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Archive 2012 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?
  
 
Gary Clennan
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Hi all. I have been using LR for a few years now and am still on the search to find the best way to sharpen images for web posting. I know in Photoshop you can develop and run certain scripts but I don't think this is possible in LR. I would like to see what experienced LR users have been doing for sharpening for web. I typically shoot a lot of landscape stuff but also a variety of other shots as well. Any advice would be most appreciated.


Apr 04, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Cphoto1954
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


I use NIK Sharpener and it is THE BEST way to sharpen a screen or printed images.

I know this dosen't answer your question on how to use "LightRoom" to do it, but NIK is a Plugin for LR.

Here is the link and you can download a 15 day trial of it too.
http://www.niksoftware.com/sharpenerpro/usa/entry.php

Best of luck to you!



Apr 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM
mshi
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Sharpening in ACR or LR is kind of kid's toy compared to those sharpening tools in PS.


Apr 05, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


I expect that sharpening for web images can afford to be rather primitive because the web images have been dumbed down considerably from their original sizes. Add to that the fact that most viewers are seeing the colours all wrong too and it hardly seems to matter a great deal.

Therefore it would seem that whatever Lr offers is quite sufficient.

Ps may well offer better sharpening tools, as may Nik, but they have at least one major deficiency in that they work on separate images and are not part the Lr paremetric workflow. Once they work on an image it is no longer the same image file but is a physically separate one, and any tweaks done in Lr to the original will not be reflected in the new image file. Unless you want to convert your images to jpg or whatever and do all subsequent maintainance or editing on them separately from the originals you are better off sticking with the Lr sharpening. If you have a great image that will be printed large and is worthy of more effort than usual to get it looking just right then it is likely worthwhile to edit it and sharpen it in Ps instead of Lr. I doubt that images destined for the web are in that category but that is a decision for you to make.

Personally, I post next to nothing on the web and therefore do not have the relevant experience to assist the OP with that sort of sharpening in Lr.

- Alan



Apr 06, 2012 at 01:35 PM
David Kirsch
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Alan321 wrote:
I
Ps may well offer better sharpening tools, as may Nik, but they have at least one major deficiency in that they work on separate images and are not part the Lr paremetric workflow. Once they work on an image it is no longer the same image file but is a physically separate one, and any tweaks done in Lr to the original will not be reflected in the new image file.

- Alan


Alan, when you edit a LR image in PS or Nik, doesn't it export with any LR adjustments you have made? I know you can elect to export without the LR adjustments, but certainly the option exists to retain those adjustments.

David



Apr 06, 2012 at 05:00 PM
legaltrouble
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


David Kirsch wrote:
Alan, when you edit a LR image in PS or Nik, doesn't it export with any LR adjustments you have made? I know you can elect to export without the LR adjustments, but certainly the option exists to retain those adjustments.

David


Correct. What Alan is trying to get at is that from then on you are working on a tiff or psd file not a raw file.



Apr 07, 2012 at 12:32 PM
howardm4
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


here's a thread that may be interesting

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=63917.0



Apr 07, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


David Kirsch wrote:
Alan, when you edit a LR image in PS or Nik, doesn't it export with any LR adjustments you have made? I know you can elect to export without the LR adjustments, but certainly the option exists to retain those adjustments.

David


Sorry for the delay in replying. You are correct in what you have written. What I was getting at is that when you export an edited file to be worked on with Nik Sharpener or any other plug-in it is no longer a raw file, and even though the new file can be returned to Lr it remains a separate file (probably a tif or jpg according to your settings). Therefore if you subsequently edit the original raw image file in Lr then those extra changes are not reflected in the file previously returned by the plug-in. If instead you edit the file returned by the plug-in then you won't see those changes on the raw file in Lr. So from the time you get a file returned by any plug-in you have to manage the two files separately.

If, for example, you upgraded from Lr 3 to Lr 4 and applied the new processing engine to the raw file to extract better shadow/highlight details or whatever then the tif/jpg from the plug-in will be unaffected and not show the benefits. At least if you had done the sharpening within Lr you would still have that sharpening as well as the new tweaks.

However, to be fair about this you would sometimes not want the edited tif/jpg file to be affected by future tweaks made to the raw file.

