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when unsharp isn't good enough anymore - Adobe Photoshop Elements

The passed few months I have been actively working on improving the quality of my pictures I took with my digital (coolpix 990) and was continuously astonished about the possibilities of digital photo enhancement and of course PE2. I assume it is the learning curve, but I believe I now start to see things clearer which results in a certain annoyance about the fact that the pictures I take are not as sharp as the the old fashioned ogue ones. I can do some corrections with "unsharp" but doesn't seem to get that same crispness. What can I do to ...

  1. #1

    Default when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    The passed few months I have been actively working on improving the quality of my pictures I took with my digital (coolpix 990) and was continuously astonished about the possibilities of digital photo enhancement and of course PE2.
    I assume it is the learning curve, but I believe I now start to see things clearer which results in a certain annoyance about the fact that the pictures I take are not as sharp as the the old fashioned ogue ones.
    I can do some corrections with "unsharp" but doesn't seem to get that same crispness. What can I do to improve the sharpness of the images?

    Robert
    Schraven Robert Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Robert, this is the way I do it. read about it somewhere on the internet and it works for me.

    1-Duplicate layer
    2-Filters>other(?)(Sorry, I use the Dutch version)>highlights; setting at about 10%
    Enlarge to 100%
    3-Layers>hard light>opacity. Opacity setting somewhere between 30 and 70%

    This way you will be surprised about the sharpness of your images.

    Hope this helps.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Chuck, you are right.
    I couldnot find the english translation without referring to the US version of PE 1 I have as well on my pc in the studio.

    I think this method is much easier to control than USM.
    Photoshop is like a language; everyone prefers to speak his own dialect of it. ;-)

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Leen, it's a good technique; went ahead with the translation just so
    everyone would have the benefit of using it!

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    >> The passed few months I have been actively working on improving the
    quality of my pictures<<

    Robert,

    Are you referring to improving pictures that you "take" also as well as the
    ones you have taken and are enhancing?

    If you are, I think the thing that will improve images in most cases is a
    tri pod. If that is not available then propping yourself against a doorway,
    across the trunk or hood of a car. Along the same thought line is using the
    fastest shutter speed conditions allow and that will make it a bit easier to
    get that focus. Of course there are some other variables like how much
    depth of field you desire and then we need to look at aperture settings.
    (Kodak has a set of four or five video tapes that cover a lot of ground
    about taking photo's. Most larger libraries have it).

    But (IMHO) Focus is probably the most difficult thing to try to put in to a
    photo that does not have it. Lightness, contrast, even colors can be
    enhanced and even changed fairly easy... but not focus.

    If this is not the kind of thing you were asking for....sorry....just ignore
    it:)

    Pete




    Pete D Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Leen,

    I wll try what you suggested; see if it works which I hope.

    Pete D; I refer to those pictures that are obviously sharp but when you look closer you find that the sharpness could be better. I use a tripod.

    So far I use unsharp to enhance the
    (un)sharpness, but also because digital images have a natural tendency to create "soft" images.

    Thank you for your help and advice.

    Robert
    Schraven Robert Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Robert, AFAIK you are suposed to do it after you decided which size you will print this image. I don't.
    At my age I 've got the right to be a little pig headed. ;-)

    Usually I apply this sharpening before applying soft focus or any other technique that influences the structure of the image, like adding grain etc. IMHO the image you wish to soften etc. should usually be with optimal sharpness before applying any "destructive" techniques.

    In all other cases I use this sharpening after enhancing the image before I save it to a folder. This way I always have this sharpened image available in my archives before resizing it to the appropriate print size.

    I always store my images in the maximum size before any upsampling or downsampling. Resizing is always done right before the printing stage.

    This works for me.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Pete D, you are ABSOLUTELY right about the tripod.
    To me photography is the way to earn my living and I always use a (sometimes almost too) heavy tripod (Bogen 058B) with a sturdy ball head.

    A tripod is the most underrated bou most useful accessory to a camera, probably because it is hard to sell a heavy piece of equipment with a light weight camera.

    We often spend fortunes on high quality sophistucated lenses, but a simple low tech tripod can add more to the image quality than any high priced piece of glass.

    Unfortunately: the heavier the better...

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Leen,

    In order to compare both techniques I printed out two versions of the same picture. The image depicted a bundle of entangled weed along a meadow. (may be not the best of subjects to choose, but that in hindsight).
    Funilly enough, the unsharp technique won as that picture showed more detail. The hard light version is probably better when the image itself is more staightforward?

    I am aware that the PE techniques can only improve something that is there. Better lenses of course would give you quite a headstart.

    Robert
    Schraven Robert Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Robert,

    Did you set the opacity slider between about 30 and 70%?
    I noticed I need a certain amount of unsharpness in the picture too, usually about 50% will do. This way you will have the best of both worlds/layers.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Leen,

    I'm a pretty straightforward user. All I want is a decent picture of a like wise quality. As a result I hardly use soft focus tools and use unsharp to take out the default of the digital camera.

    Where ever I can I will enhance the quality of the original mainly by fiddling the levels or contrast/brightness tools.

    Yep, I did slide the opacity slider between 30 and 70. Earlier on, in the comparison I referred to the printed end result of the two ways of sharpening.

