Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Automate the process for best results
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
3) Lightroom output sharpening (dialog)
1. Duplicate the Background Layer; rename it Output Sharpening.
2. Apply a first pass of Unsharp Mask with a low Radius and a high setting (Amount 360 or higher).
3. Apply a second pass of Unsharp Mask with a high Radius and a low setting (Amount 100).
4. Double-click the sharpening layer to activate Layers Styles.
5. Change the Blend mode of the layer to Overlay.
6. Filter the duplicate layer and apply the filter High Pass (Filter > Other > High Pass) using a Radius setting that accentuates edge contrast without producing halos. This gives the image layer a gray, linear appearance, concentrating the contrast on contours.
7. Desaturate the filtered layer. Higher Radius settings leave more residual color and can produce saturation shifts.
8. Double-click the layer and use the Blend If sliders to remove the effect from near-black and/or near-white values. Start by moving the This Layer highlight slider to 235, holding the Option/Alt key and splitting the left side of the slider to 215. Finish by moving the This Layer shadow slider to 25, and holding the Option/Alt key, split the right half of the slider to 45.
9. Optionally, reduce the layer's opacity and/or mask it as desired.
4) Nik output sharpening (dialog)
You may want to modify your output-sharpening routines based on image detail. Images with smooth or low frequency may be adversely affected by the sharpening routines that are optimal for images with high-frequency detail, while routines that are optimal for low-frequency detail may not be aggressive enough for images with high-frequency detail. But there's no need to determine output sharpening on an image-by-image basis. You can determine optimum output sharpening routines based on image detail frequency, having one setting for low- to medium-frequency detail and another for medium- to high-frequency detail. For images with a wide range of detail frequency, favor a conservative approach. It's better to have a print that's slightly soft than one that displays distracting sharpening artifacts.
Output sharpening can be complex and tedious. Most photographers would do well to enlist help from the experts to get the job done. There are many competing solutions for output sharpening; automate it in Lightroom or automate it in Photoshop with plug-ins like Nik Sharpener Pro or PixelGenius PhotoKit Sharpener or your own Actions. Using a preexisting solution reduces the testing necessary to create your own settings and brings to bear the considerable knowledge of experts in the field to your prints. Though each of these solutions requires a little testing before implementing, any one of them delivers better results than not performing output sharpening.
Page 2 of 3