Old 11-24-2006, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default IMPORTANT:: How do you...

Okay, maybe it's not that important, but how do you sharpen your photos? I have recently been looking over my photos I have added onto RP and I'm not that pleased with the sharpness and clarity. I use the "Unsharp Mask" feature in Photoshop 7.0 and was just wondering if any other PS users can share their techniques/secrets and maybe include some examples? Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by Andrew Blaszczyk (2); 11-24-2006 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:21 PM   #2
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Hi Andrew,
I guess everyone has a different technique, but here's mine.

I also use USM in Photoshop. I create a duplicate layer & use these numbers as my starting point:

Amount - 150% (adjusting between 100 - 170)
Radius - 2.0 (sometimes 1.0)
Threshold - 1 (sometimes 0)

Initially this makes the image look a bit over-sharperned, but that's why I used the duplicate Layer. I now change my blend mode to Darken...this only brings through the darker pixels, which means most of those newly created halos will dissapear. I then Flatten the image.
Option B is to keep the blend mode at normal & just adjust the opacity of your duplicate layer.

You can refer to my gallery for examples using this technique. I've been using it for some time now. Note that the images in my BetterPhoto gallery aren't all impressively sharp...something about their upload process resizes the images & makes them look softer.

Good luck,
Bill
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:27 PM   #3
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Thanks! BTW, I have checked your BetterPhoto gallery more than (once) and love it! You do some truely excellent stuff and not just the RR related stuff either. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a little inspiration for winter or just poor weather days (as well as sunny days) or anyone who has free time. I look forward to seeing more additions. Keep it up!

Anyone else wanna share their techniques or tricks?
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill
Hi Andrew,
I guess everyone has a different technique, but here's mine.

I also use USM in Photoshop. I create a duplicate layer & use these numbers as my starting point:

Amount - 150% (adjusting between 100 - 170)
Radius - 2.0 (sometimes 1.0)
Threshold - 1 (sometimes 0)

Bill
I set my camera setting to "no sharpening" when taking JPEGS as to not interfere with original quality (unless I am shooting RAW).

I also use USM in Photoshop. Bill, your procedure of duplicating and blending sounds optimal. I've read alot about this but haven't tried it with USM - yet!

I read and have pretty much stuck to this:
Amount - 100% +/- 20%.
Radius - 2.5 +/-
Threshold - 3

In some rare cases, you can try this very sucessfully:
Amount - 20%
Radius - 40
Threshold - 1
This works in certain circumstances where you need to bring some details and colors out.

The above is assuming you are using an image at 300 dpi or higher.
After converting to 144 or 72 dpi for RP, I sometimes tweak it one more time at much much lower numbers across the board.

For a related question - is anyone doing custom batch processing of their photos?

/Mitch
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:39 AM   #5
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Here's my most recent acceptance using Bill's technique:
Image © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
PhotoID: 166358
Photograph © Andrew Blaszczyk (2)

I say it worked very well here.
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:59 AM   #6
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Andrew have a look at some of the software plugins available from the Fred Miranda web site. They are actually photoshop actions more then plugins but they work fantastically and will save you a lot of time post processing, something you will appreciate given the number of photos you take.

There a three plugins I recommend you should have a look at.

SI Pro 2 - Image Resizing
Velvia Vision - Image enhancement
Intellisharpen - Image Sharpening
Also have a look at the plugins available specifically for the camera you use (Canon XT/350D If I remember correctly)

The order in which you process your photos can be important as well I generally leave the sharpening process to last before resizing and then on the resized image if it needs a small tweak.

My work flow goes something like this.



  • Import RAW file from camera
  • Basic exposure and white balance corrections in Adobe Camera Raw
  • Noise reduction (Noise Ninja)
  • Final exposure and colour corrections
  • Optional - (Velvia Vision - Fred Mirander Plugin)
  • Sharpen (Intelisharpen - Fred Mirander Plugin)
  • Resize (SI Pro 2 - Fred Mirander Plugin)
  • Sharpen (Intelisharpen - Fred Mirander Plugin) If required

One thing I have learnt is not to get carried away with the noise reduction process particularly if you intend to resize the image down. A lot of the noise you can see in the full sized image will not be seen in the smaller resized image so you don't need to hit it as hard with the noise reduction process.

I hope this is of some help to you and others.

Christine.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:04 AM   #7
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Default Sharpening for web

Hi All,

I take all my phots in RAW format so there is no in camera sharpening.

Camera 1dmk2

In PS I use Unsharp Mask:

Amount 200%.

Radius 0.7.

Threshold 0, or if large amount of sky 1.

Now the important bit.

After resizing down using the inbuilt re-size I apply a further sharpen 30%@0.7, threshold 0.

