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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberSun 09-Jan-11 10:55 AM
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" Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"


Frederick, US
          

Good Morning All,
I'm trying to improve my CNX2 skills and I'm submitting two images for comments.

The second image is the original. The first reflects after I applied some CNX2 edits. The edits are as follows:

1. Quick Fix Highlight Protection boosted to 25.
2. LCH Master Lightness increased slightly at midpoint of curve.
3. LCH Chroma boosted to the first line above the midpoint (not sure how to correctly state this?).
4. Color Booster increased to 19.
5. 2 Color Control Points applied: The first is to increase exposure/brightness on the right side of the street. The second is to decrease brightness of the steeple on the left side.
6. Crop.

My primary objectives here were to achieve a proper even exposure and to add some punch to the image. I realize that there is some redundancy in using the Chroma LCH as well as the color booster, so I'm suspecting that my workflow here is inefficient. It's also strange that in the images that I've posted here, I cannot see the effects of the color control point on the right side of the street. I'm wondering if my crop somehow negated that control point. My cropping was the very last step.

I'd love some pointers. What would you have done differently?

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland





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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Sun 09-Jan-11 02:43 PM
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#1. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 09-Jan-11 02:46 PM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

It doesn’t look bad but it is still a bit flat. After taking care of the Highlight Protection step I would use the Levels and Curves (in Quick Fix pane) and add some contrast to the overall image.

The curve applied here…




In my work flow using Levels to set the Black Point and white Point and then Curves to adjust overall contrast (this usually brings out your colors) is almost always my first steps. The only things that I may put ahead of Levels & Curves are things like Highlight/Shadow Protection, Exposure Compensation or White Balance.

PS I also converted the profile from Adobe RGB to sRGB for web posting.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberSun 09-Jan-11 03:43 PM
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#2. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 1


Frederick, US
          

Dave,

Thank you, that's the type of input I'm looking for. Question; if you apply levels & curves correctly, is there usually still a need for an additional step such as color booster? I realize each image is different, and the answer is probably "it depends", but as a rule, would applying levels and curves add enough vibrance or punch to an image without further adjustments?

And yes, I did forget to convert to sRGB.

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 09-Jan-11 07:15 PM
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#3. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 2


Kingston, CA
          

Hi Jerry. They way I see it: it depends. Two things to consider:

1. after a levels and curves adjustement the colour may be off
2. what is the intent of the photograph? is it supposed to be a vivid club scene or a serene landscape?

I processed your image for just a few minutes. I found it overexposed in the upper half (on my uncalibrated monitor) so applied a darkening curve adjustement and then a "plus gradient" to the sky to about half-way down. I bumped up "shadow protection". I added a few control points to the sky to darken it here and there and give it a bit more character. I found the brick on the left too saturated orange so dropped a control point there and edged down the saturation. I straightened the horizon and added a -22 distortion control - it just looked better to me and the vertical lines on the left of the image straightened up.

Cheers,
Peter




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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberSun 09-Jan-11 09:37 PM
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#4. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 3


Frederick, US
          

Peter,
Thanks, yours definitely looks better than what I posted in my OP. I'm at another computer, so I cannot share the improvements that I processed after my OP. I'm not experienced with levels and curves so I started playing around. I dropped a neutral gray point in the middle of the road in the image, and it rendered a pleasing (at least to my eye) warm cast. I also tried to emulate Dave's curve that he shared in his post above. I'm getting better. Now for the dumb question: I understand the "curve" reference in Levels and Curves, but what are we referring to when we state level?

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 09-Jan-11 11:37 PM
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#6. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 4


Kingston, CA
          

>Now for the
>dumb question: I understand the "curve" reference
>in Levels and Curves, but what are we referring to when we
>state level?

No such thing as a dumb question!

I believe "levels" refers the sliders on the horizontal and vertical axis of the curves chart. There are five of them in Capture NX2. They are little triangles, some black, some white. In the documentation they are called the Black and White Output Sliders and the Black, Mid-point, and White Sliders.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Sun 09-Jan-11 11:52 PM
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#7. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 4


Lowden, US
          

“…what are we referring to when we state level?”

The basic purpose of the Levels adjustment is to define the area were true black (the black point) and true white (the white point) show up in the image.

Below is a histogram from one of my shots. Notice that there is a large gap on both the right and left sides between the graph and the end walls. This shows that the blacks in the image are being displayed as a dark gray and the whites are displayed as a light gray.



When you drag the sliders over to meet the histogram you are defining the ends of the chart as the black and white points. You can (and many people prefer to) use the Gray Point, Black Point and White Point tools to chose these areas in the image and you will get a similar result. I tend to use the Levels sliders as below…



Sometimes it can help an image to move the left hand slider a little past the end of the chart. This can make the image more contrast and add some pop. This is a case by case thing though as it can be a bit over the top on some images.




Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Mon 10-Jan-11 07:40 PM
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#13. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 7


Tucson AZ, US
          

In his CNX2 book, Jason Odell states that Levels and curves "affect color," while the LCH editor (operating on "Master lightness") affects only luminance, "preserving color." Since reading his book, I have used LCH exclusively for modifying both global and local contrast. I have not fully understanding why, but I trust that Jason knows what he's talking about.

Of course "color" is a rather imprecise term, so here are my findings, based on experiments with the LCH color model.

* When you push the black point in Levels and curves, Chroma increases. That is, colors become more saturated; they do not tend toward black.
* When you push the black point in the LCH editor, Luminence decreases, and colors go toward true black.

If you push the white point in curves, and chroma decreases. Colors become less saturated, tending to white. If you push it in LCH, luminence increases, and colors also go to white.

Of course I wonder whether this it makes any practical difference which tool you use when working on a real photograph like the OP's, or only when doing the most demanding studio work.

