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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 23-Jan-11 04:09 AM
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"Sharpening Review Request"


Tacoma, US
          

One thing that I struggle with is sharpening. In particular, when is enough enough? So I tend to take a light touch in CNX, usually preferring High Pass to USM.

Recently, after reading a few threads here, I decided to try some more aggressive settings. Below are the results (click on a image to see a larger version).

Which image do you prefer, and what do you think of the other 2?

Thanks!

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com





  

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Reply message RE: Sharpening Review Request
jrp Administrator
23rd Jan 2011
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23rd Jan 2011
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23rd Jan 2011
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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberSun 23-Jan-11 04:39 AM
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#1. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 23-Jan-11 04:43 AM by jrp

San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

Mick,
I believe they are all fine.
The subtle differences are minimal and hard to notice with my tired eyes.

However, I prefer to use a deconvolution tool.
Currently, FocusMagic
There are others, like the Nik Software Sharpener Pro 3.0

I applied FocusMagic to the image without letters at the end of the name

Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
Join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members that help this happen; upgrade. Join your personal web site to the Nikonians WebRing
Make sure you check our workshops at The Nikonians Academy and the product catalog of the Photo Pro Shop

  

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intrepidnz Registered since 18th Nov 2004Sun 23-Jan-11 05:43 AM
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#2. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0


NZ
          

Straight up, No.1 seems best.

No. 2 seems to have artifacts and 3 is between 1 and 2.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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pshnikchch Silver Member Nikonian since 16th May 2007Sun 23-Jan-11 07:06 AM
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#3. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 23-Jan-11 07:08 AM by pshnikchch

Christchurch, NZ
          

The bottom image seems very over sharpened to me.

Prefer the middle image slightly over the top image.

What procedures did you use for each?

Peter

http://www.pastoralsystems.co.nz/photography/

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sun 23-Jan-11 08:26 AM
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#4. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0


Gainesville, US
          

Mick,

I thought they got progressively sharper but also got progressively noisier. I tentatively prefer image #2.

I gave it another shot in CS5; here's image #1 with Topaz Denoise 5 applied first followed Smart Sharpen using the Blur function.



Click on image to show larger gallery view.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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barrywesthead Silver Member Awareded for his continued support of the Nikonians community, freely sharing his expertise, particularly in the areas of digital post processing and printing. Nikonian since 07th Nov 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 12:08 AM
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#15. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 4


Kleinburg, CA
          

>
>I gave it another shot in CS5; here's image #1 with Topaz
>Denoise 5 applied first followed Smart Sharpen using the Blur
>function.
>

I must say, Rob, your rendering gets a lot out of this image.

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 23-Jan-11 04:10 PM
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#5. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 23-Jan-11 04:13 PM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

Thanks for the responses. Interesting, varied takes.

The shot was made with a D700 and 28-300 VR Nikkor lens. F/8 at 1/80th, ISO 1600. Standard Picture Control modified in camera to 5 sharpening and +1 contrast.

The first shot is basically out of the camera. Opened the NEF in CNX and saved as a JPG.

The second has High Pass applied at 2px. 100% opacity.

The third has High Pass applied as 12px, opacity at 100% for luminance, and 50% for chroma.

I didn't do noise reduction on any of them, just to see what the sharpening did, by itself.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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pshnikchch Silver Member Nikonian since 16th May 2007Sun 23-Jan-11 04:59 PM
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#6. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 5


Christchurch, NZ
          

That's interesing Mick.

I chose the middle image and I find that the majority of my images merely require high pass of the type you describe for the second.


Peter

http://www.pastoralsystems.co.nz/photography/

  

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Wingman Silver Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2002Sun 23-Jan-11 05:00 PM
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#7. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 5


Kimberley, CA
          

A timely thread for me, as I've been thinking about sharpening and am planning to start a sharpening thread myself. I am a long time photshop user and am digging into NX2 in a more serious way this winter. I just discovered that NX2 has this user friendly version of high pass sharpening and have been playing with it a bit, but with very mixed results.

So why do you tend to prefer high pass over USM or smart sharpen? Do you feel that it works for all subjects equally, or that different approaches are better for certain things?

What settings work best with the high pass approach for different subjects. Do you like a higher setting combined with lower opacity, or a simpler approach? I haven't had enough time to really experiment much, but the high pass approach does make intuitive sense, so I would like to add it to my sharpening arsenal...

