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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 06:30 AM
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"Sharpening Contest"
Sat 29-Jan-11 10:10 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

We have been enjoying some very interesting threads posted recently here in the "Nikon and Nikonians Imaging Software" forum, including:
Sharpening Review Request
Tips on CNX2 Work Flow
Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2
and others.

One topic that has consistently cropped up has been sharpening and some novel approaches have been mentioned. This is a topic that I find very interesting, so I thought it would be fun and instructive to have a contest, which might not actually determine a "best practice", but should teach us all a few new tricks. I should add that we started to branch off-topic in some threads with discussions of things like deconvolution; this is where I hope we can see some of those esoteric treatments either successfully applied or debunked.

I had discussed this contest idea a while ago with Howard Carson, who was helpful and encouraging, so I hope he will see this and jump in.

I'll provide a RAW version of this un-processed (it is the preview-jpg from a NEF file, so it does contain Nikon's in-camera Picture Controls enhancements) below for use in the contest.



It is obviously a difficult image taken as a quick grab shot when a flock of birds were startled (probably by an alligator) and were rapidly taking off… lots of motion in front of a finely-detailed, but out-of-focus, background of brush stretching away into the far distance. The "difficulty" should challenge your processing skills.

Here are the Contest Rules:

1. Each participant should work on the same image, which I'll email to you upon request sent to me through Nikonians' email service, accessible by clicking on my avatar. This could be problematic, since some email services wont handle large attachments, but we'll try to work it out.

Edit] The email worked in a couple of cases but not in others; some email servers limit the file sizes they will accept to something smaller than this file. Barry Westhead has come to the rescue, however, and volunteered the use of his server for downloads; read down a couple of post and you'll see his comments. -- Thanks Barry -- You can download the image here:

Ibis-Nef.zip

2. The image I'll send will be an un-edited NEF from my D700 so that you will have complete flexibility in your post-processing efforts. After you process the image, convert it to a 1000 pixel wide, 100% quality JPEG and upload it to your gallery, then link the image (using the new Nikonians linking facility) to a message posted here in reply to this original post. This way, any spin-off comments will stay with the images to which they are addressed rather than having submittals coming in as sub-threads.

3. Include, in your submittal message with linked image, a very short commentary that does not identify the software package(s) that you use (don't want to influence the judging); just say something like "I used masking and hyped the colors some with boosted saturation". Later, we'll ask the winners to provide lots more detail, especially about the sharpening.

4. Please produce a "natural" looking image. Use of Pixel Bender or HDR toning is inappropriate for this exercise. This is not meant to restrict the use of masking, cloning, contrast or any other tools to make the image "look better" in addition to the sharpening, but sharpening, or selective sharpening, should be the main emphasis.

5. At some point, I'll close the acceptance of new submittals so that we can proceed to judge them. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll set up a polling routine to count the votes (may just have to start a new post referencing this one). I think that we'll say that a number of the top poll recipients are all winners and ask then to reveal the "secret processing recipe" they used on this image.

6. Please allow me to "bend" these rules if needed to accommodate unforeseen difficulties.

The objective here is to have fun and learn.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 29-Jan-11 11:10 AM
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#1. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

Interesting! I'll play. But how will you "send" a NEF file? Email probably won't work. FTP?

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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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 2006Sat 29-Jan-11 12:01 PM
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#2. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 1


Kleinburg, CA
          

>Interesting! I'll play. But how will you "send" a
>NEF file? Email probably won't work. FTP?
>
If a zip file is uploaded to a website, clicking on a link to it will cause the browser to ask “do you want to open or save this file…

The file can then be downloaded, saved and unzipped.

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 06:48 PM
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#3. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 1
Sat 29-Jan-11 06:54 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Jon,

I have, occasionally , successfully emailed a Zipped NEF to friend; at other times the transmission failed. I am pretty sure this is a function of the email servers involved. Mine allows large files to be transmitted, some others severely limit the file size that they will handle. At this point, I suggest that you send me an email and I'll try to send the Zipped NEF back. If this fails, I'll have to hope that someone will volunteer to host the file for download from their server.

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 2006Sat 29-Jan-11 07:19 PM
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#4. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 3
Sat 29-Jan-11 07:30 PM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

>If this fails, I'll have to hope that
>someone will volunteer to host the file for download from
>their server.

I'd be happy to put the file on a blind page on my website so anyone can download it.

you would just include a link like the one below so a click on it would pop up the "open or save" dialog.

Get Image Here

Just attached it to an email to me if you like. Takes about two minutes for me to set it up.

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 07:50 PM
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#5. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 4


Gainesville, US
          

Barry, thanks for your generous offer. I grabbed an email address off of your website and sent the image a few minutes ago, Please let me know if the transmission succeeds.

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 2006Sat 29-Jan-11 08:22 PM
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#6. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 5
Sun 30-Jan-11 11:35 AM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

Rob,

Here's the link.

Ibis-Nef.zip

Glad to be of some help.

Let me know if you get feedback from anyone unable to access it.

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 29-Jan-11 10:11 PM
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#7. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 6


Gainesville, US
          

Barry, the download works great!

Thanks for the help,

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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mholka Registered since 04th Jan 2011Sun 30-Jan-11 03:13 AM
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#8. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 7


Brownstown Twp, US
          

I am new to the whole PP thing and would love to learn. So I may not participate as much as I would like to watch and learn. Sounds very interesting as I have been watching the other discussions mentioned it this.


Happy Shooting!

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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 30-Jan-11 03:44 AM
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#9. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          







I did 3 versions. One I messed up a little as I was a little rusty in its use, see it you can tell which one. The other two used 2 other methods, each with drawbacks and advantages. The image supplied by Rob is a bit of a challenge as there is actually no really sharp images in it.It appears the camera had lateral movement from side to side, and bird moement was too fast for shutter speed. Yet with the right fix, it looks much better. This is an example of an image that can really be trashed just applying rote cookbook sharpening to it without thinking what you have here to work with. I am anxious to see other renditions. I did try to do this with the least amount of effort and did the usual normal adjustments before applying sharpening to the image.

