sharpening "for output"

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mhahn, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Photos I've taken with a Nikon d5200, but mostly with an older E series 100 (105?) mm lens look sharpened to about the right amount on my monitor (it's a pretty ordinary monitor), but most of the 5x7's I've had printed at Adoramapix (on glossy paper) look a little soft. The pictures I like I want enlarge to 8 1/2 by 11 or 11 x 14, in some cases.

    So I do I need to add more sharpening? Do I add enough so that the photos actually look oversharpened on my monitor?

    I edit my pictures in Photoshop, which comes with Lightroom, which I never use.

    Thanks in advance for any advice anyone might offer.

  2. My experience coincides with the generally accepted wisdom. For printing at around 8x10 the sharpened image on my monitor (viewed at 100%) will always appear over sharpened. How much is determined mostly by trial and error.
  3. Add an additional 60 (amount) at a radius of 4 looks about right. Takes away the sharpness without adding jaggy edges when looking at images at 50 percent.
  4. Sharpening on-screen for output to print IS NOT WYSIWYG!


    You need the correct 'recipe' for output sharpening based on the type of output device (Ink Jet vs. Contone vs. Halftone etc) and it needs to be done based on the resolution of the document being printed and based upon the capture sharpening applied prior.
  5. Better "soft" than huff-duffed or "neon" sharpening artifacts. As suggested, making a screen or internet image look really sharp is almost always "too much' when viewed in the real (whatever that is) world.
  6. @digitaldog: What is the best sharpening model for a color laser printer? I don't hang them on the wall, but I print a lot of CD/DVD covers with photos, and contribute to news letters.
  7. Far more accurate is to use a good software that sharpens according to the properties of your image and the output requirement of your desire (glossy, matte, web...).
    • When in Photoshop, after sizing and specifying 300dpi, I use the Pixel Genius' PhotoKit Sharpener 2.0 plugin (link). Perfect every time.
    • When in Lightroom, during "Export", I specify the size and 300dpi and select the "Output Sharpening" choice for Glossy, matte or screen.
    No guess. Perfect every time.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  8. PhotoKit Sharpener is mentioned, anecdotally, in the link cited by Digitaldog. There is no link to the product, and the article mainly describes the theory behind various sharpening methods and objectives. The author of the article is Bruce Frazer, and the product was designed with the collaboration of @digitaldog, according to other posts.

  9. I wonder if using an older film camera lens is contributing to a little softness in some of the pictures I'm working with. Or maybe because I added some (too much?) noise reduction. Or maybe I just need to increase the contrast a little bit. These are pictures that look fine printed in color on 81/2x11 office copy paper, but tend to look a little soft in the Adoramapix 5x7's.

    I actually tried to download Pixel Genius software yesterday, but for some reason it didn't show up in my Photoshop.

    And adding 60/4 UM, which looked good on screen . . . I don't think that's the answer.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  10. There can be so many reasons why some area is not as sharp as you would like it to be - equipment problem, tripod problem, focus problem, file handling problem, software problem... Now I am confused what is the answer your are looking for. :(
  11. These are pictures which I think are reasonably sharp, and I'm not talking about correcting localized areas. It's just that the 5x7's look a little soft, like they need a little special sauce of sharpening, or a slight boost in contrast, or to be printed on a difference surface. I'm not really sure.
  12. Low contrast is not the same as softness. Even at low contrast, there can be subtle details with clearly defined sharp edges in between. You need to determine whether what you perceive as softness is really a lack of sharpness, or a lack of contrast. If its the latter, there could be a need of gamma correction if your monitor is not calibrated. You can verify whether your monitor conforms to the sRGB gamma of 2.2 (which most online photo printing services expect your files to be edited at) using one of the online tools like this one:
    If its lack of sharpening, you can post your USM settings, and people should be able to tell you whats going on. For example, to print a high res file in inkjet, I often need a sharpening radius of 1-3 and sharpening amount of 100-200. As mentioned earlier, the sharpening will depend on the resolution of your image that you are printing and will vary from image to image.

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