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Learning that technique trumps timing


From:

Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Learning that technique trumps timing

We now return to the original question posed by this Chapter is, when do you sharpen? When in the editing cycle do you sharpen your image? What I hope I have made clear with this ad nauseam discussion of these various sharpening workflows is that that's a very difficult question to answer. There is no one answer to when you sharpen. You can sharpen at various stages in the editing cycle. In fact, I would go farther than that. I would say that the technique, the sharpening techniques, that are available to you are more important than the timing.
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  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 37s
    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 55s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 28s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 7s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 3s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 40s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 43s
    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 48s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 30m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      7m 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 24s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 14s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 18s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 16s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 23s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 23s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 10s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 6s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 31s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      9m 0s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 37s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 15s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 12s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 51s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 29s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 31s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 40s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 35s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 41s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 14s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 12s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 26s
    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 1s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 5s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 5s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 25s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 17s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 12s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
      55s
    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 38s
    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 27s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 36s
    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 19s
    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 44s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 57s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 42s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 10s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 31s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 51s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 51s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
10h 33m Intermediate Feb 15, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the effects of sharpening
  • In-depth examinations of Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass
  • Smoothing an image with the Surface Blur, Despeckle, and Reduce Noise features
  • Working with smart objects and smart filters
  • Creating edge masks and non-edge masks
  • Sharpening for digital-image capture using Camera Raw
  • Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
  • Exploring creative applications of sharpening
  • Sharpening a multilayer composition
  • Sharpening eyes, hair, and out-of-focus backgrounds
  • Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
  • Determining ideal settings for commercial and inkjet output
  • Sharpening very large-format images
  • Sharpening an image for the web or screen output
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Learning that technique trumps timing

We now return to the original question posed by this Chapter is, when do you sharpen? When in the editing cycle do you sharpen your image? What I hope I have made clear with this ad nauseam discussion of these various sharpening workflows is that that's a very difficult question to answer. There is no one answer to when you sharpen. You can sharpen at various stages in the editing cycle. In fact, I would go farther than that. I would say that the technique, the sharpening techniques, that are available to you are more important than the timing.

This is going to seem to some folks like a radical, even dangerous proposition, but let me explain what I am talking about here. Notice the title to this final slide of the Chapter, it says 'Technique Comes Before Timing', which is true, and if you want to open this image, it's called Technique Trumps Timing.PSD found inside the O2_when_to_sharpen folder. There are four broad categories of sharpening techniques that are available to you. Two of them are time specific, so you have to apply them at specific stages in the editing cycle.

Now once you come to terms with that, the other two you can apply at any time you like. So let's go ahead and review these four broad techniques here. The first one is pretty familiar, Sharpen for the Source. So either immediately after or as you open an image, in other words at the very outset of the editing cycle, you have the option of compensating for the noise and softness introduced by the capture device, whether that capture device is a scanner or a digital camera. So for example, if you are working with a RAW image from a digital camera, you would open it inside of say Adobe Camera RAW.

You would apply your sharpening settings along with a variety of color adjustments. Then you would send the image to Photoshop, most likely as a flat file. You could open the image as a Camera RAW Smart Object, but more often than not, you are just going to sharpen it and have it open as a flat file, which is entirely acceptable, a very acceptable way to work. The next technique that's available to us is Sharpen for Detail. Now the idea here is that different images contain different sorts of details, and you need to customize your sharpening to those details.

For example, if you are working with a portrait shot, like a close-up, it would be characterized by gradual, that is to say low frequency transitions, and that would require different attention than a wide shot of a city scape, for example, that comprises mostly rapid high frequency transitions. So those two extreme images would require very different sharpening treatments, and as long as you keep your sharpening treatments nondestructive, then you can apply them at any stage in the editing cycle, and even treat different layers differently if you like.

Next we have Sharpening for Effect. The idea here is that you should feel free to sharpen different portions of an image to heighten the impact or effect. Let's say you are working with a portrait shot. You might sharpen the eyes, and then you might smooth the skin contours, you might increase the contrast of the hair, and you might blur the background, all inside of a single image. On top are these other sharpening techniques that we have applied, and that again, as long as you keep it nondestructive, you can apply these changes at any stage in the editing cycle that you like.

Then finally Sharpening for Output. Again, this is the conventional workflow right here. It has to happen at the end. In fact, it has to happen in a very specific way at the end. Whether your image is bound for page or for screen, you will want to add a final pass of sharpening to account for the output. Be sure to flatten first, that's important. Then save the image under a different file name, presumably as an LZW compressed TIFF image. Resample it down, and then apply the sharpening pass; either before or after converting it to CMYK, if you are going to convert it to CMYK.

So this happens at the end of the cycle. So we have got four different techniques: one at the beginning, one at the end, and two in between, and this adds up to a multipass sharpening workflow, essentially. You might say well, altogether we could have four different passes of sharpening, but even more than that. Sharpening for Detail, you might do different passes, apply different passes to different layers, and Sharpening for Effect, you might apply different passes to different areas, different regions, inside of an image. So a single composition can contain seven or eight or upward of a dozen different sharpening passes, if you apply those passes with specific intentions, that you are trying to accomplish specific goals, and you apply those passes nondestructively.

So technique trumps timing. We will be looking at every single one of these techniques. I devote an entire Chapter to every one of these four techniques, but before we check out the techniques, we are going to check out our tools starting in the very next Chapter.

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