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Almost every digital capture can benefit from some amount of sharpening in Camera Raw. Just to make up from any loss of sharpness in the capture process. So let's take a look at this image here of the cannon and we'll use Cmd+R or Ctrl+R in order to open that into Camera RAW. Now depending on whether or not you have your shadow and highlight clipping warnings on, you might see some little red overlays or some blue overlays. So let's go ahead and turn both those off by clicking on them in the histogram. Now we're going to move over to the detail panel and take a look at the sharpening.
What Camera Raw is automatically adding, and what we can see here for the amount being 25, that is what we're going to call input or capture sharpening, as opposed to output sharpening. And the goal here in Camera Raw is to add as much sharpening as needed, to simply make the image look good on the screen here. This is not where you would add sharpening for a specific output device, that's handled later in the workflow when you actually save a file from Camera Raw or by using something like the un-sharp or smart sharpen filters in Photoshop before you print. So when your looking at how much sharpening to add you want to make sure that your viewing your image at 100% so I'll use the keyboard shortcut command option zero or control alt zero to automatically zoom to 100%. I just want to mention that if you're following along with your own images and they happen to be JPEG images.
You'll notice that the amount is actually set to zero. And that's because Camera Raw assumes that if you're capturing with JPEG, there's been some kind of default amount of sharpening that's already been added to that image, so Camera Raw won't automatically add additional sharpening. And this amount, this 25 that you see in the camera RAW settings, that's actually a different number under the hood for each camera. So, even though you might bring up 10 different images from 10 different cameras.
And the slider is always set to 25 as a default for each of those files, you should just know that camera raw is actually changing the amount of sharpening that's applied to each image because the quality of the camera and the sensors change from one model to another. Now let's talk about the four sliders. The Amount slider is the amount of contrast that you're going to be adding to your image. As we move it over to the right, you can see that there's been a lot of contrast added to the image. So the amount is simply the amount of contrast, because when Camera Raw finds an edge, and it adds this amount to the edge, it's trying to fool your eye into thinking that the image is sharper. By adding that added contrast.
The radius slider determines how many pixels the amount is added to when camera raw finds an edge. So as you move the radius slider to the right you'll notice that you'll get kind of thicker and thicker edges to your sharpening. Now, obviously this is too much, so let's back off on the radius. Usually you want to keep that between about one and two, and I'm going to also back off on the amount of sharpening. I think it's really handy to keep one hand on the P key, because that will toggle on and off the preview here, so you can see the before and after when you're adding your sharpening.
It might be a little bit difficult for you to see once the video is compressed, but if you move these values yourself I'm sure you'll be able to see the added contrast that's being added with the amount slider. So again toggling with a P, that's before and after. You just want to make sure that you don't start seeing any halos. So lemme hold down the space bar and move over to this area right here. What I'm looking at is the bottom of the cannon here. If I increase the amount slider and we increase the radius. Can you see that light halo on this side of the cannon.
And then the darker halo that is being formed at the very base area there and the darker areas. That halo is caused by two great an amount as well as too great of a radius. So again I'm going to bring that radius down, as well as the amount, I wanted to point that out because it's important that you look at your entire image when you're adding sharpening because there might be some areas that the sharpening is more noticeable than other areas. Alright, let's increase the sharpening and the radius again, all the way because I want to show you what the detail and masking sliders do.
If we move the detail slider all the way over to the right, to 100. That says to put the emphasize on sharpening all of the little details, and you can see now how everything in the image is being sharpened. As I move the Detail slider over to the left, now the areas that had less contrast, like for example kind of the flatter areas here in the spokes or the sky area back here, you'll notice that the sharpening is being suppressed in those areas of lower contrast and it's only being applied in the areas of higher contrast, or where there's more of an edge.
Again, we'll turn that up to a 100% and everything's being sharpened. As we move it down toward 0, we're saying don't sharpen all those areas of lower contrast. All right. I'll move it all the way up again so we can take a look at the masking slider. As I move the masking slider, it works kind of in the other direction. As I move the masking slider over to a hundred percent, it has been suppressing the values in the image that have less contrast. So, you might be wondering what's the difference between these two sliders. The difference is in the way they are suppressing it.
If I hold down my option key, and I start dragging the detail slider, you can see the mask that Camera RAW is creating in order to apply the amount and radius to. And as I move it over to the left, you can see that those areas like the sky and the spokes Aren't being sharpened. When I move it over to the right you can see that everything in the image is being sharpened. Now if I let go of that but hold down the Option or the Alt key again when I drag the masking slider we can see that the mask that it creates is a much more organic mask, and again we can see those areas where the sharpening is being applied and where it's not. So wherever the mask is black here, the sharpening is not being applied. Wherever it's white, the sharpening is being applied. So this masking slider is actually the preferred slider for me when I'm sharpening something that is more organic, something like a person's face. If I'm going to be sharpening a landscape like this, that has lots of leaves or trees or small details, then I prefer to use the Detail slider in order to suppress the amount of sharpening.
Alright. So let's go ahead and back off on the Amount here, get it a little bit more realistic. Same with the radius, I usually try to keep my radius down between one and two and then just increase the amount until I think the image looks good. Again, we can tap the p key to preview. And that's before, and after. So, you can see that I'm not over sharpening. I really don't have any halos showing in the image. And, at the same time, I've got the correct amount of suppression, so we're not seeing that sharpening occur in the sky or in these areas that are rather flat, like these spokes at the wheel, here.
As we can see, adding the correct amount of sharpening is really quite easy once you know what each of these sliders does. Go ahead and click Done, return back to the Bridge, and since it was sharpening that we changed, we probably won't see that preview updated, but it actually has been.
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