Neal Nurmi

---Wingman Photo---

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 23-Jan-11 05:14 PM
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#8. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 7


Tacoma, US
          

For me, I think High Pass works well most for a large percentage of images, so I try it first before USM. I generally stick in the 1-2px range, but thought I would try a suggestion to use higher settings on just the luminance/chroma channels.

For images with more noise, USM may be the better choice. These samples are sort of mid-range for noise, so the choice of High Pass or USM seems a bit trickier.

I think I'll limit the more aggressive High Pass settings to images might look better with a slightly over-sharpened effect.

I guess I'm still hoping to find the "rules" that determine sharpening technique and settings. Maybe there aren't any.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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Wingman Silver Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2002Sun 23-Jan-11 05:54 PM
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#9. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 8


Kimberley, CA
          

I too suspect that there are no hard and fast rules here. I've found that even between USM and smart sharpen, which are my most used tools up til now. I love smart sharpen for my almost noiseless D3 images, for instance, but fall back on traditional USM for my old and noisier D200 shots, because smart sharpen does not have a threshold setting to reduce noise (and grain in scans from slides and negatives).

I think the best I can do is have an arsenal of sharpening tools for different situations and needs. Thus my desire to figure out how to make high pass sharpening work for me...

Neal Nurmi

---Wingman Photo---

  

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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 2006Sun 23-Jan-11 07:45 PM
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#10. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 8


San Jose, US
          

Mick if you want more insight to Sharpening, then read Dan Margulis Professional Photoshop. Since he works mostly with USM, it is applicable to CNX2. In my edition (Fifth-there are newer ones) Chapter 6 covers all you need to know.

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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KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006Mon 24-Jan-11 11:46 PM
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#11. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 10
Mon 24-Jan-11 11:48 PM by KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
          

In Jason Odell's sharpening video he has moved to high-pass in tandem with USM in certain situations. For those wanting to explore other's approaches and all options it is a very good purchase. I still have lots more to digest from his videos but I have been adopting his latest thinking without necessarily wholly abandoning what I was doing before.

As others have said here, my goal is to have at the ready 4/5/6 solid approaches and a more thorough understanding of when to apply them and when to experiment. I have so many different applications for sharpening (portrait, landscape, low light theatre, birds, readiness for print/web, selective sharpening/brushes, channels, and opacity) that having a larger repertoire really pays off in the end.

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
My Nikonians gallery
My Nikonians Blog

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Tue 25-Jan-11 02:18 AM
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#12. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 5
Tue 25-Jan-11 02:20 AM by PAStime

Kingston, CA
          

>Thanks for the responses. Interesting, varied takes.

Mick: thanks for thread. Sharpening is an interesting subject.

>Standard Picture Control modified in
>camera to 5 sharpening and +1 contrast.

In-camera sharpening at 5 is pretty high!

Viewed at 100% (that is important to note) the best image is your second. Your third version and Rob's are way over-sharpened to my eyes; if you toggle back and forth in between your second and one of these they light up with halos all over the place. Interestingly JRP's with Focus Magic seems close to as sharp as your second but with fewer artifacts,especially on fine lines such as thin horizontal railings.

The original looks a tad "processed" to me - either some camera movement, VR side effects, and/or the in-camera sharpening. My guess is camera movement followed by in-camera sharpening.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Tue 25-Jan-11 03:22 AM
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#14. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 12


Tacoma, US
          

<In-camera sharpening at 5 is pretty high!>

Actually, I think it is kind of in the middle. Some of the other Picture Controls use 4 and the the scale goes to 9. To me 7-9 would be high.

Since images 2 and 3 added more sharpening to the original, I am mystified how the original can look "processed" while the others do not.

I tend to keep in camera sharpening where it is because for most of my images, with better or best glass, it give me the closest to what I want out of the camera. The 28-300 needs a little extra help.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 26-Jan-11 02:31 AM
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#16. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 14


Kingston, CA
          


>Actually, I think it is kind of in the middle. Some of the
>other Picture Controls use 4 and the the scale goes to 9. To
>me 7-9 would be high.

Hi Mick. You are right. 5 is midway.

>Since images 2 and 3 added more sharpening to the original, I
>am mystified how the original can look "processed"
>while the others do not.

