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Old Jan 29, 2005, 2:47 PM   #1
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While working with some jpg's in Photoshop today I discovered that if I went to UNSHARP MASK and set the amout to approximately 40% and pixels to about 10 and threshold to 0 that my photos's got significantly sharper and clearer, at least to my untrained eye. It's almost as if a FOG layer was removed. Has anyone noticed this before? What is happening? If you have never tried it give it a try and see what you think. :?
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Old Jan 29, 2005, 9:24 PM   #2
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hello tom ... i just gave that a try (albeit in photshop elements 3, but i suspect the unsharp mask function is identical), and the effect was indeed favorable ... ... every day i'm learning more with my d70 ... ... i took a bunch of photos of my snowbound house and block and was not plesed with the shots until i upped the exposure compensation and that made all the difference ... ... thanks
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 1:40 AM   #3
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here is how i have my unmask set at:

200

1.2

4



big difference in sharpness....try those settings which i got off a website tutorial...
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 2:04 AM   #4
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tominrom wrote:
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UNSHARP MASK and set the amout to approximately 40% and pixels to about 10 and threshold to 0 that my photos's got significantly sharper and clearer,
This is likely to be a real, true effect, but it's an optical illusion. To get the best out of it you need to view the image at its final, printed size. Your high quality equipment is giving an optically sharp image, probably. It can be made to*look* sharper with USM, but that should be done last of all before printing, on the image viewed at its final size. USM emphasises the edges in the picture, creating an illusion of sharpness.

Many little digicams do this (sharpening) whether you like it or not. Your upmarket kit leaves it up to you whether and how much of it to apply.
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 7:55 AM   #5
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Unsharp mask can be quite effective tool. It can also be quite devastating. I'll try and explain...

Unsharp Mask
Amount:
This is basically how intensely (for want of a better word) you want to apply your 'radius' and 'threshold' inputs.

Radius:
The USM seperates colours with a fine contrasting line. This becomes more apparent as you enter higher and higher pixel values. Keep in mind that that USM is resolution dependant. You have to pretty much halve your 'radius' and 'amount' values if you halve the resolution.

Threshold:
This is a very important part of USM that can work nicely, or totally destroy the effect you have with the other two values. I basically stick between 1 and 3. For example if you are sharpening a face and you are bringing out unwanted grain/noise move the slider from 0 to 3 (an increment at a time) whilst paying attention to retaining the sharpened features. You'll see how touchy this feature is.

I hope that sheds some light!
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 12:40 PM   #6
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Nikodemus

so you say that you play with the threshold between 1-3,
whatdo u recommend for "amount" and"radius" then ?

i realize that it varies from pic to pic, but just ballpark figures if dont mind...



thanks in advance

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Old Feb 1, 2005, 4:00 AM   #7
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It depends on a lot of things, but mostly it hangs on how much sharpening you want to do on the image and the resolution of the image.

For the six megapixel image (approx. 3000x2000 pixels) that the D70 takes I usually use about 150-200% at a radius of 1 pixel. That's for your really well exposed, in focus shot. Remember, the 'amount' and 'radius' values can vary A LOT!!!

For a smaller image (just say about 800 x 550 pixels) I'd use 0.5 radius and between 70 and 120%. They're probably good starter values. Just assess this for yourself I guess...

Just remember how powerful the threshold tool is. It's a cracker!!! And stay under 3 (although, it is pretty effective in various pics up to 10 - but rarely past this...usually between 1 and 3). Have fun!
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