This is important as during re-sampling a lot of data is discarded, so the phot needs a little help with sharpness.

Hope that helps.

Alan
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:36 PM   #8
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Hi Alan, Janet, Mitch, Bill, et. al.,

Something else to consider is scanned slides require different degrees of sharpening than digital originals. I find that Noise Ninja has to be dealt with very carefully with slides, as it will wipe out detail in an attempt to eliminate grain. Also, scanned slides will emphasize the grain very quickly if you sharpen at anywhere near the same levels as you do with a digital original. For slides, I almost never sharpen above 125, while I can double that with my digital camera files. Radius much above .9 becomes problematic with slides as well. I almost always use a threshold of 0.

Alan's suggestion of a small amount of additional sharpening after resizing to 1024 for RP is right on. I tend to use 70% at 0.5 radius if I've started out with a file in the 3600 range, but the if initial file is smaller due to cropping, I drop down on the amount of additional sharpening.

I'll have to give that duplicate layer/darken trick a try. I have often felt the image wasn't as sharp as I wanted because not having the light border was more important.

Michael Allen
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:07 PM   #9
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Red face

I'd tell you guys how I sharpen but you'd laugh me out of the county.

But I will mention this, since it is totally counter to the "accepted" approach but intuitively appeals to me. When I first started somebody mentioned to me that it was good to sharpen in small increments throughout the process. The idea was to keep those little pixels close to where you wanted them before they got too confused and started milling around wildly (I'm exaggerating). This makes a certain amount of sense to me and is how I generally do it.....although the critical sharpening is at the end of course. I know I'm crazy, and it violates all the rules, but it seems to work for me.

I would also emphasize the earlier comment about the need to resharpen after you have resized (and in my case converted from tiff to jpeg) for submission. I noticed my initial submissions to Railpix, that had looked sharp before I submitted them, looked very soft after acceptance. It was quite noticeable. So I started checking back and was surprised at how much sharpness was lost in the resizing process. I had to resubmit virtually all my early submissions with sharper versions.

Having printed out Bill and Alan's instructions, I am now going to go back to the computer and play around with some images that I was having trouble sharpening my way. Maybe I can break some old bad habits.

John West

Last edited by John West; 11-25-2006 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 11-26-2006, 12:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a231pacific
Hi Alan, Janet, Mitch, Bill, et. al.,

Something else to consider is scanned slides require different degrees of sharpening than digital originals. I find that Noise Ninja has to be dealt with very carefully with slides, as it will wipe out detail in an attempt to eliminate grain. Also, scanned slides will emphasize the grain very quickly if you sharpen at anywhere near the same levels as you do with a digital original. For slides, I almost never sharpen above 125, while I can double that with my digital camera files. Radius much above .9 becomes problematic with slides as well. I almost always use a threshold of 0.

Michael Allen
Hi Guy's

Sharpening scanned slides is where Intellisharpen II excels, load up this page and have a look at the examples down the bottom and pay close attention to the background and compare all three examples.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a231pacific
I find that Noise Ninja has to be dealt with very carefully with slides, as it will wipe out detail in an attempt to eliminate grain.
It sure does, It's that pesky Smoothness slider. I back it all the way off to zero then increase it one by one till I find an acceptable result. I then adjust the contrast slider which will bring back some of the detail that appears to be lost. I don't use the sharpening feature of Noise Ninja the USM amount is set to 0 permanently. The sharpening I leave to Intellisharpen.

Cheers,

Christine.
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Old 11-26-2006, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan-crotty
Hi All,

I take all my phots in RAW format so there is no in camera sharpening.

Camera 1dmk2

In PS I use Unsharp Mask:

Amount 200%.

Radius 0.7.

Threshold 0, or if large amount of sky 1.

Now the important bit.

After resizing down using the inbuilt re-size I apply a further sharpen 30%@0.7, threshold 0.

This is important as during re-sampling a lot of data is discarded, so the phot needs a little help with sharpness.

Hope that helps.

Alan
I pretty much use Alan's method except I don't go as high as 200% on initial USM...maybe 150% at the max.

I also became a big fan of selective sharpening using masks. Here's the thread where I went from dumb to a selective sharpening user:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=3930

BTW, selective sharpening is a way you can sharpen specific areas (i.e. the subject) of a photo without sharpening/oversharpening other areas that may give the image an oversharpened look to it.
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:22 PM   #12
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Mine is somewhat similar, I use 70/0.6/0, but only after resizing downward; it's the very last thing I do. I find higher levels to look too sharp, unnatural. But first, when I am converting from RAW, I do a 25 sharpen there (adobe camera raw in PSE3). I know, I know, all the advice is to sharpen only at the very end of the process, but I have found this to work for me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by alan-crotty
Hi All,

I take all my phots in RAW format so there is no in camera sharpening.

