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Unsharp mask - Amateur Photography magazine article

tezza 17 569 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2004 10:41AM
In a recent multi page article in Amateur Photographer magazine, there was an article about how to achieve better results with the unsharp mask. It was a VERY LONG article and 'actions' would have to be used for the majority of the steps.

I haven't tried it yet but hope to when I have a spare hour or two...

Has anyone else read it - if so have you tried it? Do you agree or disagree with any of it?

Finally, does anyone do anything with the unsharp mask other than adjust the settings and then use it at the last moment?

nikon5700ite 17 1.8k
19 Feb 2004 10:49AM
As a PSP user without LAB of PS I quite like to use HSL and apply USM to the L channel.
Most of the USM problems come from the colour channels so you can apply far more USM to the L channel than to a combined file.
csurry 19 9.2k 92
19 Feb 2004 12:10PM
I use a similar theory to the one in AP, though not exactly the same and have been for some time. It works very well on certain images, but not as good on all.

It allows me to tweak sharpness in selected areas of an image, without affecting everything equally.

Give it a go, I think you will be impressed.

nikguyatt 17 533 England
19 Feb 2004 3:44PM
I read the artical too and have tried it, to be honest it didn't take to long to do, but you do need to read carefully as if you miss one bit out it doesn't work. The actions tip is a good idea though, as afterwards it only take a few seconds to do. But as already said, it doesn't always work on all images.
tezza 17 569 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2004 3:51PM
Thanks one and all for the feed back so far.

Some other things I forgot and spring to mind...

From what and to what sizes are these extra actions noticeable? I generally print out mostly up to 10X8 / A4 so would it be worth the extra effort for these?

Also is there a general scene where these actions don't seem to work? A lot of sky; a lot of fine detail; high or low contrast scene?


Timecatcher 17 120 Canada
19 Feb 2004 5:25PM
One great way to sharpen your pictures is
1-Make a copy of your picture (background) on a different layer
2-then in the layer menu box use the drop down menu where it says normal and select soft light.
3-After that go to filter - Other -and high pass and select a range anywhere from 5 - 8.

Like this you don't apply the changes directly to the original and I personnly find it is better than unsharp mask

(keep in mind that the range may differ depending on what size picture you are working on. I use 5-8 for a picture that would be around 8x12 300dpi)
zippie 17 1.3k England
19 Feb 2004 10:27PM
Timecatcher, I tried that version but a little differently as explained Here

I tried the AP tutorial this week, and have found it to be quite a easy and effective way. I also created it as an action, allowing you to adjust the settings to the blur, levels and USM, but have found that lowering the opacity at the end of the sequence to about 50% works just fine.

(If anyone didn't get AP and would like to try out this action, drop me an email, and i'll gladly email it to you)
Timecatcher 17 120 Canada
19 Feb 2004 11:44PM
what is AP zippie?
tezza 17 569 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2004 11:50PM
AP is a magazine in Britain called 'Amateur Photographer.'

Timecatcher 17 120 Canada
20 Feb 2004 7:46AM
Thanks Terry
gibbsy 17 403 Wales
28 Feb 2004 5:03PM
On my night school college course we've been taught a different way of sharpening other than just using USM. It's a bit long winded going through the red channel, duplicate channel, invert, filter noise median, filter other maximum, filter blur gaussian blur. Stop for a cup of tea. Ctrl click on red channel copy, click on RGB, now you have a selection, filter USM. Stop for another cup of tea. Set your USM but leave threshold on zero. Deselect.

It's a bit more complicated than that and I would be happy to e-mail the exact instructions (put EPZ in subject line). It works very well indeed, especially on TIFF images from RAW files. It does take quite a long time but I feel it is worth it. Most of my latest posting have been done using this method.

Sorry, got to go to the toilet now, too much dam tea!
tezza 17 569 United Kingdom
29 Feb 2004 11:25AM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

I haven't got around to doing the AP version yet - it's still sitting in the in tray - and I'll try all the others as well when I've got a spare afternoon.

I'd be interested to see and try your version as well Gerwyn.

You could either email it direct to me or why not post it here for all to see and try as well.

Many thanks.

gajj 17 32
1 Mar 2004 4:17AM
This all sounds very interesting but difficult. If one is an absolute beginner, what is the best approach? Learn the complicated way or stick to unsharp whatever? Please advise.....
gajj 17 32
1 Mar 2004 4:18AM
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I don't have PS, but PS Elements...thanks all in advance. Jan
keithh 17 25.7k 33 Wallis And Futuna
1 Mar 2004 7:27AM
The least complicated and one that will work for most shots is to sharpen the Lab color lightness channel. It will allow you apply more sharpening than would otherwise be possible due to the fact that you are not affecting the colour information.

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