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 10:06 PM
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#17. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 13


San Jose, US
          

Luminance is the level of light at a point, so zero is black and in an 8 bit image white would be 255. Color is not effected because Luminance contains no color. on the other hand when you work in RGB each color point has a hue, and luminance attached to it. So black is 0,0,0 and white is 255, 255, 255. As you adjust the values of the R,G,B channels you are effecting not only the lightness but the color value of that point. So that is why Photoshop professionals work in LAB space because it separates light levels from color, the same is in the LCH tool in CNX2. The LCH tool also lets you adjust Chroma (saturation of a particular color, Color lightness (or darkness) and Hue (you can change one color to another ( very hard to do in RGB without artifacts but very easy in LAB space and LCH.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 02:38 PM
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#38. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 17
Tue 11-Jan-11 02:47 PM by pwarbeck

Tucson AZ, US
          

Good explanation. I did the following experiment. Starting with the same photo, I varied the black point from 0 to 224 in increments of 32 using (a) Levels and curves ("RGB") (b) LCH editor ("Master lightness").


(a) Levels and curves


(b) LCH editor

As you can see in the second filmstrip, pushing the black point in LCH is like dimming the lights; the subject gets darker but the colors don't change. With Levels and curves, the colors become increasingly saturated as the scene darkens. I think this is what Jason Odell means when he says using the LCH editor "preserves color."


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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 09:26 PM
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#41. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 38


Gainesville, US
          

Ahhh, pictures versus words. Thanks for graphically demonstrating the use of these two tools.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 12-Jan-11 12:11 PM
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#45. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 38


Kingston, CA
          

>Good explanation. I did the following experiment. Starting

Thanks for doing that and sharing it! It is a valuable example to study and understand. Peter

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Sun 09-Jan-11 11:02 PM
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#5. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 2


Lowden, US
          

More often the not Levels and Curves get the image pretty close to what I want. I will usually use color control points to work on local areas were the color is not quit right.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
"My most important photographic investment, after the camera"

My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Showcase your best work in any of our 7 Monthly Nikonians Photo contests.


Wildlife | Landscape | Macro | Sports | Travel | Online Assignments | Best of Nikonians 2014

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 02:08 AM
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#8. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

Jerry I am not on my main computer as it has been having a bit of a memory manager crashing problem recently, so I shut it down as so far I have not found the exact problem that is causing it, so I can;t process your image, but I can offer some comments.

While I can;t see the exposure curve, the original looks a little over exposed, especially in the sky,and some of the whites on the left side look close to blow out.

So if I opened this image, here is what steps I would have followed:

Double checked WB, and maybe try cloudy WB to see if it looked better.
Double check picture control, most likely would have tried Landscape.
Depending on ISO shot adjust or accept default noise reduction.
Open Quick Fix and look at exposure curve. Does it extend to both ends? Is it stacked up on either end? I usually do not do any extensive curve adjustments in Quick Fix as it is a global change. I also do not set B&W points here as I prefer other tools, but if the curve was too far right or did not extend to the ends you could make adjustments here. You boosted Highlight protection to 25. I try and limit that adjustment to a max of 32, because I think it starts looking hokey past that. But I would at least look at highlights and shadows in the view command and see if either was excessive. In this case I think i would have adjusted the exposure slider down a little while I had the highlights view open to reduce the highlights showing there.

The next thing I would do is use the double threshold tool to set B&W points. You can do this in Quick Fix, but using double Threshold you get to pick the exact meaningful B&W point in your image. This is often enough to make your image look a lot better, because as you set B&W points CNX2 will redistribute the colors and luminosity settings across your image, taking advantage of the fullest range possible. The CNX2 help file will tell you how to pick these points and set them. But essentially you check the double threshold box and then move the points on either end of the graph so that you just see the start of the Black and white points in your image. Double check that this is a key point in your image that you want black or white and then click the B&W eyedroppers on these points to set them. What I usually do is use the magnifying glass to to expand the area and then raise or lower the numbers in the boxes below the curve until I only have one pixel left and that is the one I click. Now uncheck the box and see how the image looks.


Now is the time to consider curve adjustments. You boosted midpoints and also used color booster. I do not think I would have done either. When you work with curves, if you want the most contrast and separation among colors you want to steepen the curves. Most people apply what is called an S curve to do this. You would raise the midpoint on an image that looked dark in the mid tones, but I don't think you have that problem.

How does look now? Here is where we start doing selective adjustments and the best tool to do this is actually color and control points. How doers the sky look now, too light? drop a few color control points on it click on advanced and pick a sky color you like in the view you will see. Make other adjustments as you see fit.

You never talked about sharpening. You should do a capture sharpening at the beginning and do a final sharpening at the end and then crop as required.

I hope this lengthy email helps.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Mon 10-Jan-11 12:52 PM
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#10. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 8


Tucson AZ, US
          

Great post with a lot of good information. You said "do a capture sharpening at the beginning." I thought you had to do it as the last step, after other adjustments, and just before resizing and output sharpening. I would be glad to hear that capture sharpening can be done at any time prior to resizing, because having to do something last is always such a constraint.

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 08:00 PM
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#14. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 10


San Jose, US
          

Sharpening takes many forms. If your camera uses standard picture controls, that you have not modified, some level of sharpening is already applied and this is called capture sharpening. The various picture controls have different Capture sharpening values. Many of us set this to zero upon opening our images by using revised Picture controls where sharpening has been taken to zero and then we add an edit step that applies what we believe is a good starting point for capture sharpening. final sharpening is dependent upon the final purpose of the image as a post to the web will have a different sharpening level than a print, a print usually being sharpened more, or as you have pointed out when you resize an image.

Bob Baldassano
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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Mon 10-Jan-11 11:51 PM
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#20. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 14


Tucson AZ, US
          

People who shoot raw should know that it's best to set camera sharpening to zero in CNX2 Camera settings and do capture sharpening as an adjustment step using Focus -> USM. But the question was: must capture sharpening be the LAST adjustment step before resizing, or doesn't it matter?

