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Author Topic: Lightroom print sharpening, why so layperson?  (Read 7180 times)
Mr. Capp
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« on: July 10, 2013, 04:20:26 PM »
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Does anyone know what are the %'s amount, radius, etc for each size in low standard or high. And how is based on image size or what?
I used to print all in cs5 and printing 17x22 I usually sharpened about 500-700 percent but now printing in lightroom at that size, even on high it's no where near correct on may images. I then Have to go in and change my capture sharpening so I get a better print.

Is there any preview? Why make us print blindly in the most crucial step?

I love lightroom (4.3) but there are some things that make me go wha?

-Michael
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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 04:50:20 PM »
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Is there any preview? Why make us print blindly in the most crucial step?

The output sharpening is based on this work of Bruce Fraser: http://www.creativepro.com/article/out-gamut-almost-everything-you-wanted-know-about-sharpening-photoshop-were-afraid-ask

As to why you are not shown this preview, it's not even close to WYSIWYG and there's no reason to show you an incorrect preview of something you can't see on-screen.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 08:54:56 PM »
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Does anyone know what are the %'s amount, radius, etc for each size in low standard or high.

Yep...I do. I worked with the LR engineers to incorporate PhotoKit Sharpener's logic into the print module. But, you really don't want to know what's under the hood (the magic numbers) for two reasons; first, it's proprietary information and two, it wouldn't matter because you can't really change them other than high, low and standard and matte or glossy media.

As for why no preview? You can't judge the output sharpening for print on a display. At 100% zoom the image will be 3-4x the printed size. If you zoom out to view the image at or near the print size, you're looking at image detail at 1/3 to 1/4 the resolution of the final print.

The only way to judge output sharpening is to, well, make a print...which is what Bruce did for PKS and the LR engineers and I did for LR's output sharpening....

As to how to look at low, standard and high, if you've not optimized your raw file, you'll prolly need to use high. If you tend to over sharpen in LR, you'll prolly need to use low. If you know what you're doing, standard should be fine. If you sharpen in Photoshop, you'll want to turn it off.
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 09:07:53 PM »
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Jeff,
 Thank you so much. I loved your real world sharpening book. I felt I got lost a bit switching to full time printing in LR vs. PS.
I guess my main issue is now in capture sharpening. I use the standard 25/1.0/25/0 which for the most part has worked for me
pretty well. I guess this is the only place to do global sharpening other than output? So if high output isn't enough just up the amount
of capture?

Thanks again

-Michael 
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Schewe
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 09:16:46 PM »
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I use the standard 25/1.0/25/0 which for the most part has worked for me pretty well.

It's the default for a reason...it's a safe, conservative starting point but far from optimal. If you are not fine tuning the capture sharpening in the Detail panel (including luminance noise reduction) you are leaving image quality on the table. As a starting point you might want to try the two LR presets for sharpening found in the Lightroom General Presets and called Sharpen-Faces and Sharpen Scenic. BTW, I formulated those for the LR team and they are better than the "Default" but I still think you really need to learn how to use the Detail panel to get the best out of your image detail. Since you have the book, go re-read LR sharpening and do some playing. I suspect you'll be able to improve you image detail and thus end up with better prints.
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 09:21:01 PM »
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you're right, back to the book for me.
thanks again....
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2013, 03:03:41 AM »
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Does anyone know what are the %'s amount, radius, etc for each size in low standard or high. And how is based on image size or what?
I used to print all in cs5 and printing 17x22 I usually sharpened about 500-700 percent but now printing in lightroom at that size, even on high it's no where near correct on may images. I then Have to go in and change my capture sharpening so I get a better print.

Hi Michael,

There are a lot of misconceptions about the proper use of the Capture sharpening dialog in Lightroom, and to a certain extend in how to use the Detail/Sharpening dialog in ACR and other Raw converters.

Capture sharpening is supposed to be a part of the Raw conversion process, but in Lightroom the settings used will be also the basis for other (creative) sharpening activities. That's why people are tempted to combine Capture Sharpening and Creative sharpening into a single operation, which is sub-optimal, as you are experiencing.

Capture sharpening is supposed to be about restoring from Capture losses, which are a given for a certain image and they are the result of the equipment and lens/focus settings used, in fact regardless of subject matter. It is not something that changes with the subject, and not something that changes with the output size requirements. It is supposed to be only about Capture.

