Sharpening in ACR - please help

Started Dec 10, 2013 | Discussions
Akar
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Sharpening in ACR - please help
Dec 10, 2013

Perhaps I should post my querry on postprocessing forum, but I'm particularly interested in oppinions of Pentax users, especially of 16 MP cameras (K5xxx). Recently I upgraded my old ACR 4.0 RAW converter to 5.5 version (I know it's still old one, but works wit CS5). I was surprised by the difference in the sharpening panel. In the older version it was only one slider (ammount or something like this), always left in default 25 setting. After processing the DNG file in ACR and converting it to JPG file I did the rest, including applying of unsharp mask, especially after resizing. I obtain decent results regarding sharpness (or rather detail definition), but I always felt my pictures suffer from the lack of crisp details.
With the ACR 5.5 I've got four instead of one slider: Amount, Radius, Detail, Masking.

After the long introduction finally my querries:

  1. All but Detail seem to have similar meaning like in the Unsharp Mask filter, which I understand pretty well. Is it true?
  2. What is the real purpose of Detail slider? Isn't its impact on the final result opposite to Ammount slider? How to "balance" them for best results?
  3. What are your preferable settings for different kinds of photographed subjects/scenes?
  4. How much Ammount do you apply? I think it also depends on the resolution of the processed picture, hence I mentioned 16 MP.

I found some tutorials in the net and red them, but I'm interested in your experience and preferences.

Best regards,
Andrzej

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Model Mike
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Akar, Dec 10, 2013

Akar wrote:

Perhaps I should post my querry on postprocessing forum, but I'm particularly interested in oppinions of Pentax users, especially of 16 MP cameras (K5xxx). Recently I upgraded my old ACR 4.0 RAW converter to 5.5 version (I know it's still old one, but works wit CS5). I was surprised by the difference in the sharpening panel. In the older version it was only one slider (ammount or something like this), always left in default 25 setting. After processing the DNG file in ACR and converting it to JPG file I did the rest, including applying of unsharp mask, especially after resizing. I obtain decent results regarding sharpness (or rather detail definition), but I always felt my pictures suffer from the lack of crisp details.
With the ACR 5.5 I've got four instead of one slider: Amount, Radius, Detail, Masking.

After the long introduction finally my querries:

  1. All but Detail seem to have similar meaning like in the Unsharp Mask filter, which I understand pretty well. Is it true?
  2. What is the real purpose of Detail slider? Isn't its impact on the final result opposite to Ammount slider? How to "balance" them for best results?
  3. What are your preferable settings for different kinds of photographed subjects/scenes?
  4. How much Ammount do you apply? I think it also depends on the resolution of the processed picture, hence I mentioned 16 MP.

I found some tutorials in the net and red them, but I'm interested in your experience and preferences.

Best regards,
Andrzej

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Akar
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Model Mike, Dec 10, 2013

Mike, there is no one word of the comment in you reply.

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Model Mike
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Akar, Dec 10, 2013

Akar wrote:

Mike, there is no one word of the comment in you reply.

Whoops hit the Reply button by mistake. I'm still on LR 4.4, so not sure if this is useful. For what it's worth:

For input sharpening, I adjust the amount slider so there are just no halos - (this seems to be the recommended method for input sharpening). With my Ricoh GR (no AA filter), I leave it at the default 25. With the K-5 II, I set amount to around 40. I usually leave radius at 1.0, except for shots which are out of focus where I will raise it up to around 2. Detail to taste. Masking for high iso shots or 'pushed' shots were noise might be a problem e.g. in sky.

For output sharpening (both cams) I either resize and re-sharpen in Photshop (smart sharpen radius 0.3, amount 90 - 130) or farm out resizing and resharpening to an LR preset.

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Akar
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Model Mike, Dec 10, 2013

Thank you Mike,

output sharpening is rather simple, I usually add the treshold 3 to your values, but for the input there is so many variables, which relationship, not only absolut values, impact on the final result. I'm surprised you use so little amount. According to my first attempts I get good results at 100, but at radius 0,5 instead of 1 and detail about 40. Mask comment is clear.

ANdrzej

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steephill
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Two tutorials
In reply to Akar, Dec 10, 2013

http://www.ishootshows.com/2010/08/31/tutorial-sharpening-with-adobe-lightroom/ and http://lightroom-news.com/lightroom-11-update/sharpening/ cover much the same ground but are very useful in explaining the effects and uses for each of the sliders. Learning to use the grey preview screens was the most useful thing I got from them.

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Model Mike
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Akar, Dec 10, 2013

Andrzej, just looked at your work, and it is very fine indeed!

but for the input there is so many variables, [...] I'm surprised you use so little amount. According to my first attempts I get good results at 100, but at radius 0,5 instead of 1 and detail about 40. Mask comment is clear.

Just to confirm, this is all in LR 4.4. Yes, I tend to be quite conservative with sharpening to avoid any suggestion of halos. But having looked at your images, I think I need to do some more experiments, perhaps there is room for more 'aggression'.

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philzucker
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to Akar, Dec 10, 2013
  1. All but Detail seem to have similar meaning like in the Unsharp Mask filter, which I understand pretty well. Is it true?

Can't help you there, sorry ...

  1. What is the real purpose of Detail slider? Isn't its impact on the final result opposite to Ammount slider? How to "balance" them for best results?

Here some information gleaned mainly from Jeff Schewe's "The Digital Negative", a book which I recommend - I found it to be very helpful: The Detail slider in ACR and LR regulates the balance between deconvolution (up to 100) and halo suppression (down to 0). Deconvolution attempts to remove lens blur and can be quite successful here; but it's not the method of choice for noisy images, because it increases sharpening of it. It's often a good idea to set the Detail slider first, and regulate the Amount afterwards. Do everything at 1:1 zoom, don't forget that.

  1. What are your preferable settings for different kinds of photographed subjects/scenes?

That is best done individually. Pictures with lots of detail can profit from an increase in the Detail setting and a Radius lower then 1.0; pictures where detail sharpening is not wanted - like portraits with lots of skin - can profit from the Detail slider turned to lower values (more halo suppression) and a larger Radius. But each picture is different, so try for yourself.

  1. How much Ammount do you apply? I think it also depends on the resolution of the processed picture, hence I mentioned 16 MP.

For my K5-II I begin with the Amount set to 50; everything else depends on the individual picture.

I found some tutorials in the net and red them, but I'm interested in your experience and preferences.

Again I recommend the book I mentioned, Jeff Schewe's "The Digital Negative". In this book Schewe recommends Bruce Fraser's "Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw and Lightroom" for further reading (haven't read that yet).

Hope this helps a bit!

Phil

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Akar
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Re: Sharpening in ACR - please help
In reply to philzucker, Dec 11, 2013

Thanks Phil for the explanations and suggestions. It will help me a lot. I'll also try to find the recommended books.

Andrzej

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Akar
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Re: Two tutorials
In reply to steephill, Dec 11, 2013

Steve, thank you for the links. I red the tutorials roughly yet and I see they cover the subject perfectly. They explain all what I wanted to know. From the practical point of view particularly useful are the comprehensive comments contained under the link leaded to "6 Steps For Sharpening In Lightroom". I even found there the expliciteanswer to my 2nd query, concerning the relationship between Amount and Detail sliders and this answer is exactly what I guess

Now it's time to detailed study of the tutorials and experimenting.

Andrzej

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