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  • sharpening

    hey guys

    just wondering how you sharpen your images. i have heard many diffirent ways:

    -one USM pass with radius ~5
    -several USM passes with radius ~0.5
    -high pass filter

    my first 4 photos I uploaded here all got rejected, 3 of them with "blurry", so I'm wondering if there is a better way of doing it. also: sharpen before or after I finish post processing?

  • #2
    I sharpen the photo after reducing the size and adjusting contrast and color. I usually use 2-3 passes of USM Settings I use vary a bit, depending on the photo:
    - 0.2 / 350 / 5
    - 0.3 / 120 / 5

    Depending on the original photo (or better: depending on the camera) I found, that a first pass of USM (0.3 / 150-250 / 5) as the very first step had very good results as well, but always followed by further sharpening at the very end.

    Since a few months I use smart sharpening, which gives me even better results than USM.
    My photos on Flickr


    • #3
      Sharpening is one of those funny areas in digital photography where opinions vary so much as to what is and isn't right, but ultimately if it works, then it's generally right. My technique is very simple and I do almost exactly the same on all my images (aviation and non-aviation) and regardless of the lens I'm using. I shoot RAW and try do as much as possible before converting to JPEG so I apply sharpening on the RAW file at 110% with a radius of 0.6 (you can do this on a full size JPEG as well). This means the bulk of the sharpening is already done by the time I convert to JPEG. When I do convert and re-size to 1200 pixels wide, I apply one more pass of USM at 30 or 40% with a radius of 0.3. If the image is nice and sharp in the first place then doing this results in clear, clean and generally jaggy-free images. I used to do all my sharpening on the re-sized image, but I find doing most of it full size gives slightly cleaner results.

      One thing I will say is a radius of 5 sounds far, far too big to use for general sharpening on any image from any standard digital camera. A radius of around 0.6 is good on images 3500-ish pixels wide and 0.2/0.3 generally works best on smaller images of 1024/1200 wide.

      Maybe try either the method I've mentioned or Gerardo's and see how you get on.

      Seeing the world with a 3:2 aspect ratio...

      My images on Flickr


      • #4
        I've changed my sharpening methods so many times in the past year which was a bit daft as I was no where near experienced enough to determine whether the new sharpening methods were sharp enough. Now though I believe I've had enough practise to be able to judge when an image is sharp enough or not after editing.

        Sharpening really depends on the equipment you have and the general conditions at the time of shooting. I personally find my 100-400mm lens quite soft so end up using a lot of sharpening.

        Firstly I'd crop the image and BEFORE resizing, I'd apply USM of 100,1.0,0 to the aircraft only. Then I'll resize to 1280 pixels and then apply further sharpening in the form of smart sharpening (400,0.4,)

        Smart Sharpening does have rather pleasing results when used in moderation although I can't quite put my finger on why. I *think* USM darkens things as it sharpens where as smart sharpening does not.

        Smart Sharpening is the way forward for me, although determining all the advanced settings is not the easiest. With the incorrect settings, the smart sharpen seems to add grain to various areas within the photo, hence it is needed in moderation.

        I'd love to hear from anybody else using smart sharpening techniques.



        • #5
          I use "smart sharpening" as well and I wonder why so many people still stick to USM as smart sharpening is so easy to use.

          I always shoot raw and do the cropping, white balance and curves in Nikon Capture. Then I open the image in PS and do everything else. Sharpening is the last thing I do.

          I always use smart sharpening as you can play with the slider and parameters and tweak the settings real easy. If I notice that the image needs selective sharpening, I add another layer, use smart sharpening in a very conservative way and use the sharpening tool in the extra layer to add that extra bit of sharpness to the areas that need it.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Diezel View Post
            I use "smart sharpening" as well and I wonder why so many people still stick to USM as smart sharpening is so easy to use.
            Personally I stick to it because what I do works, and it works very well. As I said before, it doesn't matter what you do as long as what you do works, and as far as my eyes can tell what you do certainly works!

            Seeing the world with a 3:2 aspect ratio...

            My images on Flickr


            • #7
              My settings are 40 - 0,4 - 0, applied as last step of the workflow of a picture 1024x768 (or 683).
              2 ore 3 pass of USM and one pass of noise reduction (CS3 filter, not neatimage).
              Be sure to unselect the sky before sharpening! (magic wand over the sky and invert the selection)
              And if a picture has been taken blurry, it's difficult to correct it!
              Best regards