Too much sharpening?

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Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington Forum Pro • Posts: 21,792
Too much sharpening?
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Ever Since PureRaw has been released, I think we are seeing an odd phenomena, which is a level of sharpness in images that seems unnatural.  This isn't unique to PureRaw, but that product does leave a fairly obvious sharpening 'signature' that makes it clear how the photo was sharpened.

One of the problems that I've seen with P.R. has been that if an area can be sharpened, it will be sharpened even if it works against the image as a whole. We, as photographers are so overwhelmed by just how sharp our photos can be, that we are ignoring our own artistic judgement.

This is not a rant against PureRaw, it is a rant against trusting ANY tool too much.

An image I recently saw was a good example. It's not my photo, so I will just describe it. It was a well-focused photo with a farmhouse behind two trees. Both the trees and the house were focused and sharp, but the trees were significantly sharper than the house, which in my eyes should have been the subject of the photo and the sharpest thing there.

Both the trees and the house were in focus and reasonably sharp, but the trees, for some reason, had been sharpened to the point where just handling the photo could result in a paper cut.  This shifted the emphasis from the house and an overall rural landscape to two very ordinary trees of no particular scenic value other than as support for a rural landscape.

I suspect the photographer sharpened it in a DXO product (probably PureRaw) and applied no editorial judgement as to if the automated sharpening improved the photo, or not.

I'm asking all photographers to look at their auto-sharpened photos (ANY AI product, FTM) and ask, "Does this help, or does it hurt?"  AI tools are just that, tools.  They are not the end product.

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