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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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 30-Jan-11 04:53 PM
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#10. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Kingston, CA
          

Rob,

This is a great idea.

I'm currently reading a book on sharpening. First question that comes to mind is: what is the intended output? This matters a lot! Is it to view the image at 1000 pixels a side on a monitor? I presume yes... ?

Peter

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sun 30-Jan-11 05:08 PM
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#11. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 10


Gainesville, US
          

Good question, Peter.

>I'm currently reading a book on sharpening. First question
>that comes to mind is: what is the intended output? This
>matters a lot! Is it to view the image at 1000 pixels a side
>on a monitor? I presume yes... ?

Yes, for this contest. I always complete the image as much as possible, then save it (usually as a TIF file), then do the output-specific sharpening (printer, web, wherever) just before sending the image off.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sun 30-Jan-11 05:15 PM
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#12. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 11


Kingston, CA
          

Rob,

This is a great idea.

I brought the image into Capture NX2 and find all shapes in it are blurry due to camera and subject movement! This is a tough one! In any case, here is my take on it.

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 2006Sun 30-Jan-11 07:04 PM
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#13. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 12


San Jose, US
          

PETER I think you did a good job.

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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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 2006Mon 31-Jan-11 12:40 AM
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#14. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 31-Jan-11 07:20 PM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

Here's a crack at it (a little aggressive but maybe OK for small prints):



Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Mon 31-Jan-11 01:08 AM
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#15. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 14
Mon 31-Jan-11 08:37 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Barry,

Thanks for the submittal as well as the help. Looks good!

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Mon 31-Jan-11 05:42 PM
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#16. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Gainesville, US
          

Here's a "toned down" submittal.


Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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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 31-Jan-11 05:59 PM
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#18. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 16


Lowden, US
          

Nice job Rob. The sharpening looks good but you have very warm (almost orange) cast.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
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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 2006Mon 31-Jan-11 07:08 PM
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#19. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 18


Kleinburg, CA
          

>Nice job Rob. The sharpening looks good but you have very
>warm (almost orange) cast.

I wonder how much the white balance selection for an outdoor image such as this is influenced by our daily environmental situation? My much cooler white point (a couple of posts before Rob's) is likely influenced by the snow-covered zub-zero (Fahrenheit) blue-sky days currently prevailing in Toronto, Canada.

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Mon 31-Jan-11 08:35 PM
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#20. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 19
Mon 31-Jan-11 08:44 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

>I wonder how much the white balance selection for an outdoor
>image such as this is influenced by our daily environmental
>situation? My much cooler white point (a couple of posts
>before Rob's) is likely influenced by the snow-covered
>zub-zero (Fahrenheit) blue-sky days currently prevailing in
>Toronto, Canada.

Very interesting comment! The first thing I did when I opened the image was bump the White Point to 5400º K, then paused and thought to myself that it seemed like I tended to move most of my images to that setting. At the same time, I noticed that the Hue was at what appeared to me to be a rather large diversion from zero and, like almost always, I didn't think changing it improved anything. My memory of the background colors sort of pushed me in that direction also, but now that it's posted, I think Dave is right; it does have a bit of an orange cast.

I guess it's Processing by Emotional Environment.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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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 31-Jan-11 11:24 PM
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#23. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 20


Lowden, US
          

This is probably true. We are sometimes influenced by our preconceived impression how something should look.

I often find that when reviewing my processed image after some time has passed that I will find the image too warm or too cool. The images affected most seem to be ones with a lot of white. I usually try to keep a close watch to make sure that my whites are actually white or pretty close anyway.

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
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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 31-Jan-11 05:54 PM
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#17. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Lowden, US
          

This is a pretty difficult image. Even with slow moving birds 1/160s is usually not fast enough for good sharp images. Try to get above 1/800s or above 1/1000s in flight and the keeper rate will be much better.


Here is my attempt...

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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danall Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Feb 2009Mon 31-Jan-11 08:54 PM
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#21. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 17


Springfield, US
          

Just a few comments from a new member learning this site. First thank you to RobP for posting this exercise. I really like your orignal pict as posted and contrary to suggestions to capture the image at a faster shutter speed, i feel that the sense of motion is nicely conveyed with the slower speed as taken and really gives the image interest. A faster speed that 'stops' the wing motion would have changed the character to a much less interesting image (in my opinion). I also find most digital prints I view on exhibit or for sale at an art fair or gallery suffer from over saturation and over sharpening. this seems particulary true with landscape images. It seems that we often fall prey to the more is better school. Maybe it's just me? I personally prefer Robs orginal submittal over all the other (improved?) sharpened images with perhaps the exception of Peter's that shows some nice restraint on the sharpening. There is a certain softness that comes thru with the original that has much to do with the captured motion and lighting. Only change I would probably make would be a wee bit warmer, but nowhere as far as your later one Rob...all in all I really like the image as captured.

Daniel Schlender

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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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 31-Jan-11 11:17 PM
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#22. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 21
Mon 31-Jan-11 11:45 PM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

Hi Daniel, Welcome to Nikonians!

You are correct. Not all images need to be perfectly sharp. The sense of motion created by the subject movement does add to this image. I have seen extreme subject blur used successfully by published pro photographers.

In this case of course the image was posted with the intention of seeing how we could make it a sharper image. Our suggestions are not critiques of the image. They suggestions for accomplishing the goal of the exercise.

If this were my image it would be too soft for my taste and I would have tossed it out. What I would be looking for in an image like this would be to have the head (and eye) of at least one or two of the birds is focus but to keep the shutter slow enough to allow the wings to blur. I think a shutter speed of about 1/400s – 1/800s, with good panning technique, would have accomplished this effect.

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Mon 31-Jan-11 11:42 PM
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#24. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

I think that for most of us - exceptions and respect to the pros among us who look at this sort of stuff all day long, and who are also successfully set in their ways with regard to the sharpening methods that work best on the technical results of their preferred subjects and styles - working a particular photo is easier and more productive if a principle subject is already clearly in focus.