I've analyzed Capture Sharpening and found that the required settings are constant. It's always the same when optimally focused, and it' s only dependent on the lens quality (residual aberrations) and aperture used (reduction of some of the lens aberrations and introduced diffraction with narrower apertures) in combination with the sensor used (mostly sensel pitch related). The measurable(!) amount of Capture blur, is only dependent on those factors, not image content, and not output size. And because it is measurable, it can also be reversed to a large extend, with the Capture sharpening dialog or other/better tools.

Once we have optimized the technical qualities of our Captured image, we can optimize it for other, more creative, aspects (noise, color, exposure, local contrast and detail, local retouch, etc.). And after we have done that, we can address the specific requirements for the output modalities for which the image can be repurposed.

So, the answer to your question, about which settings to use in the Detail/Capture sharpening dialog, is; it depends on your image capture quality, and nothing else. Depending on the camera/lens and aperture settings you used, it should be pretty much always the same, every time you used those settings for that lens/camera combination.

Unfortunately, Lightroom lures people into mixing Capture sharpening and Creative sharpening into one operation, which is convenient but sub-optimal, in particular it's sub-optimal for those who produce large format output. For down-sampled output most of the sharpening and detail will be lost anyway, together with the majority of originally captured pixels. And given the supplied presets for subject matter sharpening, which has nothing to do with Capture sharpening, it should be obvious that Lightroom is not designed for convenient production of large format output.

I'm not saying that Lightroom cannot be used for large format output, but that one must take care to not be lured into producing sub-optimal results. For that, you'll have to separate and optimize Capture sharpening, and Creative adjustments like tone-curve, Clarity, and detail enhancement, and finally resampling for output and output sharpening at that output size, for the specific output medium and viewing conditions used.

The above of course only applies if you want the best output quality.

Cheers,
Bart
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2013, 03:10:51 AM »
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Yep...I do. I worked with the LR engineers to incorporate PhotoKit Sharpener's logic into the print module. But, you really don't want to know what's under the hood (the magic numbers) for two reasons; first, it's proprietary information and two, it wouldn't matter because you can't really change them other than high, low and standard and matte or glossy media.

As for why no preview? You can't judge the output sharpening for print on a display. At 100% zoom the image will be 3-4x the printed size. If you zoom out to view the image at or near the print size, you're looking at image detail at 1/3 to 1/4 the resolution of the final print.

The only way to judge output sharpening is to, well, make a print...which is what Bruce did for PKS and the LR engineers and I did for LR's output sharpening....

As to how to look at low, standard and high, if you've not optimized your raw file, you'll prolly need to use high. If you tend to over sharpen in LR, you'll prolly need to use low. If you know what you're doing, standard should be fine. If you sharpen in Photoshop, you'll want to turn it off.

It's the default for a reason...it's a safe, conservative starting point but far from optimal. If you are not fine tuning the capture sharpening in the Detail panel (including luminance noise reduction) you are leaving image quality on the table. As a starting point you might want to try the two LR presets for sharpening found in the Lightroom General Presets and called Sharpen-Faces and Sharpen Scenic. BTW, I formulated those for the LR team and they are better than the "Default" but I still think you really need to learn how to use the Detail panel to get the best out of your image detail. Since you have the book, go re-read LR sharpening and do some playing. I suspect you'll be able to improve you image detail and thus end up with better prints.

Two of the most useful posts I have read on Lula. Thanks Jeff.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2013, 03:51:06 AM »
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Two of the most useful posts I have read on Lula. Thanks Jeff.

Well, we don't love Jeff for nothing you know.
Great guy, but he also knows a little about digital imaging on the side!

Tony Jay
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 04:47:06 AM »
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Bart,
You have really explicated my initial confusion and things are much clearer to me. Now I just need to synthesize between Jeff and you and I should be golden!
-M
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 05:21:05 AM »
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Bart,
You have really explicated my initial confusion and things are much clearer to me. Now I just need to synthesize between Jeff and you and I should be golden!

Michael,

You're welcome. When you have a specific camera/lens/aperture combination, it should be possible to find an optimal Capture sharpening setting. While not ideal, one might even be able to determine that from an unsharpened crop that has some slanted edge transitions in it.

For large format output there are other recommendations that can be given for that stage of the process. Any haloing that is caused by Capture sharpening, will (literally) become an even bigger issue when enlarged.

BTW, a default Radius of 1.0 may be (not conservative but) quite wrong for a good lens that's used at a not too narrow aperture. The 'Detail' slider usually gives much better results at 50 or more, but its algorithm does create odd artifacts (especially with noisy images) if pushed too far (which can explain its modest default). The 'Masking' parameter is useful to reduce noise in featureless areas like sky. The required 'Amount' depends on all the other parameters (including noise reduction), which makes it a very strange choice as first parameter in the dialog. What were they thinking/drinking when they designed that ...?

