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Actions for Making Edge & Surface Masks

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  • Actions for Making Edge & Surface Masks

    I created an action set today that's useful for making edge masks for sharpening and surface masks for noise reduction.

    If you like to "roll your own" sharpening with Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen, you will find the edge mask actions in my TLR Edge and Surface Masks action set to be helpful.

    Likewise, if you use a noise reduction tool like Neat Image or Noise Ninja, you can use a surface mask to keep the noise reduction software from softening your image.

    Conventional edge and surface masks use contrast in tone (i.e., luminosity or brightness) to define the edges in an image. The TLR Edge and Surface Masks action set includes actions for luminosity edge masks. However, it also includes a unique set of edge and surface masks that start with the customary luminosity edges and enhances them by also including edges with differences in color (even though they have the same tone). Enhanced masks take longer to generate and require more resources while the actions run, but they do pick up detail missed by the conventional luminosity masks used by sharpening tools like PhotoKit Sharpener, Focal Blade, etc.

    You also have a choice of four widths for the masks generated by the TLR Edge and Surface Masks action set. The general purpose default is Medium width. Bit for portraits and softer subjects, there is a Wide width. Very fine details can be obscured by a broader mask, so there are also Narrow and Extra Narrow width masks, too.

    The TLR Edge and Surface Masks action set is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS/CS and with earlier versions of Photoshop.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.thelightsright.com/TLREdge&SurfaceMasks.htm

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  • #2
    Features sound wonderful!

    Thank you! I can't wait to try it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I hope you enjoy it!

      I forgot to mention that the actions are compatible with images in RGB, CMYK, L*a*b, and Grayscale.

      Generating masks can be time consuming, especially when filters like Median are used. To speed operations and save resources, the mask is generated on a flattened duplicate of your image that is converted to 8-bits per channel. The result is then copied back to your image. Your original is unchanged.

      Cheers,

      Mitch

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Mitch.

        This action should save me some time.

        I have often created an edge mask to sharpen and then inverted it for Neat Image.

        Is there an advantage in running both your actions or is it the same but inverted?

        Ken

        Comment


        • #5
          A surface mask is just an inverted edge mask.

          I suggest you use the same width for both, if you use both an edge mask and a surface mask on the same image.

          I made the action set because I frequently see people complaining that noise removal softens their images.

          Enjoy!

          Cheers,

          Mitch

          Comment


          • #6
            I've been experimenting with them all day and really like the results. Thanks for all your work Mitch!!

            Dave

            Comment


            • #7
              Very handy... big thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Mitch.

                Maybe it may be worth mentioning that if you have two pictures open then this action works on the wrong picture.
                Only have one picture open when using this.


                Ken

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes. You are correct.

                  Because of the way actions handle Previous Document and Next Document, you will get unexpected results if multiple images are open.

                  I can add a stop to the actions to warn people. Or, just add a warning to the documentation. Which do you suggest?

                  The action uses a duplicate so that it runs more efficiently. The luminosity edge masks make an 8-bit mask in grayscale. This reduces RAM requirements and speeds up those actions. The enhanced masks do not use grayscale mode, but they do use 8-bit masks.

                  Without the use of a duplicate, you could have multiple images open and not have a problem.

                  Cheers,

                  Mitch

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mitch.

                    I would just mention it in the documentation. It’s not critical as the actions are non-destructive. So once you know about it a ‘stop’ would just get annoying.

                    And Yes. I do understand why it happens.


                    Ken

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks, Ken.

                      I agree, it would get annoying (although people can disable the step).

                      I thought I would check someone else's opinion.

                      Cheers,

                      Mitch

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does anyone have a few examples of the before and after effects this action creates?

                        Ive not used median very often and cant visualize what it is best used for. I hear a lot of talk about median - but I usually just get a blurred or solarized effect and am not sure if thats all there is - or - it is a means to something else?

                        What is the beneficial application of median?

                        What do other people do with it?

                        Median is about as obtuse to me as high pass, minimum and maximum. They all seem to be one time use - artful kind of filters - but I bet theres more to it than ive got a clue to

                        Ray12

                        .
                        Last edited by ray12; 11-16-2005, 07:59 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You can see an example of the kind of masks the action set generates here:

                          http://www.thelightsright.com/tip-making-edge-mask.htm
                          http://www.thelightsright.com/tip-us...rface-mask.htm

                          The median filter is used sometimes in noise removal. A median is a way of averaging pixel values. A median is calculated for a set of observations by sorting them and taking the middle value.

                          Cheers,

                          Mitch

                          Comment

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