DPP Home Technique (R)evolution Creative Sharpening, Part I

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Creative Sharpening, Part I

When to sharpen in your workflow

It’s Visual
While there’s an ideal three-stage sharpening workflow, there’s no one ideal magic setting for sharpening all images. Many considerations must be weighed throughout the process. So, if anyone ever asks you, “What are the ideal settings for sharpening an image?” quote Jeff Schewe: “ƒ/8.” In other words, there are none. While some parts of the process can be automated, others cannot. You have to use your eyes and make some decisions. The more educated you are about what to look for in images and how to use the tools you make them with, the better the chances that your images will look the way you want them to look. You even may learn to see more clearly in the process. Sharpening images is both a science and an art.

What To Look For When Sharpening
Try to maximize:
• Clearer renditions of image detail at all frequencies—texture (high), contours (medium), planes (low)
Try to minimize:
• Visible halos (light) and lines (dark)
• Clipping shadow and highlight detail
• Accentuation of noise (luminance or color)
• Increases in contrast
• Increases in saturation

In most cases, you want to produce a compelling appearance without producing artifacts that are distracting to the visual experience.

Depending on how it’s applied, sharpening can enhance or reduce the perception of clarity, texture, depth, contour, tone, saturation and relatedness between elements, as well as produce a variety of energetic qualities all of which may lead to a variety of emotional associations on the part of the viewer. Sharpening should clearly present your relationship to your images and subjects. Sharpening will change the way people view your images and their responses to them. Sharpening not only is a technical consideration, but it’s also an aesthetic one.

John Paul Caponigro, author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class and the DVD series R/Evolution, is an internationally renowned fine artist, an authority on digital printing and a respected lecturer and workshop leader. Get over 100 Lessons with his free enews Insights at www.johnpaulcaponigro.com.


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