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fotograafdigi Nov 6, 2002 9:15 AM

Anyone use SharpRaw software? Darkroom magic :)
Hi all! Thanks in advance for any replies...

Okay, maybe i'm "late" and this is common knowledge but....

I just dowloaded and experimented with the SharpRaw software (look at this site's "Digicam software" pages).

I must say, I'm simply amazed!!!!

Just took a random shot, and processed it as follows using the software options of Sharpraw:

Interpolation dialog:
- Neural network interpolation

Color colorrection dialog:
-checked: Perform levels corrections
-checked: Perform neural network correction
-checked: Perform equalisation
-checked: Auto-level RAW on opening -> Histogram WhiteBalance
-unchecked: pixel rounding (didnt look into the funtion yet)

Sampling options dialog:
- Sample size = 5
- RGB (0-1)
- (combobox) -> WideGamut RGB D65
- Checked: sample post-correction values
- Checked: perform levels corection
- checked: Perform neural network correction
- checked: Perform equalisation
- Checked: Target rectangle -> MacBeth colorChecker target

Despeckle dialog:
- Checked: hot pixel elimination -> Sigma = 2
- Checked: do image smoothing

Then executed the functions as follows:

- Load the RAW (this applies most of the above settings immediatly when loading)
- Auto-levels
- Despeckle

Then saved the image as 48bit tiff.

The viewed in photoshop. WOW!!!! All of a sudden I find a file that has the look & feel (but not the detail!) of a D60 image. Very pleasing smooth tones, excellent!

But, the fine detail was lost (especially low-contrast detail..)

So, I did the following:

- Convert the sharpraw file back to 8 bits
- Add a layer
- Load the original image (converted to JPG by usual minolta method)
- Copy the entire (original image)
- Select the just created layer on top of the the 'SharpRaw' image
- Just leave opacity around 50%
- Change layer style to 'Luminosity'

Again, I wowed: an image with the magical "upper-class expensive SLR" look and feel with the smooth tonal gradations, but now again including the 5mp detail :)

Still, this was unsharpned and seemed soft..... I wanted more...

- Unsharp mask radius 0.7, 200%
- Convert to LAB mode
- Unsharp mask radius 0,5, 200%

Now THAT is one tack-sharp, smooth, picture!

I was pleasantly surprised. I dont know what exactly that sharpraw does different, but it's layer gives a magical thing to the end result.

Although the photo itself is not spectacular, 'image quality' and look & feel are faw above and beyond what i've gotten thus far.

Maybe this was dumb luck, and this only works for that particular shot (dont have a pbase account, but will try to post a link very very soon!).

Drawback: sharpraw software is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW (as in 10 minutes of processing all together on a 1.5mhz 256mb machine...) but well worth it.

Okay, anybody else any experience with this utility? I'm now on day 14 of the trail period, but am definatly considering purchase (even though it's interface isnt the prettiest, and its horribly slow).

Would like to hear other's experiences. Must say I didnt get much usefull stuff from the other options (particular the sharp option in sharpraw, cant get a decent result from it, but must admit also no clue as to how it works).

As for today: I am in extacy :) never expeted to get image so crisp and smooth, with that "D-Slr" feel to them up to the level of $2000 and above camera's. I really hopes this keeps working as well as my first experiments did!

fotograafdigi Nov 6, 2002 9:20 AM

Oops forgot lines in the end of the workflow...
- Before sharpning, merge visible layers
- Before applying 2nd unsharp, select Luminostiy channel
- Then do 2nd unsharp

padeye Nov 6, 2002 11:40 AM

I'm going to run some tests of the Sharpraw demo myself. I downloaded the current version a few days ago but when I try to correct lens distortion it hangs on my XP system. I'll follow your steps as I have some RAW portraits I took and I'm not too happy with some of the detail. Have you posted your tests anywhere?

fotograafdigi Nov 6, 2002 12:16 PM

No, didnt post yet, but will do as soon as possible.

I tried it on a second shot, came out with the smooth look while retaining detail again (mind you, so far I definatly needed the post photoshop activity to get the detail back), but with this 2nd attempt I definatly have more problems with the colorbalance / hue. (must admit that for this 2nd run I used a 'problem' shot in which colors where all off, very flat lighting etc.)

But still looks very promissing. Although I still havent got a clue how to do sharpning (The name suggests that that is what the program is about), but so far, I found it succesfull only in smoothing images in a way I cant put my finger on so to speak (like I said, a bit the d30/d60 look).

I'm planning on making a few test-shots tonight, hopefully I can post reference shots soon.

Let me know what you find, Im very intrested.

fotograafdigi Nov 6, 2002 12:27 PM

Hmm do you happen to know?
I am a bit puzzled (admitting not having read the manual...)

When is the color correction supposed to happen?

So far, I can only see the results by (each time, for each picture) setting the appropriate settings in the dialogs, and then when I apply a levels operation, it says "Regenerating image - Using <yada yada yada settings> color correction profile (or something along those lines).

KCan Nov 6, 2002 8:20 PM

Re: Anyone use SharpRaw software? Darkroom magic :)

Originally Posted by fotograafdigi
As for today: I am in extacy :) never expeted to get image so crisp and smooth, with that "D-Slr" feel to them up to the level of $2000 and above camera's. I really hopes this keeps working as well as my first experiments did!