    I too tried a combination of hard light and unsharp. You want to be careful with this as too much easily creates an image of overexposure on the contrast i.e. it looks as if the image is painted.

    I decided that the hard light sharpness is an alternative for unsharp but not necessarily a replacement.
    Thank you for making me aware of this tool.

    Robert
    Schraven Robert Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    Leen and Chuck,
    Thanks for passing this along. Works like a charm. Just to add my workflow:
    I like to sharpen at the conclusion of all manipulations such as selection, cropping, etc. It is my understanding that this procedure, by and large, optimizes the process by minimizing further degredation.
    Ken
    Kenneth Liffmann Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore

    I use a Coolpix 995, and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that
    although the color rendition is stunning, the lens or lens/CCD combination
    is simply not very sharp. Also, at full wide-angle, there is very noticeable
    distortion at the edges of the picture, and certainly increasing lack of
    sharpness. Probably, the solution is to go to something like the Canon 10D
    or Nikon D100, where you have a higher pixel count and a choice of
    top-quality lenses.

    From comments on this and other boards, I think its also the case that
    digital cameras have a problem with sharpness due to the way the sensors
    work - am I right in thinking that Fuji has a unique sensor that is the only
    one that really captures three colors? And hence, most digital cameras
    apply some sharpening to the image as its stored anyway? (On the 995, maybe
    also on the 990, you can also choose settings to store the picture more
    sharply, but of course you are best doing any manipulation on your computer,
    where the changes can be reversed if desired). So is it not the case that
    sharpening the picture really is simply a matter of perception? - the actual
    picture, of course, cannot really be sharpened if the cause is
    len/sensor/focus/camera shake.

    The tripod suggestion, while of course excellent, will not solve problems
    other than camera shake. I have an old rangefinder camera (a Canon
    knock-off of a Leica) and despite its age, its pictures are consistently and
    noticeably sharper than those taken with an SLR (e.g., my Nikons) - I
    believe because there's no jitter introduced as there is with an SLR by the
    mirror slamming up as the picture is taken.

    Alan


    "Schraven Robert" <rschravattglobal.net> wrote in message
    news:1dea2c29.-1WebX.la2eafNXanI...
    > The passed few months I have been actively working on improving the
    quality of my pictures I took with my digital (coolpix 990) and was
    continuously astonished about the possibilities of digital photo enhancement
    and of course PE2.
    > I assume it is the learning curve, but I believe I now start to see things
    clearer which results in a certain annoyance about the fact that the
    pictures I take are not as sharp as the the old fashioned ogue ones.
    > I can do some corrections with "unsharp" but doesn't seem to get that same
    crispness. What can I do to improve the sharpness of the images?
    >
    > Robert

    AK Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: when unsharp isn't good enough anymore


    "AK" <a.kolnikverizon.net> wrote in message
    news:RgkXa.8014$td7.7565nwrddc01.gnilink.net...
    > I use a Coolpix 995, and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that
    > although the color rendition is stunning, the lens or lens/CCD combination
    > is simply not very sharp. Also, at full wide-angle, there is very
    noticeable
    > distortion at the edges of the picture, and certainly increasing lack of
    > sharpness. Probably, the solution is to go to something like the Canon 10D
    > or Nikon D100, where you have a higher pixel count and a choice of
    > top-quality lenses.
    >
    > From comments on this and other boards, I think its also the case that
    > digital cameras have a problem with sharpness due to the way the sensors
    > work - am I right in thinking that Fuji has a unique sensor that is the
    only
    > one that really captures three colors? And hence, most digital cameras
    > apply some sharpening to the image as its stored anyway? (On the 995,
    maybe
    > also on the 990, you can also choose settings to store the picture more
    > sharply, but of course you are best doing any manipulation on your
    computer,
    > where the changes can be reversed if desired). So is it not the case that
    > sharpening the picture really is simply a matter of perception? - the
    actual
    > picture, of course, cannot really be sharpened if the cause is
    > len/sensor/focus/camera shake.
    >
    > The tripod suggestion, while of course excellent, will not solve problems
    > other than camera shake. I have an old rangefinder camera (a Canon
    > knock-off of a Leica) and despite its age, its pictures are consistently
    and
    > noticeably sharper than those taken with an SLR (e.g., my Nikons) - I
    > believe because there's no jitter introduced as there is with an SLR by
    the
    > mirror slamming up as the picture is taken.
    >
    > Alan
    >
    As a "reformed silver based photographer", you've nailed it exactly. When I
    had my old Nikon F2S, I would always lock the mirror up before taking a
    picture with the camera on a tripod.to get maximum sharpness. The tripod in
    question is a Bogen 3050 that usually held my Calumet 4x5 and is quite
    capable as an emergency jack for changing tires on Volkswagen sized cars.
    Despite all that, there was a difference in sharpness with the mirror locked
    up vs letting the mirror flop.

    That was then, this is now. Now, my picture taking is usually of family
    outings and I do not concentrate on ultimate details as much I probably
    should. I love digital pictures for the ability to snap the moment and see
    it right away, but I still prefer good old fashioned silver images for high
    quality photography. Please don't misread this as saying you can't take a
    fine image digitally, it certainly can be done and is done on a regular
    basis. I just can't get the silver out of my veins and I love the true hands
    on involvement of "old fashioned" photography and the darkroom experience.


    Major Malfunction Guest

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