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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
At this point in our course, I thought it'd be helpful to take a break from the screen capture, and have a conversation about some of our sharpening controls. You know, if we look at the different sharpening tools that we have, whether its Adobe Camera Raw, or Lightroom, or the Photoshop filters, we'll encounter two sliders over and over again. One of them is Amount, another one is Radius. And sometimes I think the best way to understand these sliders is to compare them to something completely different than photography and post-production, and that's what I'm going to do here.
And I want to do that with the intent of getting a better understanding of how we can use these sliders to improve the sharpness in our photographs. Well yesterday I was working on this old vintage wood table that we have and I was sanding it down. And if you've ever seen sand paper, like the sand paper that I have here, you know that there's sand paper that has different grits. Some of it's really gritty and rough, other sand paper is incredibly soft and smooth. And when it comes to working with sharpening, sometimes I think of it, at least in my mind as, as a way of comparing to sand paper.
I think of the Amount slider as the intensity of how much I'm actually sanding that down or how much I'm working on one area. Now the Radius slider, I think of it as the grit. A higher radius is a bigger, bolder, stronger grit. A lower radius is a smaller, softer, smoother grit. And when you have a smoother grit, you can finish something really nicely. If you have a lower resolution file and it's a little bit more delicate. Or if you have a softer wood, you're going to use a lower grit sandpaper.
If you have rough-hewn lumber, where you're going to start off with an incredibly strong and gritty sandpaper. So in my mind, as I encounter those two sliders, Amount and Radius, again, I think of Amount as the intensity, of how hard I'm pushing down the sand paper, then I think of the Radius as the actual grit. Well I'm hoping that this analogy or comparison might be helpful as you seek to better understand how you can use these controls in order to make improvements to your pictures.
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