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Author Topic: Printing for first time.. how much sharpening?  (Read 1696 times)
matthewh133
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« on: September 23, 2012, 07:41:19 PM »
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So I'll be printing my first images for clients this week and I'm wondering how much sharpening is generally required? I know it would really depend on the photo, but is there any ballpark figure or amount you don't want to go over for prints? I use Photoshop CS6.

These will be done at 20" X 30". I'm happy with my sharpening results for web use, but have never had my work printed before, so any light shed would be very helpful!
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David Sutton
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 04:44:03 PM »
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I know it would really depend on the photo

That's it in a nutshell.
Plus it depends on your taste.
What I have found is that for my eyes, files often have to be slightly blurred in places and and sharpened in others to make them look believable. You really need to choose your paper (it makes a difference) and then print and look, and get a second opinion if possible and print again and again until you get a feeling for the image type, paper and print size combination.
Furthermore, if you have been sharpening for the web your prints will probably end up over-sharpened. The level of detail visible in 17” wide prints and larger can be horrifying.  Smiley Tiny flaws suddenly become huge.
Then there is your output sharpening. I'm lazy and automate it. I find Lightroom's “standard” setting good for most images, but I may not use it for say, fog. Qimage's default of “5” I find way too much.
Sorry I can't give you a formula.
David

Edit: You may also find that for prints you may need to check your capture sharpening. It needs a delicate hand. I found that earlier versions of Lightroom could cause nasty halos on on high contrast edges, particularly if there also had been some chromatic aberration, which wasn't noticeable for web use. For prints I would export two versions: one with and one without capture sharpening and layer them in Photoshop and brush in the capture sharpening on the main subject matter, avoiding the edges.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 05:00:27 PM by David Sutton » Logged

Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 05:10:18 PM »
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So I'll be printing my first images for clients this week and I'm wondering how much sharpening is generally required? I know it would really depend on the photo, but is there any ballpark figure or amount you don't want to go over for prints?

The problem is, you simply can't judge the amount of sharpening needed for print on a display. The display is a low resolution (about 110ppi) device. The only way to determine the correct sharpening is via trial and error. And the process can be pretty extensive in fact somebody should write a book on it...oh, wait, I did! Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd Edition). If you don't want to buy the book, you might look into PhotoKit Sharpener 2 from PixelGenius. Note, that's a shameless plug for two things I'm involved with but what the heck, arriving at optimal results is a lot of work.

:~)
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David Eichler
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 07:44:28 PM »
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That's it in a nutshell.
Plus it depends on your taste.
What I have found is that for my eyes, files often have to be slightly blurred in places and and sharpened in others to make them look believable. You really need to choose your paper (it makes a difference) and then print and look, and get a second opinion if possible and print again and again until you get a feeling for the image type, paper and print size combination.
Furthermore, if you have been sharpening for the web your prints will probably end up over-sharpened. The level of detail visible in 17” wide prints and larger can be horrifying.  Smiley Tiny flaws suddenly become huge.
Then there is your output sharpening. I'm lazy and automate it. I find Lightroom's “standard” setting good for most images, but I may not use it for say, fog. Qimage's default of “5” I find way too much.
Sorry I can't give you a formula.
David

It depends not only on the photo. It also depends on the amount of capture sharpening used and the surface of the printing paper, as you will not doubt learn from books on the subject, such as Mr. Schewe's. By the way, using Lightroom for Raw processing and output sharpening makes this process relatively easy. The print sharpening seems to work very well for me, although I have not yet used it to make any really big prints.

Edit: You may also find that for prints you may need to check your capture sharpening. It needs a delicate hand. I found that earlier versions of Lightroom could cause nasty halos on on high contrast edges, particularly if there also had been some chromatic aberration, which wasn't noticeable for web use. For prints I would export two versions: one with and one without capture sharpening and layer them in Photoshop and brush in the capture sharpening on the main subject matter, avoiding the edges.
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