I'm criticising the sample photo I guess (sorry Rob!). What I found with this sample photo is that it is possible to eke out only the barest improvement in general and single object sharpness - no matter what technique or software is used - because the general lack of edge definition precludes everything but marginal improvement.

So I think that to easily see the difference between various favored sharpening techniques and technologies, it helps to have a large-ish primary subject already in acceptably good foreground focus. An out-of-focus and contrasting background is the technique killer in such a sample photo though. With good edge definition provided by a varying-contrast OOF background behind an already acceptably sharp main subject in the foreground, any flaw in sharpening techniques will be much more visible, any positive or negative deconvolution effects will be more evident, the effect of various threshold and radius choices will be more obvious, layer/mask sharpening technique and technical limitations will be visible if poorly executed, and the sometimes beneficial effects of deliberate blurring can be applied and judged.

I think a pre-contest contest to select the most versatile sample image might be a better start (unless Rob has one in his back pocket which I suspect he might).

. . . all IMO anyway . . .

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Howard Carson, Managing Editor
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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 2006Tue 01-Feb-11 12:10 AM
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#25. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 24
Tue 01-Feb-11 12:15 AM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

>
>So I think that to easily see the difference between various
>favored sharpening techniques and technologies, it helps to
>have a large-ish primary subject already in acceptably good
>foreground focus…
>
As I recall, this thread was a spin-off from a thread dealing with such conventional sharpening issues.

The point to this challenge being to discover what techniques Nikonians can bring to the image that offers the combined challenges of camera motion, slow shutter speed and random subject movements.

Since this is not a photo of a flock of rare Fluffy-backed Tit Babblers, it could well be considered a throw-away, but what if it was?

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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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 01-Feb-11 12:14 AM
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#26. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 24


San Jose, US
          

I think that Rob has had this image in his sites for a long time, and although he may not have intended it to be an extreme exercise in sharpening, it is. Without giving away any ideas on how one would process the image, it does raise many interesting points some of which have been discussed before.

1. What is the intended output?
2. What are we trying to convey if the photographer had intended this to be a critically sharp image, it becomes a Sisyphus task. But there are many clues here on how to approach the sharpening task. I didn't take the challlenge to make it the best image possible, short of simple exposure adjustment steps.
3. In general I think we can all agree that this photo has a general lack of edge definition, and as others have pointed out this may add to its charm. This is NOT one of those knife sharp count the feathers images. So that being the case, as I stated in my submission, standard rote by the cookbook sharpening will ruin this image, but known methods for dealing with images of this nature can "improve" it. It will NOT take an image of this dreamy low light, blurred visage and make it feather counter, but it can aid in giving shape to the overall result.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 01-Feb-11 12:58 AM
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#27. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 24


Gainesville, US
          

Howard's criticisms are constructive; they'er good ones. This was supposed to be a learning experience and so it is… not just about processing.

In addition to the aforementioned problems, there are several more contest-related ones that perhaps might be addressed in some future version of this contest, e.g., even 100% quality JPEGs fail to exhibit enough image quality to allow easy assessment. If you download the gallery images to your viewer, they just won't blow-up (zoom-in) very well, so assessment is pretty difficult.

In order to accentuate the differences in sharpening methodology, perhaps we should choose one similar to the "varying-contrast OOF background behind an already acceptably sharp main subject in the foreground" that Howard recommends, perform all the sharpening and other processing on it, and then crop it to 50% or so before shipping it here as a JPEG. Just a thought.

Anyway, why don't we try to wind this up by next Friday, February 4, 2011. Then we'll try to find some winners, and/or failing that, at least get a couple of commentaries on the processes used. Then we'll be ready for another of these contest.

BTW, I did know about the issues with the test image; in fact, I chose it because it is difficult to deal with but I thought it was dramatic and worth trying to save by some innovative treatment. One thing that I imagined, and employed, was the use of a masked layer in CS5 or Selection Control Points in CNX2 to blur the background further to reduce visual competition with the birds in the foreground.

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 2006Tue 01-Feb-11 06:30 AM
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#29. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 27


San Jose, US
          

Rob I hate to say it but as soon as you start playing outside the realm of sharpening tools/techniques and start blurring backgrounds, i think you have stepped outside the bounds of your guidelines. It the task had been make this image as good as it can be, it needs more than just some special sharpening, but that wasn't the task. The fact that this is a blurry mish mash of different issues that affect the illusion of sharpness then it is a valid quest to see what sharpening techniques improve it. But if I start looking for dramatic skies, HDR, major corrections then I think we are outside the box as far as the original assignment, but not out the the realm of making an image better. Also, I think it is OK to use tools not meant for sharpening to accomplish sharpening, but I think we have to think foremost of sharpening. Also since this is a CNX2 forum, and we use Photoshop or LR for the sharpening efforts, the file still should start in CNX2 and mimic a pass to PS or LR for continued edit work. If it does not contain CNX2 in the work flow, it is an interesting exercise, but may not be of interest to those who only have CNX2 or do a majority of their work in CNX2 and do special edits in PS and LR.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 01-Feb-11 02:25 PM
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#35. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 29


Gainesville, US
          

The old epistemological problem rears it's ugly head; different interpretations of the same words.

I thought that it was clear that any software package could be used in this attempt at enhanced sharpening. This is a sharpening contest, not a CNX2 usage contest, as (strongly) implied in Rule No. 3: "does not identify the software package(s) that you use…".

Similarly, I thought image enhancement was addressed in Rule No. 4: "This is not meant to restrict the use of masking, cloning, contrast or any other tools to make the image "look better" in addition to the sharpening, but sharpening, or selective sharpening, should be the main emphasis."

I think this is like most contests; try to figure out what the judge wants, but, in this case, the judge will be all of you.

But, you know what is said about "thinking", as in "I thought"; think in one hand and pick apples with the other - see which hand fills up quickest.