- Alan



Apr 12, 2012 at 06:58 AM
 

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Alan321
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


I stand by what I wrote earlier about web sharpening - basically that web images are usually low resolution and therefore the sharpening can afford to be less subtle. However, if you want to sharpen other images in Lr at full resolution then you have a few controls to work with. Unfortunately I have found no sure-fire approach to general capture sharpening other than to apply whatever has worked previously for the same or similar camera at the same ISO (and even then hope that the exposure compensation was not spoiling the result).

I tend to use a small radius such as 0.7, though bigger for low-res images or if the details in the image are large and simple.

I use an amount of about 60 at low-ish ISO and down to 40 at higher ISO, but the need to reduce the amount varies with the amount of noise reduction applied and the amount of masking applied. Less noise allows greater sharpening without artifacts caused by the noise. The high amount is acceptable with a small radius but would probably be excessive for a larger radius.

I use a detail setting of about 60-70. The default value for detail is too low but once it is high enough there seems to be relatively effect compared with Amount or Radius.

I use about 20-30 for masking unless the image is noisy and/or has lots of featureless areas such as sky that shows artifacts if the Amount is high, and then I'll increase the Masking. Too high will undermine the sharpening.

After doing all of this I'll look at the edges of fine details to see if there are signs of artifacts such as a ragged edge that ought to be straight. If I find it then the two most effective solutions are to decrease the Amount or to apply noise reduction. I'll avoid the NR solution if the ISO is low because it should not be needed at low ISO, but I'll prefer NR at high ISO because it is generally required with or without sharpening.

When I've got settings that work I'll make a preset for that camera/ISO combination so that it becomes the new default settings for future photos. However, being unique for each ISO means there may need to be a lot of presets.

My experience suggests that my 1D4 images withstand less sharpening and need more NR than my D3s images. The 1D4 is inherently noisier. The D700 images are much like the D3s in terms of sharpening except at the higher ISOs where less sharpening or more NR is required.

Note that this all applies to capture sharpening - making the image look sharp on screen at full size to compensate for the Bayer RGGB digital sensor pattern and demosaicing process that is inherent in nearly all digital camera images. Something quite different is needed for artistic effects or to adjust for print output. For example, if the sharpening looks good on screen then it almost certainly will be inadequate on a print, and what is good for prints will look crappy on screen. However, while Lr 3 will let you see capture sharpening in image previews at any size it will not let you see print sharpening except in a special print preview. What you see most of the time when browsing or editing in Lr Library and Develop modules is capture sharpening.

- Alan



Apr 12, 2012 at 07:35 AM
GC5
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?



LR4, which now has some control of sharpening and noise reduction in the brushes, is much better than LR3, which only allowed global noise reduction.



Apr 18, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Cphoto1954
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Because sharpening is the absolute last thing I do to a file before final output (printed or web) having it as is RAW in not an issue for me.

I believe the NIK Plug-In does give you the option to make a copy WITH LR adjustments too.



Apr 18, 2012 at 07:45 PM
pr4photos
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


LR4 does a fine job of sharpening. In fact I can and do regularly export images from LR that are published in magazines without any further sharpening



Apr 18, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Rodolfo Paiz
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


pr4photos wrote:
LR4 does a fine job of sharpening. In fact I can and do regularly export images from LR that are published in magazines without any further sharpening


Would you be willing to run through your general methodology and thought process as Alan has done?



Apr 19, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Cphoto1954 wrote:
Because sharpening is the absolute last thing I do to a file before final output (printed or web) having it as is RAW in not an issue for me.


The sharpening we do with raw files in Lr is capture sharpening - it undoes the damage done by the digital processes of capturing the image onto an RGGB Bayer sensor grid and the subsequent demosaic process to turn those separate R G and B pixels back into pixels which each have R G and B info. This is generally required before any output (and hence output sharpening) is done so that you know what image quality you have to work with. I think most experts would suggest that you reconsider your workflow to include capture sharpening.

- Alan



Apr 19, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Cphoto1954
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Best LR Sharpening Technique?


Just to clearify I always do the inital image (capture) sharpening on the RAW image in LR first. I then get them close to what I want then always take them into PS (16-Bit TIFF) to finsh them off. Then they're returned to LR for a trip out to NIK Sharpener which brings them back into LR when I make the final print.




Apr 19, 2012 at 09:25 PM





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