It is hard to describe and hard to see in a re-sized image. But to me it appears like there was a tiny bit of camera shake and that introduced a tiny bit of ghosting on edges. I am assuming that the file MKA0582.jpg is the original. Do you see what I mean?

Peter

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 04:05 AM
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#17. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 16


Tacoma, US
          

You're may be right about the shake. They were handheld (I was just passing time waiting to pick up my wife from work) and at 300mm and 1/80th sec, that may have been stretching the VR a bit. I probably should have picked a more stable image as an example. However, for comparison of the sharpening settings, this has been worthwhile.

I've picked up Jason Odell's sharpening video tutorial and I'll see what he has to say. I've been using his CNX2 E-book as a guideline, so it will be interesting to see what's new.

Obviously, people have different tastes in sharpening. I really do prefer to get a sharp image out of the camera, if a all possible, and add blur, when desired. Seems like I do more the other way around!


Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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Baaker Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Aug 2009Wed 26-Jan-11 10:02 AM
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#18. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 17


Dumbarton, GB
          

If your images are for printing and the sharpening you are asking about is for printing then your examples are pointless. The screen resolution is about one third of output sharpening to an ink jet printer. 96 ppi as against 300 ppi. Note the terminology is ppi and NOT dpi. What looks crisp on screen will not be crisp in print because of the difference between the ppi. What you have to do is "oversharpen" so it looks that way on screen and it will look better in print. There isn't - as far as I know - any scientific way to compare the screen and the out put sharpening accurately so trial and error is the only way to determine "good" sharpening. "Good" is subjective and asking for the members to look at screenshots isn't - imo - helpful. Even showing them your final print wouldn't be particularly helpful because it is only an opinion. BTW I am a fan of High pass sharpening and it is part of the workflow of Bruce Fraser's book on sharpening. A good read and there is an updated version by Jeff Schewe.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/World-Sharpening-Photoshop-Camera-Lightroom/dp/0321637550

Because sharpening is a difficult concept then the book is a must.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/43019448@N04/

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 12:13 PM
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#20. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 18
Wed 26-Jan-11 12:14 PM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

Thanks for the links.

Reviewing the sharpness of images here is a bit difficult due to the file size limitations and the nature of web based images viewable in a browser. The images shown are really relative to each other, not absolutes, and certainly not printer compatible.

Sharpening seems to be one area where those who advocate "get it right in the camera" are willing to throw that dictum out the window!

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 26-Jan-11 11:48 AM
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#19. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 17
Wed 26-Jan-11 11:50 AM by PAStime

Kingston, CA
          

>You're may be right about the shake. They were handheld (I
>was just passing time waiting to pick up my wife from work)
>and at 300mm and 1/80th sec

OK, yes, that might introduce a bit of camera shake, especially hand held at 300mm.

Yes, varied personal tastes on sharpening.

The final output format dictates a lot of what is an appropriate sharpening amount. In my previous post in this thread, I indicated which looked the best to my taste when viewing at 100%. When viewed as the embedded image in the forum thread (what is that, 600 pixels wide?) the higher sharpened images look better. If one was to print one of these images on an inkjet printer, even more sharpening might be needed to the already highly sharpened ones.

>I really do prefer to get a sharp image out of the camera,
>if a all possible, and add blur, when desired.

It is nice to get them sharp, right away. I am however changing my post processing flow (based on some reading I've done). I haven't figured it out yet in full but I'm now getting sharpness=0 images out of my camera and applying a capture sharpening. This capture sharpening will be different for landscape versus other subjects, and will be applied after noise reduction if noise is present.

Thanks again for starting this thread. I hope it continues for a while.

Cheers,
Peter

  

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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 25-Jan-11 02:45 AM
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#13. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

The real issue in sharpening is there is no "One Size fits all" solutions as how and what you sharpen depends upon the subject matter and output media. All Jason and others can do is give you ball park numbers that work for them. In my process, i aways start with custom controls that zero out sharpness. I look at the quantity of noise and where it is so I can decide if I only want to sharpen Luminosity, a color or color channel. I try and decide what local blends might be required and what to mask if anything. I tend to sharpen aggressively and I like to use the NIK tonal contrast filter which is a multipass Hi Pass filter that will bring out amazing detail in your images with less work. for people I use a combo of Hi Rad Lo In and Lo Rad Hi Int while tweaking threshold on each. If there are no sharp edges e.g. I will use HiRad lo Int. If there are sharp defined edges I will tend to use Hi Pass and if there are lots of small details I will use USM. I don't use Smart USM because it takes away control of one control

I think people obcess about sharpening like do these pants make me look fat? Simple -try it and see if it does. In CNX2 it is totally reversable and in Adobe products you need to use smart layers.

