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Sharpening

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  #1  
Old 01-16-2014, 05:33 AM
nrotunda nrotunda is offline
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Sharpening

Hi everyone! This is my first post...so be nice please I've been using photoshop for several years but this is my first time working as a full time retoucher, so I'm soaking up information at a rapid rate! The one thing I am constantly confused about is sharpening. I know there are tons of information online and there may be a post on this forum you can point to but I haven't found one that answers my first question. The two questions are:

1.) When do I sharpen? Do I sharpen first thing or do I sharpen at the very end? I can see the advantage for both, but which is standard?

2.) How do I sharpen? For years I've used unsharp mask because I was convinced it was the best, but lately I've been realizing that so many people use the opacity filter. I know it's a matter of personal taste, but what are the advantages of both?

Thank you! I'm sure you'll see many more posts from me!
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:01 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Sharpening

1) After you've finished everything else.

2) You sharpen by using a result of the set radius to an inverted stamp of the image set to linear light, then masked selectively.
so...

alt+command+shift+E (make a stamp)
command+I (invert the stamp)
M (choose a tool that will give you access to shortcuts for the layer opacity, Marquee is just one of them)
5 (set opacity of the layer to 50%)
Filter>Blur>choose any kind of blur you'd like to use, it will give you different results, but "normal" is gaussian", and slide to see the detail aka radius you want enhanced (by bluring a grey, you're revealing the detail at any given radius)
alt+command+shift+E (make another stamp, as you have to apply what you just created)
alt+shift+J (set the second stamped layer to linear light to turn on it's effect)
delete the first stamped layer(one that you inverted, so that you can see the sharpening)
mask out your layer set to Linear Light

THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY TO SHARPEN!!! You can achieve the SAME THING with apply image, High Pass(not just the high pass set to linear light, it's a bit more complicated, doing just a High Pass will mess things up!!!).

Here is how to with high pass...

alt+command+shift+E (Make a stamp)
Image>Adjustments>Brightness-Contrast>Select Use Legacy, Set contrast to -50%
NOW THE HIGH PASS(you se the same thing emerging like when you were blurring , that's because both of these way are based on blurring the INVERSION which in turn makes it sharper )
Blend layer at liner light, and mask accordingly

So why not just use High pass process all the time? Because the first way will give you deferent sharpening based on the blur you applied(it'll give you the opposite of the blur), and the HighPass is the oppoiste of Gaussian, so you can only sharpen it based on gaussian.


3) There is no such thing as Opacity filter, correct me if I'm wrong.

Have fun!
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2014, 11:45 AM
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andrewrodney andrewrodney is offline
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Re: Sharpening

Quote:
Originally Posted by nrotunda View Post

1.) When do I sharpen? Do I sharpen first thing or do I sharpen at the very end? I can see the advantage for both, but which is standard?
I'd start here:
http://www.creativepro.com/article/o...ere-afraid-ask
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Old 01-16-2014, 01:34 PM
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Tony W Tony W is online now
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Re: Sharpening

Along with Andrews suggestion as a very good starting point (by Bruce Fraser) also look for articles by Jeff Schewe and considering buying the book written by Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw and Lightroom - although not recently updated it will tell you pretty much all you need to know.

There is no single right way to sharpen, although there are several poor methods including voodoo moves and also poor judgement leading to overhapening in particular.

IMO (and taking the sage advice of those authors noted above!) single pass sharpening is unlikely to lead to an optimally sharpened image. Generally the best method is a multi stage workflow to include capture sharpening, creative sharpening and finally sharpening based on the destination device.

If you are producing work yourself and working on raw files or you are being passed raw files to work on start with capture sharpening to improve the inevitable loss of sharpness the analogue to digital conversion introduces - assuming that you are passed a raw file that has had poor or no sharpening applied. Then move into creative sharpening to selectively enhance or even reduce sharpness. Final sharpening will depend on the destination device and will most likely be global - all of this covered in the book mentioned above.

