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Thread: Deconvolution

  1. #1
    arith's Avatar
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    Deconvolution

    Has anybody tried Topaz InFocus; I can't make my mind up if it is worth the bother.

    Here is one I tried using the trial version:

    unsharpened
    Deconvolution

    deconvolution + micro contrast or the common preset
    Deconvolution

    Is it considerably better than just ordinary sharpening? Is it better than Topaz Detail?

    Looks like it is hard to use.

  2. #2
    Nass's Avatar
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    Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel

    Re: Deconvolution

    Not with Topaz InFocus, but I've used it with other software. I've found it good (but, indeed, complex).

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    Re: Deconvolution

    I have used deconvolution sharpening with other programs.
    It's a very nice technique in theory. In practice, I've found a few disadvantages with it:
    - if you use it too agressively, you get very visible artifacts at edges
    - it tends to accentuate any noise you have in your image
    - it's slow

    Also, its effect is fundamentally different from unsharp masking, as it actually gets out finer details, where USM increases acuity (contrast at edges) and tends to blur/mask the finest detail.

    I like using it for capture sharpening, unless I'm in a hurry

  4. #4
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    Very complex Nass.

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    Re: Deconvolution

    Well I have used the Raw Therapy version during Raw conversion and found that it could help for basic sharpening in some circumstances, although I still preferred to use Unsharp Mask for the final sharpen.

    With some difficult areas, like faces in a general photo, not a proper formal portrait, I found it did help and prevented oversharpening of areas like around the eyes etc which can look harsh with too much USM.

    But now that I have software with 'Smart Sharpen' options I tend to use that instead. And, of course, I still do quite a lot of selective sharpening using the traditional masking techniques.

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I've been using deconvolution in Topaz Detail Remco; but Topaz say that is a very basic version. I tried this on an image with a newspaper in it but still couldn't read the print, although it looked a bit cleaner that Topaz Detail.

    But I feel if you know how to use it you could read the print, just looks like a lot of effort and the best job I could get was with the basic preset.

    I suppose I really want to know if it can be mastered so that sharpening takes only ten minutes or so.

  7. #7
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I stopped doing the traditional sharpening a long time ago Geoff. I use Topaz Detail, but strangely the bigger the image the stranger and sharper it looks. Takes effort to get it right.

    I use deconvolution in preference to small detail; but InFocus is supposed to be the bees knees for sharpening, even offered to law enforcement as a forensic application.

    It definitely would not be easy to use for that and their example of a completely blurred number plate brought into sharp focus is remarkable.

  8. #8
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I've done a couple more cropped so that differences are easier to detect, but they are not easy to detect.The second looks a bit milky and has a pleasing feel to it.

    The first is sharpened using Topaz Detail which I'm now used to and use all the time:
    Deconvolution

    The second is done using Topaz InFocus which has hardly any controls but feels harder to use at the moment:
    Deconvolution

    Maybe InFocus will be useful with presets; since you cannot really get away with presets using Detail, every image is a special case.
    Last edited by arith; 27th April 2011 at 06:58 AM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Deconvolution

    To me, the yellow flower appears sharper in the second image but the red one looks sharper in the first.

    I think a lot of the difference with the second one is a softer and lighter tone particularly with the background.

    I would say that the first photo is a touch on the 'harsh' side while the second seems more natural.

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    Re: Deconvolution

    I use infocus for some things. I like it for flowers "still life" etc. Not so good on portraits. Just my 2 cents worth!

  11. #11
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I think you are about right Geoff; InFocus gives a more natural look. The light is different though and if I apply micro contrast I can get nearer the first.

    But I like the second more.

    It might be worth spending money on if I can master it.

  12. #12
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    Cheers Douglas; I use Topaz Detail for everything. But sometimes although screen size is ok I notice bigger images look artificial; a bit cartoonish until I add a blur.

    But this InFocus isn't too easy to use either.

