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Straddling That Fence Of Soft And Oversharp.  
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 3095 times:
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Hey all, hoping I can gain a bit of knowledge. As we know, photography is an art but once we get to uploading and parameters for acceptance are involved, the art becomes a bit more scientific.


In this example, I was sitting in the same spot one day, using the same camera settings in the same light, F8, with 640 speeds and I took about 20 shots. Even the same composition. All parameters were equal across the board.

Then I went through my usual workflow and applied the same USM across the board. When I uploaded some shots, 1 got accepted and the rest of 4 were rejected for soft.

1. So my first question is why is the scale non-linear in that you cannot apply the same USM across the board if all the other parameters for taking the photo were exactly the same?

2. I am having a very difficult time finding that where the line is drawn is something is soft vs oversharp (and throw in the term jaggie to add to my confusion vs pixelated). Its frustrating in the sense that if I upload a shot thats rejected for soft, 90% of the time I reupload it with some sharpening, I get a rejection for oversharp.

Please help. As of my writing this, I got the same exact rejection again. An intial soft and then the oversharp.

I am hoping to come awawy from this thread with a better idea of how to guage those editing details.


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9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIL76 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2004, 2237 posts, RR: 49
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 3087 times:



Quoting Mirrodie (Thread starter):
if all the other parameters for taking the photo were exactly the same?

Using the same settings on your camera will not make all you picture turn out with the same sharpness. I have blurry shots taken with 1/640s and sharp shots taken with 1/30s. Every photo is different and thus need different editing.

Oversharpening is recognisable by a few indicators:
- jaggies. Diagonal lines get a staircase step pattern when the contrast on each side of the line is high.
- halos. Sharpening increases the contrast of a line by lightening the light side and darkening the dark side.(http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/unsharp-mask.htm) I see a lot of photos when screening where bits are outlines by thick white lines. Seeing that is an indicator that you went too far.
- grain. Sharpening areas with little or no detail will result in forming of grain.

Ed


User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3046 times:



Quoting Mirrodie (Thread starter):
1. So my first question is why is the scale non-linear in that you cannot apply the same USM across the board if all the other parameters for taking the photo were exactly the same?

Even with the same conditions and shutter and F stop the captures are not going to be identical. Fuselages differ as to which come out sharp, over exposed etc. You have to treat each picture in PS differently and before and after you apply USM go over them and look at problem areas for jaggies etc. Ed's advice is very good too btw.


User currently offlineMclaudio From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 170 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3023 times:

Hi.
When did you take those photos? Was it during winter? If it was, then you should take in consideration that light might seem similar, but its temperature (Kelvin scale) changes much faster when compared with Summer. The settings you mentioned (and I presume you were using ISO 100) are settings I hardly find during winter (I am a M mode only photographer) and we live more or less near paralel 40º so sun is more or less the same.
If the composition was the same for the 20 photos, then I presume the f8 stop was the best for what you wanted for the DOF, and that is essential for what you wanted focus and not focus on the photo. Shutter speed comes after, so perhaps the answer might be on the f stop. F stops with winter light can be tricky.
Did you also made any EV compensation? was there snow on the ground?
Perhaps if you could show us a couple of examples...hmm...it would help.



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User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2978 times:
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Hi Ed, thanks, I'm going to try and take those tips into consideration and be a bit more careful and try to train my eyes to see this.

Nick, were only talking about sharp, not exposure. If we are going to take an artform, in this case, photography, and apply standards to it, I owe it to myself to understand the optical and scientific principles at work.

McClaudio, These were winter shots on an unusually sunny day in NY for November, without snow on the ground,
iso 100, F8, and on this day, with speed of 800. No EV comp made.


But before I get too technical, again, I am still trying to get past a basic question and an explanation for it.

Let's say I took those 20 shots in the same exact conditions (noted in bold above) with a remote shutter and tripod. So I have removed the elements of blur due to hand shake, etc. . All parameters set forth are exactly the same as noted above(same consistent light, F8, 1/800, ISO 100) Then by the laws of physics and optics, you should get the same output.

Then can one explain how or why differing amounts of USM will be needed in those 20 photos? Perhaps I was not clear initially but that is what I am not understanding. I defies logic as it has no basis in optics. Perhaps there is a science behind this that I am not seeing?