All criticisms have some validity and are accepted, but I don't propose to change my opinion on this, nor does any differing opinion change the intent of the exercise which is to learn about sharpening and to have fun.

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 2006Tue 01-Feb-11 06:34 AM
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#30. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 27


San Jose, US
          

Sharpening should be evaluated at 100% of image on application and people often proof a print at 50%. I am not sure blowing up a section of the image gives you the overall effect of the sharpening technique, you need to see the overall image effect for final impact as that is the way you would view it.

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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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Tue 01-Feb-11 02:27 AM
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#28. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

I go nowhere with conventional techniques (NX2 or Photoshop), certainly no better than any other posters. My posting used Nik Filter "Tonal Contrast" set with a highlight contrast boost to (try to) bring out some wing detail.



Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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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 01-Feb-11 06:48 AM
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#31. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 28


San Jose, US
          

Jon I don't think you broke the rules using NIK filters as they can be used with CNX2, and we can also move files to PS and LR from CNX2 for further edits. But I do think we need to be careful in thinking that only conventional techniques using Sharpening tools in PS or CNX2 are what you have to do. There has been much written, especially for Photoshop on how to sharpen using less than standard means, and i have said in the past many are easily applied using CNX2 as well. The lesson we need to come away with is looking at a particular image, what tools and settings are going to give us the best result for a particular image. That means rote formulas don't generally work, especially in special situations. remember USM came about from noting that sandwiching a slightly blurry image above a standard image made the print appear sharper when it was exposed and developed.

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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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Tue 01-Feb-11 10:18 AM
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#32. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 31


Axminster, GB
          

I saw this as a challenge to deal with the motion blur which has robbed the various birds of sharp beaks and heads, let alone eyes. I have concentrated on taking a number of them and trying to reduce the double image blur.
Chris

  

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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Tue 01-Feb-11 10:21 AM
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#33. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 32


Axminster, GB
          

First attempt at submitting an image !! Sorry-I'll try again.


Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 01-Feb-11 02:56 PM
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#36. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 33


Gainesville, US
          

Chris, very nice image, thanks for your submittal. You might want to take advantage of the higher quality afforded by uploading to your nikonians gallery, as suggested in Rule No. 2. When you have uploaded your 100% quality image into your gallery, a URL pointer to the image will be shown in one of the fields below the image. You can just copy that link into your post here, which you can edit if you choose. Not a requirement, just a suggestion.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Thu 03-Feb-11 09:44 AM
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#48. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 36


Axminster, GB
          

Rob,
Thanks for the advice. I will try that next time.The image I uploaded directly was a jpeg at 1000px long side at 100% quality. Would it have actually been received as better quality if done via the gallery route ?
Chris.

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Thu 03-Feb-11 02:37 PM
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#49. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 48


Gainesville, US
          

Hi Chris,

> Would it have actually been received as better
>quality if done via the gallery route ?

No, this is as good as it gets, so you are good-to-go. I suggested use of the gallery, with it's 10,000KB file size limit, because the 100% quality JPEGs often exceed the forum's 300KB file size limit.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Fri 04-Feb-11 10:54 AM
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#50. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 49


Axminster, GB
          

Rob, Thank you. I must use the gallery more.
Chris.

  

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toko Registered since 04th May 2009Tue 01-Feb-11 02:15 PM
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#34. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 01-Feb-11 04:03 PM by toko

Mölnlycke, SE
          

My editing contribution in the Sharpening Contest.



Little more contrast in this version:


Edit: I have relinked to the correct image now (to the version with more contrast).

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 01-Feb-11 03:27 PM
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#37. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 34


Gainesville, US
          

Nice work, Tom. I think the extra contrast heightens the sharpening effect.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Wed 02-Feb-11 06:25 AM
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#38. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Gainesville, US
          

Here's another attempt which benefits from what I've already learned from others' submittals and little revealing comments that have been made. Thanks guys.



No separate masking tools used on this one, just the usually available adjustments (admittedly a little weirdly applied).

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 2006Wed 02-Feb-11 06:53 AM
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#39. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 38


San Jose, US
          

Rob it looks pretty good. If at the end of this exercise we each learn at least one new way to approach sharpening, the experiment will be a success. I have considered going back and doing a better job on my flubbed submittal, but rehab is still taking most of my time. and I need to do it when I have a low amount of pain killers in my system. I think what is interesting so far is that they all look pretty close, at least as best I can see in the lap top I am using for my downstairs computer. If I really want to make changes I need to go to the desktop upstairs and I have to climb those stairs, turn on the computer and wait until everything starts, in other words a concentrated effort. Since I can't crawl around on my hands and knees right now, and maybe never will again, I have not been able to check if the two bad drives I removed as part of a RAID config, were my cause of my crashes recently, but while I am up there with the computer running I have had no crashes,so we shall see. But I may give it one more shot.

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 2009Wed 02-Feb-11 07:15 AM
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#40. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 39


Gainesville, US
          

Bob, I understand at least part of what you are experiencing. I was under the weather for several days and produced that first image under the "orange cast" of a pretty heavy duty pain killer. Fortunately, my malady ran it's course in five days and I'm back out and about.

I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we hope things progress rapidly and well, and that the computer issues are quickly resolved. Sounds like you need a friendly neighborhood geeky kid to give you a hand. I've often done that, not for technical help so much, but for additional muscle.

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 2006Wed 02-Feb-11 05:33 PM
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#41. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 40


San Jose, US
          

Funny as I have never used neighborhood kids. I built my machine from scratch and the HW part is always the easiest, with SW usually being the hair puller. I had a 500 GB RAID 1 configuration that was getting flaky and updated it to a 1 GB RAID 1. I then checked out the 2 drives in the old RAID and one was definitely bad, but the other was periodically unstable. After reformatting it, I came to the conclusion that it was still flaky and removed it as an external drive from my computer. I back up my drives in the computer either to a Networked external drive or 2 external BU drives. Since my latest BU SW was new, it too could be causing problems. To truly say, I have cleared the issue, i need the machine to run for days, my usual configuration is on at all times, except to hibernate to be sure. The only problem with that is if I still get failures I can screw up data. It is more of a time issue for me right now as I am literally just working my rehab, which is going very well, but have to start taxes, etc, all of which are computer based tasks. I will build a new machine later this year, and reload everything from scratch.

