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Gauging the ideal sharpening settings

From: Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

Video: Gauging the ideal sharpening settings

In this exercise we are going to gauge the ideal Amount and Radius values by which to go ahead and sharpen our image for output at 267 pixels per inch. I have opened two images; one that I created in the previous exercise. It is called actualprintsize.JPG. If you weren't with me in that exercise., you can go ahead and open that image from the 01HowItWorks folder. I also have opened the Stunning 12x8.JPG file. We saw in the previous exercise how the command Print Size under the View menu is a crock. This is the actual print size that we calculated by down sampling the image, using the Image Size command we downsampled the image to the screen resolution, which I am saying is 117 pixels per inch, that is what we are imagining for now.

Gauging the ideal sharpening settings

In this exercise we are going to gauge the ideal Amount and Radius values by which to go ahead and sharpen our image for output at 267 pixels per inch. I have opened two images; one that I created in the previous exercise. It is called actualprintsize.JPG. If you weren't with me in that exercise., you can go ahead and open that image from the 01HowItWorks folder. I also have opened the Stunning 12x8.JPG file. We saw in the previous exercise how the command Print Size under the View menu is a crock. This is the actual print size that we calculated by down sampling the image, using the Image Size command we downsampled the image to the screen resolution, which I am saying is 117 pixels per inch, that is what we are imagining for now.

So Now let's go ahead and gauge using this actualprintsize.JPG file, we can now gauge accurately what Amount and Radius values we want to use. So what I would like you to do, even though we havent talked about this command in detail yet, go up to the Filter menu, choose the Sharpen command and then choose Smart Sharpen and this got it right there and that brings up the Smart Sharpen dialog box. Now I am going to go ahead and zoom up the preview inside the dialog box to 200%, so that we can see it up close and personal and so that it weathers the storm to video here, so that you can see what I am doing.

I am going to take this Radius value down to 0.7 pixels let's say, and I think the Radius value looks really great. I think this Radius value looks nice and sharp and I will also take the Amount value from 250 down to a 150%. So this is the before version of the image and this is the after version of the image, a nice little bit of sharpening applied. Now it may seem like we are going a little bit overboard like we are over-sharpening the image.

Bear in mind that when you print an image, it goes through a little bit of a softening process, so you do have to bump up that sharpening Amount value. So you want a Radius value that looks good on screen, but then you want to take the Amount value up about 50% higher that you might normally want to do it. So if a 100% looks good, which it typically does, then you would want to go ahead and take it to 150 is it what I am saying. 0.7 looks pretty good to me. You can vary it anywhere from about 0.4 or 0.5 up to about 0.9, any value in that area would look pretty good, but I want you to write these values down.

So 150% and 0.7 and then click OK. Now you may recall our multiplier from the previous exercise we took 267 pixels per inch, which is the resolution at which we want to output the image, and we divided it by 117 pixels per inch, which is the resolution of our monitor, lets say our imagine monitor, which is 17 inch MacBook Pro screen and we came up with a multiplier of 2.28. We would now take that multiplier and multiply it, not times the Amount value, we will leave the Amount value alone, it will say 150%, but we will multiply the Radius value because we need the halos to thicken up in order to weather the reduction, in order to look good when we reduce the image in print.

So now lets switch over to this image right here, Stunning 12x8.JPG, which is the actual print version of the image, I will go ahead and zoom in to the 100% zoom ratio, so that we can see the image nice and big on screen. I will press the F key to switch to the full screen mode for a moment here and I will focus in on the eyes. Of course for those of you who are photographers already know this, but when you are sharpening portrait photographs, you want to keep an eye on those eyes. The eyes are the most important things because that's the portion of the image that has to remain in focus.

We might as well check out things like the nostril and the eyebrows as well and a little bit of the hair that will help us out. Now I am going to go up to the Filter menu, actually what I am going to do is I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac in order to repeat the last filter that I applied and I am going to do the math. The Amount value is set on 150%, that's great, we want to leave it alone. We are going to take that 0.7 Radius value, get out to your calculator once again, multiply it times the multiplier. So 0.7 times 2.28 in our case and of course that's based on the math that you have done for your own monitor.

If your screen has a different resolution, you would use a different multiplier, you may recall that from the previous exercise. So in my case though, assuming 2.28, we have 0.7 times 2.28 and it us gives us approximately 1.6 as a Radius value, 1.6 pixels and then we'll go ahead and click OK, in order to accept that value, and this is the sharpened version of the image. Now if I go ahead and zoom in just another click here to 200% so that you can see the things nicely in the video. This is the before version of the image, which looked just fine, which is really actually pretty much sharp enough, and then this is the after version of the image, which is over-sharpened, I would say. It's a little bit too tactile, a little bit too brittle but actually it's going to look really good when we print the image.

