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Author Topic: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?  (Read 2964 times)

DarkKnightNine

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Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« on: April 29, 2012, 03:33:53 PM »
Do you apply sharpening before or after NR in PP? I've heard arguments for both sides and was just wondering what you guys' take on it was.
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Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« on: April 29, 2012, 03:33:53 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 03:47:04 PM »
After.
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nitsujwalker

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 03:49:07 PM »

pdirestajr

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 04:03:39 PM »
Sharpening should be the last step- for output. It doesn't make sense to sharpen at any other point because the amount of sharpening will be different when you save an image for web and for print.
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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 05:19:24 PM »
If you use Lightroom, they are done at the same time, when you export to a jpeg or 0ther permanent file type. 
 
Before exporting, you are merely reviewing the finished image and can iterate sharpening and NR until you get the best compromise.  Thats what I do, tweak both until I like the final on screen result and then print or export where even more sharpening might be done.  Same if you use the brush to just do local sharpening or NR.
 
If you use a separate NR software, many of them have sharpening tools built-in so once again, you are doing both together.
 

neuroanatomist

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 05:30:13 PM »
After.
Neuro, what's your reasoning?
NR should be based on the noise in the image.  Sharpening should be based on the final desired output size.
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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 05:43:59 PM »
Just my opinion. I would have thought it better to apply sharpening after NR. Sharpening could, depending on the threshold, also accentuate the noise, negating the NR done after. If the NR is done first, then the sharpening should only affect the 'larger' areas of contrast (where it matters), and cannot now affect the smoother (non noisy) areas of the image.
This all is dependant on the start image and what is finally desired - soft skin tones v gritty b&w landscapes, where you may not need to do either / both.

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 05:43:59 PM »

pwp

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 06:47:05 PM »
Sharpening is always the final step in your PP workflow.
You sharpen differently and specifically according to the output your work is headed for.

The late Bruce Fraser was THE guru when it comes to all things related to image sharpening.
Do a search and read up. Here's a start. http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp?p=608637

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Jettatore

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 12:36:22 AM »
If you are doing Raw edits in PS, on the "detail" tab, there is a masking slider in between sharpening and lumanance/color noise removal.  That slider helps prevent flat/smooth tonal areas from being sharpened, and those are areas where noise would be quite noticeable, especially if you let the once subtle noise become sharpened even further.  So that combined with your noise removal sliders directly underneath it let you get your base image to a pretty decent spot before you do any non-RAW editing.  I would definitely, if working in RAW, get your photo as close to finished in RAW processing as possible, and do any extra creative work after import, and if more sharpening is needed, do it as one of the last steps like everyone is saying. 

I always used the masking slider but never knew specifically what it was doing until I tried to respond to this post (it always just worked to do what I wanted in not sharpening noise, I thought it blended sharpening and noise removal which is sort of the end effect it has but that's not technically what it is doing), when I looked it up I found a pretty useful link for RAW editors on google.  Check it out: http://www.focalpress.com/uploadedFiles/Books/Book_Media/Photography/Cameraraw-sharpening.pdf

pdirestajr

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 01:02:24 AM »
If you are doing Raw edits in PS, on the "detail" tab, there is a masking slider in between sharpening and lumanance/color noise removal.  That slider helps prevent flat/smooth tonal areas from being sharpened, and those are areas where noise would be quite noticeable, especially if you let the once subtle noise become sharpened even further.  So that combined with your noise removal sliders directly underneath it let you get your base image to a pretty decent spot before you do any non-RAW editing.  I would definitely, if working in RAW, get your photo as close to finished in RAW processing as possible, and do any extra creative work after import, and if more sharpening is needed, do it as one of the last steps like everyone is saying. 

I always used the masking slider but never knew specifically what it was doing until I tried to respond to this post (it always just worked to do what I wanted in not sharpening noise, I thought it blended sharpening and noise removal which is sort of the end effect it has but that's not technically what it is doing), when I looked it up I found a pretty useful link for RAW editors on google.  Check it out: http://www.focalpress.com/uploadedFiles/Books/Book_Media/Photography/Cameraraw-sharpening.pdf

If you hold down the option or command button (forgot what shortcut it is, just know it by muscle memory), while you drag the "masking" slider in ACR, you'll see a dynamic mask update in real time. The black areas aren't affected by the sharpening, so you can just target contrast edges. This helps to avoid sharpening skin tone and background bokeh.
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kballweg

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 01:03:08 PM »
Using the option key (mac) to show masking effects while sharpening works in Lightroom 3 and 4. Adobe lifted a lot of ACR features for LR so it tends to combine major pieces of Bridge and ACR into one package and have a lot of the same shortcuts.

Noise reduction and sharpening in LR have become much stronger and are, like all of LR, non-destructive, so if you overdo it, you can back stuff out. If you apply lens correction in LR it will set a certain level of NR and pre-sharpening and part of that process. I find that if I want the best results I use an external plug-in like Nik's Define and Sharpener Pro on copies, but often can do close enough for initial proofing all in LR to get a good sense of how well the shot is going to stand up to various levels of NR and sharpening.

Totally side with the reduce noise first, then do a little pre-sharpening early in the work flow, and sharpen for final intended use last.

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Re: Sharpening Before or After Noise Reduction?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 01:03:08 PM »