I think because people obsess about it, they tend to fiddle too much.More images are probably ruined by poor sharpening techniques. Like the rest of the process it is all about looking at the image and seeing what needs doing.

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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mburke Registered since 29th Dec 2004Wed 26-Jan-11 12:15 PM
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#21. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 13
Wed 26-Jan-11 12:17 PM by mburke

Rhinelander, US
          

I know this is probably heresy but, I use Qimage to do my printing. On almost all of my prints I let Qimage set the print sharpening. When I process my picture I make it look the way I want on screen and Qimage takes it from there. I have printed from 4x6 to 24x48 and the prints come out fabulous. Qimage sets all the print sharpening. I couldn't be happier.

1) make print look good on screen
2) Use Qimage to print - no resizing of the picture or sharpening for print. Qimage does it.

It really simplifies and speeds up the whole process.

Mike

Edit: I agree with Mick - I generally like my pictures on the sharp side. More like the old f64 club stuff.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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barrywesthead Silver Member Awareded for his continued support of the Nikonians community, freely sharing his expertise, particularly in the areas of digital post processing and printing. Nikonian since 07th Nov 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 12:56 PM
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#22. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 21
Wed 26-Jan-11 11:57 PM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

>I know this is probably heresy but, I use Qimage to do my
>printing.

I print on an Epson 9900, 7800 and some desktops --all with Qimage-- and I have used expensive RIP’s in the past. Qimage seems to be the best kept secret in photography! What a great tool for printing!

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Thu 27-Jan-11 02:53 AM
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#25. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 22


Kingston, CA
          

Heh, the Qimage users are coming out of the woodwork. I am a big Qimage fan and have used it for many years. I use it less these days because I print a lot less and because I'm spending a lot more time playing with raw files.

Qimage isn't so straightforward because there are sharpening settings in that program too.

Peter

  

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nightcat Registered since 05th Mar 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 04:56 PM
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#23. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 21


LaCrosse,WI, US
          

I guess that makes me a heretic, too.

Kraig

"The wisest follow their own directions" -Euripides
"I thought there would be more elephants" -C. Columbus

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 26-Jan-11 05:22 PM
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#24. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 23


Tacoma, US
          

Maybe we need a "Heretics" forum?

(Wow! A thousand posts with this one! Maybe I should have been more profound.)

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 28-Jan-11 06:06 AM
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#26. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 24


Gainesville, US
          

Mick, you're getting good responses in this thread, so I'll own up to being "obsessive" about sharpening and a 'heretic", both descriptions having been mentioned here.

I like to almost always apply deconvolution correction, preceded by noise reduction if necessary, and followed by USM (if necessary). This is a recent workflow choice for me because until now I had not been impressed with the available deconvolution packages. Now, there are two approaches which I'm just beginning to work with.

The first is the latest beta version of RawTherapee. When it works, it is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, earlier, stable versions didn't fully implement the latest deconvolution technology (Richardson-Lucy). The current version (at least the Mac version) will crash when opening some NEF's but not others. This looks to me like a file access problem, but I've run "Get Info" on the two files and have not found any differences. Maybe someone here will come up with an idea. I've also tried to recompile the source code tuned specifically for OSX 10.6, but my programming skills have evaporated over the years so progress has been slow (maybe non-existent).

The second is a new way of using sharpening in ACR/CS5. Eric Chan, one of Adobe's architects of ACR, commented that the Detail slider in ACR's sharpening panel actually sets the degree to which deconvolution is added to the USM sharpening being applied. He said that he often ramps up the Detail slider to 50-100% while setting the Radius and Amount sliders low. Smart Sharpening in CS5 works similarly when the More Accurate option and the Lens Blur Kernel are chosen.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Fri 28-Jan-11 08:43 AM
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#27. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 26
Fri 28-Jan-11 07:11 PM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

Rob,

This is all information I haven't heard before. In fact, I'm not sure I know what "deconvolution" is. But your steps seem like they would not apply in a CNX based workflow.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 28-Jan-11 07:09 PM
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#30. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 27
Sat 29-Jan-11 06:44 AM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Mick, sorry for the digression. You're right, these workflows don't integrate easily with CNX so we ought to drop their discussion for now. I'll start another thread to further discuss this later, right now, I'm a little under the weather.

