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Thread: Sharpness - correct amount?

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    RonH's Avatar
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    Sharpness - correct amount?

    I am having a bit of difficulty getting my head around this, particularly when using RAW capture. Reading Tutorials is helpful but it seems to me that 'sharp' ain't necessarily 'sharp' in the eye of the beholder.So how much should we sharpen, how sharp should a picture be, should it be as sharp as we can possibly make it without creating halos etc? And is there a 'ready reckoner' as to what is the 'correct' level of sharpness for different picture types?

    For example, I entered a B/W called 'Accurate Tuning' (Monochrome 1) which I thought was sharpened to suit the close up ... was it correct for this type of picture?

    I read that portraits should be 'softer', text needs to be sharper ... Google ...ing does not come up with answers, only 'how to's'. Maybe there are no hard and fast answers.
    Help please if anyone has the time ...
    Hope that its not a stupid question ...

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Ron

    Have you read through the previous threads on the subject on here? There is a huge amount of information, with Colin in particular being very informed on the subject.

    ps: I thought your sharpening on 'Accurate Tuning' was fine.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Right I'm learning and the most important thing I've learned is technical matters such as how and why are easier to grasp than subjective things such as how bright or dark, how sharp or not.
    Generally I sharpen to my taste on the day, which may change another day. Some things require to be sharp such as a stained glass window others not so.
    If you oversharpen grass becomes plastic, but generally you would like the viewer to make out detail well mostly so some sharpening is normally required.

    A few different sharpenings you choose which looks real but I may not want it to look real.
    Sharpness - correct amount?
    Sharpness - correct amount?
    Sharpness - correct amount?

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    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    This has been covered very recently and only took me a moment to find this thread.

    When/How to Best Sharpen a Digital Photograph

    Happy reading!

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    For example, I entered a B/W called 'Accurate Tuning' (Monochrome 1) which I thought was sharpened to suit the close up ... was it correct for this type of picture?
    Hi Ron,

    it wasn't bitingly sharp, but given the subject and the limited DoF, making one bit that sharp wouldn't have been appropriate anyway, so your instinct and application in Accurate Tuning was correct in my view.

    What spoiled it for me was that the wood is probably a lovely rich colour and you threw that away
    Did you do any LCE on that image?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Sharpness

    The thing with sharpening is that it needs to be done on a couple of "levels" - not to be confused with sharpening "passes" - the lowest level (typically capture sharpening) is all about giving clarity to high-frequency (ie "fine detail") or "improving the focus" (possibly dangerous choice of words, but you get the idea - the 2nd level is all about giving the image the desired about of "pop"; giving larger edges more contrast.

    Unfortunately, whilst capture sharpening sharpening has relatively constant parameters (300% - 0.3 pixels - 0 threshold for a high-resolution / low noise RAW capture), content/creative sharpening varies quite a lot - and (I hate to say it) "just comes down to trial & error -> experience".

    If it helps Ron, best thing I can suggest is send me a RAW file and I'll sharpen it and send it back along with notes of what amounts I used.

    Hope this helps

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    RonH's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Ron

    Have you read through the previous threads on the subject on here? There is a huge amount of information, with Colin in particular being very informed on the subject.
    Hei Donald. I tried search using sharpening/sharpness but could not spot anything specific in the thread headings ...
    Missed the one you have linked Mark ... thanks for this.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Hei Donald. I tried search using sharpening/sharpness but could not spot anything specific in the thread headings ...
    Missed the one you have linked Mark ... thanks for this.
    Whan searching, you do need to put the asterisk (star) =* either side of a word like sharpening.

    Click the Advanced Search link on any page (top right, just below search box),
    and on the page that opens;
    In the "Search For" section; select Search Titles only in droplist
    Then type; *sharpening* into the "Keyword(s)" box just above
    Then click "Search Now button (in same section, on right)

    That'll give you 6 or 7 good hits I hope.

    If any consolation, I always forget
    EDIT: OK, I just tried that again without asterisks and it still worked
    The other thing to be wary of is not to enter anything in the Username section.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 10th March 2010 at 06:47 AM.

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    That'll give you 6 or 7 good hits I hope.
    Cheers,
    As they say in UK 'Dear, oh dear, oh dear' ... I am soooo embarrassed . I forgot to go past Page 1 of the search results due to freezing my brain here over winter. Thanks Dave for that prompt. Regarding your earlier comment above, I think my 'guitar tuning, would have been best in colour to highlight the wood. LCE ... better go and look that one up now!

    Now to apologise to Colin ...

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    RonH's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The thing with sharpening is that ...
    If it helps Ron, best thing I can suggest is send me a RAW file and I'll sharpen it and send it back along with notes of what amounts I used.
    Hope this helps
    Sorry Colin for wasting your time ... see above to Dave. Very kind of you to offer to sharpen one of my RAW's but you do enough for all of us as it is. I will now print out your thread 'When/How to Best Sharpen a Digital Photograph' and have a good read whilst I thaw our my brain

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Sorry I thought the question was about how much rather than how to. Well I always pull capture sharpening back to zero and noise reduction to zero in ACR, then I used to clean noise next but now I sharpen and then clean noise, but I use a different sharpening tool that sharpens different frequencies differently or I have control over small medium and large detail separately.
    However Colin is right, if all you want is a nice clean pic and an efficient workflow, however ACR already sharpens by default and I would like to know how to prevent this from happening, it seems a bit silly to use the latest methods and algorithms for sharpening if the pic has already been messed up with an unsharp mask using acutance to sharpen, although inevitably that is what sharpening must be.

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    RonH's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Sorry I thought the question was about how much rather than how to.
    Correct, no sweat Steve. Clever stuff this

    'ACR already sharpens by default and I would like to know how to prevent this from happening ...' No doubt one of our experts has an answer to this for you.
    Ron

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    ACR already sharpens by default
    Click the workflow options link at the bottom of ACR and set sharpening to none - problem solved

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Click the workflow options link at the bottom of ACR and set sharpening to none - problem solved
    Cheers but can't find it on mine.

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Cheers but can't find it on mine.
    Maybe this ...
    Set sharpening amount slider to zero then go to camera raw flyout menu and choose 'save new camera defaults'. Now raw images taken with that camera will not be automatically sharpened.
    ... or so I have read

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpness

    Yep; that works

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Cheers but can't find it on mine.
    Which version are you using?

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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Maybe this ...
    Set sharpening amount slider to zero then go to camera raw flyout menu and choose 'save new camera defaults'. Now raw images taken with that camera will not be automatically sharpened.
    ... or so I have read
    That's the way it works.I set ACR up that way when I got Elements 8.

  19. #19
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    Re: Sharpness

    Hi Colin,
    Elements doesn't have the workflow options that CS4 has.

  20. #20
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    Re: Sharpness

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The thing with sharpening is that it needs to be done on a couple of "levels" ...
    ...capture sharpening sharpening has relatively constant parameters (300% - 0.3 pixels - 0 threshold for a high-resolution / low noise RAW capture ...
    Colin. Been spending today reading your thread on sharpening and practicing various RAW sharpening. I note that you do not use ACR for sharpening ... does this mean that you zero Amount/Radius/Detail and Masking or just Amount? Then do you use the ACR Noise Luminance/Colour controls or also set these to zero before opening the file and using Unsharp Mask 300/0.3/0.
    Could be a stupid question but I am trying

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