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Software Photoshop, Lightroom, Paintshop Pro, Painter, etc., and all their various plugins. Of course, you can also discuss all other programs, as well.

Best Sharpening Plug-ins

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  #11  
Old 06-08-2011, 08:31 AM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Forgot to point out; on 16-bit images you can use the filter Smart Sharpen with the "more accurate" box checked for good sharpening as well (if the image is 8 bit that option creates some noise for unknown reasons).
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  #12  
Old 06-08-2011, 08:36 AM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Thanks - I think I've got the gist of that, but I'll need to work through it to fully understand. I didn't realise you could take a jpeg into ACR. I shall do so immediately.
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  #13  
Old 06-08-2011, 09:51 AM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

I'd highly recommend TIFF (w/lossless LZW compression) over JPEG if you have the choice. Because JPEG will reduce image quality, and the artefacts could interfere a bit with your sharpening or other adjustments.
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2011, 11:29 AM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Yet more questions....

Do you think it is actually a good idea to convert from PSD to TIFF for the final sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw? Or is ACR sharpening only desirable/better at the input end of the workflow.

Is ACR v6 superior to v4.6 in the sharpening department?

Of the TIFF options........

NONE (default?)
LZW
ZIP
JPEG

Interleaved (default?)
Per Channel

IBM PC (default?)
MacIntosh

......which settings are preferable? I am working on a Mac.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2011, 11:44 AM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

TIFF:

For the TIFF format, go for the default settings as they should be most commonly supported (although it will not matter most of the time), but for compression always choose LZW. It is lossless and will on average cut the size in roughly half (varies a lot).
ZIP and JPEG in a TIFF file is not that well supported by other software (and JPEG is lossy).

Note: If you have transparency in the file and want it to be preserved when the file is used in e.g. InDesign you will also have to check "Transparency".

Camera Raw:

Personally I only use ACR for importing raw files and would perform the final sharpening in Photoshop (I fell I have much better control, but sharpening is a bit up to individual taste). That said, ACR can definately sharpen just fine for both input and output (the main difference is output sharpening for print is usually a bit stronger and has a larger radius). I do not remember the possibilities in 4.6, but it might miss the newer masking options. Adobe has recently (CS4 or 5?) done some great improvements to their noise reduction, so the newer version might be a good upgrade just for that.
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:20 PM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Ps: Wanna see something cool? Run the Surface Blur version of the sharpening with a high radius (warning: SLOW). It will do a really neat local contrast enhancement that looks quite different from the Gaussian/regular version (milder on the edges, allowing you to crank it up more).
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:27 PM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKMac View Post
Yet more questions....

Do you think it is actually a good idea to convert from PSD to TIFF for the final sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw? Or is ACR sharpening only desirable/better at the input end of the workflow.
LR and ACR use a sharpening workflow based on the Fraser piece. There is Capture Sharpening and Output Sharpening. The Output Sharpening is based on the Capture Sharpening. If you bring in a rendered image (TIFF, PSD) the question becomes, was it ever sharpened in the first place? With a raw workflow, which is what ACR and LR are primarily based upon, there is no initial sharpening done, its raw. Capture sharpening is used to overcome the softness associated with digitizing an image. Its gentle and not output based. Output sharpening is based on the output size and device. You simply can’t treat a 4x5 going to an ink jet the same as a 13x19 going to the same device let alone a vastly different kind of technology (halftone, contone, screen).

Output sharpening in LR and ACR are optimized for ink jet output!

I seem to recall there was a RetouchPro Webinar about sharpening and all the pitfalls and issues <g>.
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:43 PM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Well, I've worked through a lot today. Many thanks for all the info. Much appreciated.
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  #19  
Old 06-09-2011, 09:33 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
LR and ACR use a sharpening workflow based on the Fraser piece. There is Capture Sharpening and Output Sharpening. The Output Sharpening is based on the Capture Sharpening. If you bring in a rendered image (TIFF, PSD) the question becomes, was it ever sharpened in the first place?
And...how does LR/ACR handle this question?

Maybe some user control would be in order, or at least more transparency as to what's going on behind the curtain.
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  #20  
Old 06-10-2011, 01:59 AM
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Re: Best Sharpening Plug-ins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
And...how does LR/ACR handle this question?
If you are bringing your image back into ACR or LR for the sole purpose of doing output sharpening you should already have done your input sharpening earlier in your workflow. If not, please do.

That being said, I do believe going back to ACR for output sharpening would be unnecessary since you can do excellent sharpening in Photoshop (although you don't have such neat masking sliders). My final sharpening (for effect and output) I always do in layers on top of my document (using the actions I linked earlier). Then I have full manual control and can mask it just the way I want if need be (easier in Photoshop than ACR).
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