Edited to add I've posted the new thread titled as Sharpening Contest.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians 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 2006Fri 28-Jan-11 06:27 PM
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#29. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 26


San Jose, US
          

Rob your post seems to imply that CNX2 does not use deconvolution in capture sharpening, but it does. Since much of the success of the process is knowing the convolution factor, it would seem to me, without having found any backup data to support the assertion, that CNX2 with NEF's would have the upper hand here since all factors related to the algorithms are known.

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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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 28-Jan-11 07:12 PM
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#31. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 29


Gainesville, US
          

Bob, first and most important, welcome back from your surgery. I hope everything is going well.

I am aware that CNX2 uses some deconvolution but have not had such good success with it as I have seen in direct comparison to these other applications. It is now possible to make the starting points visually identical in CNX2 , ACR 6.3, and RawTherapee, so the advantage of Nikon's knowledge of their proprietary in-camera processing can be obviated, admittedly with a little extra work.

I created duplicate NEFs, then opened one in CNX2 and another in the competing program, both at the same time. Then I adjusted the competing program's image to obtain one visually identical to that in CNX2. Starting with those visually identical images, I tried various sharpening techniques, including those recently suggested by yourself and those most lately suggested by Jason Odell in his video. I should add that I have also utilized techniques in CS5 similar to those originally proposed by Dan Margulis and then further developed by Bruce Fraser, et al, in Photokit Sharpener.

Two things are painfully obvious; one is that CNX2's deconvolution technique is not well documented and not fully understood by myself, the other is that I could not begin to cover all of the variations in sharpening techniques that exist. So I'm reacting to what I have been able to get to at this point. I do have some backup data to support what I have observed to this date, but it is not appropriate for me to further hijack Mick's thread, so I'll open another (later) to promote more discussion.

For those of you who wonder why we seem to take some opposing views, I will tell you that I have learned a great deal from having some of my misconceptions corrected.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians 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 2006Fri 28-Jan-11 08:16 PM
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#32. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 31


San Jose, US
          

Rob I am not fully back on Nikonians, just enough to stir the pot once in awhile. My day job is now rehab, and that is actually going very well. After 2 weeks I have already removed the staples, am off the walker and on a cane and do about 18 exercises twice a day to improve movement and function. My doctor is surprised by my progress, my body and I know it is perseverance and attitude. I am still on pain pills especially if I want to sleep at night, but the pain level is much less than i expected and I attribute that to a good surgeon and anesthesiologist. I also think having done almost a year of prep exercises was a major factor in my quick recovery as talking to the doctors and nurses at the hospital, many people that do this have no upper body strength, are obese and in general poor health. It has been good for my ego when they ask for a list of my prescription drugs and I give them a single item or when they keep double checking my age on forms as they don't believe I am as old as it says. But my body lets me know the truth.

How do you assure the starting results are physically identical? Are you comparing 16 bit TIFFs in CNX2 using the difference command? There has been a good discussion on this in the CNX2 forum on flicker. I was taken there when I entered deconvolution in BING, and came up with a series of articles and algorithms. While all these techniques may be close or even identical, I think you have to factor in the effort and cost to get to the same point. I still see no reason to go through all the Adobe gymnastics just too get to a point that i reach when I open a NEF. I have done extensive sharpening in both Adobe products and CNX2 and at least for me I'm happy with the CNX2 results I get without any third party tools or ping ponging back and forth between PS and CNX2.

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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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 02:07 AM
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#33. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 32


Gainesville, US
          

Bob,

>How do you assure the starting results are physically
>identical?

Visually.

>Are you comparing 16 bit TIFFs in CNX2 using the
>difference command?

No, I am only using RAW/NEF files at this point.

RawTherapee will very closely match the CNX2 image by just setting it's Sliders to the Image defaults in CNX2; of course, I have to play with white balance a little in CNX2 to determine where it has set the Kelvin Temperature and Hue, but setting those the same in RawTherapee gets pretty close. A few other minor adjustments and the images are as close to identical as can be determined (I think).