I think the answer is that it doesn't matter if (a) you have a fast processor and lots of memory or (b) you uncheck "Keep all steps active in edit list." Otherwise, doing it as an an early step will kill performance because USM is so compute-intensive.

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 12:46 AM
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#22. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 20


San Jose, US
          

John I disagree. Capture sharpening, whether you apply your own or use what is in a picture control is a low level of sharpening and should be done early. You need to be able to see the effect of that sharpening to determine if you need any local sharpening or blurring adjustments to your image. All of the effects interact, so by laying down your edit steps in order from global to selective you get the best control over the overall image.Final or output sharpening is another story, that should occur near the end of your process. I have never noticed any performance hit due to sharpening,there are many other tools in CNX2 that will bog down a computer more. Anyone trying to use CNX2 with less than 2 GB will have problems. It is always better to have at least 4 GB and if you are running a 64 bit system at least 8 GB, even thought CNX2 can't use more than 4 GB, your system will perform better.

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 01:54 AM
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#27. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 22


Tucson AZ, US
          

In his CNX2 Sharpening video, Jason Odell does capture sharpening as the last adjustment step, but he doesn't say why. I was guessing it had to do with performance. However Jason leaves camera sharpening on until he is ready to do capture sharpening! That way, he works with a sharp image in the earlier adjustment steps. As you point out, it is important to have a relatively sharp image when applying other adjustments. So his solution has it both ways!

I think this is a very useful discussion.

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 01:06 AM
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#25. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 20
Tue 11-Jan-11 03:51 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

I agree with Bob.

Capture Sharpening Needs to be done at the start of your work flow before starting any local or selective editing.

Selective Sharpening and/or Creative Sharpening needs to be done after of your global adjustment if needed.

Output Sharpening should be the last step before producing your final output.

--------------------->>

People who shoot raw should know that it's best to set camera sharpening to zero in CNX2 Camera settings and do capture sharpening as an adjustment step using Focus -> USM.

I also disagree with this statement.

As both Bob and I have pointed out Capture Sharpening is a low level (not aggressive) application of Sharpening.

While it is true that USM will give you more control many images (the vast majority of my images) do not require such control over this level of sharpening. The primary reason that I would choose USM over in-camera sharpening is if I need to control image noise. If noise is not an issue then the in-camera sharpening is adequate for the task of Capture Sharpening.

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 02:31 AM
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#31. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 25
Tue 11-Jan-11 02:33 AM by pwarbeck

Tucson AZ, US
          

Camera sharpening is global capture sharpening. As you say, for many images it's good enough. But with with camera sharpening, you can only control intensity. For these reasons (global, limited control), it is often recommended to do capture sharpening as an adjustment step.

Using USM, you have control over radius and threshold as well as intensity. When done as an adjustment step, it is possible to sharpen selectively. For example, if you sharpen in order to bring out fine detail in foliage, then foliage lying against the sky may exhibit halos. Drop a minus selection control point in the sky and the halos disappear. Or, if sharpening creates noise in the sky, sharpen the sky selectively with a high threshold. Both of these are examples of selective capture sharpening. We choose to do them when global camera sharpening is not good enough. I would not call either creative sharpening.




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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 03:59 AM
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#32. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 31
Tue 11-Jan-11 04:01 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

Camera sharpening is global capture sharpening. As you say, for many images it's good enough. But with with camera sharpening, you can only control intensity. For these reasons (global, limited control), it is often recommended to do capture sharpening as an adjustment step.

I know what you are getting at BUT...

The purpose of Capture Sharpening is to reverse the effect of the AA filter. It IS and should be a global adjustment.

With this degree of sharpening the extra control afforded by using USM has little usefulness unless you have specific problems that need to be addressed. The primary reason USM is recommended is to control noise. If you have noise in an image any sharpening step will make the noise more visible. With USM you can use a smaller radius so that the sharpening has less effect on the noise. If the image is noise free then the radius is not as important.

Another thing to consider is that the in-camera sharpening was designed by people who know exactly how the AA filter affects the image. These in-camera setting were designed to provide optimal capture sharpening based upon the strength of the AA filter.

Your second paragraph you talk about selective sharpening. You are right that what you describe is NOT Creative Sharpening but it is also NOT Capture sharpening it IS Selective Sharpening.

In the post above that you responded to I listed both Selective Sharpening and Creative Sharpening as two separate items (I edited it to be more clear) that both fit in the same area of the work flow. Selective Sharpening needs to be done separately and after Capture Sharpening using a tool such as USM that give you full control.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that my way is best. Using camera sharpening is one of 4 or 5 ways to deal with Capture Sharpening. What works best for one person or one image may not work well for someone else of a different image.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 05:20 AM
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#33. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 32


Tucson AZ, US
          

Let me see if I understand. You define capture sharpening as global sharpening intended to deal with the effects of anti-aliasing which is by definition "low level" and "not aggressive" and something that the camera itself can do pretty well most of the time. You distinguish it from selective sharpening, which is done as an adjustment step, typically with USM. This is a useful distinction. I had previously considered both to be "capture sharpening."

I have found that I can always do a better job of sharpening than my camera -- at least one that is more to my taste . I therefore always zero out camera sharpening and replace it with a USM adjustment step. I think you would call such a step "capture sharpening." If I need some selective sharpening, I add one or more USM or high-pass adjustment steps, each involving some kind of selection.

You say the the primary purpose of USM is to control noise. While I agree that it can be used for this, I don't think that is its primary purpose. I believe its primary purpose is to enhance detail -- either low frequency detail (like contours) or high frequency detail (like surface texture). Within a given scene, you may have areas of both kinds. This calls for selective application of USM in separate adjustment steps, one for each area, each with different intensity and radius.




