Unsharp mask then blur or other way round?


TPF Noob!
Oct 2, 2007
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I'm editing some photos, and I love to bring out the detail in the shots by using Unsharp mask with a radius of about 10 and amount .33. I find it really brings out the more defined features. Firstly is this a good idea, I mean I like it, and would you do a gaussian blur first or after the sharp?

Then I will use levels to adjust the brightness in the image.
Is it a good idea? Only you can answer this. If you like it and it looks good to you then yes it was a good idea.

I don't see what you're trying to do by adding a blur and then sharpening but if it works for you and the image looks good then ask an opinion on the result not the method. I'm sure it could be done 100 different ways :)
What I like about it is, that when you just do an unsharp mask, you are left with a bit of noise, I find by blurring it first, it stops some of that noise.Also I'm not sure if people agree with me, but putting a little more unsharp mask on an image, really brings out the strong lines in the image.
So the problem actually is that you want to get rid of noise? In that case I think you are using the wrong method. Use a noise reducing application instead (NeatImage or Noise Ninja). But the question you should be asking is- why is there so much noise in my photos?
I was referring to some night shots I did, obviously there will be some noise when blown up. I heard about a technique using selective gaussian blur. I think it said something about not blurring around high contrast areas, probably what these noise reduction programs do. But I experimented with this and unsharp mask and it seems to work ok. Half the time its not even worth doing though, unless I'm blowing the images up.
The thing with gaussian blur is it is not discriminatory on its application. It will blur your image. Smart blur, or surface blur will blur through low contrast areas while leaving your edge definition. This kills some of the detail just like gaussian blur does but will keep your edge definitions sharp so the image won't look out of focus.

I agree the unsharp mask may be a good idea, but I definitely do not like your method as you describe it here for reducing noise.
Blur then sharpen is a way to clean up artifacts, then recover detail (IME). They are almost opposite tools.


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