Camera 1dmk2

In PS I use Unsharp Mask:

Amount 200%.

Radius 0.7.

Threshold 0, or if large amount of sky 1.

Now the important bit.

After resizing down using the inbuilt re-size I apply a further sharpen 30%@0.7, threshold 0.

This is important as during re-sampling a lot of data is discarded, so the phot needs a little help with sharpness.

Hope that helps.

Alan
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgoldman
In some rare cases, you can try this very sucessfully:
Amount - 20%
Radius - 40
Threshold - 1
This works in certain circumstances where you need to bring some details and colors out.
I know settings like the above as "local contrast enhancement," not sharpening. Some call it a haze reduction method. See
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...ancement.shtml
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:38 PM   #14
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Default selective: not just sharpening

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
BTW, selective sharpening is a way you can sharpen specific areas (i.e. the subject) of a photo without sharpening/oversharpening other areas that may give the image an oversharpened look to it.
Selective techniques are fabulous. In addition to sharpening and selective color, one can try all sorts of stuff. Here is a link to a shot where I selected the power in order to apply a bit of shadows/highlights to bring out the engine detail without trashing the entire scene.

http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeozmw2/s...6.noshadow.jpg

here's the original

http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeozmw2/s...onva101506.jpg

What with no light on the nose, not an RP candidate.

Tell me if you find the effect not realistic.

J
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
I also became a big fan of selective sharpening using masks. Here's the thread where I went from dumb to a selective sharpening user:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=3930

BTW, selective sharpening is a way you can sharpen specific areas (i.e. the subject) of a photo without sharpening/oversharpening other areas that may give the image an oversharpened look to it.
WOW WOW WOW!!! Thanks for re-introducing this thread, Chris. I don't remember ever seeing it so I didn't search for any existing sharpening threads. Thanks so much!

I would like to thank everyone for their reponses; this has been a very informative weekend for me! I have also come to the conclusion that everyone prefers a different method of sharpening as well as degree of sharpness in photos. I tried everyone's suggestions, but found that I liked using my 100-200%, Radius 0.4, Threshold 1 the best. I guess you can't always teach an "old" dog new tricks when they are perfectly content.
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Old 11-27-2006, 01:00 PM   #16
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This was a great thread; I wish there were more "Hey, how do I..." threads like this. It would be neat if the admin could make threads like this a sticky so it's always up top (that would save people the headache of searching for gems like this)...
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Old 11-27-2006, 02:50 PM   #17
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One thing that was not always made clear is the combination of when the sharpening is done and the image size being sharpened. While I stated the former, I myself was guilty of not being clear about the latter. I am talking about sharpening a downsized picture of 1024 x 683 pixels or thereabouts for web display. If I am printing, then I am using all my pixels and the sharpening parameters are different. In either case, I do it at the end of all processing, the very last step before saving the file.

If you choose to sharpen earlier in the process, you should at least do any noise reduction first, so that you are not sharpening the noise.
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Old 11-28-2006, 10:48 AM   #18
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Default 200% sharpening

Just a note to say that I use a Canon 1Dmk2, these 1 series cameras are known to produe somewhat soft results out of the camera, hence the apparently high figure I use (200%).

Chuck Westfall of Canon, suggests a starting point of 300%@0.3 for 1 series cameras in his informative article:


http://www.photoworkshop.com/canon/EOS_Digital.pdf

See page 30.

Alan
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:40 PM   #19
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Interesting read there Alan, It also explains why you get a soft image out of some cameras.

Before I discovered the intellisharpen plugin I use to use the technique as described in the PDF. Hit the image hard with 300-400% USM @0.3 or even less if the result looked good and then again after final adjustments and resizing but at a much less aggressive level 100% or less USM @0.6 (I'm not sure of the final figures, it's been awhile)

Cheers,

Christine.
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Old 11-29-2006, 05:41 AM   #20
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i use 100%, 1.0 radius, 0 threshold. I take down the amount from time to time. But as of late for some reason the settings i've been using for over a year are makin the pics extremely soft. Can anyone explain why?
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:38 PM   #21
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Does anyone have any tips for Paint Shop Pro (version 9) users?
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
Does anyone have any tips for Paint Shop Pro (version 9) users?
Try a Google search. Here's a site I found by searching Paint Shop Pro 9 unsharp mask:
http://www.eleanorstravels.com/PSPv9/index.htm
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:02 AM   #23
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Great thread and very helpful. I tried the tips on one of my pictures and re-submitted the improved version.
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