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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 05:48 AM
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#34. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 33


Lowden, US
          

“I have found that I can always do a better job of sharpening than my camera -- at least one that is more to my taste. I therefore always zero out camera sharpening and replace it with a USM adjustment step. I think you would call such a step "capture sharpening." If I need some selective sharpening, I add one or more USM or high-pass adjustment steps, each involving some kind of selection.”

Yes, now we are on the same page.

“You say the primary purpose of USM is to control noise.”

Only in the context of Capture Sharpening.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 01:50 PM
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#37. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 34


Tucson AZ, US
          

Great. Just one final question: Can you explain how USM "controls noise" in the context of capture sharpening? Do you mean we can use USM to AVOID sharpening noise by using a higher threshold than camera would have used in its sharpening algorithm?

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 03:34 PM
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#39. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 37


Lowden, US
          

Yes

Noise can be exaggerated by sharpening so having control of the radius and threshold can help you avoid this.

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Lowden, Iowa
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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 10:59 PM
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#18. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 10


Lowden, US
          

The purpose of capture sharpening is to counter the effect of the cameras anti-aliasing filter. Ideally it should be amongst the first steps in post processing. It is a global adjustment and usually not applied very aggressively.

Since I process in Capture NX I tend to use the Picture Control Sharpening for my Capture Sharpening. More often than not the in-camera sharpening is adequate for this portion of my workflow. The exception is if I have shot at high ISO or I have underexposed images were noise may be an issue. If noise is an issue I will turn off the in-camera sharpening and use Unsharp Mask as it offers more control and helps keep the noise at bay.

There are many forms of sharpening and several processes to accomplish each one. Reading about all of the different approaches available can make sharpening seem much more complex than it needs to be.

Capture Sharpening and Output Sharpening are needed with all digital images. Capture Sharpening is the least aggressive and should be applied near the start of the workflow. Output sharpening needs to be the last step after an image has been processed and sized for final output.

Creative or localized sharpening (or softening) can be applied at just about any point in the workflow.

Frankly, I feel that many people get a little crazy about sharpening. It is a necessary and important part of the process but most of the complex sharpening routines that are prescribed on line are shaped around controlling noise. If you are shooting at low ISOs some of the more complex sharpening routines can be overkill.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 11:00 PM
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#19. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 8


Lowden, US
          

Great post Bob! Thank you for this very useful info.

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Lowden, Iowa
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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 12:37 AM
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#21. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 19


San Jose, US
          

Thanks Dave

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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberMon 10-Jan-11 10:46 AM
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#9. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0


Frederick, US
          

Peter, Dave, Bob,
Thank you again for taking the time (and having the patience) to help me on this. The one challenge I always had with CNX2 is that while I had an average understanding of the app enough to make the basic adjustments to an image, I never was able to develop an efficient uniform workflow as a startpoint for all images. I always seem to be all over the map, trying different things for each picture. Not a bad thing, I guess, but I never "settled down". I want my approach to be more organized. Bob, I'm going to print your reply and keep it handy so I have an idea as to one approach to take when post-processing. If the cold weather ever breaks here in the Mid-Atlantic, I'll go take some other pictures to practice.

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 02:36 PM
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#11. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 9


Alberta, CA
          

Super thread Jerry, Dave, Peter, Bob. Good to see different and thought provoking methods.

For S-curve adjustments i usually just do a rote formulaic approach where i apply a pull down point near the lower left and a push up point near the upper right. Dave you seem to have picked these pull-down and push-up points in conjunction with the specific histogram for this image - is that a recommended method?

I also share Pwarbeck's question.

Thanks very much, very interesting!

Best regards, SteveK

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 06:39 PM
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#12. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 11


Lowden, US
          

I usually start by pulling down on the left usually at about the point show in the curve in post #1. I always have a hard time deciding were to start when pulling the mid-tones. There are many of my images were I don’t adjust the top of the curve at all.

When I make the left side adjustment I watch both the image and the curve. Often, but not always, the curve will fallow the contour of the histogram. Then I can use that to help guide adjustment on the right side always watching the effect on the image.

I use Levels and Curves as a global adjustment so I am trying to set the overall contrast and give me a good starting point for making more localized adjustments using controlpoints.

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 09:55 PM
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#16. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 11


San Jose, US
          

Steve while a rote approach will work sometimes, and most images will benefit from the application of an S curve, you need to tie what you adjust directly to points on your image. if you lower a point on the curve you will darken that point in the image and maybe lose detail in shadows, if you raise a point you will lighten that point in your image and maybe blow out detail. If you steepen a curve betwen 2 points you will increase contrast and separate colors more, if you flatten a curve, the reverse happens. Many of the tools in CNX2 are carryovers from CNX and are standard tools that you will find in most post processing SW. But making use of color and control points is actgually a much better way to adjust your images as you can control size, hue, saturation, brightness, contrast, red, green, blue, and warmth, all at one point.

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DNissen Registered since 18th Jan 2006Sun 17-Apr-11 06:57 PM
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#54. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 11


Cranbury, US
          


>For S-curve adjustments i usually just do a rote formulaic
>approach where i apply a pull down point near the lower left
>and a push up point near the upper right.

No. You have a fixed amount of contrast to allocate over the whole dynamic range of the image. You want to put it where it does the most good.

Load a Curves layer. Find the object(s) of interest in the image. Ctl-Click (PC) on the darkest element of the object of interest. This will place a control point in the curve. Pull down to taste. Find the lightest element in the object of interest. Ctl-Click and move up. You have now placed the steepest part of the curve so as to maximize the dynamic range of the object of interest. (A "standard" S-curve puts this in the midrange, which may or may not be where you want it.) (I do this in PS. I assume it works in CNX2.)

Before you do this, correct the dark and light points to fill the dynamic range.

