Sharpening or Increasing Contrast

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Ken,

    Great question! You may have already come across the info I've copy/pasted below, but it is a good place to start.

    What types of images do you shoot?

    For my own workflow, I often use Clarity for midtone contrast, Structure if I really want to bring out a gritty texture, and Sharpening at the end.

    If I want more control over emphasizing the size of details I'll work with the Details Enhancer and/or Microstructure.

    If you'd like to post a sample of your work I'd be happy to provide a sample workflow.

    Clarity

    Adjusts the overall image clarity. By increasing the value of the slider, the number of visible details increases. If values are much larger, halos may appear on the contrast edges of the image. A best practice is to be careful when raising the value of the slider above 50.

     

    Details Enhancer

    The Details Enhancer filter helps you create dramatic photos and brings crystal-clear sharpness to your images. With the proper detail enhancement, you can make your photos look great and sharp with no halos or extra artifacts.

    • Small Details. Small sets sharpness of fine details. At 0, the effect is not applied. Moving the slider to the right will intensify the clarity of small details, while moving to the left, on the contrary, will somewhat wash out the fine details.
    • Medium Details. This option sets medium-sized parts sharpness. At 0, the effect is not applied. Moving the slider to the right increases the sharpness, while moving the slider to the left decreases it.
    • Large Details. Use this choice to set sharpness of global contours of objects in the image. At 0, the effect is not applied. Moving the slider to the right increases the sharpness, while moving to the left decreases it.
    • Highlight Protection. To ensure that the brighter areas of the image aren’t over-processed use the Highlight Protection slider.
    • Masking. Try the Masking slider to control the zone of detail amplification. When moving the slider to the left, the number of zones increases and the image becomes more detailed. When moving to the right, the number of granularity zones is reduced. Optimal masking comes from a setting in the range from 30 to 70. 

    Sharpening

    The Sharpening Filter helps focus soft edges in a photo to increase clarity or focus. Use this tool to significantly improve image quality. Keep in mind that too much sharpening can give your photo a grainy look. Please note: on most screens sharpening results can be seen at 100% or more Zoom.

    • Amount. Effect of the micro sharpness applied to the image.
    • Radius. Distance away from contrast edges that the effect is applied.
    • Masking. The dynamic masking feature allows you to reveal details only in appropriate areas and can help you define the sharpness in your image.

     

    Structure

    This tool allows adjusting of image detail and clarity. Using this tool you can get a classic HDR effect with great detail or get a smoother picture with less detail. This is the main tool to increase contrast of the image and visualize more details in the image.

    Amount. The strength of the effect. By moving the slider to the right, the amount of visible detail in the image increases. Moving the slider to the left will cause the image to lose detail and flatten. The “zero state” in the middle means that the amount is not applied by default.

    Softness. Controls the overall softness of structure and textures in the image. Moving the slider to the left will cause parts of the image to become less smooth and more unrealistic. This produces the so-called classic view of the HDR effect. Moving the slider to the right, on the contrary, the details become more global and the image is more realistic. This is very useful slider to adjust realistic details.

    Boost. Adjusts the overall display of details. When moving the slider to the left, the images will become more realistic and “calm." Moving the slider to the right will accentuate details and make the image more unrealistic.

     

    Microstructure

    Improves the sharpening of your image in small areas of fine detail and texture. Advanced parameters allow you to fine tune this subtle yet dramatic effect. Use this tool to get some creative, HDR-like effects.

    • Amount. Use the Amount slider to control how much structure is added.
    • Smoothness. Try the Smoothness slider to better blend the increased details and avoid hard edges. 

     

     

     

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    Tim Trim

    If you are going to print an image it is always worth sharpening.

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    Ken Solomon

    Thanks for the detailed answer Angela. Most of my shots are landscape, wildlife, birds-in-flight [or on water].

     

    Here's a wildlife shot I'll be working on soon. It's an old pic, shot in jpeg, at a relatively low resolution [best I could get at the time]. I'll be expanding it to 11"x14" at 300 pix/in for printing.

     

    Thanks for your offer of help. - Ken

     

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    Kim Austin

    Thanks for this explanation Angela. Now I better understand what those settings mean. I really like this new support forum for learning about the software.

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Ken,

    I downloaded the image and did a quick workup with it. Is the version you uploaded your full resolution? If so, I think it might be tough to get a good 11x14 print from it. If you do try, make you you use software meant for upsizing. I like On1 Resize.

    As posted, here is a screenshot of what I did:

    All of the adjustments I applied globally, except for the Details Enhancer. For that one I used a masking brush to paint the effect on his face and mane.

    It really is a beautiful image!

    Let me know if I can offer any other suggestions.

     

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    Angela Andrieux

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    Angela Andrieux

    Hi Kim,

    I'm glad the info was helpful!! :)

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    Ken Solomon

    Thanks Angela - I'll give your recommended settings a look. I too use On 1 Resize for up-sizing. I appreciate the help.

    Ken

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    Michael Klass
    • Radius. Distance away from contrast edges that the effect is applied.

    What is the unit of measurement for the radius? Percentage of the sharpening value, pixels, fraction of a pixel? If it is 50 pixels, that seems like a large default setting.

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    Helena Carter

    Michael,

    Thanks for your feedback, I'll make sure to pass it on to our developers.

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