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SharpControl - Free PC Software

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  • SharpControl - Free PC Software

    Found this at the Adobe PC Photoshop forum...

    I have downloaded and played with this software, seems OK...I think many of you will like this, slow as it is. Pleasevirus check and take other safeguards, usual disclaimers apply. <g>

    Some nice sharpening options for some types of imges that suffer more so than others from sharpening.

    Stephen Marsh.

  • #2
    As compared to other sharpening features and plugins, how do you think it rates? Is this a plug in or stand alone or both?


    • #3


      • #4
        Sorry - it's just an EXE (I was feeling like a risk, so after using two virus apps and with my firewall running...I thought what the heck).

        I don't know what else is may or may not be installed....what is good app to inspect for newly installed 'secret' components?

        I have played for perhaps 5 min with this and only sharpened one grayscale file.

        It seems OK so far - a nice 'control' or threshold option with an edgemask slider option (you cant preview the mask though).

        For images such as portraits or landscapes where there may be large regions of low frequency data (skin, sky) and other areas of high detail - then the control and edge options seem nice.

        But this app is slow...which may limit it's use for some.

        Attached is a screenshot, which has had the settings shown added to the 'history' list (for want of a term) which then also applies the preview to the whole image, as shown. When using the app to tune the sharpening then the preview panels are used and the main image is the untouched original.

        It may not be a every image tool - but it is nice to have another option.

        Stephen Marsh.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Small update - there is no support webpage that I can find, or release notes with the download.

          There is a splash screen visible before you open a file which lists the numerous features of this application (see new attachment).


          Stephen Marsh.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            1.1 update

            New version 1.1 at the original link. Rumour is it is faster! <g>

            Now with copy/paste ability for 8 bpc data between Photoshop and SharpControl and Iterative sharpening. Also saves the last used settings as a text file (same directory as the .exe) which can be edited in a text editor to change settings outside of SC.

            The author posts on DPreview but still no homepage for the product.



            Stephen Marsh.
            Last edited by Stephen M; 01-04-2003, 05:35 AM.


            • #7
              Great program, thanks for the link! I had a perfect image to try out on this, I had just scanned an out of focus family photo a couple days ago that I was having trouble sharpening. this helped me out a lot!

              - David


              • #8
                David, Any chance you can share the before/after versions of your photo? And any other attempts you made to sharpen that didn't work as well?



                • #9
                  sure, here's my first try with it:
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    it worked well on any area of that image that I tried it on, but I don't have any others to test on right now for seeing if any kind images don't work as well as the one I posted.

                    - David


                    • #11
                      Some more thoughts after playig with the new version...

                      Amount & Radius - Setting amount to 1000% with all other features at 0 (zero) or full strength sharpen - adjust the radius until you see an effect. For me this happens after 0.5 radius. It seems that radius intensifies quickly after that setting?

                      Control - higher settings seem to reduce the light halo and to also perform some sort of edge smoothing, as well as working a bit like threshold?

                      Edge - The high edge value will mask lower frequency areas like skintones seems to work well in conjunction with control, both using lower settings. This may also work like threshold to some degree.

                      Iterations - be careful, multiple sharpening should be performed using lower amounts and or other settings, as they obviously build up (weird photo art results happen after using too many interations with higher settings).

                      As with all sharpening, you may prefer to set amount really high and back off the other values - so you can see a really horrid oversharpened image in all the wrong places. Then slowly back down on the other variables until there is a reasonable trade off between sharpness and noise suppression.

                      Clipboard Data Paste - for 8 bpc data into SC, there seems to be MS Win clipboard issues for large files, so if the file is big you may have to use the open command in SC.

                      Clipboard Data Copy - a big file can be copied out of sharp control through the clipboard and pasted as a layer direct in Photoshop. So it seems the clipboard issues may be one way.

                      This approach can be quite in SC, tweak and copy and paste into Photoshop to compare at zoom levels with true colours and to compare against reg. USM quickly etc. It does not sound like there will be a plug, so this copy/paste approach seems a good work around (it almost feels like using a plug <g>).

                      Sliders - the setting sliders may not slide to the exact figure you would like (say 1.00 pixel radius and not 1.20 or whatever). Ballpark the setting and quit SC. The settings text file in the same folder as the app can now be changed to the setting you require, next time SC is opened it will read this text file and use those figures.

                      Colour Management - this app is not ICC savvy so Adobe RGB files or whatever will look desaturated as the numbers in the file do not make sense when sent direct to the monitor.

                      Just forget that the preview colour is weird in SC, the data should be the same when it is taken back to Photoshop. Don't change any pixel values in the file and it should match the original for general colour.

                      Any corrections or additions? As there is no homepage it might be good to list some user experiences and tips.

                      Stephen Marsh.
                      Last edited by Stephen M; 01-04-2003, 06:00 PM.


                      • #12
                        David, Thanks for the example. It looks like there was a good amount of sharpening without a halo. Impressive.

                        Stephen, Thanks so much for your detailed "thoughts after playing"! I'm going to go download this now...



                        • #13
                          Small tutorial on sharpcontrol here:



                          Stephen Marsh.


                          • #14
                            v1.1 is still the current stand alone version of SharpControl, although this new thread:


                            ...introduces a new app from the same author - which has the next generation of SharpControl built-in as one feature among others. This new tweak allows a min sharpening halo radius of 0.34 pixels, where as SC1.1 has a 0.51 pixel minimum.

                            With luck a new version of Sharp Control will offer the interface and processing improvements offered in the new PhotoControl.

                            Stephen Marsh.


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