Survey: What PS sharpening settings do people start with for 10D/300?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ralph_jensen, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. I understand from other reading (e.g. at luminous landscape) the value of not
    sharpening much in the camera, saving that task for Photoshop.

    My question is, what PS Unsharp Masking parameters do you start with when
    YOU do sharpening? (And, of course, what in-camera settings are those
    images made with?) Are the "Sharpen" and "Sharpen More" options of any

    I know everyone's tastes are different (and that USM doesn't do it all), but it
    doesn't hurt for beginners to learn if there is a consensus in tastes.

    I hope this question isn't inappropriate here. I did a search and found a lot
    having to do with the in-camera settings and the reasons to adjust sharpening
    in PS but no polls about this issue. Thanks.
  2. i usually sharpen radius 1.0 or 1.5 50 to 100 percent. i don't like to do too much sharpening because it gives more noise.
  3. jbq


    I don't use any.
  4. My workflow for sharpening, based on experience and much advice from
    others is,

    1. Adjust curves to set white, black and mid-points.

    2. Adjust hue/saturation as required

    3. Evaluate sharpness (as the above steps will impact your perception of the
    photo's overall sharpness

    4. Then, if necessary, sharpen with Unsharp Mask, radius = 1, Amount =50%.
    I may then try various settings if the initial attempt doesn't give me the results I

    As mentioned before, avoid oversharpening as it will create noise and
    artifacts in your photos.
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    This can't be answered without some idea of final use, and some knowledge of the content.

    Sharpening for web display is different than sharpening for a print. Sharpening for a print should be specific to the paper - sharpening for a highly textured paper is different than for a smooth paper. And sharpening for publication is another matter.

    Also, many images benefit from selective use of sharpening. For example, shots with the sky often benefit from a slight gaussian blur to the sky with sharpening to the rest of the image. I usually sharpen eyes and lips separately when there's people in the image.

    There's no way to get great results with one setting.
  6. Hi Ralph, I'm with Jeff - it's hard to give a one size fits all answer. I have found that the more I use USM, the better I get with it - and that includes when not to use it at all because it can make things look worse.

    To elaborate on some of the examples above, take portraits for instance. With a nice, sharp lens and good lighting, it's easy to see people's nose hairs and skin imperfections without any USM, so to avoid that I'll use various PS techniques that basically emulate a soft-focus filter. I'll do this on a seperate layer and erase the blur over the subject's eyes, lips and perhaps jewelry if they're wearing any and it's nice ;-). An image like this is pretty sharp out of the camera, so I might not use USM at all, but touch up the eyes a bit with the sharpening tool instead. If I do use USM, it's at a small amount, radius, etc... for example, .5, 50-100, 0.

    For me, landscapes are a different matter, particularly if I'm going to print one. Sometimes I'll be hiking and not carrying a tripod, and the resulting shots might not be as sharp as I'd like, so an image like that will get quite a bit more USM. I think Luminous-Landscape has a (very brief!) tutorial on using USM to increase contrast with USM. The setting is something like 20,50,0 which seemed pretty crazy at first, but works well on some images. A rough guess of my USM settings for printing a 13"X19" might be a bit high for some, and it's not exact - somewhere around 1.5/200/2. Remember to zoom in at 100 percent often while sharpening and look closely for tell-tale signs of fringing and other ill-effects. Back off if you see any.

    Remember too that you can almost "imply" sharpness by using blur in the areas of the image to which you don't wish to bring attention. "To suggest is to create, to define is to destroy". I can't remember who said that, but it wasn't me, unfortunately. It's a good motto for sharpening, though.

    And none of this is written in stone - there are some people who swear by sharpening last and some people who swear that's wrong - do a "pre" sharpen, either in-camera or just after opening the image in PS. In short, it's best to read what you can and play with USM on a variety of images. I haven't found noise to be much of a problem since getting Neatimage. Best wishes . . .
  7. I size most of my images for 1024*768 screen viewing.

    1) I process images with RAW and Capture One. I do *no* sharpening in these programes.

    2) After all work is done, I resize the image.

