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How to Sharpen soft Portraits

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  #1  
Old 04-11-2008, 04:51 AM
abdul10000 abdul10000 is offline
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How to Sharpen soft Portraits

I am sure we all ran into a stunning portrait with beautiful lighting and composition, but the picture was soft because of a mis-focus or camera shake.

What do you do to address this problem?

I know how to sharpen using USM and other advance edge techniques using masks etc, but all of this knowledge isn't helping me with slightly soft portraits.

Are there sharpening techniques unique to portrait photography that can address this kind of problem?


Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2008, 05:04 AM
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diggnikon diggnikon is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

HI

when it comes to sharpening watch how far you push it depending on the output
source e.g printer etc .

I would check your printer profiles with the sharpening (Nik sharpener pro )

That way you can maybe correct the blur with unsharp mask and smart sharpen but watch the hair is it can end up looking like string mop .

Hope this helps .
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2008, 05:23 AM
abdul10000 abdul10000 is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

Quote:
Originally Posted by diggnikon View Post
HI

when it comes to sharpening watch how far you push it depending on the output
source e.g printer etc .

I would check your printer profiles with the sharpening (Nik sharpener pro )

That way you can maybe correct the blur with unsharp mask and smart sharpen but watch the hair is it can end up looking like string mop .

Hope this helps .

Thanks for the feedback.

Actually I haven't reached the printing stage. I am more concerned with what looks soft vs sharp on screen
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Old 04-11-2008, 05:25 AM
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Damo77 Damo77 is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

Although we can achieve amazing things with images in our industry (eg exposure, colour, etc), focus is one thing that really has to be perfect at the time the shutter clicks. Nothing can artificially create perfect focus.

I've heard good things about Focus Magic, though.
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2008, 05:35 AM
abdul10000 abdul10000 is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

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Originally Posted by Damo77 View Post
Although we can achieve amazing things with images in our industry (eg exposure, colour, etc), focus is one thing that really has to be perfect at the time the shutter clicks. Nothing can artificially create perfect focus.

I've heard good things about Focus Magic, though.

Why is that? Is it because texture never records, edges merge?

I guess if that is the case one must manually go in and add the texture and make the edges stand out. Are there manual techniques to do that?
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2008, 05:21 PM
gmitchel gmitchel is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

We sharpen digital photographs because there are elements to digital photo imaging that add softness.

The conversion of analog data to digital data means that information smaller than a photosite is lost. That's one source of softness from digital capture.

Most digital imaging chips use a pattern of microlenses in different colors arranged in a pattern (the most common being what's called a Bayer pattern). The color information is then averaged across neighboring pixels. That interpolation is another source of digital softness.

Most digital cameras use a filter in front of the imaging chip to reduce moire effects. This anti-alias filter is another source of digital softness.

There is also the issue of variations across photosites in their ability to accurately measure light. This results in noise, and most digital cameras apply some noise reduction in the camera. That's another source of digital softness.

Sharpening techniques are designed to help compensate for digital softness by increasing the contrast along high contrast boundaries in a photograph.

An out-of-focus image is a different problem. Camera shake is yet another problem altogether. USM, Smart Sharpen, etc. are not designed to help much with either problem. Smart Sharpen has an option for camera movement, if you can identify the direction of the camera shake. It is, generally, little or no practical help with that problem.

Focus Magic is touted as able to help with out of focus images. My practical experience is, that's more a marketing claim than a practical result that digital photographers can rely upon.

Cheers,

Mitch
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2008, 09:50 PM
abdul10000 abdul10000 is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

Thanks for the summary, its useful
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2008, 04:14 AM
duwayne duwayne is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

Have you tried using the USM with a radius of 100-200, threshold of about 4 and amount of 15-30? Sometimes called Local Contrast Enhancement.
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2008, 10:40 AM
gmitchel gmitchel is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

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Originally Posted by duwayne View Post
Have you tried using the USM with a radius of 100-200, threshold of about 4 and amount of 15-30? Sometimes called Local Contrast Enhancement.
Radius = 100 to 200 is generally too high.

LCE is typically more like Amount = 20 to 30, Radius = 40 to 60, and Threshold left alone.

Cheers,

Mitch
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2008, 10:30 AM
abdul10000 abdul10000 is offline
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Re: How to Sharpen soft Portraits

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Originally Posted by duwayne View Post
Have you tried using the USM with a radius of 100-200, threshold of about 4 and amount of 15-30? Sometimes called Local Contrast Enhancement.
Yes I did, it helps define contrast more, but I do this type of sharpening to most pictures and it isn't what I am looking for.

It seems manual work is the only way to go.
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