Clarity in editing?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Overread, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok I edit my RAWs into photos through photoshop elements 6 and when in the RAW editing section there is a command slider called clarity.
    Up till now I have not touched the slider in my editing, but I have recently started playing with it - and well - it seems to be a sharpening tool of some sort, but it gets some very different results to just sharpening after editing with little changeto the noise levels (that I can see)

    I think it works by tweaking the contrast of the shot possibly, but it seems to not cause the very hot whites that one gets if you just increase contrast over a shot.

    Aside from the downside that is a global affecting edit control (it affects the whole image) which can be countered if one edits the shot twice - once with and once without and then blends them together - it seems to be an intreasting feature.

    Does anyone have and advice on using this tool well in editing - I know a lot of based on personal taste, but still I am interested.
     
  2. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    I've played with this is Lightroom but also didn't know exactly what it was doing. Seems to work pretty well, though. I'm interested to see any responses.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I believe it adjusts mid-tone contrast, which is why it doesn't affect the highlights. I used to use curves to get more mid-tone contrast but this just works better. For landscape shots, I'm finding that a lot of clarity can work well.

    I'm not sure about your editor, but LR2 has a new feature, that is negative clarity. When you dial in negative clarity, it's can give you a soft, dreamy feel. A little bit of negative can be good for portraits as it's kind to skin.
     
  4. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Mike nailed it, it adjusts the local mid-tone contrast and gives a sharpening like effect.

    It can create halos in high contrast areas if you're not careful. I rarely use it at over +75.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    !! Ok I wish I had asked about this months ago!
    Certainly seems to be a good tool to use and does not appear to suffer from the same limitations of sharpening as standard nor have to be the last tool to be used (a good thing as its RAW only - least for elements users). Going to go have a play now!
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If you have a full-blown version of Photoshop, you should also check out sharpening using the LAB color option.

    If you have Scott Kelby's 1st: The Digital Photography Book look on page 19.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sadly I think it will be a long time before I can afford photoshop full :( For me its glass and camera bodies and stuff first - then consider the editing tools (I can always edit a shot later but I can't always take it later ;))

    I have seen a few good articles on editing - sadly even the most custom make masks and other features all rely on the use of features that elements just does not support well or enough to get the full usage.
    What annoys me more is that introductary tutorials in many pulications also rely on using full photoshop as well - its a major area in sillyness I think to expect beginners to all have rushed out and got a several £/$100 program (or to have done worse and ripped it off the net)
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm not really sure how it works, but I do know this - it rocks!
     
  10. mooimeisie

    mooimeisie TPF Noob!

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    This is taken from my Photshop Elements 7: The Missing Manual
    "Clarity isn't strictly a color tool, although it is an absolutely amazing feature. If you're and experienced Elements sharpener, you may have heard of the technique called Local Contrast Enhancement, where you use the Unsharp Mask with a low amount setting and a high radius to eliminate haze and bring our details. That's sort of what Clarity does: Through an incredibly sophisticated technique, it creates and edge mask in your photo that it uses to increase detail. It can do wonderful things for many, maybe even most of your photos, to improve contrast and add punch. Give it a try, but be sure to look at your photo at 100 percent magnification (or more) so you can see how you're changing things. For some cameras you may find that the details in the converted photos look rather blocky when viewed at near 100 percent size. If that happens, reconvert the file witha a lower Clarity setting."

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    i LOVE my clarity slider in Lightroom.. its awesome.. i don't use it on people very often, as I find if you increase the clarity, it makes people looke older, as it bring out the mid-tones, which almost makes it look like wrinkles on the skin.. I use it on baby shots though, and I turn it down, which give their skin that soft look that babies are so famous for.. I use it on abstract things a lot though.. nature, some animals, train tracks.. things like that.. oh and buildings.
     
  12. MelissaMarieImagery

    MelissaMarieImagery TPF Noob!

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    I<3 the clarity slider! I just started playing with it as well-- Genius :)
     

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