Thanks for the gracious and informative reply. Dan has no methodology, but he made it into the Photoshop Hall of Fame far before you. I see he was inducted along with Thomas Knoll at the first ceremony in 2001. Not bad for a dunce. I am still waiting for your references if you have any.
Ah, then the date of NAPP introduction is key to a methodology. Just wanted to be sure I understand the mindset here. Lets forget his take on high bit editing (technically wrong), wide gamut spaces and the evils of Camera Raw and Lightoom. That he was inducted at a fixed time makes this all moot, despite those of us that have (unlike Dan) actually produced and provided files and instructions which prove his points on the above ideas are flat earth, religious thinking for anyone who wishes to do the testing.
Lets look at the technique that's so novel to you and Dan's original post about it. This is a direct quote from Dan's list:
My suggestion is a mask that caters to both--that allows more sharpening
where the image is darker but also restricts it where the image is colorful. While it
is possible to make a convoluted Action that generates such a mask by a series of blends of
the RGB channels, there's a faster way--make a false separation, and use an inverted
Heavy GCR black as the mask for the RGB sharpening.
OK a mask to apply sharpening. Nothing really new here at all. Been described and done for years. Use the image to build a mask to protect areas. What might be novel is the idea of using a CMYK black channel to do this. Lets look at the technique and see if there's anything to it and how its explained that is novel or defines the methodology:
Here's the procedure, which of course should be reduced to an Action to save
having to do it over and over.
1) Copy the RGB image.
2) With the copy, Convert to Profile>Custom CMYK.
3) Fill in: Heavy GCR, 70% black ink limit, 340% total ink. Dot gain is basically not relevant as you can always lighten or darken the mask after applying it, but I just use the default 20%. (AR: basically not relevant? It is or it isn't).
4) Click OK twice to generate the false separation. (AR: There's no such thing, Dan likes to make up terms).
5) Command-4 to expose the black channel, and Mode: Grayscale to discard the CMY channels.
6) Invert the channel with Command-I, yielding a negative image.
7) Auto Levels.
Gaussian Blur, radius 2.0 pixels to eliminate noise and make for a softer sharpen.
9) Return to the RGB image and create a duplicate layer. Sharpen conventionally with a very heavy hand--500%, 1.2 pixel Radius, 3 Threshold might be a good starting point for most images. (AR: Dan likes to use such terms like "most images" or "Usually this works" etc. Good starting point? That leads me to believe YMMV).
10) Add a layer mask. To it, load the artificial black channel that was made in steps 1-8. This should confine the sharpening to the desired areas. (AR: Dan again protecting himself in case this doesn't work. It should confine the sharpening to the desired areas. Heck, the entire methodology rests in 'it should').
11) If you feel the image is not sharp enough, apply a curve to the mask to lighten its midpoint. If you find the image to be too sharp, darken the mask in the same way. (AR: Dan once again protecting his novel idea. If you feel.... Feel based on what? You output the file and its not sharp enough? It doesn't appear visually sharp enough? This is a novel new idea about sharpening?)
We have a technique which has no methodology unlike what Bruce described in his original article on Creative Pro and greatly expanded in his ground breaking book on sharpening. Yes, Dan's built a mask using a black channel. He's not provided any kind of methodology about when or why to use this technique, nor has he discussed when or why to alter any of the setting based on any size, capture device, previous possible sharpening to the document or the output size and output device.
Here's my new novel technique. Open and RGB document. Select USM. For Amount, pick 157, for Radius, pick 1.7, for Threshold pick 5.
Now what have I done? The image IS sharper appearing. This is akin to someone saying "I have an award winning recipe for brownies. Its easy. Mix the ingredients and bake for one hour at 350 degrees." Well wasn't that useful. Its possible the USM values I just made up above have never been exactly specified by anyone anywhere, so its new and novel. So what?
Now lets see what someone like Bruce did? At the very least, there's this article, the genesis of the sharpening workflow:
Back to Dan. He likes to be controversial to draw attention to himself. He likes to make complex multiple stage routines that in effect polish turds. When you see the before and after, the turd looks better. Dan doesn't, as others here go out of their way to do, teach people NOT to create turds in the first place. But his livelihood is based on taking just awful originals and fixing them in Photoshop. If we all produce pretty good data from the get-go, in a Raw converter which he dismisses as unfit for pro use, he's got nothing to write about. I find this mindset dangerous and polluting to those who don't know any better. The idea that one should set a Raw converter settings null, then fix the image in Photoshop is bad enough. But to then say the converter is unfit for professional use without a drop of proof is worse than unprofessional.
His technique above has no methodology other than the image appears sharper. As Jonathan points out, the ideas seem odd based on the masking methodology if we can be kind enough to use that term here. The technique is abundantly vague. He even says he wants to sharpen the dark areas, the areas we all know is full of noise!
I'm not trying to pick a fight with you bjanes, just trying to understand what Dan brings to the party other than a pretty high B.S. factor regarding digital imaging he's expressed over the years. Does his induction into the NAPP hall of fame in any way validate or invalidate this? That I and others have provided files that PROVE him wrong about wide gamut editing spaces or high bit editing change this fact? That he refuses to explain his religious beliefs using science and tells his list he has produced the exact math used in Camera Raw to show that the math is both sloppy and destructive (but refuses to share this math), thus this product is unfit for professional use (his words), we should take him at all seriously when it comes to sharpneing?
Now we have a NEW sharpening technique. OK Dan, explain, as Bruce did, how it works, when to use it. Nothing form Dan. But we do see others in the imaging community posting about it, as if there's something novel let alone useful here. I await the methodology from Dan or anyone else who can provide any reason why we should pay attention to this guy.
In the past, Dan DID have some useful ideas about image processing. But his message has been soiled using flat earth theories that simply don't pan out. He's targeting photographers now since the prepress folks have either died off or stopped listening to him. When he starts polluting the minds of photographers, I take notice and start demanding he be accountable for what he says. Its one thing to go around panning Adobe as an axis of evil or even say their products are unfit for pro use. But to try to persuade the photo/imaging community of this nonsense, without providing a shred of evidence and worse, calling those who do provide evidence shills is going to far.