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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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 02-Feb-11 09:09 PM
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#42. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 41


Toronto, CA
          

Bob - Drobo and/or Carbonite for constant, secure and reliable backup. Much easier. More time for photography. Easier to concentrate on rehab too, because there won't 'ever' be a config/SW/HW headache lurking in the background.

I am considering special photo backup folder called "Blurry Photos I'll Never Publish Until Such Time As Nik Or Adobe Or ACDSystems Comes Up With A Miracle" which is where I think Rob's test pic should be stored. Then again, if someone wanted to crop into the birds only and blur/streak the shot, it might look just great. You know - texture and movement and contrast for its own sake. Must try that myself.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Wed 02-Feb-11 10:23 PM
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#43. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 42


Gainesville, US
          

>I am considering special photo backup folder called
>"Blurry Photos I'll Never Publish Until Such Time As Nik
>Or Adobe Or ACDSystems Comes Up With A Miracle" which is
>where I think Rob's test pic should be stored. Then again, if
>someone wanted to crop into the birds only and blur/streak the
>shot, it might look just great. You know - texture and
>movement and contrast for its own sake. Must try that myself.

The frequency and intensity of whining about this photo compels me to force some more viewing pain upon the infidels. Here are two "treatments" for all that pain.

These "images with illegal elements" are not eligible for, nor are they entered into, the competition. Just having some fun.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery




  

Ibis In Tornado

Ibis After Absinth
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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 02-Feb-11 10:36 PM
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#44. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 43


Kingston, CA
          


>These "images with illegal elements" are not
>eligible

Yup, they're for the birds!

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 02-Feb-11 11:34 PM
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#45. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 44


Toronto, CA
          

>
>>These "images with illegal elements" are not
>>eligible
>
>Yup, they're for the birds!

Has anybody posted this thread on Twitter? A Tweet might help.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 02-Feb-11 11:35 PM
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#46. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 43


Toronto, CA
          


>The frequency and intensity of whining about this photo
>compels me to force some more viewing pain upon the infidels.
>Here are two "treatments" for all that pain.

The 'Infidels' approve of your treatments. You shall be spared!

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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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 03-Feb-11 12:35 AM
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#47. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          



this one got a bit convoluted and may take a bit to explain.

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 05-Feb-11 07:34 PM
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#51. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Gainesville, US
          

It's time to move on! In my Reply #27, I suggested that we "wind this up " on February 4 and the current slowdown of submittals suggest that this may be pretty reasonable, so please consider the Submittal part of the contest to be closed.

Now, let's order/identify the submittals for the purpose of selecting some contest winners.

Image #1 - robsb's submittal in Reply #9
Image #2 - robsb's submittal in Reply #9
Image #3 - robsb's submittal in Reply #9
Image #4 - Pastime's submittal in Reply #12
Image #5 - barrywesthead's submittal in Reply #14
Image #6 - Robp's submittal in Reply #16
Image #7 - dm1dave's submittal in Reply #17
Image #8 - JonK's submittal in Reply #28
Image #9 - bobtail's submittal in Reply #33
Image #10 - toko's submittal in Reply #34
Image #11 - toko's submittal in Reply #34
Image #12 - Robp's submittal in Reply #38
Image #13 - robsb's submittal in Reply #47

The Polling concept isn't apparently viable (too few allowable choices), so I'll ask each of the contestants to make a single post here in this thread listing their top three choices from the other contestant's submittals (recuse yourself); thus, your response should include a listing like this:

Image #x - 1st choice
Image #y - 2nd choice
Image #z - 3rd choice

When everyone has responded, I (we, since you can correct my summation) will list the winners and request that they detail their processing.

Thanks for participating.

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 05-Feb-11 11:50 PM
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#52. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 51


San Jose, US
          

My Choices:

Image 4 -1st choice
Image 7 -2nd Choice
Image 11- 3rd Choice

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 2009Sun 06-Feb-11 06:44 PM
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#54. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 52
Sun 06-Feb-11 09:16 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

My Selections:

Image 10 1st choice
Image 8 2nd choice
Image 7 3rd choice

Edit] Suggestion: When voting, please reply to Response #51 just to keep things lined-up and in-order, not that it makes much difference (learning from experience... yet again).

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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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 06-Feb-11 01:05 AM
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#53. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 51


Lowden, US
          

Here you go...

Image 8 - 1st choice
Image 11 - 2nd Choice
Image 9 - 3rd Choice

Dave Summers
Lowden, Iowa
Nikonians Photo Contest Director

Nikonians membership -
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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 2006Sun 06-Feb-11 09:30 PM
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#55. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 51
Sun 06-Feb-11 09:32 PM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

Image 11 -1st choice
Image 10 -2nd Choice
Image 8 - 3rd Choice

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Mon 07-Feb-11 03:01 AM
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#57. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 56
Tue 08-Feb-11 12:12 AM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Jon, Image #8 IS nice and sharp, but… Reply #51 contains this request:

"I'll ask each of the contestants to make a single post here in this thread listing their top three choices from the ***other*** contestant's submittals (recuse yourself)".

Could you, maybe, reconsider your choice of Image #8 and edit Reply #56?

Edit: Jon got it fixed. Thanks Jon. How did you delete your previous reply? That would be handy, like right here.

