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parmelbe
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Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:43 pm

Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:45 am

Hi, all, I have a quick question as I continue to practice editing.

What techniques do you use? I've gathered that applying blanket sharpening or a mask to an entire image can create grainy areas, especially in the sky. Do most of you just find the soft areas of your photos and fix them manually using the sharpening tool?

I've been messing around with this "smart unsharp mask" method, creating a mask using just the edges and sharpening on the luminosity channel and I've gotten mixed results. Sometimes it really helps but others I end up with muted colors and almost "cartoonish" looking contrasts, particularly in shots of an aircraft rotating in front of a terminal or other background. Could those be a case of applying too much sharpening to a photo that was okay to begin with? I'll admit, I'm still having a hard time spotting the more subtle areas of softness.

http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Smart_Sharpening/
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airkas1
Posts: 7904
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RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:14 pm

What I do when it comes to sharpening:

Step 1: Magic wand tool - select the areas I don't want to sharpen (in general that means sky/other background stuff)
Step 2: Inverse selection - so I have a selection of what I want to sharpen.
Step 3: Duplicate layer
Step 4: Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask. I'm not on my editing computer right now, but from memory, my settings are 3 / 0.3 / 0. Make sure to use the eraser tool to get rid of jaggies/oversharpened areas as they arise (typically showing first on cheatlines, wings).

If the photo still needs more sharpening, repeat step 3 & 4. Usually it only takes 2 passes, sometimes 3. Never more.
If there are still isolated soft spots on the photo, I use the sharpening tool from the toolbar. But it's very easy to oversharpen an area with that, so be careful when using it.
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:57 pm

For greater control I use layer masks. I duplicate the layer, sharpen the top layer using Unsharp Mask with settings 500, .2, 2. Then I create a layer mask and using the paint brush I brush out the areas that don't need to be sharpened. I use varying brush opacities for different parts of the image to control the strength of the erasing effect. Then I flatten the image and use the sharpen tool to target any areas that need an extra kick.
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kulverstukas
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:58 am

RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:41 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 2):
I duplicate the layer, sharpen the top layer using Unsharp Mask

I do the same but on opposite I sharpen bottom layer and use soft brush on the top layer's mask to reveal sharped image.

I also use two step sharpening - I export file from RAW after all steps of leveling and correction without resize, apply levels and contrast if needed in PS, then duplicate layers, sharpen bottom layer with 100-200, 0,3, 0-2, then resize to 1500px wide, reveal bottom layer with layer mask, make additional USM pass on it if it deserves it (with 50-150, 0,3, 0), then use eraser on layer mask to correct oversharpened spots.
 
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airkas1
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RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:08 pm

Quoting airkas1 (Reply 1):
my settings are 3 / 0.3 / 0

Too late to edit that post, but that should read 30 / 0.3 / ?.
 
Silver1SWA
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:34 pm

Quoting kulverstukas (Reply 3):

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 2):
I duplicate the layer, sharpen the top layer using Unsharp Mask

I do the same but on opposite I sharpen bottom layer and use soft brush on the top layer's mask to reveal sharped image.

That works, too. Or you can sharpen the top layer but invert the layer mask.

That's the great thing about Photoshop. There's a hundred different ways to do the same thing. The key is finding what you're comfortable with and works for you.
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vikkyvik
Posts: 12611
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:38 pm

My typical sharpening dealio:
1.) Select just the aircraft (if against sky) or the aircraft + whatever other details I may want to sharpen (terminals, etc.).
2.) Create a duplicate layer.
3.) Sharpen the top layer using Unsharp Mask. Typical settings are Strength 70, Radius 0.4, Threshold 2.
4.) Selectively sharpen any areas as required.
5.) Use the Magic Eraser tool to erase oversharpened areas, typically set at 60%.
6.) Flatten image.

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 2):
Then I create a layer mask and using the paint brush I brush out the areas that don't need to be sharpened. I use varying brush opacities for different parts of the image to control the strength of the erasing effect.

Why not just use the eraser to erase parts of the top (sharpened) layer? You can vary the strength of the eraser. Creating a layer mask seems like an extra step.
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gabik001
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RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:42 pm

Quoting airkas1 (Reply 4):
Quoting airkas1 (Reply 1):
my settings are 3 / 0.3 / 0

Too late to edit that post, but that should read 30 / 0.3 / ?.

Likely 3 / 0.3 . I'm using 2 / 0.2 pixels in Unsharp mask filter.
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Silver1SWA
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:31 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
top (sharpened) layer? You can vary the strength of the eraser. Creating a layer mask seems like an extra step.

Because a layer mask lets you paint it back in if needed. With the eraser tool you're limited to your undo history if you aren't happy with a particular stroke.
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vikkyvik
Posts: 12611
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: Sharpening Question

Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:54 pm

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 8):
Because a layer mask lets you paint it back in if needed. With the eraser tool you're limited to your undo history if you aren't happy with a particular stroke.

Ah, gotcha. Makes sense.
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