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Sharpening techniques and different applications
  
 
Wilbus
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


So following a short discussion in the E-M1.2 thread regarding sharpening (among other things) and Lightroom and Capture One Pro I thought I'd start a new thread about this. I don't have the E-M1.2 thus I don't post these shots there.

So, different applications handle files differently, for better and worse.

I've been using Lightroom since the first day of the open beta, a couple of years ago I tried Capture One Pro and fell in love with the detail extraction and noise reduction as well as some other tools. Capture One has some weird color problems with some Olympus shots though (too much red generally) but it's usually no concern and it is fixable.

Keeping to the subject, Capture One is much better at extracting details while maintaining low noise. Not only does the sharpening algorithm seem to be better but they also have a "structure" slider that works like a micro-contrast enhancer. Similar to clarity but at a much smaller scale (C1 also has clarity with 4 different modes).
Structure is excellent for getting more detail from fur, feathers, eyes, eyelashes and many other things.

I promised I would post some examples.

We'll see if we see any difference at web size and much of it will come down to personal choice.
First photo to start with is a cat shot, just because it's what I grabbed right now in the heat of the moment.

First two shots are Lightroom and Capture One with ZERO sharpening. I've tried to get about the same look from the two files otherwise.

The following two shots are with my sharpening to my best ability for this photo (or my best ability in the time I spent on it now).
In C1 I used sharpening and structure as tools, nothing local only applied all over.
In Lightroom I used the sharpening slider with: Amount 41, Radius 1.4, detail 49 and masking 36 in order to apply the sharpening to the fur, whiskers, eyes etc and leave the out of focus areas alone in order to avoid extra noise.

I also decided to throw in a wild card. Last night I bought Affinity Photo in order to test it and see if I can let go of Adobe all together once my year of paying has run out (by next summer) and everything points to that. Affinity Photo feels great so far, only spent a few hours with it and I have never been good att Photoshop. Affinity Photo feels fun in another way though, and more modern and very powerful.

So last shot Affinity Photo with local sharpening to the face by using two different layers of unsharp mask. One with a low radius value in order to target fine detail and one with a high radius value in order to mimic the structure slider in Capture One (targeting finer detail then clarity and contrast but not as fine as sharpening alone).






Lightroom Unsharpened

  E-M1    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8 lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






Capture One Unsharpened

  E-M1    Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






Lightroom Sharpened

  E-M1    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8 lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






Capture One Sharpened

  E-M1    Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






Affinity Photo Sharpened

  E-M1    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8 lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  




Oct 06, 2017 at 08:40 AM
Wilbus
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


Crops from sharpened versions.

I will add more edits from different photos when I have some time to edit this weekend.

Oh, also, like I said, I am totally new with Affinity Photo, I have lots to learn and that includes sharpening. I am quite sure I could get better results but this is a "first try" and it took about 10 minutes.
I will keep playing with Affinity Photo and add more from that app in the future as well.

For some weird reason the cropped shot from C1 is too large to upload so downsized all to 1000 px width rather then 1200.




  E-M1    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8 lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






  E-M1    Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  






  E-M1    OLYMPUS M.40-150mm F2.8 lens    150mm    f/2.8    1/320s    320 ISO    0.0 EV  




Oct 06, 2017 at 08:54 AM
birdied
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


To my untrained eye, the C1 and the Affinity look very similar. Maybe a tad more contrast in the C1 than the Affinity.

I don't use Lightroom for sharpening or noise reduction. I actually zero out the sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom. I do sharpening/ noise reduction in Photoshop CC. There are a couple of plug ins I use for the noise reduction . I use a sharpening action by Steve Perry.

Birdie



Oct 07, 2017 at 12:33 AM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


Good to see this, I've been wanting to try Capture 1, and have done raw processor tests over the past year.

So the 2nd cropped is C1? C1 is sharper, LRs look looks a bit better, on my screen, but surprised how little difference there is in the look of the image



Oct 10, 2017 at 03:08 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I do quite often use LR CC sharpening with masking (very important to use this so you know where the sharpening is being applied) but I will invariably do the resizing and final sharpening in Photoshop. BTW this is a nice shot of your cat - I am assuming it's your cat.

birdied wrote:
To my untrained eye, the C1 and the Affinity look very similar. Maybe a tad more contrast in the C1 than the Affinity.

I don't use Lightroom for sharpening or noise reduction. I actually zero out the sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom. I do sharpening/ noise reduction in Photoshop CC. There are a couple of plug ins I use for the noise reduction . I use a sharpening action by Steve Perry.