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User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2969 times:



Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 4):
Nick, were only talking about sharp, not exposure

I know that Mario, If you took the time to read what I wrote I said, sharp and exposure, I also tried to explain to you that every aircraft will not photograph the same. Which is what I was trying to explain to you. Which can be part of the reason you are getting one acceptance out of 5 and why you can't use the exact same amount of sharpening just because you had the same exact conditions and camera settings. I just edited two pics I shot at LAS taken in these similiar situations. An AA 757 which needed much less USM than the Virgin America scarebus. You ever notice how a fuselage like the Star Alliance can get jaggies so easily yet an AA is so much easier in that regard?

Quoting Mirrodie (Reply 4):
Let's say I took those 20 shots in the same exact conditions (noted in bold above) with a remote shutter and tripod. So I have removed the elements of blur due to hand shake, etc. . All parameters set forth are exactly the same as noted above(same consistent light, F8, 1/800, ISO 100) Then by the laws of physics and optics, you should get the same output.

But are you photographing the exact same thing each time? Does each subject reflect light back through the lens to the sensor exactly the same? Though I can't go into the exact physics the fact of the matter is no matter how constant the conditions are some fuselages will capture differently than others in regard to everything, exposure, white balance and (get ready for this) SHARPNESS. What you have to do is basically trial and error and involves looking at a great number of pictures and investing some time. It's the only way to improve at PS. Then after a while you can look at a raw image and say which will need more sharpening than others and use USM accordingly. Then get a sense of how much you can go without getting jaggies. At which time, you will get a sense of what the screeners here are looking for as far as how much to sharpen.


User currently offlineSilver1SWA From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 4772 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2961 times:
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I would think the biggest factor would be position of the subject (aircraft) relative to the photographer. You might have everything set up exactly the same in the camera, but you have to take into account the different aircraft sizes and distances. Lets say you stand in one spot, leave all settings the same, and photograph two landings. The two aircraft will land at different points relative to you, be at different distances altitudes etc. when that shutter is pressed. Also, if I missed this above I apologize, but are we dealing with a set focal length as well? Also, couldn't auto-focus be a factor? Maybe it locked on slightly better for one shot than the other. Manual focusing also isn't exact. I believe all of these factors play need to be taken into account.


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User currently offlineBigPhilNYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 4076 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2915 times:

Mario,

There are many more variables that affect how each photo is going to come out, regardless of shutter speed and aperture. Even with that shutter set, a shaky hand can make a photo less sharp. As said above, each aircraft will photography differently as well, with some details coming out sharper or softer than others based on paint scheme.

Though you had your settings set, your camera still processes the photo with each actuation, and the results will be different. I'm not tech pro, but it's still a digital camera, and it's not jsut a straight shot onto film, but data transferred through a computer inside the camera. It's not a scientific appliciation of the image onto film, but the computer in the camera "reading" the image and turning into a viewable file. If you had a tripod in a studio and took 5 shots of a still object, even though all variables are controlled, you'll still get slightly different photos.

Sharpening is one part of the post-processing workload that cannot be automated. It's just the nature of the beast.

Also keep in mind that there is a human element when it comes to screening. Some people WILL see things in different ways. There's no way to put into words the actual definition of what a "sharp" photo is.

[Edited 2008-01-17 10:38:37]


Phil Derner Jr.
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 2864 times:
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Quoting IL76 (Reply 1):
jaggies. Diagonal lines get a staircase step pattern when the contrast on each side of the line is high.

- halos. Sharpening increases the contrast of a line by lightening the light side and darkening the dark side.(http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/unsharp-mask.htm) I see a lot of photos when screening where bits are outlines by thick white lines. Seeing that is an indicator that you went too far.


- grain. Sharpening areas with little or no detail will result in forming of grain.

Thanks for that specific tip on the jaggies nearing a marked edge contrast. That is something specific that perhaps I have not looked for.

I really appreciate any subtle tips such as that. As I said, more often than not, I sharpen too little and then find myself almost always going over the second time around.



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User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

You can also apply a mask to your sharpen layer and mask out any areas that don't need sharpening.

For tricky looking logo-types, such as MEGATOP on SIA planes (and where it is dark text on white background) you can simply copy the logo - while keeping it selected - and then go to your layer mask and paste it "in place". Then invert the colours of the selection. That should mask out halos from the unsharp mask reasonably well.

That's not a replacement for properly masking and sharpening things - but you can sometimes get away with it.

It's easier to unsharpen a whole duplicate of the plane, and then mask bits out that don't need sharpening than it is to paint in sharpness (using a blackened layer mask).

And as a rule, methodically check all visible edges for halos and jaggies.

[Edited 2008-01-19 02:39:15]

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