Sharpness in Digital Images

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by BLS, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. BLS

    BLS TPF Noob!

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    I started using my first digital camera (Canon dRebel) about a month ago, and there are still things I don't understand. Here's one:

    I shoot in RAW. When I get the image into PS Elements, it's a TIFF file, and the image size is a huge 21x32 inches. This size is too large for me to print. Actually, the only print sizes I want are 4x6, 5x7, & 8x10. To get, say, a 4x6, I assume that I have to resize the image. But when I resize, the image loses its sharpness and its diagonal staight lines take on jagged edges as though the lines were made of tiny building blocks.

    I've tried resharpening the image with PSE's Unsharp Mask &/or Sharpen or Sharpen Edges. But then the resized image never looks as good as the original image, and sometimes it looks somewhat unrealistic and I hate that. And the diagonal lines never do get straight again, no matter what I try.

    I'm getting discouraged and think I need some help.

    Am I doing something wrong? What is the best PSE tool for resharpening a resized image? Should I stop shooting in RAW ( I never shot in JPEG, so I don't know what size image that makes on my camera).
     
  2. Replic

    Replic TPF Noob!

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    I generally don't resize my images (also around 22 inches wide to some reaching 44 inches wide!) until I go to print. This guarentees an original version that is of the utmost quality for me to modify and work with. When I need to resize, I simply send it to the printer with the option to scale to media checked- generally when printed this is a lot better, yet I have no idea why.

    If you really want high resolution resized prints, then spend a little money and take a cd of a bunch of prints to CVS - they'll print individuals pictures at any size you want for a couple of cents, depending on where you are. The quality they can produce is beyond most commerical printers - I dout you'd run into this problem there.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Your image is only 21x32 inches at 72 ppi, which is not print resolution. At 300ppi, which is print resolution, the print size would be 6.84 x 10.253 inches. You will need to crop your photo also in order to print 5x7s or 8x10s. What you should do is open a new document at 300 dpi, and your dimensions, say 5x7. Select all from your photo and copy, then paste into the new document. If you have the bounding box enabled, you can hold shift to maintain aspect ratio and resize the photo from the corner . If you don't have the bounding box enabled, grab the move tool (v) and press ctrl+t (free transform). Once you've resized it, press enter.

    Now use the move tool to move the photo around until you find a suitable crop. If you find that you will be printing a lot of 8x10s and 5x7s, try to remember when you shoot to step back a few steps, or crop "loosely" in camera, to allow for this crop in PSE.

    What program are you using to process your raw images? I highly recommend C1 LE, which you can find at http://www.phaseone.com/

    Unsharp mask should work fine in PSE for sharpening. Try using it two differnt times. Once at 6%, 70, 0, and then again at 500%, 0.2, 0.

    I hope that helps.
     
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  4. Mumfandc

    Mumfandc TPF Noob!

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    There's a very good German software "Nik Sharpener Pro"...basically a plug-in for Photoshop USM.

    It really takes the work out of "guessing" when it comes to using USM, so you don't get the ugly "halo" effect. You set variables such as output size and viewing distance etc.

    It's a pretty expensive program though ("complete version" is +$300). Your best bet is to get it off Ebay (if it EVER gets listed) or the student-priced version (around $175).

    "Inkjet version" will optimize photos for inkjet printers and the web, while the "Complete" version is for inkjet printers, the web, as well as offset printing, Lightjet printing etc.

    But it's worth it in the end, if you handle A LOT of images.
     
  5. mentos_007

    mentos_007 The Freshmaker!

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    hmm that's strange... I shoot digital and I never had any problems with resising/sharpening/unsharpening... I use corel photopaint to all postprocessing but ACDsee for resizing or/and cropping
     
  6. Rogue Monk

    Rogue Monk TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure of the differences between PSE and PScs (the one I use), but when I resize, I usually leave "constrain proportions" checked and uncheck "resample image". That way, the resolution increases when the image size decreases. If you're simply resizing while forgetting about resolution, then less pixels will be represented in the image and subsequently, the image will begin to look "pixalated".

    If you do have to resample image, be sure that the resample is done as "bicubic" (selected by dropdown beside the "resample image" check box). Also, some fine lines (powerlines as an example) are already represented as a pixel or two thick. Its next to impossible to reduce them to a size less than one pixel and still show clearly.
     
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  7. BLS

    BLS TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to all of your replies, I can now print 4x6's, etc., without having to resize and without losing any sharpness. Thank you so much!
     

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