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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Oh, Sharpened Photo, how do I love thee,
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12/30/2014 09:39:01 PM · #1
let me count the ways...

So, this is a thread on how YOU sharpen your photos. Not what you think is the best way. Not your way is better than mine. Not your way is right/wrong. Just simply, when you process an image for entry into a challenge, what is your go to method for sharpening? Details as you feel comfortable to reveal. Think of this thread as a Compendium of Sharpness.

Edit to add:
com·pen·di·um
noun
noun: compendium; plural noun: compendia; plural noun: compendiums
a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject

Message edited by author 2014-12-30 22:02:29.
12/30/2014 09:51:03 PM · #2
I've used a technique for a long time, thanks to ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/30861.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/30861.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bear_music
1. Size to 2x the final dimension (so to 2400 pixels for a 1200 pixel long dimension)
2. sharpen, duplicate that layer, sharpen again, dup again and sharpen again
3. reduce to final size (from 2400 to 1200)
4. It will always look too sharpened with three sharpens, so I uncheck layers from the top down until it looks good.

//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=1224718
12/30/2014 09:54:01 PM · #3
Resize to 1200. Run "smart sharpen" at around 150-250% and 0.2 radius, no noise reduction, and "remove lens blur" setting.

No idea if it's better than unsharp mask or not, but I leave the unsharp max settings at a high radius and strength for masked areas I want to increase the "pop" in.
12/30/2014 09:57:29 PM · #4
On portraits for the eyes I like to use a touch of high pass. You make duplicate layer of your image and then apply the high pass filter at 10. Then adjust your layer to soft light. I like to then mask out areas that I don't want sharpened. And if it is too sharp I will turn down the opacity a bit.

For overall sharpening after I re-size my image it depends I usually try a few different methods and see which one looks the best. Sometimes I use unsharp mask, sometimes I use topaz, sometimes I use NIK. I don't really have any set settings. I just move things around until they look about right.

Of course nothing is going to really help an image that isn't sharp magically be sharp. But every RAW image can use a touch of sharpening. Especially when you downsize it for a challenge. If you want a truly sharp image do it right in camera :)

Message edited by author 2014-12-30 22:00:03.
12/30/2014 10:15:29 PM · #5
Resize to challenge dimensions
Unsharp mask defaulted to:
Radius: 0.35
Amount: 150
Clipping: 4

Adjust amount as needed, If some areas of the image don't warrant sharpening as much, I will duplicate before sharpening and then mask those areas.

12/30/2014 10:50:23 PM · #6
I normally use Smart Sharpen.

I also adjust the image size to 2x the entry size. Smart sharpen - usually somewhere between 40-50%, then resize to entry size, then Smart sharpen again at about 1/2 the percentage I used on the first pass.
12/30/2014 10:56:27 PM · #7

where is this smart sharpen at? Is it within lightroom or photoshop or another program?
12/30/2014 10:58:46 PM · #8
Oz.
12/30/2014 11:01:42 PM · #9
Nik Sharpener Pro. After I discovered how powerful and seemingly magical it was, I use nothing else.
12/30/2014 11:37:13 PM · #10
Originally posted by davidw:

I've used a technique for a long time, thanks to ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/30861.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/30861.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bear_music

That's called "Adamus Sharpening", I just passed it on. Curiously, now that I'm working with the Sony a7r with no anti-aliasing filter, Adamus is not working for me at all. I'm doing all my output sharpening, which is sometimes NONE, with Nik's Sharpener Pro, like giantmike is. Smart Sharpen works fine also, but I like the consistency of interface between Sharpener Pro and the other modules of Nik's I use.

Another interesting thing, with the a7r, is that instead of bumping UP clarity in RAW processing, which I used to do as a matter of course, I'm sometimes toning it DOWN a bit... Amazing crispness on that sensor, but I digress...
12/30/2014 11:45:12 PM · #11
I don't use Photoshop much anymore (well Elements actually) since getting lightroom.

Do others work straight out of lightroom and if so what are your sharpening techniques?

