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Sharp/Unsharp - Hints Tips ?

shotokan101

Banned
Folks - any hints tips pointers links etc. on the use of sharpening/Unsharp-Mask with digital captures ?

Ta,

JIm
 

SomeVorn

Active Member
I unsharp mask everything using CS3 (of course Cs4 is probably slightly better).

I use lightroom to edit a lot of my photos and leave CS3 for the heavier things.
Once I'm finished, I'm export all my finished photos into a new folder, saved as 16 bit compressed tiffs.
I then have an action written in photoshop that does the following
1) Opens up the image,
2) Switches to Lab colour
3) Selects the Lightness Channel
4) Performs Unsharp mask @ Amount 80%, Radius 1.4 and threshold 3.
5) Performs the same unsharp mask again.
6) Fades the second unsharp mask to 30% (so I've just used insharp mask 130% basically).
7) I then have 3 options (in 3 actions) - the action will either save it as an uncompressed Tiff for printing, High quality Jpeg so I can use it on a 4gb memory stick) or web ready images (the action reduces image size to around 30% right at the end).

Works a treat for me. Only started using this after my first wedding (because I'm not sharpening 400 shots one at a time) - I need to go back through my flickr account, delete most things and redo it this way.
 

OrbitalPete

Well-known Member
I unsharp mask everything using CS3 (of course Cs4 is probably slightly better).

From the little testing I've done I think it's an identical algorithm in cs4 to cs3. And don't assume everything in CS4 is better; they properly borked the photomerge process for example. I've ended up running cs3 and cs4 in parallell. It's not exactly streamlined my workflow...
 

shotokan101

Banned
Thanks Somevorn - I'll pretend to understand some of what you said for your workflow :smashin:

Can I ask what the reason for the multiple application of the unsharp mask is as opposed to a single pass with a different setting ? and also why it's applied to the Lightness Channel ?

JIm
 

SomeVorn

Active Member
From the little testing I've done I think it's an identical algorithm in cs4 to cs3. And don't assume everything in CS4 is better; they properly borked the photomerge process for example. I've ended up running cs3 and cs4 in parallell. It's not exactly streamlined my workflow...

I wasn't sure how to put that you know, I just didn't want someone to read this in the future who wasn't clued up and think they HAD to use CS3 etc.
Sounds like a nightmare though.

Workflows are tough, I do often feel the need to shake things up every few months so my current one might not even last until christmas.
 

SomeVorn

Active Member
Thanks Somevorn - I'll pretend to understand some of what you said for your workflow :smashin:

Can I ask what the reason for the multiple application of the unsharp mask is as opposed to a single pass with a different setting ? and also why it's applied to the Lightness Channel ?

JIm

I do it twice (and then fade it) because thats often a sweet spot for me. One full unsharp mask isn't quite enough. 2 unsharp masks look over sharpened. Workflows are tricky, as I said above. I've taken little bits of advice from others, thrown them all together and found what worked best for me.

To be honest, I'm not so technically clued up as to tell you why I use the Lightness channel, I just know that this is how professionals have done it (Scott Kelby, Bryan Peterson) - and if its good for them, then its ok for me. From my understanding of it, to apply unsharp mask to a coloured image runs the risk of creating un-natural halo's around objects/subjects because its also trying to sharpen the coloured pixels. By picking lightness, you are hiding the colours in the photo, allowing the unsharp mask to only apply itself to the lines and meat of the images.
 

shotokan101

Banned
Thanks again Somevorn - from what you say I guess that the max value for unsharp is 100% - hence the multiple passes to achieve what you want - looks like I'll need to have a play around with it.

CAn I ask if the Radius value is dependant in some way on the size/dimensions (in pixels) of the images ?

Thanks,

JIm
 

Pirate!!

Banned
Ahoy!

I'm no good at pp at all, but I did pick up a set of USM settings for CS2 which I use thus:

Select: Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask

Amount: 500
Radius: 0.5 pixels
Threshold: 13

Apply the setting to the image (click OK), then select:

Edit, Fade Unsharp Mask

Adjust the slider to suit requirements. This will be applied to the whole image and depending how good/bad your lens is, I find it works OK just to give the image a bit more detail.

I'm not saying this is the best way, but it's very easy and does the job to a degree. I'm sure perfectionists will have a more superior method. Best to apply any de-noising (if required) before USM.
 

shotokan101

Banned
Ahoy Matey !

Thanks Pirate - interesting to see an (apparently) different approach.

As Somevorn mentioned wedding shot processing - what sort of shots do you use this process on ? - or is it "generic" ?