David Nissen
BearPrint Images

David Nissen


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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Mon 10-Jan-11 09:43 PM
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#15. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 9


San Jose, US
          

Jerry being all over the map is a bad thing, it will lead to less than ideal processing and usually doing too much of the wrong things to an image. The very first thing you should do on opening an image is ask yourself what is wrong with it if anything? then you need a plan on how you intend to fix the image. In your case image over exposed,sky too light, low contrast, one side of street too light, some whites blown out, etc. What could fix this? Change WB, change Picture control. Low exposure, set B&W points, adjust curves, etc. CNX2 is set up to lead you down a path that starts with global adjustments to very specific and selective edits. This is the path you want to follow. Often a few preliminary steps will make the image perfect and you are done. Playing with curves, etc before you have set W &B points is counter productive. As you progress in the use of the tools you will learn which ones will give you the results you want.

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Tue 11-Jan-11 12:49 AM
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#23. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 9


Kingston, CA
          

>Peter, Dave, Bob,
>Thank you again for taking the time (and having the patience)
>to help me on this. The one challenge I always had with CNX2

Hi Jerry. I have been using Capture NX2 for over two years and am learning new stuff almost every day. If reading is a learning mode that works for you, I strongly recommend these resources which I have bought:

- Jason Odell's ebook: Guilde to Capture NX2
- Mike Hagen's book: Nikon Capture NX2 After the Shoot

Both of these books discuss a basic flow.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberTue 11-Jan-11 10:11 AM
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#35. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 23


Frederick, US
          

Peter,
Thanks, I do have both of those books. I've owned Jason's book for several years, bought it when I first acquired and used CNX2; I just finished re-reading it cover to cover since I came back to CNX2 about 2 weeks ago. I just purchased Mike Hagan's book and have started reading it.

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 12:49 AM
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#24. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

Jerry I want to thank you for posting your images. I cannot think of a better way for all of us to learn how to use CNX2 better than for people to post images they have processed and ask questions about what they did. Too bad Nikonians does not let us post NEF's as that way we could provide better examples of how to fix an image. It takes guts to show all your warts and I think the group owes you a hand for being open to comments.

Bob Baldassano
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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 01:09 AM
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#26. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 24


Lowden, US
          

I think the group owes you a hand for being open to comments.

I Agree!

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberTue 11-Jan-11 10:20 AM
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#36. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 24
Tue 11-Jan-11 10:21 AM by JerryLoSardo

Frederick, US
          

Bob,
My pleasure. Not taking anything away from Jason's efforts, but I learned more from this thread than I would have from re-reading his book a third time. I'm grateful to those who jumped on board to state what they would have done differently, especially you, Dave and Peter. When you're relatively new to post processing, you feel a need to use as many tools that the app makes available, otherwise you feel that you may have "missed" something. The main thing I learned from this thread is to decide how you want an image to look, devise a plan within CNX2 to get there, and then to execute that plan in as few steps as possible. And finally, to discipline yourself so that you don't constanly over-tweak the image.

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 06:07 PM
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#40. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 36


San Jose, US
          

Jerry you just nailed the process in one sentence!

Bob Baldassano
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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 02:00 AM
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#28. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

Jerry I had a chance to load up your image tonight on my desktop as it hasn't crashed so far and sure enough as I expected your image is overexposed and slammed up against the right side. I cannot change the WB and exposure of a JPEG in CNX2 like I would have done a NEF but I did a number of edit tasks to show you what you could do in a few steps. So here is what I did. I went into Quick Fix and adjusted the highlight protection. The very next thing I did was go to Double threshold and set the Black and White points and this made a big change. I then used a NIK polarization filter and tried Pro Contrast NIK filter, but did not like the effect so unchecked it. I then added 2 color control points in the sky clicked on the color picker and picked a light sky tone from the patch of sky tones. I turned down the saturation a bit. I then opened a Color Control point on the orange brick next to the grey building and changed its hue slightly and also reduced saturation. I then decided to add a neutral control point right in the middle of the street. Finally I applied a NIK tonal contrast filter that I discussed here before that does a tri level High Pass sharpening and lowered tsh highlight sharpening a bit to tone down the sky. And that was it, No curve adjustments no pulling highlights or mid point curves up, no NADA. So 7 steps I am done. Could I do better? Sure if I had the NEF and wanted to play some more, but the point is it does not take much to get a good image if you have a process.






Bob Baldassano
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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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verdict Registered since 14th Aug 2012Tue 21-Aug-12 11:45 AM
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#56. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 28


FI
          

Im curious about this picture... how you managed to push so much "microcontrast" out from that flat original picture?

  

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 02:01 AM
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#29. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0


Lowden, US
          

One thing that this tread has pointed out is that there is no one right or wrong way to approach post processing. There are multiple methods that can be used to complete any individual task.

To set the back and white points you can use Levels or if you need more precise control you can use the Double Threshold method described by Bob in post #8 or if you need even more control you can use the LCH editor as described by John in post #13.

In the end all three do basically the same thing, set the overall tonal range, the contrast, color saturation…etc. The best method to use depends on the requirements of the image you are working on and/or your comfort level in using the tools.

I have probably read about 10 different ways to approach Sharpening some more complex than others but not one of them is the one and only right way.

People often get overwhelmed with all of the differing methods when trying to learn to post processes their images. What most need to do is to learn the basics. Such as…

How to understand the histogram.

How levels and curves work and why you are adjusting them.

The difference between Capture Sharpening and Output Sharpening and when to use each.