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 05:24:13 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 12:05:39 PM »
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What were they thinking/drinking when they designed that ...?

You'll have to ask Thomas Knoll that question. I think radius should be the first parameter set and amount the last after setting detail, masking and luminance noise reduction. But since it's an iterative process, I'm not sure the order is all that important.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2013, 01:07:14 PM »
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Hi,

On the other hand, I sometimes set a large radius and go over the other controls to maximise sharpness and minimise halos. Once that is done I reduce amount. That said I mostly use presets.

Other than that I agree wit Jeff on the order of things to touch.

Best regards
Erik

You'll have to ask Thomas Knoll that question. I think radius should be the first parameter set and amount the last after setting detail, masking and luminance noise reduction. But since it's an iterative process, I'm not sure the order is all that important.
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tommm
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 03:22:59 AM »
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Hi Bart,

Completely agree with your summary of sharpening in Lightroom. It's a great shame they didn't follow Bruce Fraser's separation of Capture and Creative sharpening.

What work around do you use? I've tried using the main dialogue box for capture and then the brush for creative but it doesn't work that well as you can't adjust any parameters (radius, detail, amount) separately, so I have just resigned to doing capture and creative in one step.

Wouldn't it be great (given that capture sharpening should be based solely on camera, lens and aperture, and not content, output size, etc) if a future version of Lightroom implemented capture sharpening along the lines of lens profiles? Where the appropriate capture sharpening had been calculated and was applied automatically (tweakable by user as with lens profiles), leaving us to get on with creative sharpening?

Also, whilst I understand Jeff's point regarding output sharpening settings, I would still much rather the amount was more fine tunable, say a single slider from very low to very high.

Don't get me wrong I think Lightroom is fantastic, and the sharpening algorithm also, but definitely feel the sharpening workflow is it's weakest area.

Cheers,

Tom
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Schewe
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2013, 03:43:16 AM »
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It's a great shame they didn't follow Bruce Fraser's separation of Capture and Creative sharpening.

Actually, we did...everything in LR's sharpening both capture, creative and output sharpening was implemented in accordance to Bruce's workflow. This was done at the behest of Thomas Knoll because Thomas respected Bruce's philosophies...

It would be useful if you fully understood what the Detail panel and local sharpening does in relationship to each other...do you?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 04:13:34 AM »
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...but definitely feel the sharpening workflow is it's weakest area.

You have got to be kidding me!!!
Seriously Tom, learn how Lightroom works first.
Currently we have global capture sharpening, regional creative sharpening, and a very powerful output sharpening ability in Lightroom.
The fact that the controls are actually easy to use does not, in any way, detract from their power or their utility.

Kudos to Schewe and the Lightroom team in the implementation of the sharpening tools we currently have.

Tony Jay
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 05:09:37 AM »
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Hi Bart,

Completely agree with your summary of sharpening in Lightroom. It's a great shame they didn't follow Bruce Fraser's separation of Capture and Creative sharpening.

What work around do you use? I've tried using the main dialogue box for capture and then the brush for creative but it doesn't work that well as you can't adjust any parameters (radius, detail, amount) separately, so I have just resigned to doing capture and creative in one step.

Hi Tom,

That's a big part of the issue. The Capture sharpening task can be achieved with the Detail panel to some level of success, but then one is kind of stuck with those settings for the subsequent (-100 to +100) Creative sharpening with the adjustment brush. All one can basically do is add a bit more of the same, or reduce it from other areas that got too much. There are basically no separate (e.g. Radius or type of sharpening) controls for that adjustment phase, other than amount.

We are more or less forced to not use the Detail dialog for Capture sharpening, but abuse it for some sort of combined Capture+Creative sharpening, which will need to be adjusted when we change output size (to reduce the radius induced halos when producing large format output, and increase the radius and reduce the amount for down-sampled output if we want to avoid aliasing artifacts). This goes entirely against the concept of parametric editing, because we constantly are re-doing a number of the Raw conversion settings, we might as well have produced different output file sizes and be done with it. The only benefit is that the parametric editing is reversible without cumulated loss of quality, but then a Raw conversion from a variant in e.g. ACR is also reversible and lossless.

My normal workflow in LR doesn't use any Sharpening (except for checking image quality) and I toggle the detail panel off for output, and handle it all outside of Lightroom. That immediately reduces the usefulness of Lightroom as an image editing tool, also because the tools that I can then use can produce higher quality than with LR alone.