Just to give you a sense I will go ahead and zoom the image out, not to the 66.7% zoom ratio because that is going to give you bad transitions, but rather you want to take it out to the 50% zoom ratio in order to gauge that sharpness. This is the before version, this is the after version. Now on your video you are probably not seeing much of a difference whatsoever. However, if you are working along with me on your screen you are going to see a slight difference and its going to be just enough to make the image pop on the page and it's going to weather that storm, it's going to look absolutely great, it's not going to look overly soft, the way it would normally.

It's going to look nice and snappy, which is what you want. So what this is all about, this entire project has been about trying to preserve the sharpness that you see on screen when you go to print. Alright. That's it for this Chapter. In the next Chapter we are going to be talking about when you sharpen. Do you sharpen at the beginning of the process, do you sharpen in the middle some place, do you sharpen at the end? And the answer to all of those questions as it turns out is yes. Join me in the next Chapter and find out why.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

115 video lessons · 17012 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the effects of sharpening
      5m 26s
    3. Understanding the mechanics of sharpening
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding sharpening and gradual transitions
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding sharpening and noise reduction
      4m 0s
    6. Understanding amount and radius
      7m 50s
    7. Measuring your screen resolution
      6m 19s
    8. Using reliable zoom ratios
      5m 30s
    9. Calculating the actual print size
      4m 54s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 31s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 4s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 39s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 44s
    6. Recognizing problems with the conventional workflow
      9m 38s
    7. Erasing sharpening with the history brush
      4m 30s
    8. Using alternative sharpening workflows
      2m 37s
    9. Sharpening a scanned photograph shot on film
      2m 45s
    10. Sharpening a digital photograph
      3m 6s
    11. Sharpening specific details
      3m 43s
    12. Finding broad workflow conclusions
      2m 49s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 27m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      4m 47s
    4. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      4m 54s
    5. Understanding the history of Unsharp Mask
      3m 51s
    6. Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur
      7m 35s
    7. Using the Smart Sharpen filter
      7m 35s
    8. Compensating for camera shake
      8m 50s
    9. Building your own Smart Sharpen with Lens Blur
      6m 59s
    10. Using directional sharpening with Emboss
      9m 13s
    11. Using Smart Sharpen extras
      8m 56s
    12. Using Convolution Kernels for more accuracy
      7m 8s
    13. Using the High Pass filter
      7m 32s
    14. Using Luminance Sharpening
      5m 5s
  4. 2h 14m
    1. Smoothing filters, smart objects, and masks
      1m 25s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 7s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 17s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 15s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 24s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 24s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 8s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 5s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 32s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      8m 59s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 36s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 14s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 13s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 52s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 30s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 32s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 41s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 36s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 42s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 15s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 8s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 27s
    2. Using low-frequency source sharpening
      5m 53s
    3. Using High Pass for portraits
      4m 19s
    4. Actioning a low-frequency edge mask
      7m 42s
    5. Modifying the source sharpening
      5m 21s
    6. Using high-frequency source sharpening
      5m 26s
    7. Using Smart Sharpen for cityscapes
      3m 2s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 4s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 4s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 24s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 16s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 10s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
      56s
    2. Focusing in on a person’s eyes
      4m 22s
    3. Blurring the area outside the eyes
      4m 22s
    4. Sharpening eyes and other details
      5m 38s
    5. Darkening the lashes and eyebrows
      7m 13s
    6. Sharpening dark-haired people
      5m 2s
    7. Edge mask and emphasize
      3m 39s
    8. Nesting a Smart Sharpen effect
      4m 48s
    9. Density mask sharpening
      5m 35s
    10. Adding depth of field
      4m 39s
    11. Sharpening a background
      4m 23s
    12. Masking background from foreground
      8m 51s
    13. Eliminating halos around a person
      5m 38s
    14. Deepening and warming a background
      3m 28s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 37s
    2. Understanding the use-neutral composition
      4m 15s
    3. Restoring much-needed antialiasing
      4m 2s
    4. Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
      7m 24s
    5. Making a third-level smart object
      3m 55s
    6. Preparing an image for print
      5m 18s
    7. Using ideal settings for commercial reproduction
      5m 37s
    8. Calculating very large-format settings
      5m 11s
    9. Using ideal settings for inkjet output
      4m 26s
    10. Sharpening for commercial reproduction
      5m 45s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 58s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 41s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 9s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 30s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 50s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 50s

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