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Gear Talk => Technical Support => Topic started by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 02:58:31 PM

Title: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 02:58:31 PM
I'm new to using Photoshop (CS5) and am wondering what seasoned users have found to be their most successful workflow options when it comes to sharpening and producing really crisp images for web display.  I'm assuming a good initial capture in-camera.  Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on February 22, 2013, 03:14:32 PM
Unless you are using RAW, I would not adjust sharpening.  For web sized images, little if any sharpening is needed.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: RiceCanon on February 22, 2013, 03:29:24 PM
I should clarify that I always shoot using RAW for my landscape and wildlife images.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on February 22, 2013, 03:35:10 PM
Are you just posting small low res images, or huge ones where details can be closely examined?
Sharpening for web depends on a persons taste, I use Lightroom to post to my Smugmug account, and just pick standard sharpening for web use in my smugmug export panel.  I have Photoshop, but always export edited images back to lightroom before I upload them.
Try uploading images with different settings and see what you like.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: vlad on February 22, 2013, 03:40:56 PM
Some general sharpening advice:

- sharpen after you size down for web
- unsharp mask-style sharpening (which I now do through PS smart sharpening, not the actual unsharp mask filter) with a low radius works well for sharpening the overall image to counteract the lack of in-camera sharpening for RAW
- unsharp mask-style with high radius and low amount boosts local contrast, similar to "clarity" in LR and better looking in my opinion
- high pass sharpening is great for bringing out edge detail, and personally I prefer to mask it in for areas that I want to draw more focus/attention to (i.e. the eyes in a portrait)
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: chauncey on February 22, 2013, 04:06:50 PM
I would follow vlad's advice in total as a starting point when sharpening is desired. 
Personally however, I tend to sharpen different selected parts of the image in different ways and amounts,
 just as sharpening a lady's eyes is a good thing but pores are a no-no.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: unfocused on February 22, 2013, 04:27:45 PM
Some general sharpening advice:
...high pass sharpening is great for bringing out edge detail, and personally I prefer to mask it in for areas that I want to draw more focus/attention to (i.e. the eyes in a portrait)

Definitely. High pass sharpening is kind of a secret formula that can really make an image pop. Like Vlad says, I like to create a high-pass layer and then mask out virtually everything but the eyes and maybe the lips, it's subtle but really works. I've even been able to save photos where the original focus was ever so slightly off.

It also works well on cars and metal objects, especially if you mask out everything but the edges. Be careful though, it can increase noise in the sky or restore all sorts of skin blemishes that you thought you had already fixed. Hence, the need for masking.

Highly recommend Scott Kelby's books for more tips on sharpening.

Here are a couple of examples that I did for my stepson and his girlfriend – starving actors in need of headshots.

http://unfocusedmg.com/Photos/People/Patrick_8663-web.jpg (http://unfocusedmg.com/Photos/People/Patrick_8663-web.jpg)

http://unfocusedmg.com/Photos/People/April_8506-web.jpg (http://unfocusedmg.com/Photos/People/April_8506-web.jpg)
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: TexasBadger on February 22, 2013, 04:30:58 PM
High pass sharpening.  It's quick, easy and effective.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: pwp on February 22, 2013, 06:16:12 PM
High pass sharpening.  It's quick, easy and effective.
For those few people who may be unaware of what high pass sharpening is, here you go!
http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/sharpen-high-pass/ (http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/sharpen-high-pass/)
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/high-pass-sharpening.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/high-pass-sharpening.shtml)
http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1326507&seqNum=4 (http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1326507&seqNum=4)

-PW
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: pwp on February 22, 2013, 06:32:58 PM
There are any number of superb plugins that will refine your sharpening workflow.

http://www.pixelgenius.com/sharpener2/index.html (http://www.pixelgenius.com/sharpener2/index.html)
http://handbook.outbackphoto.com/section_photo_tuning_filters/index.html (http://handbook.outbackphoto.com/section_photo_tuning_filters/index.html)
http://www.niksoftware.com/sharpenerpro/usa/entry.php (http://www.niksoftware.com/sharpenerpro/usa/entry.php)
http://www.topazlabs.com/infocus/ (http://www.topazlabs.com/infocus/)
http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/focalblade/ (http://www.thepluginsite.com/products/photowiz/focalblade/)
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/software/focalblade.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/software/focalblade.shtml)

Depending on your planned output, LR sharpening is pretty evolved. Some of these plugins may have had a higher relevance before LR and to a lesser extent PS "caught-up".

