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Image sharpening

seabloke 17 844
8 Dec 2003 9:59PM
Still getting to grips with what's a far bigger learning curve than I imagined.

Is in-camera sharpening better or worse than mucking around with it afterwards on-screen..?

I'm struck by how "unsharp" my digi pics are when shot alongside film of the same event/subject. I don't want to bring home an unworkable image, but at the same time I'm not 100% happy with Photoshop results, which seems to be just increase contrast around any lines it can find.
mad-dogs 19 2.2k England
8 Dec 2003 10:17PM
It is best to apply sharpening in computer as this gives you a wider range to choose from. The amount of sharpening required, depends on the final use of the image and the size it is being used.

When you sharpen in Photoshop, you can see the effect on the fly. Sharpen in camera and you are stuck with what you get. Also, sharpening an image can cause colour shifts - which can be avoided with Photoshop sharpening techniques.

Change the mode to LAB, choose the L ( lightness ) channel and apply sharpening to that.

Then switch back to RGB ot CMYK, depending on the final use of the image.


strawman 17 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
8 Dec 2003 11:03PM
I find it best to sharpen in PC. Try the unsharp mask as generaly I find it helps you gain control over what happen. In Photoshop Elements the Radius slider can be used to determine how much of the image is sharpened, small value = edges only. I find it best to play till your happy. Adding sharpening to all of the picture can increase noise and may lose some features such as skin tones. Is your camera creating a higher resolution image than its sensor. Interpolation can cause soft images as you describe. I tend to leave the camera at the mid level of sharpness unless the light is very soft or contrasty, and even then I try to take a shot at the mid seting for reference.

Good luck John
tva 18 307
10 Dec 2003 8:12PM
Sharpening an image can be very subjective, it all depends on the subject, as to how sharp it should be.
However a good compromise is do all your normal image manipulations. Then with a flattened picture: duplicate the background layer, change blend mode to luminosity :opacity to 50%.
Goto filter > sharpen > unsharp mask.
Set radius:1.5 amount 150% threshold 0
click ok
now adjust the opacity to suit your image, make sure there are no halos, etc.
When happy flatten the image.
Hope this helps.
P.S This is a fairly mechanical way of doing it. But as you say you are learning PS
I wont go into greater detail.
absurd 19 228 United Kingdom
10 Dec 2003 10:28PM
As Terry says, sharpening is very subjective, so I'll offer a different view. I think using the High Pass filter in Photoshop is the best method for general use. There are quite a number of variations on a theme with this one, so search on "high pass sharpening" in Google and take your pick.

shooter 19 105 Canada
10 Dec 2003 11:01PM
Unless you have a very specific reason, I'd be so bold as to say NEVER sharpen in-camera. If you do so, you can never undo that sharpening, and it will look terrible if you end up changing the image size, which would want a different amount of sharpening.

ALWAYS sharpen after the fact, usually after you have made the image the final size it is to be printed.

Here's a fairly thorough discussion of sharpening that you might find useful: Sharpening Discussion

High Pass and USM sharpening are both valid methods; USM scares most people, but when they get used to the concept that they should over-sharpen (because the image gets blurrier when printed, because ink diffuses) it soon seems right.

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