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Lightroom Sharpening

darranl 9 318 England
30 Mar 2011 1:43PM
It seems there are a few Lightroom users around here - does anyone have any good guides on how to handle sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom? Or even any book recommendations that cover this?

Regardless of the application used sharpening is always one of the areas I never get my head round.

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jimthistle73 14 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2011 2:13PM
I tend to keep it simple and sharpen when exporting files. I just use the lowest default setting for either glossy paper or screen. Ironic really, given the time I used to spend in PS using high pass filters to sharpen Smile
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
30 Mar 2011 2:45PM

Quote:Regardless of the application used sharpening is always one of the areas I never get my head round

The problem Darren is that sharpening is so variable regarding subject & intent......!

As Jim has said its best kept simple, I would add to that " Less Is More " or to be more descriptive, Over sharpening will ruin an image more so than " Under sharpening " ...!!

Now dial in " Taste " for example a portrait of a girlie, These end to look nicer if not oversharpend, Soft brings out the soft quality associated with females ( Well some of them anyhow....Grin ) Grabs tin hat and moves closer to the bunker......!!!

So if I was to advise you to use 50% of this or 40% of that, There is NO guarantee that it would suit your image, Taste, or image intentions.....Sad

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, ( learned from a Pro Photographer on EPZ ).....Grin

One, When viewing the image for sharpening keep the viewing magnification at around 50% to 60%, There is little to nothing to be gained by sharpening from a 100% view.

Next, Sharpening comes in two flavours, That is " Sharpening for print " and sharpening for display on a computer monitor or for web site usage......Don't mix them up because an image sharpened for " Print " will almost certainly be " Way Oversharpened " for monitor/display use.....Sad

I can't remember where I found it, But ages ago I read a whole load of stuff on " Adobes " website, It was all about sharpening, The why's and wherefores, The do's & don'ts etc etc.

So if your in the mood have a stroll around Adobes site and see if you can find it.......Grin

If it turns on my computer before the day is out, I'll come back with a link.....!!!

So there ya go, Nothing concrete, Just more to worry about.....Wink

EDIT: Regarding Lightroom, Make sure you have the settings ( in Preferances ) so that sharpen in either " Off " or " Preview Mode Only " .....!!! Or you will no idea as to what has or has not been pre-sharpened before final stages, If your doing work for Stock Agencies, Some will be rejected if there is " ANY " pre-sharpening added.....!!!!!!!!
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
30 Mar 2011 2:55PM
To sharpen for screen, I have a basic setting which suits my Pentax K5.

Amount 40
Radius 1
Detail 25
Masking 15

If you use this for a starter, just move each one around in combinations, from 0 to 100% to see what they do visually. The aim is for a crisp result on screen but falling short of the artificial look that over-sharpening gives. All sharpening should be done at 100%. The final arbiter must be your own eye and taste but taking a look at other people's work on the web will give you an idea of what most people consider desirable.

The basic controls are Amount and Radius. Try my settings but vary the radius. Somewhere around 1 is usually OK but see what you think. Leave the radius at 1 and up the Amount. Over 65 is usually too much. After setting Amount and Radius alter Detail. You quickly find a point where the image looks unnatural so draw just short of that and move Masking which softens the overall effect - again, this is quite subtle. After a bit, you'll find that you'll come up with a basic setting which works for your camera and will serve as a starting point for all images.

The one thing that no-one can do that almost everyone really wants is a definitive rule Sad

For noise reduction:

Again at 100%, apply your sharpening.

Now move the Color slider until the colour noise is mostly gone.You'll find a sweet point where the colour noise is lessened but the image has not degraded too much. Leave it there and move the detail slider up. Again, there is a point at which increasing the detail starts to undo the noise reduction, so that's where to stop.

Now go to Luminance and move the slider. this basically blurs the 'grainy' noise away, so find the balance where the grain is ameliorated but the image still retains detail. You can enhance the detail by moving the Detail slider but again, there is a point at which it starts to bring the 'grain' back again, so stop there. I don't find a lot of use for the Contrast slider but I'll always give it a whirl to see if a touch makes things look better.

Again, all of this is a matter of taste, no right or wrong so long as it is kept below the point where it intrudes on the inherent 'photographic' nature of the image. Unless you are looking for a special effect, of course, in which case anything goes.

I sound like (but am not) a Lightroom fanboy but the Detail panel adjustments really are so well judged in their effect that I have now stopped using the specialist NR software I had.

Being an old pro from film days, I am not averse to a bit of noise on an image so I am very conservative in my use of the LR noise reduction since I prefer a pin sharp grainy image to a noise free less detailed one. A personal preference I hasten to add.

As an observation, I find I need no noise reduction at all on images up to 1600ISO since buying my Pentax K5 - the new range of sensors on the latest DSLRs are quite amazing. A different story with my Panasonic GF2, though I find that even with that I can get image quality at 1600 that (with judicious use of LR Detail) I would have been very glad indeed to get on any film camera at that speed.

Note: All of this is only my opinion. I am not an expert and no doubt others will have better advice which I will read with interest and a view to learning more.
swanseamale47 10 124 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2011 6:13PM
You should ideally view at 100% when sharpening, neither Lightroom or Photoshop display sharpening or noise reduction properly at other resolutions, if you must use a lower magnification try and keep it at 50% or 25% in-between amounts can give a misleading display otherwise.
keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
30 Mar 2011 6:45PM
If you're viewing an image at 100% in PS for sharpening then you are not viewing the image at a print size reality. 50% will give you a more realistic print view.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
30 Mar 2011 7:06PM

Quote:If you're viewing an image at 100% in PS for sharpening then you are not viewing the image at a print size reality. 50% will give you a more realistic print view.

Hi Ya Keith......Smile

Quote:( learned from a Pro Photographer on EPZ )

LOL....Just thought you'd like to know this, You are the very Pro I was referring to......Grin

See I read inwardly digested and have not forgotten....Well I could not remember the exact figure you advised many moons ago, Hence my 50 to 60% offering.....Sad

What can I say 50% to 56% works for me......!!!!!


Can't find that page I referring to, But I'm sure 100% was not mentioned ......!!!
keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
30 Mar 2011 7:13PM
LOL. I should have read your good advice before I posted.
Ewanneil 8 1.1k 2 Scotland
30 Mar 2011 9:03PM
His books are not to everyone's taste (because of his horribly "folksy" American style of writing - see below for examples) but Scott Kelby's "Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers" has really helped me get to grips with LR3. Funnily enough the section on sharpening was one of the first I turned to and reading it has made the world of difference to my understanding of what is going on when you adjust the various sliders.

The book is written to follow the modular structure of the software and so is easy to read whilst using the software.

Examples of "folksyness" - "Hey, I warned you these intros would be like this.", and "But hey - it's your book - if you decide to just hollow out the insides and store valuables in there, I'll never know.". If you can live with stuff like this then you will get a lot out of it.
darranl 9 318 England
30 Mar 2011 9:09PM
Yes I have a couple of his 'Digital Photography' books that I like - you do need to ignore him in his books Wink but I have found the ones I have useful so could give his Lightroom book a go.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
1 Apr 2011 7:58PM
There will always be debate about the amount of sharpening in any image - but one thing is for sure - always do your sharpening last - after all other image adjustments.

Actually, the Lightroom presets for "Sharpening - Landscapes" and "Sharpening - Faces" are good starting points.
darranl 9 318 England
1 Apr 2011 8:59PM
Thanks all for your comments, I have just recieved a copy of the Scott Kelby book and also went to the sharpening page first Wink I had completely missed that there were pre-sets for sharpenning, I thought they all seemes to be for B+W conversionWink

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