Once you have learned the basic tool set then you can go in deeper to more complex tool sets to find what you really need to produce image that meet your needs.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
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My Nikonians Gallery | SummersPhotoGraphic.com | My Crated Gallery
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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 11-Jan-11 02:11 AM
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#30. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 29


San Jose, US
          

Dave I totally agree. It is why I generally hate cookbook processing books because the people who use them don't really learn why they are doing things and often mindlessly just move sliders without understanding what is happening. I guess it helps if you are an old dinosaur and actually had a darkroom where you developed and processed images, because it helps you appreciate how easy things are today and how much we have been isolated from having to be truly expert in the craft of processing images. I can now do in seconds and more importantly undo in seconds what might have taken me hours and much wasted film and paper to get the effects I want. So read the manual! Look at on line tutorials and videos. None of this is rocket science, but you do need to spend a little time in trying to understand what the tools do. Go ahead and start out simple and then progress to the more difficult ones. The good news is you are working in RAW and as you get better/smarter, you can come back and do it over and better.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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Just Clickin Gold Member Nikonian since 25th Jun 2009Wed 12-Jan-11 02:44 AM
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#42. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 30


Pensacola, US
          

Great thread! Definitely worth the price of admission.

Tom Wilby

  

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DeanAZ Moderator Expert nature photographer Nikonian since 28th Apr 2007Wed 12-Jan-11 04:15 AM
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#43. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 12-Jan-11 04:17 AM by DeanAZ

Phoenix, US
          

Howdy, Jerry. I hope you don't mind if I jump in also? I did notice the tilt to the left and the distortion from the lens and corrected for those too. Here are my quick steps to solve what I saw. I perhaps did not take the image to as saturated a color level as you did but I thinks this probably accurately reflects the gray day in the scene. I would definitely do some sharpening as a final step after determining the output mode (web, printing, dimensions, etc.) as well.
Contrast +4
Highlight 72
Saturation +14
Straighten 1.56
Distortion -24 (I would normally crop here to eliminate the border)
Are you shooting raw with a Nikon lens? Be sure to use the auto distortion control.
LCH Curve





Dean
Phoenix, Arizona USA
Nikonians Team Member
Website: The Splendid Silence of Light

Recent Trips: Grand Canyon 2012 Glen Canyon 2012 West Clear Creek

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JerryLoSardo Gold Member Charter MemberWed 12-Jan-11 09:19 AM
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#44. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 43


Frederick, US
          

Dean,
Thank you for your input. Question: I never used distortion control. Is that an adjustment that you automatically make on every image? And yes, I was using a Nikon lens.

Jerry LoSardo
Frederick, Maryland

  

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DeanAZ Moderator Expert nature photographer Nikonian since 28th Apr 2007Wed 12-Jan-11 11:34 PM
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#47. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 44


Phoenix, US
          

Distortion control comes in two flavors;

1)Auto-Distortion Control in Camera and Lens Corrections
Works only on raw files and
Only with Nikkor lenses
The new camera bodies can set this to ON automatically
The older bodies don't have this feature and you must turn it on for each file processed, could be done as a batched setting process.
Makes adjustments based on the lens focal length and characteristics at that zoom setting

2)Distortion Control as an edit step
Works on any file type
Simple barrel/pincushion effect
Can't adjust for complex distortion

Don't forget that you can also selectively compensate for the vignette of the lens at that focal length and aperture. This is not something you can set in the camera but must be applied to the raw file manually.


Try it. You'll like it.

Dean
Phoenix, Arizona USA
Nikonians Team Member
Website: The Splendid Silence of Light

Recent Trips: Grand Canyon 2012 Glen Canyon 2012 West Clear Creek

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 12-Jan-11 12:13 PM
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#46. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 43
Wed 12-Jan-11 12:15 PM by PAStime

Kingston, CA
          

>Distortion -24

Interesting. In my post-processing example earlier in the thread I applied -22 distortion control (essentially the same). We saw the same thing and have the same eye!

This thread has valuabe tips buried in it. Did everyone see post #38?

Peter

  

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expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010Mon 11-Apr-11 12:17 PM
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#48. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 46


Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
          

As sharpening and highlights are among several subjects in this thread could I (still learning) ask why when I apply sharpening do highlights increase?
Thanks

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Mon 11-Apr-11 04:12 PM
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#49. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 48
Mon 11-Apr-11 04:13 PM by pwarbeck

Tucson AZ, US
          

Sharpening increases the contrast across edges by darkening one side and lightening the other. You can easily see this by doing really extreme sharpening (USM or High Pass). As a result, you may see highlights developing in areas which are near or at the threshold.

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expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010Mon 11-Apr-11 05:16 PM
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#50. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 49


Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
          

Thanks for that, in this case what is the proper way of dealing with these is a touch on brightness/contrast reasonable when highlights have been dealt with at start of my workflow?

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pwarbeck Silver Member Nikonian since 25th May 2009Mon 11-Apr-11 06:31 PM
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#51. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 50


Tucson AZ, US
          

I'd like to hear other answers (I'm no expert), but here's my two cents.

First, let's be sure we mean the same thing when we talk about "highlights." You often hear the terms highlights, midtones, and shadows. Highlights are simply the brightest areas of your image. A highlight is said to be blown-out if any one of the three channels (R, G, or B) is at the threshold. To see blown-out highlights, you need to look at the individual channels (R, G, and B) separately, not just the combined RGB values that you see when you check the "Double Threshold" box. Typing capital-H on the keyboard will show these using separate colors on a black background. For example, green pixels indicate that the green channel is blown, while yellow indicates that both red and green channels are blown. Hopefully, you will see an entirely black screen, meaning none of the highlights is blown out. Type capital-H again to toggle back into normal mode.

While making global adjustments in the Develop section of the edit list, you can always use the Protect Highlights slider to prevent highlights from blowing out. If your raw data contains blown-out highlights to begin with, there's no way to recover them. You can only try not to make a bad situation worse.

For example, if you want to sharpen highlight areas that contain some blown-out highlights, you could always sharpen those areas selectively using USM in Darken Only mode. This darkens the darker side of the edges, leaving the lighter side unchanged.