Thanks,

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Mon 07-Feb-11 11:05 PM
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#59. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 57


New York, US
          

Whoops! Missed that! Here's my re-ranking:

Image 9 - 1st choice
Image 10 - 2nd choice
Image 11 - 3rd choice

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 11-Feb-11 02:29 AM
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#62. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 51
Fri 11-Feb-11 02:39 AM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Edited All votes are in! I reentered this post to keep things sort of in order so skip to Reply #63 for details.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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toko Registered since 04th May 2009Mon 07-Feb-11 08:15 AM
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#58. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0


Mölnlycke, SE
          

Image 7 - 1st choice
Image 8 - 2nd choice
Image 9 - 3rd choice

  

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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Tue 08-Feb-11 10:57 AM
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#60. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 58


Axminster, GB
          

Image10-1st choice
Image7-2nd choice
Image 11-3rd choice

Chris,

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Thu 10-Feb-11 10:58 AM
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#61. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 60


Kingston, CA
          

Here are my votes (thanks Rob for the nudge to cast my vote):

Image#8 - 1st choice
Image#7 - 2nd choice
Image#11 - 3rd choice

Cheers,
Peter

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 11-Feb-11 02:33 AM
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#63. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 61


Gainesville, US
          

All votes are in! An analysis and report are in order, but, because I didn't pre-define criteria for determining "Winners", I'll fall back on Rule #6, which allows "rule-bending", and Rule #5, which suggests declaring "the top poll recipients all winners". If anyone knows a "formal" methodology for determining winners in this kind of proceeding, I'd like to hear about it.

Here are some observations:

Based on a "Positional Category":
• JonK (Image 8) received two 1st place votes (Tie with toko).
• toko (Image10) received two 1st place votes (Tie with JonK).
• Pastime (Image 4) received one 1st place vote.
• dm1dave (Image 7) received three 2nd place votes.
• toko (Image 11) received four 3rd place votes.

Based on a "Placement Category":
• toko (Images 10 & 11) received ten (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) votes.
• JonK (Image 8) received four (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) votes.
• bobtail (Image 9) received three (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) votes.
• Pastime (Image 4) received one (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) vote (tie with dm1dave).
• dm1dave (Image7) received one (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) vote (tie with Pastime.

Congratulations (in alphabetical order) to bobtail, dm1dave, JonK, Pastime and toko, winners all! I, and I expect many others, look forward to your **Sharpening Revelations**.

My wife insists that everyone wants a declaration of Win, Show and Place so she proposed that we assign 3 points to a first place vote, 2 points to second and 1 point to third, then sum the points to arrive at a determination. I, of course, observe that assignment of points can affect the outcome because the assignment is arbitrary; you could, for example choose 10, 6 and 1 to skew the result towards a higher, but less consistent performance as has been done in Formula 1 and Nascar racing (and changed several times). Regardless, using her method, we get:

1. JonK Image 8 (2 x 3) + ( 2 x 2) + (1 x 1) = 11
2. toko Image 10 (2 x 3) + ( 2 x 2) + (0 x 1) = 10
2. dm1dave Image 7 (1 x 3) + ( 3 x 2) + (1 x 1) = 10

Interesting, but still not without controversy. Oh well...

I think that everyone who participated in this exercise is a Winner by virtue of their contribution to learning, both theirs and ours.

Thank you,

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Fri 11-Feb-11 10:13 AM
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#64. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 63


Axminster, GB
          

Rob,
Congratulations on your analysis . Perceptions clearly varied a lot.
In your original post you referred to the possibility of 'esoteric' methods, such as de-convolution. I have had the Focus Majic plug-in (in PaintShopProX2) for some time, but not used it a lot. This seemed a good time to see what it could do, so my final method was:
1. Open NEF in CNX2
2. 'Open With' into PSPP as tiff
3. Convert to jpeg (via Save As)
4. Use freehand selection tool to select an individual beak or other detail
5. Effects>Plug ins>Focus Magic>Fix Motion Blur- adjust for best effect.
Repeat 4 & 5 multiple times !
6. Save
7. Open in CNX2
8.Contrast +11 Brightness -31
9.Resize, Save.

Since this exercise I have started to use FM on some other 'problem' images. It, or one of the other de-convolution programmes is a very useful additional tool.
I deliberately did not use the sharpening options in CNX2, but think their use after step 7 might be beneficial.
I hope that other processing challenges may be forthcoming.
Chris.

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 11-Feb-11 11:07 PM
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#66. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 64
Fri 11-Feb-11 11:14 PM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Chris,

Thanks for your response. Your actions were exactly the sort of thing that I'd hoped for, namely, use of techniques beyond the "run of the mill" cookbook variety. This was the "Perfect" (inside joke with Chris) image on which to use selective sharpening to decrease the distraction of the background and relatively un-interesting elements. Another thing in your processed image that I liked was the "natural" rendition of the sharpened edges with no apparent halos. I've been playing with deconvolution also and the nice halo treatment seems to be one of it's major benefits.

Thanks

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Fri 11-Feb-11 12:13 PM
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#65. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 63


Kingston, CA
          

Rob,

Thanks for running this exercise. It was fun and informative. I know too it would have been a lot of work for you.

A future challenge could have an image with these attributes:

- straight out of camera with no sharpening, including picture control
- medium-high ISO with some blue noise in the sky and red noise in the shadows
- f2.8 100mm type of DOF so that part of the subject is very sharp and the rest has areas of pleasing bokeh (but with some points of light)
- original capture makes full use of tonal range (histogram is full left to right) so that any local contrast tonal adjustments quickly lead to blown out highlights and shadows
- some low frequency image data areas (sky, wall) and some high frequency image areas (hair, trees, grass)
- visible skin tones

Now this would require some fancy sharpening!

Peter


  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Fri 11-Feb-11 11:24 PM
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#67. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 65


Gainesville, US
          

Peter,

Thanks for playing. Your observations are correct; "it was fun and informative" and it has required a little work, but well worth the reward. Your idea for a future challenge sounds great… you're hereby nominated as next contest generator/moderator.

Cheers,

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sat 12-Feb-11 02:34 AM
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#68. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 67


Kingston, CA
          

>you're hereby nominated as next
>contest generator/moderator.

I was asking for it by suggesting a modified starting image, wasn't I! I have to respectfully decline - I can't see finding the time to run it well (like you did). 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 2006Sat 12-Feb-11 05:06 AM
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#69. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 63
Sat 12-Feb-11 05:08 AM by dm1dave

Lowden, US
          

Here is my process... (image #7)

Capture NX

Changed picture control from Standard to Neutral.

