LR/ACR capture sharpening you can disable the edge mask.

For capture sharpening, I prefer deconvulation-based sharpening. I use Focus Magic. But I take all images into Photoshop, so trying to stay with an all-parametric workflow isn't an issue for me. (I don't like the LR paradigm, prefer to stick with Bridge/Photoshop).
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 02:30:48 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2010, 02:25:59 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
That's why PK Capture Sharpener Pro has four settings depending on the frequency of the image detail. For high frequency images you can use Super Fine Edge Sharpen and it does a great job.
Those settings vary the edge mask, but I don't think even the  "super fine" option completely eliminates it.

Quote
Much more satisfactory to my taste than Focus Magic, which I find pretty rough - that program is very good for unearthing information which is blurred, but otherwise I wouldn't use it as a general sharpener meant to counteract anti-aliasing or more generally the softening effect of digitzation processes. But, "chacun a son gout".
I don't think Focus Magic is rough at all if you use the correct settings.  The nice thing about it, is much less prone to creating halos than any normal USM or HPF approach. I don't want halos in my capture sharpening.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2010, 02:34:00 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Regarding parametric workflow vs. Bridge/Photoshop it is really simple. If the parametric workflow is not advantageous than there is no need to use it. If all images are edited in Photoshop the parametric workflow will be broken and there is little reason to use Lightroom. ACR has the same controls, by and large, as Lightroom. In addition, any RAW converter can be used in a non parametric workflow.
Agreed. LR just doesn't suit me, but I understand why people like it. (Some people tend to get a little religious about it, though; almost like the Mac cult-members.  )

Quote
The reason that edge masking is preferable is that agressive sharpening will also increase noise. The is little reason to sharpen surfaces with little detail, like the sky.
For me this just isn't an issue at base ISO, but I guess it depends what you mean by "aggressive" sharpening as I tend to be pretty conservative with capture sharpening. It may be that I just prefer less sharpening than many people, I can't remember the last time I used "creative" sharpening.  With the D300 I occasionally needed to mask out the sky when sharpening, but with the other Nikon's I've used it just isn't an issue at base ISO. And even when some masking is beneficial, I prefer to do it myself rather than with an automated script.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2010, 02:38:01 PM »
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Hi,

In LR we can select the amount of edge masking.

The detail slider is to my understanding really "halo supression". At zero there will be no halos and the halos increase when the slider is moved to higher values. My preferred sharpening is relatively high amount, low radius and some "detail".

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: JeffKohn
Those settings vary the edge mask, but I don't think even the  "super fine" option completely eliminates it.


I don't think Focus Magic is rough at all if you use the correct settings.  The nice thing about it, is much less prone to creating halos than any normal USM or HPF approach. I don't want halos in my capture sharpening.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 03:00:24 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Those settings vary the edge mask, but I don't think even the  "super fine" option completely eliminates it.


I don't think Focus Magic is rough at all if you use the correct settings.  The nice thing about it, is much less prone to creating halos than any normal USM or HPF approach. I don't want halos in my capture sharpening.

I use LR sharpening and there are no visible halos in my capture sharpening - zip - nada.

I've experimented with various Focus Magic settings and never got it to work to my satisfaction, except for rescuing blurred image detail. But, as I said, each to his/her own.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2010, 03:04:59 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Agreed. LR just doesn't suit me, but I understand why people like it. (Some people tend to get a little religious about it, though; almost like the Mac cult-members.  )


For me this just isn't an issue at base ISO, but I guess it depends what you mean by "aggressive" sharpening as I tend to be pretty conservative with capture sharpening. It may be that I just prefer less sharpening than many people, I can't remember the last time I used "creative" sharpening.  With the D300 I occasionally needed to mask out the sky when sharpening, but with the other Nikon's I've used it just isn't an issue at base ISO. And even when some masking is beneficial, I prefer to do it myself rather than with an automated script.