Hey fotograafdigi,
This seems very interesting , keep us informed!

fotograafdigi Nov 7, 2002 3:10 AM

Will do
I'll keep posting here. So far (not having much time for it), I didnt get results as spectacular as with that 1st shot I tried.

However, the program has a whole lot of settings, and I haven't yet got really decent test-images in MRW because so far, I hardly ever used that mode.

I'll be investigating further, but 1st priority now seems to have a set of test images of various common subjects (i.e. portrait, environmental portrait, landscape, macro, colorfull subject, 'flat' subject, etc.

What I did find (like I said before) is that the software is very slow (or in other wordt: computation heavy).

But I have the feeling that once found the right workflow, the same settings can be used for 99% of the images. And the software does seem to support batch processing, so that's a good thing.

I'll keep you posted.

fotograafdigi Nov 7, 2002 6:03 AM

Okay 1st comparison image
Okay, here's a first comparison image. (the link is at the bottom, but I recommend to read thourougly first)

Please not this is NOT the image made made me go wow...

The fragment is from a very poor shot taken in rain during heavy overcast, quite underexposed at capture time, and ISO 200, so a pretty bad set of data for sharpraw to work with. The image was taken at normal contrast setting and soft in-cam sharpning mode.

The fragment is from near the (right) edge of the original photo, and the objects are at 'infinity', making for an area where usually (with any camera used) sharpness isnt at its best (bit hard to describe, but most will know what I mean, it's like the 'hazy' objects in the horizon with digital landscapes). And is blown up 400% not to allow jpeg atrifacts to destroy the comparison.


This was captured at fine-JPeg, so this is only a test of sharpraw at a JPG in-camera de-mosaiced image.

Hence, the high-res / neuralnetwork interpollation is not a factor here. Only thing 'tested' is color correction & sharpning. I will test that later on when I got decent RAW images to test with.

Before looking at the image, read the following:

- BOTTOM LEFT image = Original JPG from camera
- TOP LEFT image = SharpRaw: first Despeckle, then Sharpen
- TOP RIGHT image = SharpRaw: first Sharpen, then despecle
- BOTTOM right image = Like topright + Photoshop (see below)

The bottom image was done as follows:

- Sharpraw color correction
- Sharpraw sharpen
- Sharpraw despecle
- Photoshot added layer
- Place original JPG in top layer
- Changed layer to 'luminosity'
- Chnaged opacity to 50%
- Merged layers
- convert to LAB
- Sharpen lightness channel only
- Convert to RGB
- Saved

My prelim findings (only with this shot):

- Top-left -> Obvously wrong order for this applicaton. Although colors are better, so is color artifacts. The softer look and more accurate but the artifacts in colors are unacceptable.

- Top right -> Much better result. Although now having a smooth while having with much better colors & edges, some detail is definatly lost.

- Top left -> I figured to get the detail back, while keeping the smooth colors and fine edges by placing 50% of luminance in PS using the original image. Then USM was applied (a bit much now that I look at it). But anyhow: much crisper rendition, better colors, and no obvious loss of detail. Definatly better data for large printing.

So, for now I conclude the following:

- When using sharpraw, select Sharpen BEFORE Despecle. otherwise color artifacts will occur around fine detail & edges.

- The colors are corrected pretty neat. The result is less 'granular' then when just boosting saturation with photoshop. However, this shot is not really representative for color testing.

- The workflow with P.S. to get the details back make the entire process rather lengthy (especially considering how slow sharpraw is), but for 'rescue' of important shots, or when preparing for large prints, the result seems worth it.

- Sharpness is not spectacular after processing with sharpraw (DO CONSIDER I STARTED OUT WITH A IN-CAM JPEG, not a RAW file. When starting with a RAW file, the program should have more opportunity to do much better then the camera). However, it is done without HALO-generation and gives a nice preperation for final sharpning in P.S.

I hope to have the time to make some RAW portraits and process / compare those when done through sharpraw(+ps) and when done through the dImage viewer.

For now, I predict sharpraw will give not neccesarily sharper, but certainly more 'pleasing' results, at leat to my humble eye.

Here's the link:

I'm curious what other people findings are (anybody processed a decent set of MRW's yet?).

KCan Nov 7, 2002 9:29 AM

Re: Anyone use SharpRaw software? Darkroom magic :)

Originally Posted by fotograafdigi
Drawback: sharpraw software is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW (as in 10 minutes of processing all together on a 1.5mhz 256mb machine...) but well worth it.

No wonder ... :roll: , even the first 8088 PC was runing at 4.77 MHz :shock:

just kidding, I know you mean 1.5 GHz :lol:

fotograafdigi Nov 8, 2002 7:00 AM

:( so far a bit disappointed.

My first try was the best so far. No spectaculair results so far.
Already was a bit affraid of it that the 1st try results where to good to be true to work on every shot.

At this time of writing, the marginal (if any) improvement over "p.s. only" processing is not worth the amout of time.

Anyhow, I might find the 'magic' settings that could provide simmilair results as my 1st attempt.
I'll keep you posted.

PadEye, what's your experience so far using sharpraw?

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