FocusMagic's deconvolution sharpening is superior to what LR produces, and Topaz Lab's Clarity (and Adjust and Detail) plugin can produce much higher quality and offer much more control than the built-in LR tools (which are not too bad, but not as good either). Photozoom Pro does better upsampling, and ImageMagick does better downsampling. Qimage has superior nesting and management of prior print-jobs, it even has better resampling than Lightroom, and halo free shaarpeening, also after automatic resampling to native printer driver requirements. The downside is that it complicates the workflow, so it would be nice if I could do better sharpening while inside LR. I could in some cases settle for closer to perfect than optimal, and staying in LR for more of the situations.
 
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Wouldn't it be great (given that capture sharpening should be based solely on camera, lens and aperture, and not content, output size, etc) if a future version of Lightroom implemented capture sharpening along the lines of lens profiles? Where the appropriate capture sharpening had been calculated and was applied automatically (tweakable by user as with lens profiles), leaving us to get on with creative sharpening?

That's exactly what I have been saying. Even creating sensible Capture sharpening defaults based on EXIF data (camera model, lens, and aperture) would already be a huge improvement. Now it's a guessing game, and we humans are generally not very good in guessing the optimal settings without technical assistance. As one of the participants in the thread about my Capture sharpening tool discovered, his shots with a focal length extender indicated requiring something like 2x the normal radius setting, something he would never have guessed without an objective measurement to point it out. It would have been be helpful if the defaults in the sharpening dialog had already suggested that.

It could be seriously enhanced by a new type of visual feedback (based on local spatial frequency analysis) which does a technical evaluation that is quantifiable and repeatable, and allows to also account for defocus we might want to address. It could be hidden when the Advanced mode tickbox is not activated, to spare the less demanding users from having to fathom its use(fulness). The feedback should also warn about the amount of halo that the new settings would create in other parts of the image that do have the best detail. Capture sharpening should be halo free, because the original signal that we try to restore was also halo free, it's as simple as that.

Also a useful addition would be something like what Capture One already offers for a long time, sharpness fall-off correction that allows to improve the corners more (using a larger deconvolution radius) than the center of the image.

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Also, whilst I understand Jeff's point regarding output sharpening settings, I would still much rather the amount was more fine tunable, say a single slider from very low to very high.

Fully agree. Only being able to locally add more, or less, of the same initial Capture sharpening is not adequate for our needs. It helps a bit that we can choose between a few presets for output sharpening, but that doesn't offer much control either. I could probably do much better if I could adjust the settings myself, for my image, and my choice of medium.

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Don't get me wrong I think Lightroom is fantastic, and the sharpening algorithm also, but definitely feel the sharpening workflow is it's weakest area.

Yes, it overall allows to create pretty decent Raw conversions once you have learned to address some of the less appealing characteristics, such as the highlight compression. The fact that the lacking sharpening controls force me to seek solutions outside of LR, is not a clever design. Because once I'm working outside of LR, I find even better quality options for specific workflow phases. Without being forced out, I might even try harder to stay in LR and settle for good enough in more situations where the workflow benefits would be helpful.

Cheers,
Bart
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 05:16:02 AM »
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Actually, we did...everything in LR's sharpening both capture, creative and output sharpening was implemented in accordance to Bruce's workflow. This was done at the behest of Thomas Knoll because Thomas respected Bruce's philosophies...

Which then begs the question, why can't the Creative sharpening Radius and Method be adjusted when using the adjustment brush ...? Surely, of all people, you should understand how necessary that is for different output sizes?

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It would be useful if you fully understood what the Detail panel and local sharpening does in relationship to each other...do you?

My guess is that you either underestimate Tom's level of understanding, or you hope to intimidate him ... But that's just as much an assumption as yours.

Cheers,
Bart
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2013, 05:22:52 AM »
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Which then begs the question, why can't the Creative sharpening Radius and Method be adjusted when using the adjustment brush ...? Surely, of all people, you should understand how necessary that is for different output sizes?

Do you understand the implications of parametric adjustments? If you did you would realize the complexity of changing local control channel parameters...would I like different local adjustment parameters? Yes...do you have explicit use case examples where there is a clear advantage? If you do, bring them forward...Eric and Thomas are always willing to listen if you know how to speak to them.
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Schewe
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2013, 05:25:28 AM »
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My guess is that you either underestimate Tom's level of understanding, or you hope to intimidate him ... But that's just as much an assumption as yours.

Yeah, well, the comment about following Bruce's sharpening workflow is sort of a clue that maybe Tom's level of understanding is a bit lacking...am I wrong? I doubt it...do you?
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