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Sharpening Advice

This is a discussion on Sharpening Advice within the Photoshop - graphics programs - pluggins - for photography forums, part of the Education & Technical category; I have a new 70-200 2.8L lens that is soft. Unfortunatly I do not have time right now to send ...

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    midgett is offline Member
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    Default Sharpening Advice

    I have a new 70-200 2.8L lens that is soft. Unfortunatly I do not have time right now to send it off for a warrenty repair for a few weeks. I need to slightly sharpen a bunch of files from a recent shoot. I find Lightrooms sharpening features to be a bit lacking so I prefer to use unsharp mask in cs4. Is it better to sharpen files as JPEGs or as DNGs? Or does it really even matter?

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    tirediron is offline Senior Member
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    Sharpening should always be the last step in post-processing, so it depends on your work-flow, but I would apply it to the .dng rather than the .jpg.

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    landon9720 is offline Member
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    i keep hearing that sharpening should be the last step. but raw files need to have sharpening applied as they are opened. how do you reconcile?

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    I find the sharpening in LR all but useless. Ata recent seminar the Adobe people admitted as much and said they were working on something more like the PS unsharp mask for future releases.
    I use the Clarity in LR to get a little bit of sharpening then I sent it to PS CS4 and use the unsharp mask after doing anything else I need to. I have no preference over dng or jpg in this case.

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    i keep hearing that sharpening should be the last step. but raw files need to have sharpening applied as they are opened. how do you reconcile?
    Why do you say this, at least for me, that's not how I work. I apply the unsharp mask filter OR the smart sharpen filter only at the end of my post processing.
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    Most of what I've read seems to suggest sharpening can be applied twice when post processing RAW files. In fact I think even Scott Kelby describes in his book(s) a pre-sharpening (not sure if that exactly what he calls it) step upon importing files or as some part of the regular post process workflow. The idea I guess is that if you don't shoot jpeg with sharpening applied in camera, that digital RAW files tend to be way too soft. Many of photographer's images end up living on a hard drive only to be occasionally brought up for display within say Lightroom or whatever. And then the final sharpening can be done at/near the end of post process, upon export, if that image is going to the web or to print. In fact Lightroom has a feature embedded into their export menu that allows you to select low/med/high sharpening for display, and a similar feature in the print module. Though as MA mentions, some photographers may prefer to take their files into Photoshop for this instead of doing within Lightroom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F8&Bthere View Post
    Most of what I've read seems to suggest sharpening can be applied twice when post processing RAW files. In fact I think even Scott Kelby describes in his book(s) a pre-sharpening (not sure if that exactly what he calls it) step upon importing files or as some part of the regular post process workflow. The idea I guess is that if you don't shoot jpeg with sharpening applied in camera, that digital RAW files tend to be way too soft. Many of photographer's images end up living on a hard drive only to be occasionally brought up for display within say Lightroom or whatever. And then the final sharpening can be done at/near the end of post process, upon export, if that image is going to the web or to print. In fact Lightroom has a feature embedded into their export menu that allows you to select low/med/high sharpening for display, and a similar feature in the print module. Though as MA mentions, some photographers may prefer to take their files into Photoshop for this instead of doing within Lightroom.
    I'd be interested to know more about this pre-sharpening and if others process in this way.

    Raw images are softer when you open them it's true; BUT I can easily tell TRUE softness (like when the eyes are not perfectly sharp) when I open up the shot in bridge and I assume it's the same for lightroom.
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    landon9720 is offline Member
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    i should have been more clear. my (perhaps incorrect) understanding is that raw image pixels are stored in the bayer pattern, and therefore need processing before they can even be displayed on screen. this processing includes some level of sharpening. my thought was that if sharpening must be applied when the raw image is loaded, then the image should be sharpened as much as is desired. this means that the sharpening is effectively applied before most other edits.

    what is the reasoning behind applying sharpening last?

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    The level of sharpening will vary based on the output of the final image.

    A printed image (huge) needs considerably more sharpening than a small web image.

    So I work on my image first, THEN decide if it's going on the web or print etc.
    Therefore, the sharpening is the last thing I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marko View Post
    I'd be interested to know more about this pre-sharpening and if others process in this way.
    As I mentioned above ... I do when using Lightroom if you consider the Clarity a sharpening tool. Which the Adobe people at the seminar did in lieu of their lacking sharpening feature in there now. I treat the Clarity as a kind of cross between sharpening and contrast.


    In the end they want to have all the photo editing features of PS inside Lightroom and leave PS as software for someone who does both photo and graphic work whereas Lightroom will be for photo work only and leave no need to export out to PS at all. They have some work to do.

    My real sharpening is done somewhere close the end of my processing in PS.

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