Birdie



Edited on Oct 10, 2017 at 04:20 PM · View previous versions



Oct 10, 2017 at 04:18 PM
DanC.Licks
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


On the crops, the Lightroom version is the cleanest. Both the other two have artifacts, (jaggies and dark fringing on C1 and color fringing on Affinity), look somewhat harsh and over-sharpened.


Oct 10, 2017 at 04:19 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I was wondering about that. As the sharpening algorithms are all different between different software apps, some can be more aggressive than others ... so they appear to be sharper only because more aggressive sharpening is being applied. Meaning you can probably make the LR version to look like the other two just by applying more sharpening.

DanC.Licks wrote:
On the crops, the Lightroom version is the cleanest. Both the other two have artifacts, (jaggies and dark fringing on C1 and color fringing on Affinity), look somewhat harsh and over-sharpened.





Oct 10, 2017 at 04:22 PM
spoupard
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


In Affinity, try going into the Develop personna and play around with the "Clarify" slider. It adds micro contrast, but it can get aggressive every quickly. Also, rather than using unsharp mask, I generally use a high pass filter with the "Overlay" blend mode.


Oct 10, 2017 at 07:14 PM
kwalsh
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


DanC.Licks wrote:
On the crops, the Lightroom version is the cleanest. Both the other two have artifacts, (jaggies and dark fringing on C1 and color fringing on Affinity), look somewhat harsh and over-sharpened.


Agree. The Affinity color fringing seems like they must have primitive sharpening algorithm working in the wrong color space (i.e. per channel rather than restricted to luminance).

C1 is suffering from artifacts as you point out though I suspect adjusting settings would fix that.

LR is the best of the bunch in my opinion but again I'm sure you could get C1 to look nearly the same. Similarly cranking Detail higher on the LR one would get closer to the crunchy C1 settings here. In general boosting Detail and Amount while also increasing luminance NR in Lightroom gets it results similar to common C1 and DxO default renderings.

And to the OP thanks for sharing the comparisons and taking the time to do them!




Oct 11, 2017 at 04:02 AM
DanC.Licks
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I know people love to knock Lightroom, no doubt because it is an Adobe product, but fact is, it does a really good job in most cases. It is very tempting to over-sharpen images, especially of birds etc. where sharp textures are so important. I love feather detail just as much as the next guy, but not at the cost of a more "natural" appearance. Things like Raw Therapee and the NIK sharpener Pro plugin, among others, give you more control, and may produce better results in critical situations, but for a normal Joe like me and for images that end up being seen on computer monitors, LR is more than good enough.


Oct 11, 2017 at 11:03 AM
 

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Wilbus
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


AmbientMike wrote:
Good to see this, I've been wanting to try Capture 1, and have done raw processor tests over the past year.

So the 2nd cropped is C1? C1 is sharper, LRs look looks a bit better, on my screen, but surprised how little difference there is in the look of the image


Sorry to all as to my late replies!

And yes, Lightroom, C1 and Affinity Photo, in that order for the crops as well. I apparently forgot to add that to the shots!





Oct 11, 2017 at 01:17 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


bobbytan wrote:
I do quite often use LR CC sharpening with masking (very important to use this so you know where the sharpening is being applied) but I will invariably do the resizing and final sharpening in Photoshop. BTW this is a nice shot of your cat - I am assuming it's your cat.


Yes masking is very important with Lightroom, or selective sharpening in other cases.

Yes that cat is my girlfriends from the start but as we live together now I count her as mine as well
Thank you, she's quite the model for me.




Oct 11, 2017 at 01:18 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


Actually, looking at the shots here I think I have gone a little overboard with the sharpening from C1 and Affinity Photo.

In C1 I played a little extra with their structure slider, basicly micro contrast but not as much as clarity goes.

Affinity Photo, like C1 and LR also have Clarity @spoupard pointed out however clarity add contrast in a different way compared to structure and sharpening. After lots of trail and error I have finally found out what C1's structure slider actually does. I have tried searching for this on google for quite some time but never been able to find anything.

Basically it sharpens the picture slightly rougher then normal sharpening, targeting larger details instead of the fine details that normal sharpening goes after.

This is what I tried to mimic in Affinity Photo (and finally succeeded with and can thus recreate it in Photoshop as well).

