• My Sharpening Workflow

      In the maintaining image detail thread the discussion turned its focus to sharpening specifically when to sharpen and what methods produced the best results. Since this is a subject that can cause some confusion especially among members learning digital photography I was hopeful the thread would be a good learning opportunity but unfortunately that did not happen and which happens to often the participants started talking past each other and the thread was closed with many question left unanswered or unresolved. So I decided to start a thread outlining my workflow and what I did learn from the previous thread to hopefully give the members a starting point on developing their on sharpening workflow. Now I want to state upfront that I do not claim my workflow is the best or only way and since it uses layers and mask it is PS dependent. My sharpening workflow is broken down into three steps capture sharpening, creative sharpening and output sharpening which is pretty standard and the workflow advocated and most often taught by most people who make they're living teaching this stuff.

      The first step in my workflow is capture sharpening which is usually done in the Raw converter or my first step in PS after converting the file, the goal of capture sharpening is to reverse the softness caused by the AA filter in front of the sensor and the process of turning the image into digital form . I find the default settings in ACR work really well for most of my images and on most of my images I will use the masking slider to selectively apply the effect to the areas I want sharpen. If I am using another Raw converter that does not allow me to mask out areas I will turn the sharpening off and apply my capture sharpening in PS on a Layer mask using either PhotoKit sharpening plugin or Niks Sharpening Pro plugin again I will only apply it to the subject or areas on the subject I want sharpen. I avoid sharpening the BG, OOF areas, and areas of solid color. When the image is adjusted to my liking I will size it for its intended purpose for the web it will be downsized and for printing it will most likely be uprez to it's printing size after the image is sized for its intended purpose I will sharpen it for its finale output then apply any creative sharpening if needed. For images sized for the web I will duplicate the BG layer and using a selection and mask apply smart sharpening again to the subject only with the following settings in basic mode, remove lens blur, and the more accurate box checked, the amount and radius depends on the subject a good starting point for avian subject is amount 50-100 and a radius between .03-.05 for landscapes I will usually have several layers and mask with different amounts and radius. When I am happy with the overall sharpness of the image I might add a touch more sharpening to certain parts of the image to make them standout to the viewer, like the eyes of birds and mammals the wings of dragonflies a specific rock in a landscape. For images that are to be printed I do the creative sharpening step first and to be honest I cheat and use a sharpening plugin since there are so many variables and I do not do a lot of printing I will use PhotoKit which allows me to choose printing method, image resolution, and paper choice which all impacts the amount of sharpening needed.

      Some helpful hints:
      Do not sharpen the BG, out of focus areas, and areas of solid color since there is no detail in these areas you will only be sharpening noise and enhancing it ( really important to any 7D users or other high MP cameras)
      Try to keep as much of you're sharpening on layers so you can control both areas effected and strength with the opacity slider
      When downsizing I feel you get a better image from using the Bicubic method in PS
      Any image that is resized will need additional sharpening to offset the effects of resizing
      To help avoid halos change the blending mode to luminosity on you're sharpening layer
      Also to help avoid halos use a selection of the subject and feather it slightly
      You can also use a mask and a soft edge brush to paint in the sharpening effect quick and dirty and works well on landscapes
      While I do not use USM to sharpen it applies a nice tonal contrast at the following settings amount 10, radius 60, threshold 0. change the radius setting to change the effect ( which begs the question is it really a sharpening filter or a contrast filter )
      Use creative sharpening to control where your viewers eyes travel within the frame, a viewers eye will always travel to the brightest and sharpest areas of a frame, one of the reasons I never sharpen the perch or ground surrounding my subjects.
      Here is a link to a great series of articles on sharpening that go into much greater detail then what I have outline here covering everything from high pass sharpening to sharpening in the LAB color space . http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/s...1/sharpen1.htm
      Also a nice explanation of USM here if you read the bottom section it goes into deconvolution also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsharp_masking

      What I learned form the other thread:
      That sharpening your image before resizing will result in a shaper image at its finale size but it will still need additional sharpening ( don't take my word for it do what I did and try it your self you do not have to be an expert to see with your own eyes)
      That Richardson-Lucy deconvolution has a lot of potential but does not readily fit into my workflow so i will keep researching it. (all my research so far shows it being used on star images)
      There is no miracle fixed to an unsharp image so still your best bet is to get it right in camera
      Those still interested in Richardson-Lucy can download these images sharpen with that method and make your own conclusions
      This article was originally published in forum thread: My Sharpening Workflow started by Don Lacy View original post
    • Most Recent Threads