I too tend to be somewhat conservative with all sharpening. The last thing I want is crunchy-looking images. But when you use LR's capture sharpening, you're not strictly speaking selling your soul to an automated script. You can vary the masking to suit the image, and the other controls above it too. On the whole, for dealing with stuff like skies and skin tones where over-sharpening can be the biggest headache, I find it's pretty darn good.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2010, 04:56:26 PM »
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Sorry if I wasn't clear, my criticisms are more with PKS than with LR's sharpening. I agree you've got more control over the sharpening parameters (including masking) in LR/ACR.

I would expect if a new version of PKS is coming out, the capture sharpening will offer even more control, since otherwise I'm not sure what it would bring to the table over LR/ACR except for the option of having a layer in PS that you can work with.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2010, 05:31:23 PM »
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Quote from: Mark D Segal
I've experimented with various Focus Magic settings and never got it to work to my satisfaction, except for rescuing blurred image detail. But, as I said, each to his/her own.

There should not be "various" FocusMagic settings. There usually is one optimal radius setting, and an amount of 100% is usually the best choice, although with a large radius one might want to increase the percentage to taste.

Cheers,
Bart
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2010, 05:42:24 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I would expect if a new version of PKS is coming out, the capture sharpening will offer even more control, since otherwise I'm not sure what it would bring to the table over LR/ACR except for the option of having a layer in PS that you can work with.

Well, if one knows the tools, Lightroom and/or Camera Raw are optimal for capture sharpening because you can incorporate both the sharpening AND the noise reduction at the same time. Those who have used the Lightroom 3 beta have had a taste of the new demosiacing/sharpening/noise reduction capabilities...note that luminance noise reduction wasn't included in the beta but one would expect that when it's added it will be as much of a breakthrough as the improved demosiacing and color noise reduction (some of us have knowledge that we can't discuss due to NDA's)

As far as I'm concerned, I doubt that PhotoKit Sharpener 2.0 will be able to do much if anything better than ACR 6/LR 3 for digital capture...I certainly won't be using it for capture sharpening even though it's "our" product...

I do think that currently (LR 2.6) the optimal lace for output sharpening is in Lightroom's Print module which IS directly formulated from PhotoKit Sharpener's output sharpening...that's what I use for output since I can create one master ProPhoto RGB file, retouched, soft proof prepped and all set to print to any size I need...

The big question going forward is "creative sharpening" or sharpening for effect. Clearly the local sharpening controls are limited (although expect to see improvements in LR 3). When you need to aggressively go in and create effect sharpening, there's really no alternative to going into Photoshop.

That's where PhotoKit Sharpener 2.0 will dwell...creative sharpening for effect...

BTW, using an edge mask for capture sharpening is pretty much a baseline standard...PhotoKit Sharpener give you the ability to use the Expert mode that preserves the edge masks for post adjustment...and while ACR & LR's sharpening is based on Bruce's sharpening principals, that aren't based on our algorithms (while the output sharpening is). However, the edge mask in ACR & LR is a direct result of Bruce's research. Pretty darn impressive that ACR & LR can parametrically do about a 20 step process in Photoshop with the adjustment of a single slider (with an optional preview of the mask).

Really, anybody who isn't impressed by that has their head up their arse...(or doesn't have a clue about the importance of edge masks)

:~)
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2010, 06:47:31 PM »
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Quote from: Schewe
Really, anybody who isn't impressed by that has their head up their arse...(or doesn't have a clue about the importance of edge masks)

:~)

On a related note, anyone who doesn't use a type of deconvolution restoration for capture sharpening is dwelling in the same dark confines ... (and noise obviously shouldn't be indiscriminantly sharpened during that restoration either) :~).

Cheers,
Bart
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2010, 06:53:12 PM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
On a related note, anyone who doesn't use a type of deconvolution restoration for capture sharpening is dwelling in the same dark confines ... (and noise obviously shouldn't be indiscriminantly sharpened during that restoration either) :~).

Cheers,
Bart

Perhaps you understand the LR workflow - not sure - but just to remind - it doesn't matter in LR what adjustments you make in which order, because when you "render" the image the program processes them all in correct sequence "under the hood". So you can noise-reduce and capture sharpen or capture sharpen and noise reduce - doesn't matter - the program will handle them correctly so as not to sharpen the noise. It's a "smart program".
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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