New Sharpening Toolkit

Started May 12, 2004 | Discussions thread
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gmitchel
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New Sharpening Toolkit
May 12, 2004

I am wrapping up work on a new PS action set for sharpening digital images.

It will be made freely available to all, once I finish it. For this toolkit, I would like some volunteers to beta test and I would also welcome some publication discussion of the proposed implementation.

The toolkit will be designed for intermediate to advanced PS users. People who understand at least the basics of USM or highpass sharpening. I'm not a big fan of preset sharpening levels. I prefer to make manual adjustments. Now, I'm open to reconsidering, but adding presets would mean a lot more beta testing.

I agree generally with the philosophy of three-pass sharpening. So, the toolkit also assumes most of the sharpening is done after you convert the RAW file. There may or may not be some localized (i.e., creative sharpening), and then a final round of sharpening for the intended output resolution.

This toolkit is designed to be a replacement for the Photokit Sharpener (at least, if you do no use the presets) with some important added features.

(1) In addition to a luminosity edge mask, you can also generate a color edge mask or an enhanced edge mask that combines both luminosity and color edges.

(2) For USM sharpening, you can sharpen the dark pixels separately from the light pixels. This lets you control either/both halos.

(3) The ability to separately sharpen/blur surfaces.

Why both color and and luminosity edge masks? Won't it cause color shifts? The reason why is that some edges are the result of two colors coming together that have the same or nearly the same tone. What you will find is that the luminosity edge mask and the color edge mask and 95% similar and combining both gives better definition to the edges in an image. Because it is an edge mask, if you use USM with a luminosity blend or you use two layers -- one with a lighten and the other a darken blend -- you should avoid significna t color shifts just like using a luminosity mask.

The separate USM sharpening for light and dark pixels is an idea I borrowed from Focal Blade. It's a shapening add-in, and it allows you to separately adjust white and dark pixels.

There are times when you will want to blur surfaces (e.g., to remove/reduce noise, creative effects) or to sharpen them some but with an amount different from edges. The assumption that you only want to sharpen edges is generally good advice but not 100% universal. So, this sharpening toolkit will give you some options for sharpening surfaces, also.

Other features would be similar to Photokit Sharpener, including the ability to brush in creative sharpening and creative blurring, use of layers, use of Blend If to avoid clipping shadows/highlights, etc.

Sound interesting?

Cheers,

Mitch

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