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Steve McGarrett

LR users - sharpening settings for M

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Starting point zero. Take it as it comes. When it's right, it's perfect. Same rules as in a darkroom. Play with it until it's correct.

The good news with Lightroom is no wasted paper.

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This is a simple question with a complicated answer.

First off: sharpening does not sharpen. It enhances edge contrast to the extent of creating halos, which are, if calculated correctly, beneficial for printing.

Instead of typing a long post ( I did so already in the FAQ at the top of this forum; I would advise you reading there), I will provide a few links to read up:

 

http://www.pixelgenius.com/tips/schewe-sharpening.pdf

 

http://lightroomkillertips.com/three-different-places-sharpen-lightroom/

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/how-to/lightroom-sharpen-image.html

 

http://digital-photography-school.com/learn-how-to-use-the-sharpening-tools-in-lightroom/

 

A good, albeit not quite recent, book on the subject is: Schewe and Fraser, Real World Image Sharpening.

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I now use ImagePrint10 RIP as an external editor from LR in place of the LR print module.  This new iteration includes 16 bit output sharpening as a last step before going to print, and takes into account all prior settings for print size, resolution, etc.  Soft proofing is always in effect with IP, so what you see is what you get.  

 

Of course it's up to the user to determine the best, and intended, effect for any given image output.  As with any editing tool.

 

Jeff

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Isn't the Clarity parameter of post-processing software something one should consider, as if it is related to sharpening?

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Isn't the Clarity parameter of post-processing software something one should consider, as if it is related to sharpening?

Clarity affects contrast and edge contrast in the midtones, so it can have a sharpening effect, but is not meant as such. It is a tool that should be used with caution.

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I now use ImagePrint10 RIP as an external editor from LR in place of the LR print module.  This new iteration includes 16 bit output sharpening as a last step before going to print, and takes into account all prior settings for print size, resolution, etc.  Soft proofing is always in effect with IP, so what you see is what you get.  

 

Of course it's up to the user to determine the best, and intended, effect for any given image output.  As with any editing tool.

 

Jeff

 

Also have a look at Iridient Developer as an external editor from Lightroom. I find it is good for images that are 'delicate' and, potentially, damaged by Lightroom sharpening. 

 

I agree with the general sentiment that experimentation is required as sharpening, like exposure and other processing variables, is a matter of personal taste. Certainly, if you get a new camera/sensor you should experiment to find the settings that suit you best and not rely on presets.

 

William

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I find the default sharpening in LR very mild so I keep it at that. Demosaicing algorithms in LR are not as acute as other developers so this slight sharpening helps a bit. Otherwise I sharpen by output as mentioned above.

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Clarity affects contrast and edge contrast in the midtones, so it can have a sharpening effect, but is not meant as such. It is a tool that should be used with caution.

 

The Clarity and Vibrance slidders are a key and essential part of the process, and not just IMHO, the exception being portraits with regard to the Clarity slider (although a negative value is sometimes useful to 'soften' skin). The default sharpening for the M(240) of "25" seems to work fine.

Edited by pedaes

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I thank all of you for your kind and detailed answers (nice links, Jaap), but I know what (capture) sharpening is, I'm just looking for setting a nice preset on M as a default for LR picture importing, just like I do on my other cameras: a value strong enough to compensating losses in Bayer-matrix demosaicing process without add halos and artifacts. Capture sharpening should be, by definition, relatively subject-independent.

 

Creative and output sharpening, for printing, is another matter (of which I usually discuss with my fine-art lab's guy) but I didn't intend to refer to it here 

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+1 for clarity & vibrance judiciously.  Sharpening now looks outdated & unnatural, haven't used it since CS5.  Time to revisit old files??

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The Clarity and Vibrance slidders are a key and essential part of the process, and not just IMHO, the exception being portraits with regard to the Clarity slider (although a negative value is sometimes useful to 'soften' skin). The default sharpening for the M(240) of "25" seems to work fine.

The vibrance slider is essential to match M9 and M240 output.

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I thank all of you for your kind and detailed answers (nice links, Jaap), but I know what (capture) sharpening is, I'm just looking for setting a nice preset on M as a default for LR picture importing, just like I do on my other cameras: a value strong enough to compensating losses in Bayer-matrix demosaicing process without add halos and artifacts. Capture sharpening should be, by definition, relatively subject-independent.

 

Creative and output sharpening, for printing, is another matter (of which I usually discuss with my fine-art lab's guy) but I didn't intend to refer to it here 

I think the default capture sharpening is on the cautious side for the M240, it can usually take a bit more without artifacts if one uses more masking.

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+1 for clarity & vibrance judiciously.  Sharpening now looks outdated & unnatural, haven't used it since CS5.  Time to revisit old files??

 

You were always able to do 'Clarity' in CS5, instead of for example a typical sharpening setting in Unsharp Mask of 100 Amount and 1 radius you reverse those values and exaggerate them a bit, so from memory 300 Radius and 8 Amount. The actual values depend on the image but the result is very similar if not the same as Clarity, the edge contrast is improved without a harsh edge sharpness. As for the wider question I only ever use Clarity/Structure for mid and shadow tones so do it selectively in post processing rather than universally in ACR and then use conventional sharpening depending on the output size and media.

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You were always able to do 'Clarity' in CS5, instead of for example a typical sharpening setting in Unsharp Mask of 100 Amount and 1 radius you reverse those values and exaggerate them a bit, so from memory 300 Radius and 8 Amount. The actual values depend on the image but the result is very similar if not the same as Clarity, the edge contrast is improved without a harsh edge sharpness. As for the wider question I only ever use Clarity/Structure for mid and shadow tones so do it selectively in post processing rather than universally in ACR and then use conventional sharpening depending on the output size and media.

Another similar trick to enhance detail: Set Radius to 50, Threshold to 0 and look for an Amount between 10 and 25. I find it more effective and with less artifacts than Clarity or the settings above. Even better to do it on the L channel in LAB only.

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Once adjusted and you think you have it right, back off those sliders just a little bit.

+1

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