Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Another consequence of the digital capture process is that it softens photos. So photographers will often sharpen their photos and you can do that at more than one point in your work flow. So many photographers will sharpen upon capture using the sliders in the detail panel in Lightrooms develop module. And they also may sharpen during their workflow and then they might sharpen again when they output a photo and that's called Output Sharpening. And I cover that elsewhere in the course when we're talking about exporting a photo. So let's talk about capture or creative sharpening here in the Detail panel in the Develop module. The first thing to remember about sharpening is that you can't evaluate the sharpness of an image.
Nor the effects of the sharpening sliders unless you zoomed in to one to one view. And you can do that both in this small preview here at the top of the Detail panel, which you can access by clicking this triangle. And in the large preview in the work area itself. So here I've set my small preview just at the area of this small dot in the sky. And here you can see it's a bird. But I'm also going to zoom in over here in the large preview area. Now normally I would zoom to just 100%. But I'm actually going to zoom in a little closer so that you can really get a sense of what's happening as I explain what sharpening is.
When Lightroom is sharpening a photo it looks for edges where there are bright pixels next to darker pixels. And then it brightens the bright pixels and darkens the dark pixels at those edges. And that increase in contrast gives the illusion of sharpening. Now before I sharpen a photo I'll be sure to do some noise reduction. I covered noise reduction elsewhere in this course. So for now I'm just going to come over to the Noise Reduction sliders and drag the Luminous slider over to the right to reduce some of the noise that I see in the image. And then I'll go to the sliders in the sharpening table of the detail table. The Amount slider and the Radius slider work together. What the Amount slider does is control the brightness and darkness of the pixels at those sharpened edges.
We call that the sharpening haloes. And the Radius slider determines the width of those sharpening haloes. So I'll often approach these sliders by dragging the Amount slider all the way over to the right. And now you can really see those sharpened edges or sharpening halos. And along the snow here there's a kind of a ghost like effect. if I take the Radius slider and drag that to the right you can see the sharpening halos get thicker and thicker. Now I usually keep the Radius slider pretty low. So I'm going to drag that over to the left reducing the width of my sharpening halos.
And then I'll take the Amount slider and drag that back to the left to taste. So I want these edges and these details to look sharp but I don't want to see so much of those sharpening halos. And there really are no formulas for these sliders. The settings you choose will be different for each image. There are two more sliders here, the Detail slider and the Masking slider. If I drag the detail slider over to the right, you can see I am bringing back some more of the detail in the bricks. That's a little bit to far maybe ill put that about there.
And the amount of detail for each image varies with the image too. So when you're working on a portrait you may not want to bring out all the detail in the model skin you might have your Detail slider over to the left more. And notice that sharpening has brought back some of the noise in the sky. I can use the Masking slider to protect large open areas like that from sharpening. To show you what this slider does I'm going to hold the Option key. That's the Alt key on the PC as I drag the masking slider to the right. And as I do, you can see that the sky and part of the bricks is covered in black.
The black areas of this mask are protecting those areas from sharpening. I'll release the option or Alt key and you can see the result. You can no longer see all of that noise in the sky. But now the bricks look too soft. So I'm going to compromise dragging back on the masking slider a bit to just about there. Now I want to be sure to view the image at 100%. So I'm going to click in that bar on the left to bring back the panels on the left side of the develop module and I'm going to click on the one to one view. And I'll evaluate my sharpening at this view. And if I'm satisfied then I'll go back to the fit on screen view like this.
So that's how to use the sharpening sliders in the Detail panel for capture and creative sharpening during your workflow.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 48029 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84154 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54099 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 90994 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.