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To Sharpen or Not??
Old 08-20-2006, 11:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Something has been bothering me lately....Is it necessary or even desirable to sharpen every image to some degree or is this more a personal preference than a necessity...I am aware of the difference between what is seen on a monitor and how it prints...

Also, if sharpening is always desirable....is there another way besides using the "Unsharp Mask" mode?

This image is probably not a good example as I attempted to make it soft and glow on purpose....But I did apply the sharpening around the face before I softened it....maybe a bit of overkill????

Thanks for any input....

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Re: To Sharpen or Not??
Old 08-20-2006, 05:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've read that Canon suggest that the RAW images from their cameras should be subjected to a certain (specified) amount of sharpening (you can probably find the details using Google).

Conventional wisdom has it that the eyes should always be sharp and focussed.

My thoughts are that it's a judgment call - if you judge that a softer look suits the image, then go for it. Tell 'em you used a soft-focus filter (let them think it was a physical filter!)

I tend to sharpen my images using Photoshop's Smart Sharpen rather than Unsharp Mask, but the effect is pretty much the same.
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Re: To Sharpen or Not??
Old 08-20-2006, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkphotovideo
Something has been bothering me lately....Is it necessary or even desirable to sharpen every image to some degree or is this more a personal preference than a necessity...I am aware of the difference between what is seen on a monitor and how it prints...

Also, if sharpening is always desirable....is there another way besides using the "Unsharp Mask" mode?
Well, yeah... it's gotta be a personal preference because, after all, it IS optional! But, from what I've seen and heard, all digital cameras seem to produce images that can benefit from sharpening, some more than others. And, while cameras have in-camera sharpening routines built in, a lot of RAW shooters have found that shooting with in-camera sharpening set to OFF, and then using some post-processing software to sharpen the RAW image, seems to work out better.

I generally sharpen everything to at least the "normal" level (I shoot a Nikon D100 using RAW 99% of the time - In-camera sharpening set to OFF - and I import the NEF's into Nikon's CAPTURE software, and do whatever color balance, exposure compensation, and sharpening in that software. Then, when I've got the images looking pretty close, I may import them into Photoshop to finish up.

As far as ways to sharpen an image, the latest version of Photoshop (CS2) has several ways to sharpen, but USM (unsharp masking) seems to work about as well as any of them, for me.

And, even when I want a "softer" image or a glow, I'll sharpen because I want the underlying image to be sharp - otherwise it just looks like an out-of-focus image instead of doing something on purpose.

For example, here's Stephanie

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Re: To Sharpen or Not??
Old 08-20-2006, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I often soften the image, but then I use the history brush to bring the eyes back into sharp focus and often do extra sharpening of the eyes. I describe my technique in several tutorials that are included in the Digital Forum on Glamour 1.

Here are the links:

http://www.glamour1.com/forums/digit...lack-mask.html

http://www.glamour1.com/forums/digit...s-history.html

Cheers,
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Re: To Sharpen or Not??
Old 08-20-2006, 11:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks! It helps knowing that there is at least some rhythm or reason to this madness...And yes, I agree it is probably necessary in most shots....
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