RonS
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Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:27 pm

Ok, I would like to know which Sharpening Tool you use, why, and on average how much you apply?

I'm specifically curious to those of us that have the option to use either USM Versus Smart Sharpening. Why do you prefer one over the other, etc? I believe Smart Sharpening came out with PS CS2 and newer, and I really want to know if you have the option of choosing one over the other, why? But for those of us that have older than CS2 or other photo editing software, please feel free to chime in with what you use, how much, why, etc.

I'll start. I use Smart Sharpen on CS3. Mostly because it seems milder or less dramatic and provides me with a bigger preview window to check my results. Also, because when I first started out, I kept getting rejections, untill the first accpeted shot where I happened to be using Smart Sharpen so I stuck with it.  Smile

Technically I don't have a clue why I use it, hence this silly post. On average...yeah I know every shot is different, etc...I use between 75%-95% with .3 Radius and select Lens Blur. For me when I select shots to submit here, the keepers all have generally the same amount of sharpness to begin with, so 75%-95% usually is a good range for me. Those shots that aren't up to those standards, but I like the actual shot, I sometimes add more. If I get a rejection for soft, I open the PSD file and I add another layer of 25% or so. On the first layer of Smart Sharpening, I use the Eraser at 60-65% over all edges, wheels, flaps, gear, wings, logos, etc etc etc to eliminate jaggies. Since I'm on a 15inch laptop, I do a little overkill on the eraser because I can't really see the jaggies to begin with so much. haha.

Thanks!
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aussie18
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:40 pm

My sharpening techinique is I use USM,I resize to 1600pixel apply 100% @ 0.2 than resize to final size of 1024x and apply maybe roughly 200-400% @ 0.2,Than I look for areas which maybe soft ie,flaps,rego,doors,titles etc and either just sharpen or you wand tool and draw a area over aircraft and sharpen it.
Than get eraser tool set at 50% opacity and erase jagged edges which have started to appear.

Cheers Mark.
 
RonS
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:55 am



Quoting Aussie18 (Reply 1):
My sharpening techinique is I use USM

Thanks mark. Do you use USM over Smart Sharpen? If so why?

Cheers
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Luftfahrer
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:58 am

I use highpass + soft light at first, and if that's not enough I'll add some USM sharpening.
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cpd
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:02 am

My method is less elaborate.

I select the plane, make new layer from it, resize the image down to 1024px or 1280px wide, then high pass filter 0.5px that new layer, set it to soft light and then duplicate the layer as and where needed until the sharpness is as required.

Each photo might only take about 1 minute to process.

I generally get shots that are mostly quite sharp in the first place, unless I'm trying something tricky like panning at slow shutter speeds. Some of those types of photos I get are probably sharp enough with some editing, but I don't trust my judgement enough to upload them, so I probably get a lot of nice photos that go straight to the "personal collection" (also known as the trash bin).

Out of the default sharpening methods, I think smart sharpen is the better one, but there isn't much between the two. It appears to have nicer results for me. I just use 40% 0.3 settings for it and the results are okay.

[Edited 2009-07-25 18:17:27]
 
RonS
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:09 am



Quoting Cpd (Reply 4):
Out of the default sharpening methods, smart sharpen is the better one.

Why do you think? I happen to agree with you, but not sure exactly why. Thanks.
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dvincent
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:26 am

Smart Sharpen doesn't sharpen areas that would usually contain noise, like shadows and highlights. You can either let it automatically determine that boundary or adjust it yourself. It can also try to correct different kinds of blur (lens softness, gaussian blur introduced by antialias filters or downsampling, or motion blur). It also looks to enhance local/microcontrast in addition to USM's normal goal of enhancing edge sharpness (or acutance).

Here's a good explanation on how Smart Sharpen works and how it can benefit you.

http://www.earthboundlight.com/photo...ps/smart-sharpen-cs2-and-more.html

Even with smart sharpen I mask off areas I don't want sharpened, this should be SOP for all sharpeners, even photokit. Note that Lightroom's sharpening does the edge masking automatically mentioned using its Masking slider. Hopefully that slider will be integrated into other tools some day...

USM is a comfortable, familiar tool, but Smart Sharpen can give you better image quality with less effort.
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Chukcha
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:00 am

Thanks, Dan, finally I read a coherent explanation what Smart Sharpen actually does.

Cheers,
Andrei
 
RonS
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:43 pm



Quoting Chukcha (Reply 7):
Thanks, Dan, finally I read a coherent explanation what Smart Sharpen actually does

Ditto, thanks...that's what I was looking for.

Dan, regarding not sharpening noisy areas, do you adjust the Shadow highlight for that?

For example beneath flaps or gear in the shadow, I frequently get some noise in these shadow areas. What do you adjust and how much so Smart Sharpen does not sharpen these areas, thereby creating more noise.

Thanks.
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dvincent
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RE: Battle Of The Sharpening Tools!

Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:24 pm



Quoting RonS (Reply 8):
Dan, regarding not sharpening noisy areas, do you adjust the Shadow highlight for that?

Ron,

yes, the shadow/highlight threshold accounts for that. The defaults should normally exclude proper shadows but if you want to expand the range of exclusion you can use the thresholding to change it. Now, this will just keep the sharpening tools from sharpening noise that is already there - if you pushed the shadows too much the noise will still be there... just less obvious.
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