Personally, I value having PhotoKit Sharpener 2.0 from Pixel Genius in my toolkit.

-PW
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: awinphoto on February 22, 2013, 06:39:49 PM
Sharpening is almost always a good decision, especially right before you print.  Some of the top photoshop guru's say you should first go into your image, run a noise program to remove noise (if any depending on ISO), then run a low localized sharpening to taste.  If you have CS5 or CS6, the sharpening tool in the tools panel is good enough for localized sharpening (eyes, mouth, nostrils, etc...) Then do whatever other manipulations, if any, you wish to do... Then once it's ready to print, sharpen again, and then print.  When you print, ink spreads (dot gain) and so even the crispest photo MAY look a hint softer than you would have expected at 100% viewing on photoshop...  The second sharpening combats this, if desired.  RAW or JPEG, that really doesn't matter.  Once a raw file is processed, they basically are the same... Jpeg may not be as crisp or may be noisy, depending on your settings, but really it doesn't matter either way.  Lastly, there are other plug-ins you can get like topaz detail or such where it can add that bit more detail from your image and add that bit more sharpening that you may or may not like... They give you options for small details (noise level), medium details, and large details... so you can determine which details are important to you.  Hope that helps. 
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: pdirestajr on February 22, 2013, 07:45:09 PM
I alway sharpen last and based on the size of final output.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: RiceCanon on February 23, 2013, 10:26:01 AM
I have a lot of experimenting to do!  I was not even aware of high pass sharpening either.  Thanks to all for your great feedback!
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: aprotosimaki on February 24, 2013, 03:18:31 PM
High pass sharpening.  It's quick, easy and effective.
For those few people who may be unaware of what high pass sharpening is, here you go!
http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/sharpen-high-pass/ (http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/sharpen-high-pass/)
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/high-pass-sharpening.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/high-pass-sharpening.shtml)
http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1326507&seqNum=4 (http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=1326507&seqNum=4)

-PW

Thanks for the links!
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: Harry Muff on February 24, 2013, 04:29:00 PM
For general sharpening, Unsharp Mask is the way to go. Naturally, you can can go a lot further with a raw file exported to Photoshop as a 16 bit.
I've tried to use the raw sharpening but, frankly, I hate it. The artefacts are hideous, and toning it back leaves you with not enough sharpening.


For advanced users, I'd recommend taking a look the Inverted High Pass technique but missing out the High Pass part and adding 3.5 radius of Guassian Blur instead.


Another is Frequency Separation but hiding the blurred Low Frequency Layer.




All these techniques can be found online; YouTube, RetouchPro, Model Mayhem,  etc.




Also, for those with CS5 and newer, don't ignore the new and improved Sharpening tool found in the Tools Palette with the Brush, Crop Tool, etc.
It has been vastly improved. Just make sure the Protect Tones box is checked.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: Atonegro on February 24, 2013, 06:03:13 PM
1 more vote for the high-pass sharpening.

When you want a stronger effect, it is most of the time better to keep the radius small, and then raise the contrast of the high-pass layer.
Or you can simply copy the layer untill you get the effect you want.

Instead of the high-pass filter, you also can use the stylize/emboss filter, it has a directional control that gives a different effect but works the same.
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: digital paradise on February 25, 2013, 12:08:21 PM
This by far is the best sharpening method I have found to date. I created an action that resizes the image before it does it's thing. The great part about this method is it is edge sharpening and you can feather back at at the end if you over sharpen. My default amount 300. No two images are alike. Some can stay at 300 and others I have to feather back to 50.

When you open a RAW file and do your preliminary sharpening (capture sharpening) apply masking in the detail pallet which makes it even better as even at that stage you are not sharpening any noise the image may have. I wind up setting it at about 80 most of the time. Press the Option key on a MAC if you are trying this. Not sure which key for PC.       

http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-really-smart-sharpening.html?search=edge+mask&bool=and (http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototips/photoshop-really-smart-sharpening.html?search=edge+mask&bool=and)

I made a tutorial which has my action you can download.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1099897 (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1099897)

Using this method. 7D and 300L F4 IS. Click on it to see the full size.   

(http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d74/Zenon1/qff.jpg)
Title: Re: Sharpening question for Photoshop experts
Post by: digital paradise on February 25, 2013, 12:18:52 PM
So for my personal/hobby/web stuff I use PS and this. For mass edits I just use Lightroom's output sharpening on the export page. I do apply masking in the detail pallet in both PS and LR for all my my images.