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    Re: Deconvolution

    I've found a pretty good method of doing natural sharpening with minimum artifacts, it employs a method called frequency separation, where you separate the image into two layers, one containing high frequency data, ie. sharp details and texture, and a low frequency layer containing most of the color and luminance data. You can then proceed to use unsharp mask on the low frequency layer to boost local contrast if you wish, i tend to use this sparingly, and then use smart sharpen on the high frequency layer with a small radius to give it those crisp details.

    Original image, no sharpening: http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/9647/sharpeningb.jpg

    Sharpened image: http://img848.imageshack.us/img848/7088/sharpeninga.jpg

    In order to do this in photoshop you'll want to duplicate your background layer twice, then proceed to gaussian blur one of the layers until most texture detail is completely removed(The blur radius needed depends entirely on the original image resolution). Name this layer "Low frequency".
    Then choose the other duplicate layer and go to apply image (found under the image menu in the main toolbar), select the low frequency layer from the layer drop down menu, set the blending mode to subtract, set the scale to 2 and the offset to 128, after that rename this layer "High frequency" and set the blend mode to "linear light", by now it should look identical to the original image. You can then proceed to sharpen the layers individually, although I've found, if you are intending to resize the image smaller best method seems to be to do the frequency separation on the full size image, shrink the image using Bicubic smoother (seems counter-intuitive but it seems to preserve the image best) and proceed to sharpen the layers afterwards. This method rarely produces halo/edge artifacts common to unsharp mask.


    This is also a great help when doing retouching as you can work on removing blemishes and such on the low frequency layer while preserving the skin texture on the high frequency layer. Subtlety is the key though, unless you're going for an unnatural look. For quick skin fixes you can also do a quick select of skin areas in the low frequency layer, feather the selection and perform a surface blur, this will make the skin appear quite smooth while still retaining texture. Some blemishes require work on the high frequency layer as well, there it is recommended to use the clone stamp tool with a 100% hard brush at full opacity in order to not smudge details.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I learn something on this site everyday; I've never heard of frequency separation except maybe through Topaz and small, medium, and large detail separation.

    I got lost around here though:

    select the low frequency layer from the layer drop down menu, set the blending mode to subtract, set the scale to 2 and the offset to 128, after that rename this layer "High frequency" and set the blend mode to "linear light", by now it should look identical to the original image.
    But I might play around with the idea to see what happens; cheers jokker

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    Re: Deconvolution

    Yes this is something where I will come back and have a try when I have a bit more free 'thinking time'.

    Previously I did use something which sounds similar. It involved a form of manual selection USM by finding and sharpening just those edge areas which you wished to be sharpened and discarding the others. Somewhere I have the details of that method.

    It worked reasonably well but took a long time and I couldn't see that much difference on most images.

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    Re: Deconvolution

    This is a great image. It is captures high speed photography. the picture looks better when its common present then when its unsharpened.

  17. #17
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    Re: Deconvolution

    Cheers Andrea.

  18. #18
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    Re: Deconvolution

    Has anyone had success using InFocus to remove (or at least improve) an out of focus image?

    I've tried using it on a somewhat out of focus handheld telephoto shot of an eagle carrying off a duckling -- without much success. I'm planning to post a sequence of the duck and eagle photos but want to get this not entirely sharp photo improved first.

    I'm thinking of downloading the demo version of a more expensive deconvolution programme by Quarktet and seeing whether I have more success with it. Has anyone used it?

  19. #19
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Deconvolution

    I've never managed to improve an out of focus image using Topaz Bruce. But now I keep InFocus in my workflow because sometimes the results on a good image are stunning.

  20. #20

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    Re: Deconvolution

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I've never heard of frequency separation except maybe through Topaz and small, medium, and large detail separation.

    I got lost around here though:

    But I might play around with the idea to see what happens; cheers jokker
    Donīt worry Arith,
    it will make sense once you walk through the process. I had not heard of this technique either (or ever figured out what "Apply image" does) but it worked brilliantly on my first try. Nice subtle sharpening without any artefacts. Thanks to Jokker for posting this!

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