Exposure Compensation -0.55

Adjust Levels and Curves

Various Color control points to adjust brightness and contrast in localized areas.

Color control point to darken background

Unsharp Mask > Intesity-5% | Radius 88% | Threshold 0
(this affect is similar to the clarity slider in Lightroom)

Slight crop

Output to TIFF

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Photoshop CS2

Dodge and Burn Select areas of some birds.
(mostly head area od the sharpest birds)

Selectively apply Focus Magic to the sharpest birds

Selectively apply Smart Sharpen to other birds.

Resize

Convert to sRGB

Smart Sharpen > Amount 66% | Radius 0.4px

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
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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sat 12-Feb-11 06:47 PM
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#70. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 69
Sun 13-Feb-11 01:09 AM by Robp

Gainesville, US
          

Dave,

Thanks for your response. You created a nice image with a dual package workflow and interesting settings like HiRaLoAm USM in CNX, then Focus Magic and Smart Sharpen in CS2. I've played with all of these things but it's nice to see them integrated as well as you have done.

Thanks,

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Sat 12-Feb-11 09:33 PM
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#71. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 69


Kingston, CA
          

Thanks for sharing your flow. This is a great way to learn.

>Unsharp Mask > Intesity-5% | Radius 88% | Threshold 0

Is this intended to be a "local contrast enhancement" type of sharpening? In other other words low amount and high radius? I believe this would sharpen the large edges in the image.

What do you mean by 88% on the radius?

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 2006Sun 13-Feb-11 12:03 AM
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#72. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 71


San Jose, US
          

If you look back at the tutorial I put up a few Weeks ago I discussed this method of sharpening. Dan Margulis called it HIRADLOAM for High Radius Low Amount and I coined HIRALOIN for Cnx2 since amount in Photoshop is Intensity in CNX2. This type of sharpening is used when there are little or no sharply defined edges and it is especially good for water, faces, and other soft contours as it gives a more molded appearance. I used this sharpening method in all the submissions I made in the sharpening contest. For portraits you use this in combination with LORAHIAM sharpening to make faces really stand out.

The higher the radius setting in USM the wider the edges appear in a sharpened image, where the Intensity slider controls the amount of sharpening. If you used a high radius and a high intensity you will create halos. but by keeping the intensity low you just give a molded form to the object. Intensity has to be at least 1% for sharpening to have any effect.

Remember all USM can be applied either globally or locally and can be further restricted by the optimizer twirller tool in 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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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 13-Feb-11 01:14 AM
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#73. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 71


Lowden, US
          

Is this intended to be a "local contrast enhancement" type of sharpening? In other words low amount and high radius? I believe this would sharpen the large edges in the image.

Yes. Bobs post is a good explanation of this.

I first ran across this in an article about removing haze for images. Below are some good articles...

http://www.lonestardigital.com/photoshop_quicktips.htm

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/contrast-enhancement.shtml

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/local-contrast-enhancement.htm

http://www.bythom.com/sharpening.htm
(a short paragraph near the end of this article)

For some reason Capture NX uses a percentage for the Radius setting rather than a pixel value like Photoshop uses.

I add this step to most of my images now. It can add a sense of dimension and really make a subject pop.

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
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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 13-Feb-11 06:35 AM
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#74. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 73


San Jose, US
          

Dave thanks for the links. I cannot believe that these people don't know Dan Margolis developed this technique, it was covered in both his LAB book and Professional Photoshop. Kelby wrote a chaper in one of his books using the 2 step approach of HIRALOAM with LORAHIAM for portraits, but even he went to great length to credit Dan withthe idea.

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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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 13-Feb-11 03:51 PM
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#75. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 74


Lowden, US
          

This is a great technique. Dan certainly deserves due credit for developing it.

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
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Sun 13-Feb-11 05:07 PM
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#76. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 74


Gainesville, US
          

Bob, I've noticed a number of pundits discussing the use of HiRaLoAm and LoRaHiAm techniques lately and very few acknowledge the contributions of Dan Margulis; I strongly suspect that their egos get in the way of their intellectual obligations. You and Hal Becker were instrumental in directing me towards looking at Dan's work some time ago and I appreciate the nudge. My assessment of his work is that he had a better understanding of color relationships than most of the current technical writers; the current bunch, obviously, have better understanding of the new tools/algorithms supplied to us by the mathematicians and engineers. Now, if I could just get a good overall grasp on both conceptual areas…

Recently, you mentioned to me that Margulis did some interesting work with K channel blending and sharpening techniques (and that its use has not been covered recently). Did you use any of those ideas in your image submittals?

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 2006Sun 13-Feb-11 08:29 PM
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#77. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 76


San Jose, US
          

Yes I did the very last sharpening submittal used two Photoshop tools after I fixed most other stuff in cnx2. First I used the motion Blur filter to counteract some of the motion blur in the image. I applied it globally as I did not want to eliminate it all. Second I moved the image to CYMK, took the K channel, applied a levels adjustment to make it darker and then sharpened it. I then did an "apply Image" ,inverted as I remember, to the main RGB image where I had already applied the motion Blur filter. I then took it back to CNX2 for a final HIRALOIN USM application.

As for Dan remember he was one of the first people installed in the PHOTOSHOP hall of fame. He ran a color correction forum on line for over 30 years, and as I have said before, of the many books I have read on post processing, his were the only ones that got into theory so that you could see what was going on. His methods were unusual at a time when photoshop was not even as powerful as CNX2 today, and in general his books never used anything but basic techniques to achieve amazing results. Much of that is now integrated in many of the tools we have today, but his stuff still blows me away everytime I reread his books. His books are worth the price just for the exercises he puts you through to help you visualize what corrections are required and how applying them will impact the image. One truly amazing sequence is in his Professional Photoshop book where he has an image of a woman in western gear and a horse. Her outfit is black and the horse is chesnut brown. The image looks pretty good to the untrained eye, until he gets finished applying adjustments using the K channel and your jaw drops as you see the improved quality and this is with a book printed image.

