Best Current Sharpener?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by dbcooper, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. I've looked at a bunch of reviews, and several archived threads and articles,
    and noticed they're a bit dated ('05 is the latest I could find). Given that
    digital processing is getting better quickly, what's your take on the best
    current image sharpener, and why? I'm looking for a sharpening ap to put in my
    new Mac G5 Dual Quad. Thanks for any insights you can offer.
     
  2. I know people will disagree, but I like the sharpening options that come with CS2.

    Tell me that you have the Mac 30" monitor with that G5 Dual Quad and I will have to hurt you:>)
     
  3. I use PS CS2 exclusively - and love it.
     
  4. Photokit Expert Sharpener from http://www.pixelgenius.com still gets my vote after trying NIK Pro Sharpener 2.0 and one or two others.
    You might also want a book on sharpening as well: " Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2" by Bruce Fraser Bruce is the primary author of Photokit Expert Sharpener, but in this book goes over the ins and outs of sharpening techniques, covers one-size sharpening isn't the best solution, and discusses sharpening workflows for individual iamges. and the book is well illustrated.
     
  5. Hi. My favourite sharpening is 'unsharp mask twice'. First time: Threshold 0. Raduis: 250/max. Amount: Start around 20. Second time: Threshold: 0. Radius: 1. Amount: Start around 10. When resizing down, I always use Bicubic Smoother in CS2.
     
  6. Photokit Sharpener gets my vote too. I've been using Photoshop for about 8 years now, and am very good at various sharpening routines. PK Sharpener is quicker and better, and also allows a lot of flexibility for customization.
     
  7. For subtle sharpening such as an outline on a sunrise shot I use the Highpass Filter in PS CS2. Just duplicate the layer, apply say 1.0 radius, select Overlay as the blending mode and you're done.

    I tried one or two other products and to be honest I can't see much of a difference between them and the many sharpening tools that are already available within PS CS2.
     
  8. TLR Sharpening Toolkit, available FREE (donations accepted) here: http://www.thelightsrightstudio.com/photoshop-tools.htm

    It's patterned after Photokit, but at a much nicer price point. :)
     
  9. Another PK Sharpener user here.

    I use it because:

    1 - It does not destructive sharpening. All the sharpening is done in layers and can be tweaked.

    2 - You can sharpen the entire photo or use the Photoshop brush to paint the areas you want to sharpen in your photos.

    3 - I can sharpen the same photo for the web and sharpen it for prints.

    4 - There are so many differnet sharpening setting that you can find which setting works best for the photo. I am of the opinion that there in no sharpening setting that you can use for all you photos.

    Bill
     
  10. I use PK sharpener as a target reference for output, but for actual sharpening I use Uwe Steinmueller's (Digital Outback Photo) EasyS Plus Sharpening Toolkit:

    http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_66/essay.html

    http://www.outbackphoto.com/filters/dopf003_easys_toolkit/DOPEasySPlusToolkit.html
     
  11. Thanks to all for their responses. I'm trying come up to speed with digital post-processing, and really count on the experience of the forum members to help shorten the learning curve.

    Jake, please put your killing razor away...the 30" Mac monitor was way out of reach for me (bought the G5 refurbished), so I've had to settle for a 20" lcd that swivels 90 deg's for 'portrait' format, which I tend to use a lot. Sure beats the HP 15" laptop I've been using :) (15" HP laptop users: please don't flame me - I'm keeping it).

    Thanks for the book info, Ellis - it sounds like a great learning tool and resource. Now lemme see...buy a new lens, or PK, the book, and a copy of CS2...

    Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond and share your experience - I really am grateful!
     
  12. I do the following. Not sure how it compares to other methods - your comments are welcome.

    I duplicate the current layer. I run a high pass filter at 0.3 pixels, then boost the contrast on that resulting image by about 60 (in brightness/contrast). Then I run a second high pass filter at about 1.5 pixels, and then I set the blend mode to Overlay. Then I tweak the opacity of that layer until it looks as sharp as possible without going too far.
     

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