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Author Topic: Sharpening Techniques  (Read 2836 times)
Ray
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« on: September 23, 2005, 12:41:06 AM »
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I think most of us have seen movies where someone in front of a computer screen, instructed by their superior to interpolate and sharpen a really fuzzy image, miraculously zooms in on facial features, or a car number plate, to reveal everything as clear and sharp as anything taken by a P&S camera from about 6ft away.

Hollywood fiction of course, but lots of fun.

I find Photokit Sharpener absolutely the reverse. On page 14 of the PDF manual there's an example of the difference between 'narrow edge' sharpen and 'wide edge' sharpen. Since I don't seem to be able to copy and paste from a PDF format, I'll describe it. There are two small crops from an image consisting of fine foliage and entangled branches. The right-most image is 'wide edge sharpen', the 'left-most image' is 'narrow edge sharpen'.

I can see no difference that matters at all. If there is a difference (engaging in extreme pixel-peeping), the 'wide edge' sharpen is very,very marginally better, in my view. Maybe there's an error. They've got the images reversed. Either way, it's a non issue for me and I wonder what all the fuss is about.

Mark seems to think that PK Sharpener is a breakthrough. I can't see it yet. What am I missing, Mark?
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2005, 08:06:35 AM »
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I use PK Sharpener for output sharpening but the impact is subtle - I think I get the biggest bang for my buck by using Focus Magic as a capture sharpener.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2005, 08:15:46 AM »
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I don't think it is very revealing to compare quite a number of images in the PK manual, for which the authors intended such comparisons. Perhaps it relates to the subtility of the tool compared with the transformations that take place moving from original image file, into PDF, and onto the paper and printer you used for accessing and reproducing the manual.

The only reliable way to assess what PK sharpener does - and this I say with complete confidence because I have done ALOT of it - is to try various PK sharpening effects on the same image AND PRINT EACH ONE OF THEM, then examine the prints. It is not even useful to compare effects on the monitor, because it can be deceptive. Even at the recommended 50% magnification, in some cases you will see sharpening effects on the monitor that you may think will end-up as a big distractive deal in the print, until you make the print and discover that all you have is a well-sharpened photograph.
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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
daviddix
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2005, 08:57:20 AM »
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I use PhotoKit Sharpener and have found it to be a very helpful tool. PK can help you sharpen a complicated image very quickly. The sharpening is done as a layer which can be further adjusted like any layer. Your particular needs will vary, but PK is very flexible. They let you download a fully fuctional demo version that will allow you to see how it can help your situation.
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David Dix
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photopat
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2005, 06:28:26 AM »
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I just got PK sharpener and have tried it out a bit,and at first I was wery pleased with the result.
However on another discussion forum I came over this method of "capture" sharpening

Instead of using PK capture shapener
In CS2 use smart sharpen set to
Amount 100% Radius 0,9
Shadow tab:  Fade amount 100% Tone whit=30 Radius =1
Highlight tab: Fade amount 100% Tone with=65 Radius=1

Then apply noise filter with all sliders set to 0 exept for the last slider(Sharpen Detail) set to aprox 40(tweak for personal taste)

I did a test and compared this way versus PK sharpener(capture sharpening in vareus modes) and I found this metod much more pleasing)

Any one care to discuss the pros and cons using this as a capture sharpener metod

By the way I'm on a Canon  Eos 1Ds (not markII)
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nnmmaa
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2005, 07:14:23 AM »
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It seems clear that several methods of sharpening give good results. Is there one right way? Probably not. In exploring different methods, I have tried PKsharpener and found it to be very very good. Having already paid full price for PhotoKit, I couldn't quite convince myself to buy again. If you are in that situation, or just thrifty, consider the free scripts offered by Glen Mitchell (www.thelightsright.com). They provide a three step sharpening protocol, all done on layers in Photoshop, that is at least as flexible as the one from PKsharpener. These scripts works better than anything else I have tried. YMMV

Hope this helps
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photopat
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2005, 08:47:52 AM »
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Thanks nnmmaa.

Did a quick test with the script from thelightisright.com and though I only played with it for a short time ..It did produce more pleasing result than PK Sharpeners capture sharpening....
(which I just reasently bought...)

Well I'll have to really try these different methods out to see what suites me the best.

Patrick
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