Old 06-15-2010, 12:31 AM   #1
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Default USM vs. Smart Sharpen?

As I begin to familiarize myself with Adobe Photoshop CS5, I've been exploring other ways of sharpening an image. Usually, I've been using "Smart Sharpen" somewhere between 50% and 150% with a radius of 0.3 PX and Gaussian Blur selected under "Remove". That said, I've been using the Unsharp Mask and expanding to other sharping methods as well, but still find Smart Sharpen to be the most effective method of sharpening without the unwanted jagged edges.

All that being said, what method of sharpening do you guys use and what are their pros and cons? Personally, I was not fond of the results of using USM. I find it to almost give the image an out of focus appearance or perhaps just bolder edges.

Obviously, I'm sure each method serves a purpose and is preferred for particular subjects, but for general railroad photography use, I am curious your methods of sharpening.

Chase
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:47 AM   #2
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I either:

Click the sharpen button on IRFanview one time on the resized image.

or

Do a USM in Rawtherapee of around 100/.7/0 on the full size file, and then do around 50/.5/0 on the resize.

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Old 06-15-2010, 02:39 AM   #3
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Loyd,

Gotta say that I really feel you're wasting the capability of your Rebel by processing in IRFanView. For quick work of general shots, it's fine, but it's not going to get near what is possible out of the files from a good DSLR. At the very least I'd move to Helicon; it's a bit more advanced freeware than fanview.

Or, better yet, save up some $$ and invest in PSE; the difference in capability is night and day.

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Old 06-15-2010, 02:53 AM   #4
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I agree with Carl. It's fine for really basic saturation/contrast/sharpening but at the slightest bit of colour correction or anything else more complicated than adding contrast, you should use something else.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:51 AM   #5
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I said I sometimes use irfanview to sharpen images. I didn't say it was my only program, or that I use it for all post processing.

I'm pretty sure that the three programs I can use, is not wasting the potential of the discontinued cheap rebel body, and cheap lenses I have.

And while I'm by no means a good photographer, if I have to spend more than 10 minutes editing a file, I didn't take the photo correctly...

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Old 06-15-2010, 05:31 AM   #6
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Chase,

If you are using Photoshop CS4 or CS5 I would suggest you read this brief tutorial about High Pass Filter sharpening.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...arpening.shtml

I shoot RAW and I use this method almost exclusively. I apply it last, and since it is applied to my final image I usually find a very small radius is all I need (0.3 to 0.5 in most cases).

Give it a try. Nothing to lose.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
I said I sometimes use irfanview to sharpen images. I didn't say it was my only program, or that I use it for all post processing.

I'm pretty sure that the three programs I can use, is not wasting the potential of the discontinued cheap rebel body, and cheap lenses I have.

And while I'm by no means a good photographer, if I have to spend more than 10 minutes editing a file, I didn't take the photo correctly...

Loyd L.
But what if you want to create true art like this?

if anyone takes this seriously, imma punch them in the face.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
And while I'm by no means a good photographer, if I have to spend more than 10 minutes editing a file, I didn't take the photo correctly...

Loyd L.
If only a camera's sensor shared the same dynamic range of the human eye, no one would ever have to spend more than a few minutes fixing a photo.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias View Post
If only a camera's sensor shared the same dynamic range of the human eye, no one would ever have to spend more than a few minutes fixing a photo.
Instead they spend an hour, and it still doesn't look natural

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Old 06-15-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Loyd,

Even if you're simply using IRFanView for sharpening, you're not getting the most out of the files (trust me ). Have a look at my posts in the following thread:

http://forums.railpictures.net/showthread.php?t=9002

Note what IRFanView did to the rails in this shot - even with just one button push, completely unnecessary sharpening artifacts appear.

You also mention your cheap, discontinued body and cheap lenses. Well, just because I have to say it, the Rebel XS is still on the Canon website, plus the camera and kit lenses are actually decent resolution performers (and your prime lens is superb). That I know which camera and lenses you're using probably indicates I click on a lot of photog's profiles just because I see their shots posted, but I guess that's just food for thought.

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Old 06-15-2010, 04:02 PM   #11
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Carl. Search for the definition of "Sarcasm" next please.

I'm happy with the programs I use (irfanview, raw therapee, and photoshop 7), and how I use them.

It's your right to think my photos are lacking because of it.

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Old 06-15-2010, 04:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
It's your right to think my photos are lacking because of it.
Well, I'm not saying that, specifically, however, in better terms I think you'd be pleased with the improvement you saw.

