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Web Sharpening

pmorgan 11 217 13 England
11 Feb 2011 8:33AM
Hi guys,

since the revamp of the site (not that I can see why this would make a difference), I have noticed there seem to be some issues with sharpening both over and under. I know this is all personal taste but I thought I’d share a tried and tested method.

This method is used by some of the best known landscape photographers around the world. I am aware however, that those of you in the portraiture world don’t necessarily want everything pin sharp and tend to focus on the high pass sharpening method to bring out key areas such as the lips and eyes. For everyone else though, here goes:

When you have finished all of your other processing work it is time to get it ready for posting on the site.

Duplicate the layer and set the blend mode to luminosity.

Resize your image to twice the size that you will be posting at ie for e2 members that would be 2000 pixels on the longest edge.

Sharpen this layer twice, just literally the normal sharpen not unsharp mask etc.

Then resize the image to the size to be posted ie 1000 pixels on the longest edge.

You can stop here if you wish, but just a couple of extra tweaks can make all the difference.

Select smart sharpen and enter 40% and around 0.1 – 0.2 for the settings.

Lastly add a layer mask to this “sharpened” layer and paint out any areas such as sky/water etc that you don’t want sharp. Pay particular attention to sharpening halos – that one pixel wide very light line that can appear on the horizon.

Convert to sRGB and you’re ready to save for web!

Hope this helps, it is a method that will work on all sites (your own website etc) as long as you know what the finished size should be.

P.S this is not the method on my DVD as I discovered the method afterwards.


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CathyT 12 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2011 8:53AM
Phil_Restan 12 280 9 England
11 Feb 2011 9:14AM
Thanks for posting that Paul, will try it. Good to see you're doing free updates on your DVDWink

JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2011 9:43AM
This sounds well worth a try - in this 2 stage process i assume you also use the bicubic sharpner algorithm for the 2000 to 1000 reduction.
pmorgan 11 217 13 England
11 Feb 2011 9:50AM
Yes Stuart, it's the default setting anyway.

Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
11 Feb 2011 10:01AM
Been using this method for a while now.
Works extremely well.
Now that the secret is out, gallery will be full of Sharp images. I will have to start using soft focus filter just to be different...Smile
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2011 1:12PM
Thanks Paul
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
11 Feb 2011 3:49PM
Or you can just do smart sharpen at 100%/0.5 and get exactly the same result.
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
11 Feb 2011 3:57PM
Or you can just use smart sharpen's advanced settings to effectively sharpen at different spatial scales.

Sizing up, sharpening and then resizing is just a plain long winded way of achieving this...
pmorgan 11 217 13 England
11 Feb 2011 4:23PM
First my DVD now my sharpening method - apparently I don't know anything worth sharing!!!

From now on if anybody asks me anything I'll point them in Swwils direction as he seems to know everything!
bfgstew 11 668 105 England
11 Feb 2011 4:26PM
Beat me to it Paul!

If you wish to add to the forums do so in a more dignified manner. I find your attitude to how people do things utterly disgraceful. Instead of your sharp acidic comments back it up with a tutorial or some screen grabs so we can all learn how good you really are!
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
11 Feb 2011 4:32PM
FTP'ing now.
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
11 Feb 2011 4:42PM


Set your actions panel to "button mode" for EOU. Set play back options to "step by step" or pause for xx seconds to use as learning reference.

The 'toolkit' is updated every now and then with some easy-to-use automations, I do not see the need to STOP message everything, so please remove them at your will - the more dedicated tools and scripts (full toolkit) can be obtained my sending me a PM.

Current Public toolkit:

Seemless loop (360 panoramics) - From a photomerged 360 shot, this action will detect each edge and automatically trim it at the correct point for a seemless loop. (requires CS5/CS4 content aware features)

Skin smooth (selection) - smooths the currently selected area of skin, use in conjunction with a feathered selection method of your choice.

Ephotozine Export (e2) - Changes the current file to 1000px longest edge an applies smart sharpening through spacial scales. (also adjusts for certain PHP severs colour-cast via colour curves, disable if you can verify the sever you are uploading too) (no direct save)

Ephotozine Export (normal) - Same as above, but for 600px. Also automatically saves the file as a copy (JPEG with sRGB). (do not use for batch)

Photo toner technique - adobe action, uses LAB process for black and white creation (along with colour casts with descriptive STOPS)

Curves E6-C41 - XPRO colour curve.

Curves c41-E6 - XPRO colour curvebut the chemcials other way round. - use as a basis for many colour techniques.

PM sharpening - the sharpening method described by the OP. (1000px auto also)

1000px simple sharp - same as above but automated with less bicubic usage!

Star trails rotation - photoshop action, creates startrails.

Foreground colour frame - generates basic photoframes with a STOP to select colour. (100x100px min)


- several colour cast actions directly from dA to use as a base for softening, sharpening and creative content.
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2011 4:52PM
Thanks for an interesting procedure Paul. I had not see this one before.

Quote:Or you can just do smart sharpen at 100%/0.5 and get exactly the same result.

First thing I did was test it out back to back with my usual method using smart sharpen.

To be honest the difference was very slight, but Paul's method did not a tiny bit more bite into the very fine detail.

If you want, I can upload my comparison.

Quote:Sizing up, sharpening and then resizing is just a plain long winded way of achieving this...

Yes, its a bit long winded... but saved as an action, it's just two clicks.
User_Removed 9 1.4k England
11 Feb 2011 4:54PM
The smart sharpens advanced menu gives you access to highlight sharpening which is what the default will miss.

Just resizing, performing and action and then resizing is a serious digital no (when the final result will be reduced).

Out of curiosity I have packaged and automated both methods in the toolkit.

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