I have read many articles about input and composition sharpening. I think I have a pretty good handle on these subjects. However, output sharpening still seems like something of a mystery to me. My prints are good but probably have room for improvement, which I am always in favor of.
I did some research and came up with several pointers for output sharpening that I have developed into a workflow. The workflow makes sense, but honestly, I don't see any difference in sharpness from my previous printing technique. As a test I made three prints:
1. Cropped and printed at what looked like good sharpening for a normal image - no adjustments to the image size resolution (295 @ 11 x 14)
2. Cropped and sharpened to 70/1/10 using the following methodology
3. Cropped and sharpened to 200/.7/30 using the following methodology
Viewed from a foot away, you cannot tell these prints apart. Pixel peeping #3, you can see a little over sharpening. So, I'd say my technique is not working.
What's right with this? What needs fixing? What steps would yield sharper images?
This is the workflow:
Save document before further changes
Crop image to final print proportions
Re-size to print dimensions and 360PPI (Epson printer, Canon or HP may need 300) with re-sampling.
Copy all previous layers to a new layer, cont-alt-shft-E
Change layer type to Luminosity
Set screen view to 50%
Open up the Unsharp Mask
-have the preview panel set for 100%
-set radius appropriately for the frequency of the image (1 for normal images, .7 or less for very busy images)
-set the threshold to 10
-adjust the amount until the pixels begin to 'crinkle' slightly, then back off a little
-re-adjust the threshold to assure that even-toned areas of the image are not being over sharpened
Proceed to print using the printer settings appropriate for your printer and paper
When complete and the print is printed satisfactorily, save the image in a folder for final print files using 'save-as' and a name that will allow you find the document easily in the future.
Note on the print: file name, paper type, printer model, ink type, date