I use Erik Chan's latest emulations of Nikon's picture controls in ACR and, once again, the images are remarkably close (they only require that you reset exposure down 0.5, as Erik points out). Again, just a little twiddling and they look identical.

Achieving image similarity in either of these programs (now) only takes a few minutes, so I'm not losing much time.

>There has been a good discussion on this
>in the CNX2 forum on flicker. I was taken there when I entered
>deconvolution in BING, and came up with a series of articles
>and algorithms.

I've probably read most of those plus ones from Cambridge In Color, Nature Windows, Luminous Landscape and about a million others (yes, i've spent a lot of time and inadvertently wasted much of it). I don't think that most of the deconvolution software currently available uses the "best" method, which is thought to be the Richardson-Lucy iterative technique by those who appear to have some idea of what they are talking about, and which I perceive as producing a better result.

>While all these techniques may be close or
>even identical, I think you have to factor in the effort and
>cost to get to the same point. I still see no reason to go
>through all the Adobe gymnastics just too get to a point that
>i reach when I open a NEF. I have done extensive sharpening
>in both Adobe products and CNX2 and at least for me I'm happy
>with the CNX2 results I get without any third party tools or
>ping ponging back and forth between PS and CNX2.

I suspect that stretching for something better than what is available in CNX2 is usually a waste of time, especially if the original image was well focused and not too noisy, which I believe that all of yours that i've seen have been.

What got me started on this journey was a very dramatic photo that my wife had taken as a quick grab shot. Not only did she not have time to accurately focus, but the flock of birds had just been startled and were rapidly taking off... lots of motion in front of a finely-detailed background of brush stretching away into the far distance. I knew from the beginning that masking was required, but initial results were not inspiring. In the year since I started seriously playing with sharpening (and masking) techniques, the final image has progressively gotten so much better that I'm fueled by observable results. A side benefit is that my current workflow does not take too much more time than simple use of CNX2. Another thing that has fueled this research is my frustration with Nikon/NIK's failure to respond to the ongoing complaints about crashes after lots of editing and their failure, to date, to produce CNX3 and a 64-bit version.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians 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 2006Sat 29-Jan-11 02:56 AM
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#34. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 33


San Jose, US
          

Rob first let me say i am not trying to belittle your efforts for perfection. In fact I am always amazed at the things that you dive deeply and willingly into to better understand what is going on and I have never found your thread topics dull. As for low noise, well focused images, i would agree that anyone that can produce good iamges out of camera is going to have the least problem in getting good results. I do not think my images are less nosiy or sharper than average, but rather that I am using a thought out visual process that seems to work for me. I think I said recently, in one of my more lucid moments on pain pills, was my goal was to get in and get out while doing the least necessary to get the image I want. I do believe that having a plan of attack and a step through consistant process that keeps me from over processing. That does not mean that you should not experiment, but I think some of what I see is the quest for the Holey Grail, and since I am not selling images in a gallery nor am I a pro, the extra effort seems not to give me discerable improvements. So either I am better than I think Iam using the basics, or I have very low standards compared to you.

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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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 06:37 AM
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#35. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 34


Gainesville, US
          

Bob, the quest for "this" perversion of the Holy Grail seems like a more noble effort than some others I can think of, and it's fun. I think it's better and more rewarding than playing Sudoku.

As I mentioned to Mick, I'm going to start another thread so that we can pursue this without taking over his intentions with this thread. I'm going to propose a Sharpening Contest and I hope you'll support the idea.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians 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 2006Sat 29-Jan-11 06:17 PM
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#36. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 35


San Jose, US
          

I looked at your thread and I think you covered the one key concern I would have had by starting out with the same NEF. I think it is one drawback of CNX2 that you don't have all tools available when you process a JPEG or TIFF, but I guess we can also saythat Adobe products have the handicap of notstarting out with all camera tools applied. This is the image that got you going on ways to improve sharpening in the first place if I remember right. I am not sure if I will be able to participate, but depending on how long it goes I might. It should be intresting to see what people do

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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mpappa Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2009Fri 28-Jan-11 02:30 PM
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#28. "RE: Sharpening Review Request"
In response to Reply # 21
Fri 28-Jan-11 02:31 PM by mpappa

Doylestown, US
          

I'll fess up. I'm a heretic too. I have used Qimage for printing for the last several years. Much less work.

Regards,
Mike

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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