I think reference to Opacity filter refers to the potential to reduce the effect of your sharpening layer by using the opacity slider in the layers menu

Last edited by Tony W; 01-16-2014 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:23 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Sharpening

I never said one pass, or global, I just explained how to sharpen correctly.

Just like if some one asked me how to DNB, Id explain how, BUT IT'S NEVER ONE STROKE!!! EVER! You always have to fine tune adjustments. A little bit of everything.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:52 PM
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Re: Sharpening

Well, I was not suggesting that you did suggest one pass or even global just replying to the OP's question when to sharpen first or at the end with a suggestion that this is more than a one step process. So where you get the idea that the reply was based on what you said I have no idea .

Other than you stressing in your post 'THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY TO SHARPEN!!!' which I do disagree with along with your latest assertion 'I just explained how to sharpen correctly'. This is your opinion rather than a statement of fact.

What you have described is just one way to sharpen an image and if this is what gets you the best results that is fine but is not necessarily either the right way or the correct way for others or for images in general.

There are many ways to sharpen and image content along with experience will dictate the likely best way to go. There are some strange and wonderful methods to increase apparent image sharpeness including using even using Gaussian blur along with blending modes to add fine edge contrast. Is this method the best or correct, not really as it depends on what needs to be achieved
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:03 PM
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Re: Sharpening

Personally I'm happy with the bog standard USM feature but I'd like to see alternative methods. Can anyone post an example of an image showing a comparison between USM and a superior method please.
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2014, 03:20 PM
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Re: Sharpening

Repairman, I think you are correct to be happy with USM or Smart sharpen or particularly the sharpening and noise reduction tools in ACR or LR.

There are probably dozens of plugins offering sharpening claiming to be better than those found in the aforementioned. There maybe some evidence that this is the case but I suspect improvements generally marginal - I dont know for a fact as I have neither the time nor the inclination to try them unless recommended by someone I consider to be an authority on the subject.

The idea of a comparison of methods is good in theory but maybe flawed in practice due to an individuals desire to prove their theory that method a. is superior to method b, c or d. In testing it is likely that evidence contrary to their opinion will be disregarded as an anomoly and only those images that display their theories shown and regarded as correct.

EDIT:Just remembered this article which includes a lot of relevent info and a method of combining USM with High Pass which works very well. And also mentions something I forgot about comparison images. How do we compare. If it is not intended for screen display only we need to be aware of the output destination as only then will sharpening reveal itself as sucessful or lacking - you cannot judge print output sharpening for instance just by looking at a monitor at 100% view. Well at least I cannot as the monitor image needs to be judged at much smaller size to equate to the final print size.

http://www.pixelgenius.com/tips/schewe-sharpening.pdf

Last edited by Tony W; 01-16-2014 at 03:52 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2014, 05:27 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Sharpening

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
1)
You can achieve the SAME THING with apply image, High Pass
Probably should have add ed etc. Image also appears sharper as a result of dnb, adding grain, adding noise, adding contrast etc etc etc etc. Do I really need to write this, as I already wrote a very helpful answer as to what a better equivalent to sharpening in RAW processor (which you can also do)?

So please do kill me for I have given a step by step direction.

All those plug ins basically combine the exact same thing you can do in a more controlled way in PS itself, but they might be faster if you're doing a bunch of images.

P.S. It's such a a wast subject, I was talking about frequency based sharpening, and there are so many other ways, but frequency is what is mostly referred to as sharpening.

Last edited by skoobey; 01-16-2014 at 05:37 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2014, 02:15 AM
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Re: Sharpening

Nice link Tony. I'm just fishing to see if there are other methods out there worth changing the habits of a lifetime for! When I used to work from scans only (which ALWAYS came with USM applied) it could be tricky to mask images which had the attendant enhanced contrast edging. You could end up with a 1 pixel black or white halo! Now I always add the sharpening last because images tend to be multi-purposed: what's good for a poster won't necessarily work on a website page. Because sharpening is case dependent and I would recommend that the OP output some sample ref prints that display the effects of USM at different settings and sizes.
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