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Old 06-15-2010, 04:37 PM   #13
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The default sharpening setting in irfanview is too much for my tastes. When I used it as my main editing program, I lowered the setting considerably!

I'm sure Lloyd can see when he's got major jaggies, though.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:17 PM   #14
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I would figure IRfan's sharpen would be too much for an already sharp shot due to lens quality. It's usually not too much for the glass I shoot with.

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker View Post
Well, I'm not saying that, specifically, however, in better terms I think you'd be pleased with the improvement you saw.

~Carl Becker
If there was an improvement to see, I would have saw it around 25,000 edits ago. The sharpen on IRfanview currently does fine for me, in certain instances when I decide to use it. I would estimate I use the sharpen around 25% of the time.

If I get the time I'll post some side by side examples to illustrate my thinking.

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Old 06-15-2010, 08:32 PM   #16
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I would have to say using high pass is one of the biggest wastes of time, I have tried it and really cant say it does that much of a better job than USM or smart sharpen. In some instances, like black and white stuff it may do a better job.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:46 PM   #17
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I too, found that high pass filtering didn't do much for me, but ISTR that it's used more for preparing shots for printing ?

I use a 2 stage process for sharpening (I have PS7 and I'm not sure Elements has this facility)

1) Create a new channel and dump a copy of the image into it (it will appear in B&W).
Apply filter - Filter, Stylise, Find Edges.
Apply Guassian blur (I find 1% is OK)
Use the brush tool to paint white over areas you don't want to sharpen at this stage (eg foliage overhead wires etc)
Choose Select, Load Selection, ensure the Invert selection box is checked
Return to the main picture on the Layers tab. The edges are now tightly selected
Apply USM to taste - I find that for edges I can usually use radius 0.3 at 100-150%
Clear the selection

2) Go back to the Channel mask created in 1)
Choose Select, Load Selection, ensure the Invert selection box is NOT checked
Return to the main picture on the Layers tab
Use any tool you like to remove areas such as the sky, wires and rails from the selection
Apply USM - I usually use radius 0.7 at 70%


This way I can give edges extra sharpening, usually without jaggies appearing


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Old 10-06-2010, 06:15 PM   #18
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Since were on the subject of sharpening I received this reject for ovesharpening.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=862153&key=0

Since we have a lot folks on here who are much more qualified than I when it comes to processing what am I missing or not seeing. It looked sharp to me before I uploaded it.I usually use 140% USM, reduce image size to 1024 and then apply usually 0.5% again to the image. If the image is still soft I go back a step and sharpen by hand. Any input would be appreciated. This was a very rare occurrence as these units haven't made a jaunt on this line probably since the mid 90's!

Dean
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deano12056 View Post
Since we have a lot folks on here who are much more qualified than I when it comes to processing what am I missing or not seeing. It looked sharp to me before I uploaded it.I usually use 140% USM, reduce image size to 1024 and then apply usually 0.5% again to the image. If the image is still soft I go back a step and sharpen by hand. Any input would be appreciated. This was a very rare occurrence as these units haven't made a jaunt on this line probably since the mid 90's!

Dean
Personally I would have started a new thread ... If you really felt the need to tie to a previous one, haven't we had any other sharpening threads since June?

I am confused by your post. USM has three parameters, like 70%/0.6/0 The 140% sounds like a 140/x/y, what are the other values? The 0.5%, just makes no sense, what does that mean? And then you "sharpen by hand", what does that mean?

J, who has visions of applying a whetstone to a monitor...
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:45 PM   #20
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Sorry about leaving that out. I first do a 140%/1.0R/0T, resize and then do another USM at 0.5%/1.0R/0T. If the image still looks unsharp then I go back a step and used sharpening tool by hand. Hope that helps. Dean
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Sorry about leaving that out. I first do a 140%/1.0R/0T, resize and then do another USM at 0.5%/1.0R/0T. If the image still looks unsharp then I go back a step and used sharpening tool by hand. Hope that helps. Dean
Do you mean 50%/1/0 for the second USM? I think that 0.5% really means zero USM.

And what does "by hand" mean, please?

At any rate, sharpening strategies are all across the board. I usually do a bit of sharpening at time of raw conversion (the parameter was initially set to 25%, I never noticed it, and then I never had a reason to change it), no other sharpening before downsizing, and 80/0.6/0 at the very end. I rarely do another pass.

There was a thread here some time ago, a year ago?, where many people stated the parameters they choose.

There is no one right way, it seems.
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