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| p.1 #9 · Sharpening for small prints |
Ed: Would be interested in knowing specifically how you sharpen in PS.
My sharpening technique is literally too difficult to explain in a post like this. I only use this technique for images that I really care about. Snapshots for friends don't get this treatment. It takes way too much time. The quick answer is also pretty involved. I do no sharpening in LR - it's pointless since you have so little control over the process. When I first bring an image into PS I will create a sharpened layer with an edge mask that I often manually adjust after generating it with some action (this pass at sharpening is designed to recover sharpness from the anti-aliasing filter over the sensor). Further this will be done with Smart Sharpen where I have a lot of control of not only which algorithm I use, but how much shadow and highlight areas get sharpened. In extreme cases I will use blend if on this layer as well. One principle of my work flow is to never sharpen anything that is not important detail in the image.
After I do all of my other processing (which often includes other filters not found in LR or other programs) I will save this multi-layered file as my working copy. From here, I will purpose-sharpen for output depending upon the final usage. First I will flatten & resize the image as needed. Then I will create 3 separate sharpening layers, each with their own mask. One of these is a Smart Sharpen layer, the other two are High Pass sharpening. Again, depending upon the image, I will make mask adjustments and Blend If layer adjustments to each of these sharpening layers and adjust the overall opacity of each as well. In some cases, I will discard one or more of the sharpening layers if appropriate, though that is usually the exception.
In the final analysis, there is no one-size-fits-all to my approach. I use a number of actions to speed up the workflow, but there are multiple decision points and manual adjustment points in each of these actions.
Don't ask what I do to enhance detail in an image when I need to go that route. Let's just say that in PS CS 5, at one point in that process I usually crank the CPU fan up (on my 8-core Xeon processor) to keep from cooking things on the motherboard.
This is really a series of techniques that have evolved over years of use. They are constantly being tweaked and adjusted as I try and learn new things and figure out what I like and don't like. Each and every image in my gallery has been sharpened with these techniques to some extent or another.
One final comment about this. Despite all of the stuff I am doing, the bottom line is that less is more. Most of these output sharpening layers don't have extremely high opacity settings. I believe that there is an art to getting the right amount of sharpening without overdoing it. Folks on this forum are generally pretty good about it. On the web in general however, I find that most people either under-sharpen or over sharpen by a lot in both cases.
I hope this helps.
= Ed =