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expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010Wed 22-Aug-12 08:03 AM
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#59. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 51
Wed 22-Aug-12 08:10 AM by expat

Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
          

>I'd like to hear other answers (I'm no expert), but here's my
>two cents.
>
>First, let's be sure we mean the same thing when we talk about
>"highlights." You often hear the terms highlights,
>midtones, and shadows. Highlights are simply the brightest
>areas of your image. A highlight is said to be blown-out if
>any one of the three channels (R, G, or B) is at the
>threshold. To see blown-out highlights, you need to look at
>the individual channels (R, G, and B) separately, not just the
>combined RGB values that you see when you check the
>"Double Threshold" box. Typing capital-H on the
>keyboard will show these using separate colors on a black
>background. For example, green pixels indicate that the green
>channel is blown, while yellow indicates that both red and
>green channels are blown. Hopefully, you will see an entirely
>black screen, meaning none of the highlights is blown out.
>Type capital-H again to toggle back into normal mode.
>
>While making global adjustments in the Develop section of the
>edit list, you can always use the Protect Highlights slider to
>prevent highlights from blowing out. If your raw data
>contains blown-out highlights to begin with, there's no way to
>recover them. You can only try not to make a bad situation
>worse.
>
Could you please explain something I cant quite see?
If there are blown highlights on one or more channels does that in itself not mean that the raw date contains blown highlights anyway?
If not how did the blown highlights get there?
Thanks

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FrankSRGB Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Aug 2009Tue 12-Apr-11 09:03 PM
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#52. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 50


US
          

>Thanks for that, in this case what is the proper way of
>dealing with these is a touch on brightness/contrast
>reasonable when highlights have been dealt with at start of my
>workflow?

The best place to deal with these is in your sharpening edit steps. Creating new steps to cover up the faults of others often runs you in circles

To add to what pwarbeck already said, I would suggest that you create 2 identical USM Mask edit steps in CNX. On the 1st edit step use the Lighten blending mode, on the other use the Darken mode. If you're applying this sharpening step locally, you should link both instances in the same edit step so they both can use the same selection.

This gives you control over both the light sharpening contours (halos) that are causing your highlight increase. and the dark contours as well. I suspect that you're not blowing out highlights as much as seeing a general (objectionable) increase in luminance caused by the light contours in your sharpening steps.

I believe if you uncheck the step using the Lighten mode that your objectionable highlight increase will vanish, but as a result your apparent sharpening will be somewhat diminished as well (but not completely because the dark contours are still there). The answer to this rock & hard place situation usually lies somewhere in the middle in the form of a compromise. Generally speaking a simple opacity adjustment is all you need to find a happy balance between the two. And though it's the nature of the light contour in sharpening to introduce some degree of unavoidable "highlight increase", by adjusting its opacity down you should be able to find a point at which the highlight increase is no longer objectionable. Since you have two sharpening steps, you now also have the option to adjust the sharpening Amount, Radius and Threshold independently for each contour if need be. The trick is to adjust the light & dark contours so that neither introduces objectionable artifacts but still sharpens the image. This is of course a subjective process as what is objectionable lies in the eye of the beholder.

However, this isn't as straightforward with High Pass sharpening as it already uses a blending mode (Overlay), but I suppose you could get creative and find a way if you really had to.

Regards,
Frank

  

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expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010Wed 13-Apr-11 07:18 AM
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#53. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 52


Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
          

Thanks for comprhensive 'sharpening' answers,plenty to go on but much cleare now.

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verdict Registered since 14th Aug 2012Tue 21-Aug-12 11:30 AM
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#55. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 53
Tue 21-Aug-12 12:30 PM by verdict

FI
          

This was superb thread, even tho I've used CNX2 for couple years now, I still learned new things!

Now I am really curious about UnSharpMask (abbrv USM doesn't open to everyone!) and Highpass .. and differences between them. How should I use them, when and specially.. WHY!? Knowing the "best" method in different situations is key for proper postprosessing.

But I guess that in many fields, best method is that what is most familiar to you. But challenging yourself to use better methods (in terms of technology) is also important!

I may start new thread about this matter, so we can discuss this USM vs HP in proper context.

Second thing, I am really eager to start planning my workflow better! These new things that I don't fully understand (Capture Sharpening, Output Sharpening?), are important steps to plan right!

If I understood right, capture sharpening "must" done before rest of editing, right? And idea to balance the antialiasing-filter from camera? Should I remove my camera sharpening totally? I think that I must try this out, and test if it sits to my workflows.

Again, output sharpning is done to cropped, "final" image.. so you may call this to one of the very last steps to picture, before you publish it?

Third, creative sharpening is to draw focus to pictures key elements, like eyes, waterdrops, etc. that needs lot of focus and they are more likely to be center of viewers focus, you want those things to be crystal clear and razor sharp?

I'm so full of ideas currently, this is so motivating! Thank you guys.

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 21-Aug-12 11:37 PM
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#57. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 55


San Jose, US
          

We did discuss sharpening in another thread, but that does not stop you from starting a new post. CNX2 has been improved since this thread started. As far as capture sharpening goes. I have customized all my picture controls in CNX2 to remove sharpening. That is the area I look at first selecting the best Picture Control for the image with sharpening off. I then usually adjust highlights and shadows and pick my black, white and if necessary grey points and then I run a capture sharpen. From there I proceed with all my other edits and then do a final sharpening which may include a number of methods or multiple sharpenings done on a selective basis. There are many tricks to draw the eye where you want it in the photo, they include selective sharpening, lightening the area of interest and darkening the area around it. CNX2 gives you so many ways to do stuff that as you learn it is best to just experiment and see what you get. You can always undo it easily and it is a great way to learn how the process works. Some of my best images came about by my fooling with some adjustment and getting some surprise result that I had not anticipated.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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verdict Registered since 14th Aug 2012Wed 22-Aug-12 06:58 AM
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#58. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 57


FI
          

Thanks Bob for describing your workflow! I think I have to write my own workflow down, and ask some feedback for that... there's nothing that Nikonians can't fix, right?