    3) Usual sharpening parameters are Unsharp Mask: 250, 0.3, 0. Some get less (as little as zero), very few get more (upto 500%, .3, 0)
  8. D'oh! I got my amount and radius reversed above. Sorry - I'm like a the dyslexic atheist who didn't believe in dog. ;-)
  9. I shoot RAW and keep in camera sharpness to the minimum setting. After conversion and PS tweaks I save a master full rez file without USM. I add USM as the final stage before printing, as the amount of USM varies according to target print size. I then selectively add USM using a mask or layers. Not everything needs USM (sky, deep shadows, et al.), otherwise you needlessly increase noise. Plus, global USM can quickly look fake (like a cheap digicam) if you're not careful and selective.
  10. Ralph, I find Scott Kelby's suggestions for USM starting points useful:
    • All-purpose = Amount 85 / Radius 1 / Threshold 4
    • Soft subjects (people, flowers, animals) = A 150 / R 1 / T 10
    • Maximum sharpening (buildings, cars, OOF shots) = A 65 / R 4 / T 3
    • Web images= A 200 to 400 / R 0.3 / T 0
      This info is from his book, The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers
  11. It also depends on what type of Sharpening you are using, such as Edge Sharpening, Layer
    Sharpening, Im using LAB Color Sharpening that way I do not get "halos" You can also do
    Luminosity Sharpening (which I find just as good as LAB Sharpening). There are tons of
    ways to sharpen, just experiment what works for you.

    Example of LAB Sharpening.
    Open photo, and in Image/Mode select Lab Color. Now in the Channels Palette choose the
    Lightness Channel. (since A and B channels will hold the color data). Now apply the
    Unsharp Mask to Lightness Channel. (start out with: Amount: 85% Radius: 1 Threshold 4
    then adjust them from there to your tastes) Since you are only affecting the Lightness
    Channel you will avoid the color halos that are produced when you just apply the USM to
    the RGB channels. (which means you can sharpen the photo more than you normally
  12. You should have some idea what the settings are so you can experiment and get good results. The gist of sharpening is to increase contrast of light and dark pixels at the edges. By doing so, we preceive an increase of sharpness in the image. The settings of USM are...
    AMOUNT: The amount of contrast to be increase.
    RADIUS: The amount of pixels surrounding the edges to be included in the process.
    THRESHOLD: The level of difference in light/dark value of involved pixels. For example, a threshold of 5 means you want only those pixels that have at least 5 times the brightness difference between each other to be used in the process.
    Try starting out with a large AMOUNT of sharpening (80-300). Confine the process to the edge by setting RADIUS to~0.9-2 (you DO NOT need more than 3). Set the threshold to around 5 to protect solid areas, higher for skin complexion in protraits. Like other poster have said, each picture and final output require a different setting. CMYK publishing requires the most sharpening, next is photo printing, and last is web publishing.
    My favorite sharpening method to prepare my images for photo printer is as follow:
    - Prepare & retouch the image.
    - Stamp visible to a new layer (create a new layer and press Sh+Ctl+Alt+E)
    - Desaturate the Layer.*
    - Apply Hi-Pass filter (1 to 3 works for me, experiment with your setting)
    - Change layer blend mode to Overlay or Softlight.
    - Create an action for the above steps (for a very mild sharpening)
    - Run this action on any image requiring sharpening.

    I like this process for the following reasons:
    - The process is non-destructive to the image.
    - You can stack the action for more sharpening.
    - You can reduce the fill % for less sharpening.
    - A combination of the above should give you the precise amount of sharpening that you want.
    - You can select a copy of any of the R/G/B channel for the Overlay layer.
    - You can use mask for fine tuning on the Overlay layer.

    I usually copy & paste the red channel(*) into the Overlay layer. It has the least detail on skin complexion but plenty of other hard edges for the Hi-Pass filter to pick up.

  13. There are a few good suggestions above already. My added comment would be, that if the image has any significant amount of noise, I typically run NeatImage before sharpening.

    In the past, for most images I've used USM 150%, .5, 0. After reading some articles, I've recently tried sharpening in lab mode with good results but it hasn't become my defacto workflow yet.

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