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Old Apr 6, 2011, 1:10 PM   #1
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Default Sharpening without over-contrasting? (spider photo warning)

I'm sure I am asking the impossible, but can an image be sharpened without such destructive increases in contrast? I took a spider shot this lunchtime, and it was just out of focus where I was intending (tiny spider + leaf blowing around = hard to manually focus) so ran it through my usual process and got the image to look ok, other than the really annoying increase in contrast that has ruined a lot of the fine detail:



Is there some super secret (or obvious) technique I am missing?

Thanks in advance
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 2:41 PM   #2
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You can give my AutoHDR a try - it's got a sharp and very sharp preset that might do what you want. www.autohdr.co.uk
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 2:56 PM   #3
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Sadly I'm a Mac user, but will see if I can get around to setting up a virtual Windows machine again, thanks!
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 8:01 PM   #4
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Hi Ashley,

I don't know what you use, but if you use an editor that can utilize PS plugins, both Focus Magic and Topaz InFocus have Mac versions, and use deconvolution sharpening as opposed to local contrast sharpening like USM. both offer free trial downloads.

I've used Focus Magic for years, but have recently been concentrating on InFocus because the latter is a little more subtle as it allows you to break down the sharpening method between deconvolution, micro contrast, and local contras sharpening, using each one, a combination of two, or all three. I tend to use deconvolution along with microcontrast, and use multiple smaller applications during multiple downsize steps rather than one large correction.

I use Topaz Denoise on just about every image, even if it's pretty clean, to start with as clean an image as possible to start with, I then actually allow a bit of oversharpening during downsizing as the downsizing softens the image. If the downsized image still looks a bit too contrasty in some areas, I'll usually touch it up manually with a 0 hardness, 3 opacity Smoothing brush to reduce harshness in those places.

Hope that means something to you. . .

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Old Apr 6, 2011, 8:45 PM   #5
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If you are poor and/or cheap like me, you might like to know that there is (at least) one free software that offers deconvolution. It's called ImageAnalyzer. It's a windows program, but works great on my mac using WINE.
http://meesoft.logicnet.dk/Analyzer/
http://winebottler.kronenberg.org/
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 12:38 AM   #6
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Thanks both!

I found a deconvoluted sharpening plugin for GIMP and it works pretty well, much more detail than before, but it increases noise a lot as a result, so will have a play with that and see if I can get an image I find acceptable that way.
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 2:06 PM   #7
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Do you use Photoshop? If so, some pictures do well with using a high pass filter on a layer that's a copy of the image and then changing the mode to screen (I think - I haven't used this method in ages). It's main advantage is that it doesn't affect the contrast of the image, but not all shots work well with it. It's also easy to use too high settings and put halos around your objects. If you are interested, let me know and I'll go looking for the settings I used when I was using this method on a regular basis.
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 2:30 PM   #8
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If you can post the original I'm sure you'll get plenty of versions to compare.
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 2:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Do you use Photoshop? If so, some pictures do well with using a high pass filter on a layer that's a copy of the image and then changing the mode to screen (I think - I haven't used this method in ages). It's main advantage is that it doesn't affect the contrast of the image, but not all shots work well with it. It's also easy to use too high settings and put halos around your objects. If you are interested, let me know and I'll go looking for the settings I used when I was using this method on a regular basis.
Can't afford Photoshop, I use GIMP and Aperture, the instructions for Photoshop should translate well for GIMP, still getting to grips with Aperture.

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If you can post the original I'm sure you'll get plenty of versions to compare.
Good idea, here's the 8.2 MB jpeg (didn't want to shove the PEF file up for download as it's 14.6MB):

http://www.nowloading.co.uk/tachi-pics/Original.jpg
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 3:03 PM   #10
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Here's the version edited with the GIMP Convoluted Smart Sharpen plugin:

http://www.nowloading.co.uk/tachi-pi...convoluted.jpg


Much better contrast for arguably better sharpness, but grainy as heck.
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