How much sharpening do you do in post?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Josh66, May 30, 2008.

  1. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Often my photos aren't as sharp as I think they should be, especially after seeing what everyone posts on here...lol.

    I shoot RAW and convert with Canon's DPP. I don't do much sharpening in DPP, maybe 75% of the time I don't even touch the sharpening slider. I'm always worried about overdoing it, so I barely touch it so I know I'm not overdoing it - if that makes sense.

    Is that what is making my pictures less sharp than I expect, or am I just expecting too much? Most of the time I don't see any reason why the pictures in question shouldn't be sharp - focus is good, shutter speed was fast enough to eliminate any movement, aperture is good (stopped down a little, but not too much), but it still isn't as sharp as what I see on here.

    I admit that I'm pretty new when it comes to editing, so I'm sure there's a lot I'm missing. Is it just the editing that's causing this, or am I doing something wrong?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't use the sharpening slider - I find you get much better results using the Unsharpen mask (no I am not kidding it really does sharpen images)

    ALso when I resize a shot say its 3800pixels on the long side. First I unsharpen - how much varies on the shot. Then I resize to 2000 and unsharpen again - though to a lesser extend (something between 50 and 100% often). Then I resize to 1000 and do the same again.
    The reason is when you resize a shot you lose some detail in it, resize by a long way and you lose a lot of detials - so its better to use a step resizing method for web posting
     
  3. I know this very expensive for amateurs, but if you're serious about printing, don't just spend your money on fancy lenses...

    ...buy this:

    Nik Sharpener Pro.

    You apply it selectively in form of a mask to only the areas you wanted to sharpen... like the eyes, or the edge of a building. Before you apply it, you set lots of parameters like viewing distance, print size (up to "side-of-building"), print media, and resolution. You can even choose to just sharpens certain color ranges.

    I do not print without it, best thing I ever bought.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I demoed it and ended up purchasing it myself. If you understand how to exploit it's strengths (and it is a very powerful little tool), it does some amazing things.

    I don't find the need to use it all the time, but if I am serious about getting the most from the pic I am working on, this is the #1 tool I use.

    My #2 tool is the sharpness slider in Adobe Camera RAW. It globally sharpens the pic, and does an excellent job.

    My #3 choice is the smart sharpener in CS3.

    Like all things in life, too much of anything is not good and I try not to go nuts with the sliders.
     
  5. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Do you need the current version of PS for this? The site didn't specify.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It works in CS2 and CS3 as far as I know.
     
  7. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    For me it depends on the size of the print I'm making.
    Most often, I don't sharpen much, but if I am making a print larger than 20x30, it has to be done.

    I recently made a 5ft tall print of a portrait that was shot with a 10.2Mp camera....I sharpened the pi$$ out of it, and I still cringe when folks get closer than a foot away from it...
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Are there any good stand-alone programs, or are they all Photoshop filters/plug-ins?

    At the moment all I have on here is GIMP. Somewhere around here I have PS Elements 4 - new computer and I can't find a lot of my software CDs...
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A few years ago, my professor shared this with me.... I'm sure it is not as effective as the full blown products but you can use the technique for free. I found it to be less aggressive than plain jane PS filters and provides much more control over the areas being unsharpen-masked.

    ) Create a new channel
    ) Copy the entire photo to the new channel ( Select all , Copy , Paste )
    ) Apply Filter->Stylize->Find edges
    ) Adjust Levels on the channel. The black area of the photo will be the areas where unsharpen mask filter will be applied.
    ) Select -> Load selection -> Alpha 1 (you might require to inverse select)
    ) Apply unsharp mask -> .3 at 500%
    ) Apply unsharp mask -> .8 at 200%
    ) Deselect

    Feel free to experiment and give me feedback/pointers if you find improvements to those steps. Oh yeh... forgot to mention that the amount of sharpening is pretty much a trail and error for me. It is also heavily dependent on the size of the destination print.
     
  10. Nik Sharpener works with older PS versions.
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I use lightroom's sharpening or USM in CS2. For newspaper work I "sharpen 'till it hurts" for magazines and my own prints I am a little more selective. Keep in mind that USM in Photoshop affects the contrast of the image. Another key is too sharpen the image while viewing at 100% or greater.

    Love & Bass
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow Iron Flatline, I just tried the demo of this and it works wonderfully. I couldn't justify buying it personally, but still works fantastically.

    Now if only I can figure out how to replicate this using unsharp mask :)
     

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