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Old Oct 8, 2010, 5:55 PM   #1
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Default A sharpening workflow

I posted a question over at Dgrin regards to a sharpening workflow and someone was kind enough to point me to this link:

http://www.creativepro.com/article/o...low?page=0%2C1

and a follow up:

http://www.creativepro.com/article/c...es-big-picture

I've not sat down and gone through the pages but will do shortly.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 7:21 PM   #2
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Harj,

Thanks for those links. Seems like there is a lot a of good techy stuff over on that forum. I've seen very few responses here regarding workflow. I also have always wondered how you determine how much is too much sharpening and in the past I found myself over sharpening everything. Lately I been using Noel Carboni's DSLR Sharpen action in conjuction Genuine Fractals and his DLSR Tools action. Neither action is real fast but the results are worth the wait I think. I like both actions a lot and I think his tools action does as good a job as Topaz does removing noise.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 9:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbines View Post
Harj,

Thanks for those links. Seems like there is a lot a of good techy stuff over on that forum. I've seen very few responses here regarding workflow. I also have always wondered how you determine how much is too much sharpening and in the past I found myself over sharpening everything. Lately I been using Noel Carboni's DSLR Sharpen action in conjuction Genuine Fractals and his DLSR Tools action. Neither action is real fast but the results are worth the wait I think. I like both actions a lot and I think his tools action does as good a job as Topaz does removing noise.
Hi Harj,
Thanks for the link.

Paul,

Do you find Paul Carboni's process superior to Adobe's ACR6.2?
I've been using Genuine Fractals for some time now for cropping landscape shots and then making panoramic enlargements. I always had to devote a bit of time to use neatimage for noise reduction and then finally, put on the finishing touches using photoshop. Ever since I got CS5 and then upgraded Camera Raw to the ACR 6. 2 version. It's like night and day. The luminance and color noise sliders really do their intended jobs.


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Old Oct 10, 2010, 4:45 PM   #4
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Hi Zig,

Honestly, I never did a very thorough comparison and so I decided some testing should be done. This sample was shot with the E-620 at ISO 1600. The ACR 6.2 results look really good to my eye and those results look very similar to the Topaz / Focalblade PP. I see some halos in both the ACR and Carboni examples that appear to be absent in the Focalblade sharpened example.

I see some color noise in the Carboni example but I did not run his color blotch reduction tool. In the end I think they all will get the job done. As far as noise reduction goes Topaz certainly doesn't look like it does any better job than either of the other two.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 6:42 AM   #5
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Hi Paul,
Wow. thanks for going through all the trouble of running a comparison.
I too, have used Topaz on a trial basis. If it wasn't for the release of ACR 6.2, I probably would have paid for Topaz after the trial expired. As it is, I find I'm not using any other plug-ins with CS5 anymore except for Genuine Fractals.

From time to time I use Photomatix Light for HDR images. But that a standalone product.

One thing that I have yet to be able to access is the lens correction feature in ACR6.2. Can't seem to find the Olympus lens choices anywhere.

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Old Oct 11, 2010, 8:14 AM   #6
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Default Workflow & ACR Presets

Zig, Harj,

I've attached the default presets I am now using with ACR 6.2. These modified settings were furnished to me by Noel Carboni but not necessarily just for his actions; they're good starting points for any workflow. Other than the exposure, recovery, and masking sliders I am going to bet you won't have to move anything much. Start with the ACR 6.2 Modified Defaults preset and then try the various contrast curves presets as a starting point and tweak as required. I seldom ever make any further sharpening adjustments at this stage. For me these seem to work well with any ISO. I would appreciate any feedback on your experience with these settings.

As far as additional sharpening goes here is what I have been doing lately. When I get the capture settings in ACR as I like I upscale as 16 bit 5120 x 3840 and open in CS5. I make additional adjustments as I think are necessary and save the results as a PSD.

For the final image I open the PSD document and resize to the final size(s) required. After that I apply additional sharpening judging the amount required for each size based on viewing at 100% from an appropriate viewing distance using USM or Focalblade. When finished I change to 8 bit and save as JPG.
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Last edited by turbines; Oct 11, 2010 at 8:21 AM.
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Old Oct 14, 2010, 6:19 AM   #7
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Default Thanks for the settings

Hi Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to post the settings that you use as well as an explanation on your workflow.

Actually, I've been using your suggested Adobe ACR 6.2 modified default presets for sometime now as you posted them a while ago on another thread.
At that time, I tried them out and find them to be almost perfect regardless of the image I'm processing. As you mentioned, they are a good starting point and, depending on the image you may tweak them a bit to suit.

I then adjust the exposure, recovery, and fill light sliders to suit.

It's important to note that I tend to do a lot of low light shooting .i.e. sunsets sunrises. The modified default settings really do well in these situations. And yes, I do have to tweak the luminance and luminance detail sliders as a result.

The importance of understanding these sliders and their affect on the final outcome cannot be overstated. The improvement to my images was really startling to me. To the point that I've gone to pulling out many of the images that I took a year or so ago and have readjusted them using ACR 6.2 with the new settings. In every instance, I've seen a marked improvement.

I downloaded your other settings last night and started to play with them as well. I'll send a follow up to them after I had a chance to use them.


In the meantime, thanks for all the information. your input has certainly made a difference in my workflow.

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Old Oct 14, 2010, 8:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback Zig. What technique do you use to adjust the mask? Do you do that before applying any NR adjustments or does it matter? My understanding is that the mask prevents sharpening of the noise. Is that correct?
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 9:23 AM   #9
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Default Another comparison

Here I started with the modified default ACR 6.2 capture settings with some minor adjustments. The results are shown on the left. Then using the same settings I applied the "light sharpening, heavy texture" DSLR Sharpening Action.

Capture ACR settings were: Sharpening Amount 15, Radius 0.5, Detail 100, Masking 84 Luminance 38, Luminance Detail 100, Luminance Contrast 0, Color 21, Color Detail 0.
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