I am hoping to explore more of his ideas in CNX2, but Nikon has yet to answer a number of additional questions I have concerning CYMK and the Optimizer Twirler in CNX2-Idon't think I am going to get an answer. I am trying to find which of his ideas can be applied in cnx2 without making a trip to Adobe Tools, but that may be a route without a good outcome. I do think some of the answer is in the LCH area as this is close to LAB in application.

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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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Tue 15-Feb-11 09:57 AM
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#79. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 77


Axminster, GB
          

Bob,
I have been using CNX & CNX2 since they started, but haven't come across such a thing as an Optimizer Twirler . What have I missed, or is this a case of US/UK language useage ?
Chris.

  

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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 15-Feb-11 07:20 PM
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#80. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 79


San Jose, US
          

I read that terminology somewhere but can't put my finger on it. I was referring to the Opacity Mixer which has different features depending on which function it is attached to. The Twirler part referencing the arrow you click to open the options in Opacity Mixer. For example when using the Opacity Mixer with USM, it allows you to select RGB, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, magenta, cyan as indiviual colors to which you can apply sharpening. Sorry for the confusion.

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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bobtail Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2006Fri 18-Feb-11 09:19 AM
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#85. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 80


Axminster, GB
          

Thank you, Bob,
I agree that those are really useful functions. I just didn't connect them with 'Twirling, which here usually refers to a rotary movement. I can't think of another single word to describe that function, though, so twirler will do.
Chris.

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Tue 15-Feb-11 01:55 AM
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#78. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 63


Gainesville, US
          

The winners' **Sharpening Revelations** submissions are much as anticipated, very educational. Thanks for getting yours in Chris and Dave, and to Bob for his K-channel discourse. Here's a gentle reminder (request) to Jon, Peter and Tom to share your "Revelations" with us.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Wed 16-Feb-11 12:54 AM
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#81. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 78


New York, US
          

There's really nothing more to reveal. As I said when I posted my version of the image, I used the NIK Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast Filter, setting the Highlight Contrast slider up fairly high (perhaps to about 80).

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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PAStime Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2009Wed 16-Feb-11 01:00 AM
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#82. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 78
Wed 16-Feb-11 01:02 AM by PAStime

Kingston, CA
          

Hello,

My revelations... well, I didn't think any of the sharpened versions of the images were strikingly better than the original. We have a lot of expertise around the virtual table and a collection of powerful tools at our disposal. So one thing I observed is that some images just can not be improved very much, even by experts with expert tools.

Moreover, I learned that I am not alone in struggling to much improve an image like that one.

As an aside, the image is perhaps better in it original form. The blur and softness are a part of the story (the emotion).

I was also reminded about how fast and easy it is to over sharpen. It doesn't take much to get that artificially grainy look, and visible halos along edges.

Last thought: In following along and at the same time, reading the "Real World Sharpening" book, I see that sharpening is still an art and there is plenty more to experiment with. I downloaded a research paper (much of which I can't understand) but the basic thesis is that capture sharpening should be performed before demosaicking. That way one can sharpen native monochrome data and not accentuate byproducts of the demosaicking process. Makes sense. I wonder if Capture NX2 does this (or will some day) during raw conversion.

I have strayed from your question Rob...

All the best,
Peter

  

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009Wed 16-Feb-11 07:49 PM
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#84. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 63


Gainesville, US
          

The noble experiment has succeeded wonderfully! Thank you Jon, Peter and Tom for the final wrap-up comments.

A very special thank you to everyone who helped and participated in this exercise. I, for one, have learned much more than I had anticipated. I'll be referencing and experimenting with the methodologies revealed in this thread for some time to come. I hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I did.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery

  

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toko Registered since 04th May 2009Wed 16-Feb-11 05:22 PM
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#83. "RE: Sharpening Contest"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 16-Feb-11 05:49 PM by toko

Mölnlycke, SE
          

Ok, I will now try to give you some idea of how image 10 (reply 34) was processed.


Some initial adjustments made in Camera Raw:

WB 4700 and -10 tint
Recovery 22
Cromatic Aberration fix red +9 and fix blue -18
Sharpening:
Amount 18
Radius 1.5
Detail 25
Masking 84
Noise reduction:
Color 15


In CS4:

Shadows/highlights (opacity on this image layer was set to 31%, Normal blend mode):
Highlights (amount about 9%, tonal width 50%, radius 30px)
Black Clip and White Clip set to 0.01

I selected the image highlights, by clicking Ctrl + RGB channel. Image selection was copied into a new layer (opacity 14%, Overlay blend mode).

Color Balance (opacity 100%, Normal blend mode): Highlights blue +2, Shadows green -2

Merged into a new layer to which I applied some Gaussian blur. A mask was applied to this layer so that birds were not affected (or softened).

Merged Visible layers into two new layers. To one of these I applied some High Pass filtering (radius about 4 pixels). High Pass layer (opacity 45%, blend mode Soft Light).


Resized image into 1000x665
High Pass filtering (radius 1.3) was once again applied to a copied image layer. High Pass layer (opacity 38%, blend mode Hard Light). Mask from previous was used (inverted mask from Gaussian blur) so that only birds were sharpened. I had also to manually mask some parts, because these parts got too much sharpening (too big halo effect).

Finally I opened picture in Topaz Denoise4 and added some grain for a more “organic feel” (I don’t really know if this adjustment gave some real benefit to the image – but it felt good anyway… ).


Edit: I now realize that I haven’t said all about how I really blend the layers that were High Pass filtered. These layers were blend more softly onto underlying image layer by using the advanced blending option Layer Style.

In Layer Style “Blend if” was set to gray. “This layer” slider was moved to exclude some of the highlights (to about 131 ), this point decides where the layer masking begins – and for a more gradual masking effect this point on the slider was separated - and the right side of this point was moved to about 155).

/Tom

  

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