So, in order to get the same result as the structure slider in C1 as this slider can bring out some great detail that is hard to do in LR I sharpened the picture in two layers but with the same technique. I know high pass sharpening works as well but I will experiment with that later.
For this shot I used unsharp mask, two layers with it. The first with a small radius and higher "factor" thus targeting very fine detail, just like one would expect normal sharpening to do.

The second layer was the opposite, large radius and low factor thus targeting larger structures in the shot.

So like I said, I overdid it with C1 and Affinity Photo but will post more examples and spend some more time (or less time in order to not be blinded by it). I'll try and not overdo it this time.
Personally I clearly see more detail from the C1 and Affinity examples compared to LR but at the expensive of artifacts. However, Lightroom also has the noisiest background even though I removed sharpening from the background with masking.

More examples coming with other subjects.

Ps. This is by no means a thread made to knock any product, LR least of all. LR is a fantastic program and it was what made me really get in to RAW editing. It was easy enough to learn from the start and always fun to just play around in. Unlike PS you don't have to spend hours learning to heavily modify a shot (if that is what one is after).

Capture One isn't even close when it comes to the user interface, it's not as friendly and not as easy though it can be quite a bit faster in many ways once you learn it and it is faster over all. Making the same adjustments in C1 I never have to wait for anything and my pen tablet works better with C1.

However, C1's default profiles suck. They are much too hard and heavily modified. I either have to dial back contrast WAY back or just use their linear profiles instead but in that case I have to modify more or less every slider. LR color profiles with Olympus files is much better.



Oct 11, 2017 at 01:35 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


Youíve just unconsciously convinced me to stay with LR CC.


Oct 11, 2017 at 02:17 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Sharpening techniques and different applications




How's that? Profiles?

I suggest you try it, after an hour or two it's actually very nice but it doesn't have the module thinking of Lightroom.

I will be using both till next summer. Lightroom plan ends in June and C1 plan ends in September. At that point I am hoping Affinity have finished their planned digital asset manager, or at least have gotten far enough to announce its release date (Lightroom competitor hopefully).



Oct 11, 2017 at 03:23 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


Everything ... poor UI, poor defaults, higher learning curve, etc. Sure, itís a more powerful tool and you will be able to do much more with it but I donít have the patience to try and master it. For exactly the same reasons, I donít like Photoshop.

Wilbus wrote:


How's that? Profiles?

I suggest you try it, after an hour or two it's actually very nice but it doesn't have the module thinking of Lightroom.

I will be using both till next summer. Lightroom plan ends in June and C1 plan ends in September. At that point I am hoping Affinity have finished their planned digital asset manager, or at least have gotten far enough to announce its release date (Lightroom competitor hopefully).




Oct 11, 2017 at 04:43 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I completely understand!

I feel C1 is between LR and PS.

That's also why I am hoping for a good alternative from Affinity. If they can make a fairly good DAM it will go great with their Photo and I can get rid of monthly plans



Oct 11, 2017 at 05:48 PM
bobbytan
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I would seriously consider moving away from LR CC if adobe increases their monthly rate from $10 to $20 ... as they are hoping or planning to do.

Wilbus wrote:
I completely understand!

I feel C1 is between LR and PS.

That's also why I am hoping for a good alternative from Affinity. If they can make a fairly good DAM it will go great with their Photo and I can get rid of monthly plans




Oct 11, 2017 at 07:11 PM
Wilbus
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


bobbytan wrote:
I would seriously consider moving away from LR CC if adobe increases their monthly rate from $10 to $20 ... as they are hoping or planning to do.



I wouldn't be surprised if they do.

To be fair though, $10 a month is a really really good price for those two programs. Even $20 is a really good price and well worth it if one uses them as much as I, or I suspect, most others who shoot RAW does.

Capture One was $15 when I started using it a few years ago. Apparently they had raised it to $20 now (20 euro actually so even more expensive in Europe) and you "only" get one program for that. Problem is you still need Photoshop even if you don't do any real manipulation. Why? Because Capture One's object removal tools are just as bad as Lightrooms and work in the same way.

I will use Capture One extensively this year to evaluate it but will hopefully be able to move away from both if Affinity releases a decent DAM with some editing tools in it. If they keep true to their history they will sell it for around $50.




Oct 12, 2017 at 04:33 AM
spoupard
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Sharpening techniques and different applications


I use Adobe Bridge as my DAM and Affinity as my editor. Bridge isn't the most powerful DAM, but for my volume of photos it works fine. As far as Affinity goes, I haven't found anything that I've wanted to do, but can't. It may not be perfect, but it works great for my purposes.


Oct 14, 2017 at 12:26 AM
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