12/30/2014 11:55:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by jgirl57:

where is this smart sharpen at? Is it within lightroom or photoshop or another program?


It's in Photoshop.
Filter>Sharpen>Smart sharpen
12/31/2014 12:39:14 AM · #13
Exactly what I wanted! Thank you!
12/31/2014 02:19:36 AM · #14
I've used the Librodo method so often for portraits that I made an action out of it.
12/31/2014 04:29:50 AM · #15
Aaaa thanks!!! Is is it also a new thing for NIK collection ???? Not sure if I have it there lol
12/31/2014 06:48:40 AM · #16
Almost exclusively use High Pass filter on a de saturated layer set to Hard/Soft Light for my sharpening.
12/31/2014 07:13:51 AM · #17
i dont really add too much sharpening to my images. if i do i use lightroom. just pull the slider up slightly and then pull the masking slider all the way up (while pressing ALT to see the mask) until only the edges are sharpened.

12/31/2014 08:41:25 AM · #18
I use Photoshop High Pass Filter on Hard/Soft Light with different levels of opacity to get what I want. When I was shooting with the D80, almost all my images needed sharpening; however, with the D600 I seldom have to.
12/31/2014 09:00:29 AM · #19
I use Lightroom alone about 75% of the time. I play with the sharpen sliders - generally adjusting amount to around 70, luminosity to around 40. Everything else is generally quite low, although occasionally I find use to increase radius or masking. When I do use Photoshop I use the high pass filter because that is the only method I have learned so far.

(I haven't tried Nik Sharpening, but it sounds like maybe I should)

12/31/2014 09:43:10 AM · #20
Being a knuckledragger in the pp department, I just go the easiest route. Once I've resized my entry to final dimensions, I make one pass with plain ol sharpen, and call it a day. Unless it looks a little too oversharpened, in which case I fade sharpen by 50-75%.
12/31/2014 10:52:57 AM · #21
I use several different methods, depending on the photo. USM in Photoshop, High Pass filter in PS, Topaz Detail, Detail extractor in Nik Color Efex Pro, Clarity, Nik Sharpener Pro. On some images, tone mapping gives me the look I am after. For that, I either use Topaz Adjust or Nik HDR Efex Pro.
12/31/2014 11:25:27 AM · #22
I normally use Photoshops Unsharp Mask filter, in two ways.

High-Radius USM is a technique for "brightening" or "clarifying" images which seem a little flat (often landscapes). You use a very high Radius setting with a low Amount and the Threshold set to zero. The main caveat is that it is easy to blow out fine highlight detail and block up deep shadow detail. For a DPC entry-size image I'd use settings of approximately
AMT: 15%
RAD: 50 pixels
THR: 0
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1138187.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/0-4999/1031/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1138187.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

"Regular" USM is used to emphasize edge detail by finding areas where pixels differ by a certain amount, and then slightly darkening the darker pixels while lighening the lighter pixels. The settings determine how different the pixels have to be before the effect is applied, and over how big an area and how "aggressively" the effect is applied. I often find that multiple applications with "lower" settings works better to emphasize detail without creating halos than a single application at a higher level. My usual settings for entries might be
AMT: 66-88%
RAD: 0.6-0.8 pixels
THR: 5
Examples gallery

Message edited by author 2014-12-31 12:39:27.
12/31/2014 11:28:46 AM · #23
use a fast enough shutter speed
stop the lens down a bit
achieve proper focus

:P
12/31/2014 12:36:25 PM · #24
Originally posted by Mike:

use a fast enough shutter speed
stop the lens down a bit
achieve proper focus

:P

Set your camera's sharpening setting to the proper level (JPEG shooters)/Set your RAW converter to the proper level
Never resize your image.

Resampling a digital image almost invariably causes a loss of (apparent) detail, which some degree of sharpening can partially restore.
12/31/2014 01:19:08 PM · #25
Originally posted by giantmike:

Nik Sharpener Pro. After I discovered how powerful and seemingly magical it was, I use nothing else.


I have it but have never used it. Just didn't find it very intuitive.
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