Ta,

Jim

EDIT: Just brwsing your Flickr - quite a variety of shots
 
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Pirate!!

Banned
Ahoy Matey !

Thanks Pirate - interesting to see an (apparently) different approach.

As Somevorn mentioned wedding shot processing - what sort of shots do you use this process on ? - or is it "generic" ?

Ta,

Jim

EDIT: Just brwsing your Flickr - quite a variety of shots

Ahoy Jim Lad!

Once set, I use the setting for all my images in CS2 (if required - but generally as part of the RAW conversion - rarely as a straight JPEG capture) and just adjust the slider to suit as each lens is optically different and thus more or less USM will be required.

As for flickr, just a few snaps here and there of things I like or the image result. If you use the Fractalius plugin for CS, you'll know what I mean!
 
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shotokan101

Banned
Thanks for clearing that up Pirate - much appreciated - at least with my Finepix S9600 I'll only have to figure out one setting :D - at least till I upgrade back to an (D)SLR :smashin:

And whilst I don't use that plugin - or any for that matter (very new to this PP stuff as you can tell) - I quite like the effect on some of your shots using it.

Cheers,

Jim
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Most of Scott Kelbys Photshop ( or Elements) books have a chapter on sharpening which expains ( with photos and words) the Values and how varying them affects the end result
Worth a little read if you can get to see it. What software do you use?
 

shotokan101

Banned
Thanks Senu - I'm a "Computer Professional" so telling me to RTFM is going to work :rolleyes: .......<Kidding> :D

I'm currently trialing LR - CS and PE and despite loving LR I'm unlikely to fork out that amount of money for my "secondary" Hobby TBH so will in all likelyhood end up with the new version of PE.

Thanks for the book ref. I'll check out Amazon :smashin:

Jim
 

senu

Distinguished Member
If there is any little stuff I can email I will check it when I get home later
I know what you mean about books and RTFM but not that heavy going TBH
There were online video tutorials which used to be free ( and downloadable) but .. not any more. You have to pay for them now
I also have them but they are several versions of PE ago
 
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shotokan101

Banned
If there is any little stuff I can email I will check it when I get home later
I know what you mean about books and RTFM but not that heavy going TBH

Thanks for that - much appreciated.

I was really joking about RTFM and have no problem reading books - as long as the print isn't too small ;) - I have a daily commute by train of about half an hour each way so I'm usually reading some Mils&Boon rubbish or Andy McNabb or whatever anyway :cool:

Jim
 

shotokan101

Banned
Thanks Tonto - so is this "high pass" approach actually a sharpen operation by another route then - in other words is the "unsharpness" in the original image actually high frequency "noise" ?

JIm
 
D

Deleted member 152499

Guest
I use a high pass.

create a layer via copy, overlay (leave at 100% opacity).

Filter:eek:ther:high pass and leave at around 3 radius (use the preview to adjust to avoid halo's on edges)

flatten

:smashin:

I've just tried that technique Tonto, but I just end up with a grey screen....I must be missing something :confused:
 

tontoshorse

Well-known Member
Thanks Tonto - so is this "high pass" approach actually a sharpen operation by another route then - in other words is the "unsharpness" in the original image actually high frequency "noise" ?

JIm

Hmmm - yes, i find it a whole less brutal, unlike USM

I've just tried that technique Tonto, but I just end up with a grey screen....I must be missing something :confused:

You need to have the layer marked as overlay - your image will then look darker.
 

shotokan101

Banned
Thnaks Tonto - will have a look

Jim
 

CyBeRkId2002

Well-known Member
I used to use a combination of the techniques above CS3/CS4, high-pass, USM etc. but since getting lenses that I am 100% happy with I am finding myself more and more satisfied with a small sharpen using LR's built-in sharpen tool.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
I used to use a combination of the techniques above CS3/CS4, high-pass, USM etc. but since getting lenses that I am 100% happy with I am finding myself more and more satisfied with a small sharpen using LR's built-in sharpen tool.

I very seldom sharpen after output from LR although convetional wisdom says sharpening should be done last before saving ( ie after crop resize ect)
If you get the hang of LR many images dont need PS anymore apart from creative enhancing

The one thing with sharpening though is to try and do it while viewing at 100%
Very easy to overcook..
 

senu

Distinguished Member
There are many people without LR though. ;)
True I had it for ages and didnt use it as Canons DPP is quite good but LR is more than just a RAW processsor
My point is that if you do have it you might find yourself using PS a lot less
 

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