      Gerald Kelberg

      Juvenile Delinquent Kea

      Thread Starter: Gerald Kelberg

      The title is on the premise that everyone know's how mischievous the New Zealand Kea can be. In fact, prior to my taking this shot, a Kea stole the packaged

      Last Post By: Gerald Kelberg Today, 04:07 PM Go to last post
      Andreas Liedmann

      King Cormorant

      Thread Starter: Andreas Liedmann

      Hi folks ... back to the good old days , LOL .
      Great times on the Falklands back in 2012 .... oh man wish I had today's knowledge and kit

      Last Post By: Gerald Kelberg Today, 03:48 PM Go to last post
      Gabriela Plesea

      Polenstwa 2013

      Thread Starter: Gabriela Plesea

      Hello Everyone,

      Thought I'd share something with you tonight...This is my first post on BPN Wildlife in May 2013. Not going to say more,

      Last Post By: Gerald Kelberg Today, 04:20 PM Go to last post
      Ilija Dukovski

      Caranculated caracaras

      Thread Starter: Ilija Dukovski

      I got this pair with a great name, Carunculated caracaras, in Ecuador, near the volcano Cotopaxi last January.

      Nikon D850, Nikkor 200-500mm

      Last Post By: Gerald Kelberg Today, 03:42 PM Go to last post
      Daniel Cadieux

      Chestnut-sided Warbler In A Cedar

      Thread Starter: Daniel Cadieux

      When this little guy adopted this cedar as a perch for a few moments, I thought it looked neat surrounded by all the green leaves. I got a few more traditional

      Last Post By: Andreas Liedmann Today, 10:25 AM Go to last post
      William Dickson


      Thread Starter: William Dickson

      Canon R6
      f/4 400mm DO Mk2
      ISO 1600

      This is one from last week at the set up. I was getting the usual

      Last Post By: Daniel Cadieux Today, 04:14 PM Go to last post
      Gabriela Plesea

      Kruger Lioness

      Thread Starter: Gabriela Plesea

      Hello Everyone,

      Just sharing a simple image of a relaxed lioness tonight, it was captured in the Kruger Park last month. We had lots of

      Last Post By: Gabriela Plesea Today, 01:30 PM Go to last post
      Andreas Liedmann

      Red Squirrel Jump XV

      Thread Starter: Andreas Liedmann

      Hi folks ... one of the earlier shots without a nut in the mouth , different more " cluttered " BG as the foliage was closer to the subject

      Last Post By: Andreas Liedmann Yesterday, 10:55 AM Go to last post
      William Dickson

      Baby Eider

      Thread Starter: William Dickson

      Canon R6
      f/4 400mm DO Mk2 at 560mm
      ISO 1000

      More of a fun image I suppose. I had to laugh whilst photographing.

      Last Post By: Andreas Liedmann Today, 10:27 AM Go to last post
      Andreas Liedmann

      European Kingfisher ( F ) XVI

      Thread Starter: Andreas Liedmann

      Hi folks ... itīs KF time
      One from earlier this year at a commercial set up ... I do like the spotlight effect , created by the vegetation

      Last Post By: Daniel Cadieux Today, 04:17 PM Go to last post
      Gerald Kelberg

      Kea calling

      Thread Starter: Gerald Kelberg

      While the New Zealand catalog is open, and I am browsing, I thought to share this image of New Zealand's endemic mountain parrot - the Kea. Photographed

      Last Post By: Brian Sump 06-18-2024, 10:23 PM Go to last post
      William Dickson


      Thread Starter: William Dickson

      Canon R6
      f/4 400mm DO Mk2 at 800mm
      ISO 1600

      I'm still spending a lot of time at the local harbour photographing

      Last Post By: Steve Kaluski Today, 12:58 AM Go to last post
      Andreas Liedmann

      Red Squirrel Jump XIV

      Thread Starter: Andreas Liedmann

      Hi all ... after a break back to the jumping Squirrels
      Stopped the shooting at my location , as too many other subjects became interested

      Last Post By: Andreas Liedmann 06-16-2024, 04:26 AM Go to last post
      Andreas Liedmann

      White Throated Dipper IV

      Thread Starter: Andreas Liedmann

      Hi folks ... this time again one of the adults .
      Getting low on a day with an almost plain white sky , was resulting in a river that almost looked

      Last Post By: Andreas Liedmann 06-18-2024, 11:01 AM Go to last post
      Gerald Kelberg

      Salvin's Mollymawk

      Thread Starter: Gerald Kelberg

      Browsing through my old files looking for Giant Petrels, I also came across several images of the Salvin's Mollymawk aka Salvin's Albatross, including

      Last Post By: Gerald Kelberg 06-18-2024, 09:09 AM Go to last post
    Web Analytics