One thing that I've learned during dark ages (read: Paint Shop Pro 4.0 and later) that testing new ways to get in same result is one of the most educational ways to achieve PP-skills.

Nowdays, I'm having less time to PP because photographing itself takes most of my times, and I'm going to be something called part-time pro.. I have several paid shoots per year, but it still gives me a lot of time to really get into the PP when talking about paying customers products. I can trick&try/fail/learn/ with my own pictures, but when talking about paid products, I want to use the "best" ways to achieve professional looking end products to my customers.

I have still lot to learn with CNX2, and threads like this is leading the way.

  

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ColColt Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Aug 2008Wed 22-Aug-12 05:01 PM
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#60. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 58


Knoxville, US
          

I've read over most all of this great thread and from what I've gleaned from it is that if you shoot in RAW to not set any in cameara sharpening but rather do any final sharpening in USM. Is that a valid statement? I've been using a mid way point, I don't have my camera in front of me so don't recall the exact choice name, and wondered if I needed to change it.





My goal in life is to be the person my dog already thinks I am.

Children are for people who can't have dogs. ~Author Unknown

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Thu 23-Aug-12 12:06 AM
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#61. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 60


San Jose, US
          

You could do it that way, but I don't. In camera all my Picture Controls have sharpening. Since I shoot in RAW I am free to change that in post which is what I do. By having sharpening set in camera, it gives you a better idea of how your image will look as sharpening is applied to the JPEG view you see on the camera monitor. But in camera sharpening is final sharpening and when you do two step sharpening e.g. Capture and Final sharpening you are only doing a slight sharpening of the overall image with Capture sharpening, but you now have the option to apply multiple sharpening methods selectively for final sharpening.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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ColColt Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Aug 2008Thu 23-Aug-12 11:31 PM
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#62. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 61


Knoxville, US
          

I checked my settings and it's at +1 sharpness but, I always tweak that a bit in final sharpening. I set the Radius and Threshold usually to about five and adjust till I get the desired sharpening with the Intensity without going overboard.




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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Fri 24-Aug-12 01:46 AM
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#63. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 62
Fri 24-Aug-12 01:47 AM by robsb

San Jose, US
          

You can go much higher in CNX2. The scale is not the same as the Adobe products. Here is one where my initial USM settings were Intensity 40, Radius 7, threshold 4. I also used the Nik Contrast Filter with all sliders set around 30 and then did a final USM with Intensity 17, Radius 93 and threshold 18.



This is a hand held available light shot at ISO 8000 with D700 and 17 to 35 f/2.8 zoom at f/4, 1/60. This is pushing the limits of the camera

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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Fri 24-Aug-12 03:08 AM
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#64. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 63


Alberta, CA
          

Boy, for ISO 8000 on the D700 that is incredible - job well done!

I am curious about the higher Radius of 7 in the first pass and then the Radius 93 and threshold 18 in the last pass.

I think super high Radius is useful in high ISO is that correct? I have a 15,50,10 setting that I have used in higher ISO where I have a blurred subject due to subject motion or missed focus.

Anyhow I am interested in your thoughts.

BTW, I just tried 40,7,4 followed by 17, 93, 18 on an ISO 3200 Nikon 1 V1 that was pushed a further 1/2 stop in post and that was rather noisy using conventional sharpening. I believe it is quite improved, here it is:



Best regards, SteveK

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Fri 24-Aug-12 08:13 AM
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#65. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 64


San Jose, US
          

Steve the two different USM's reflect different techniques. I learned both of them from "Photoshop LAB Color" by Dan Margulis and adapted them to my CNX2 methods.

Normal sharpening will emphasize edges and will use low radius and high amounts or intensity. The other technique called hiraloam or high radius and low amount/intensity gives shape.It is very useful for things that don't have sharp edges like water and also when used in combination with normal sharpening will really work on giving dimension to faces. And yes using hiraloam sharpening will allow you to sharpen noisy images often associated with higher ISO's where normal sharpening would just emphasize that noise.

Your photo looks great. I highly recommend Dan Margulis' books as they give you great insight as to how things work in Photoshop which is also applicable to many things in CNX2. BTW thanks for the complement.

Bob Baldassano
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ColColt Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Aug 2008Wed 29-Aug-12 12:00 AM
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#66. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 64
Wed 29-Aug-12 12:02 AM by ColColt

Knoxville, US
          

"You can go much higher in CNX2. The scale is not the same as the Adobe products. Here is one where my initial USM settings were Intensity 40, Radius 7, threshold 4. I also used the Nik Contrast Filter with all sliders set around 30 and then did a final USM with Intensity 17, Radius 93 and threshold 18."

These numbers totally blow me away. I had a chance to get back and look over a lot of responses on this and I never went over 5 or 6 on either radius or Threshold but have went up to 30 or so on Intensity. I'll have to try a radius of 90 to see what happens. Never even considered going that high in USM.







My goal in life is to be the person my dog already thinks I am.

Children are for people who can't have dogs. ~Author Unknown

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Wed 29-Aug-12 01:21 AM
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#67. "RE: Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2"
In response to Reply # 66
Wed 29-Aug-12 08:47 PM by robsb

San Jose, US
          

This is an individual thing and is best approached by trial and error. Remember the high radius low Intensity numbers are really meant for items without sharp corners, more like water, hills, faces and also where you have a high amount of noise in your image due to high ISO. Also it is often used in combination, like I did with higher intensity, lower radius sharpening. the 40,7, 4 number came from experiments by Jason O'Dell for capture sharpening with a D700. You have most likely been influenced by numbers you have seen used in Adobe products which are a different scale. Also remember by default CNX2 only sharpens the luminance channel, much like going into LAB in Photoshop. This helps because you are not sharpening color noise.

Bob Baldassano
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"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

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