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Author Topic: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts  (Read 1620 times)

John Cothron

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Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« on: July 10, 2017, 11:51:42 AM »

Hello everyone,

I've recently been studying sharpening "more" just as a means of refining my technique when it comes to sharpening.  I'm only discussing capture and creative sharpening at this point, since I use Lr for output and so far I have been pleased with the results it produces using its built-in output sharpening.  I've read different books (including Schewe's) and countless forum threads here and elsewhere.

Specifically, I've been exploring the difference and techniques that differentiate capture and creative sharpening.  In a nutshell I'm trying to refine my technique for using sharpening (or lack of it in some cases) to enhance and draw interest to certain parts of the image.  Some of the material I've ready suggests leaving things relatively soft at the capture sharpening step, whereas before I would adjust till I was happy with the detail and crispness of an image.  I suppose the theory is to leave yourself some room for selectively sharpening certain elements more thereby drawing attention or making those elements stand out more.  Some of what I've seen looks TOO soft however, at least to my eyes.

I'm attaching some images because I'd like to get opinions, ideas, or suggestions and also to understand if I'm on the right path here?  I realize this is largely subjective but I still find other's perspective valuable.  This shot was made using Canon 5DIV and a Zeiss Distagon 35/2 lens.  I've attached a comparison between default, capture, and creative sharpening as well a small portion of the image as a 100% crop to easier see the sharpening effect.

As for now I do almost everything in Lr, and only rarely step out to Ps for image editing.  That could change but I avoid that whenever possible.

The "default" sharpening is Amount: 25 Radius .80 Detail: 25 Masking and Noise: 0

Capture sharpening is Amount: 40 Radius: .80 Detail: 50 Masking: 30ish and Noise: 10

Creative sharpening:  I added some additional sharpening to the foreground works leading at an angle from the bottom left of the image toward the center (additional sharpening using adjustment brush at +15) .  I also soften the larger rock face (not the edges) in the bottom left above the corner (adjustment brush -10).  I added a small amount of sharpening to the boats and masts across the water.  I also soften the water a little (adjustment brush -10 sharpening and additional noise of 10).

*** One question I have regarding the adjustment brush in Lr.  I know the "sharpness" is based on settings in the detail panel but is it less or more sharpening AT a detail of 50 and radius of .80 or does the sharpness graduate those values as well?

To my eyes the effect is noticeable but subtle when viewing the entire image.  Obviously I can see the difference in sharpening in 100% crops.

So what is your opinion on the sharpening?  Too much? Too little?  Is there a better way? (in Lr)  Would it be truly be a noticeable difference if I took it to Ps?  I know the shot isn't that great but it serves to illustrate what I'm trying to get better at, or at least understand more.

Thank you!

Schewe

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 12:06:42 PM »

*** One question I have regarding the adjustment brush in Lr.  I know the "sharpness" is based on settings in the detail panel but is it less or more sharpening AT a detail of 50 and radius of .80 or does the sharpness graduate those values as well?

The local sharpening adjustments are really simply changes to the "Amount" settings in the Detail panel. So, whatever the settings are, a plus or minus local setting either adds or subtracts the Amount setting. All the other settings are locked in.

There's also an extension to the local sharpening behavior; if you set your local Sharpening to -50 to -100 you are actually introducing a lens type blur into the image. So, -1 to -49 reduce the Detail panel Amount settings while -50 to -100 add blur.

Used carefully, this is a useful tool for enhancing local creative sharpening.

As for the posted crops, sorry, too small to make any judgements...
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John Cothron

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 01:14:25 PM »

Jeff,

Thank you for your input, I did not realize that about the amount setting for local adjustments.

I've attached some more images.  Larger ones of the capture and creative sharpening with the whole image, and larger 100% crops (1k pixels) as well.  If this isn't what you would like to see just let me know and I'll do something else.

Thanks again!

** I actually have to split this into two posts - capture image and crop first

John Cothron

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 01:16:08 PM »

creative image and crop

Lundberg02

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 07:46:12 PM »

I hope you understand what the Detail slider actually does. it varies from edge enhancement to deconvolution as you increase.
None of your sharpening clarifies what appears to be a bar code in the opposite shoreline.
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John Cothron

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 10:01:35 AM »

I hope you understand what the Detail slider actually does. it varies from edge enhancement to deconvolution as you increase.
None of your sharpening clarifies what appears to be a bar code in the opposite shoreline.

Thanks for the response.  Yes, I realize how the detail slider works.  The opposite shoreline is a marina with sail boats in it.  I wasn't really trying to draw attention to that as it isn't particularly the subject of the image.  On this particular morning I as just out shooting sunrise which amounted to nothing, and ended up shooting the exposed rock formations as the sun came up.  Again it is certainly not an outstanding image by any means but I thought it suitable to use for the purpose of this thread.

Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 06:01:22 PM »

Frankly I can't see hardly anything that needs improvement in your sample image or if sharpening was applied. And the downloading of the main full rez image took over ten seconds and caused a server reset.

Don't know if you've noticed this editing images but the green/tint magenta WB slider can actually make an image appear somewhat sharper especially if the WB is a bit on the green side going by the slightly greenish blue water/sky in your sample image where adjusting toward magenta kind of crisps things up especially in the darker tones below mid-gray with a bit of warming with the color temp slider for tones above mid-gray.

It's a cloudless dawn where the sun, if not filtered by trees, shouldn't produce that much of a green bias.

The image looks sharp enough to me whether you applied it or not which of course I can't tell.
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Lundberg02

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 07:30:03 PM »

I more or less agree with Tim about the sharpening, although I appreciate his comments about WB and will keep it in mind. I could tell that something haD been applied but it hardly seemed worth it. Think Impressionism. Might have been beneficial to blur the bar code effect.
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John Cothron

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Re: Sharpening - critique, guidance, or just thoughts
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 07:06:32 AM »

Thank you, I knew the color wasn't quite right (Big Stopper) but I really didn't spend much time with that.  Thanks for the info regarding WB sliders and the potential effect on sharpening I did not realize that.  Thanks also for the blurring suggestion on the masts in the distance.  I will play around with that some and see how far I have to go to have an appreciable effect (difference). 
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