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06-04-2016, 03:04 PM   #1
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Sharpening of high ISO raw images for export to JPEG?

I shoot quite a lot of images at higher ISOs. Shooting in DNG format, I import my photos into Lightroom 6 where I carry out my main adjustments, including noise reduction. Increasingly I find myself going for less luminance noise reduction than I used to, preferring to accept a greater level of graininess in return for more detail. I then sharpen in Lightroom (amount 50 or so, with 0.7 - 1.0 radius), using the Masking control to limit that sharpening to edges and fine details rather than any remaining noise. Now, with a low ISO, low noise shot, I'd then export to JPEG with output sharpening set to Standard or High - but with high ISO images, that doesn't work so well as it sharpens and emphasises the noise too. Right now, my solution in these circumstances is to pump up the masked sharpening in Lightroom to 100 or more with a radius of around 2.0 (thus over-emphasising the sharpening effect for what will become resized images) then export with no output sharpening, but I'd love to know, how do (or would) you folks do it??


Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-04-2016 at 03:18 PM.
06-04-2016, 03:31 PM   #2
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I don't do export sharpening on any images. When doing noise reduction, I have Martin Evening's book on my lap and burn incense to whatever elemental spirits have sway in the realm of image PP.*


Steve

* Just kidding about the incense and the imagined elemental spirits...
06-04-2016, 04:07 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't do export sharpening on any images. When doing noise reduction, I have Martin Evening's book on my lap and burn incense to whatever elemental spirits have sway in the realm of image PP.*


Steve

* Just kidding about the incense and the imagined elemental spirits...
He he Interesting, though, that you do no output sharpening. I also use Evening's book (after your recommendation) and - if I may say so without appearing smug - I'm now very proficient with Lightroom, especially including noise reduction and sharpening... but I do like some sharpening at output stage...

I may yet try the incense...

QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
My take... (don't let the title of the thread put you off )

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/136-pentax-q/284585-extreme-telephoto-tip...ml#post3189008

Works great for me,.. you, too, perhaps... M
Thanks for that. I've used that advice before (thank you!) and, as I mention to Steve above, I feel I'm now pretty good with my in-Lightroom processing. BUT... and I guess I should have been clearer on this... it's the point at which I output to JPEG that is confounding me a little, specifically with grainy images. I like some degree of output sharpening, but with high ISO images that works against me, hence my current solution of over-sharpening my high ISO images in Lightroom (paying careful attention to sharpen masking) before outputting to JPEG with no output sharpening...
06-04-2016, 04:55 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I don't do export sharpening on any images.
As a rule I don't sharpen my images when sending them to clients - unless they specify that I do so.I often have to warn new clients about that as some have the expectation that my images will pre-sharpened. For personal work I don't sharpen in the raw processor: I leave that to photoshop as I have far more control over the process. I commonly use Nik plugins alongside more traditional but still advanced sharpening methods in Photoshop.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have Martin Evening's book on my lap and burn incense to whatever elemental spirits have sway in the realm of image
Interesting: I would recite passages from Ansel Adams and Erwin puts publications when developing film so that things wouldn't go wrong.

06-05-2016, 06:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
I shoot everything RAW (DNG). When I export the fine tuned image (finalized to my taste) from LR as a JPEG, I check the box in the Export dialog that applies sharpening for screen (low). I've never had a complaint, so I guess it's effective. If I'm exporting for a print, I uncheck the box (even though there's an option to export for print).
Good to know. Thanks!

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
As a rule I don't sharpen my images when sending them to clients - unless they specify that I do so.I often have to warn new clients about that as some have the expectation that my images will pre-sharpened. For personal work I don't sharpen in the raw processor: I leave that to photoshop as I have far more control over the process. I commonly use Nik plugins alongside more traditional but still advanced sharpening methods in Photoshop.
Interesting... Thanks for that. I do occasionally use the Nik Output Sharpener plug-in from within LR6, but I don't feel I'm getting the best from it (or my expectations are unrealistic!). I guess for my high ISO images I'll continue doing what I'm doing, but ixnay on the output sharpening
06-05-2016, 08:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Good to know. Thanks!



Interesting... Thanks for that. I do occasionally use the Nik Output Sharpener plug-in from within LR6, but I don't feel I'm getting the best from it (or my expectations are unrealistic!). I guess for my high ISO images I'll continue doing what I'm doing, but ixnay on the output sharpening
Have you tried Topaz denoise, Also I guess it depends on how high an ISO you are using.
06-06-2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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If I am having issues, I often move to Photoshop or more lately either the Nik suite (Dfine and Sharpener Pro) to take care of noise that might be causing problems in my photo. They usually allow a bit more control over noise and sharpening.
06-06-2016, 01:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeD Quote
Have you tried Topaz denoise, Also I guess it depends on how high an ISO you are using.
QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
If I am having issues, I often move to Photoshop or more lately either the Nik suite (Dfine and Sharpener Pro) to take care of noise that might be causing problems in my photo. They usually allow a bit more control over noise and sharpening.
Thanks for both these responses. The problem isn't noise reduction... I want to leave a certain amount of noise in my images (the trade off for too much noise reduction being a loss of detail), and because of that, the non-selective output sharpening in Lightroom sharpens everything - including that remaining noise. I've tried the Sharpener Pro plug-in but I don't find I'm getting the results I need in these situations. I will, however, keep trying!

06-06-2016, 01:16 PM   #9
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I should have added that, part of going to Photoshop is to utilize layers to isolate the areas I want to sharpen or leave alone (through masking). Gimp can do similar if you don't have photoshop.

The noise removal software I mention because they usually combine sharpening features that allow you to (1) get better noise removal so that you don't lose detail and (2) sharpen with more refinement over what gets sharpened and what doesn't, to avoid noise.

Note the Nik software is free (owned by Google now) and that there is the distinct Sharpener Pro software, which is just for softening. Nik software has some nice features for being very selective about what you do also. I've not used the Sharpening program too much, but I assume it is similar to the noise removal and even their SilverEfex software for editing. It is mostly a global effort, but it has some features, similar to the spot editing tools in Lightroom, with a bit more control. I think it generically calls them control points through all their software.
06-06-2016, 02:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
the non-selective output sharpening in Lightroom sharpens everything - including that remaining noise
I've had more success making all other adjustments before noise reduction, including sharpening, than the other way around, but I don't apply the amount of sharpening you do at any stage. Some sharpening is essential but I don't knowingly exceed a setting of 50 in LR and when outputting for a screen, I leave sharpening at low. I've tried standard and high settings, more often than not the result looks artificial (to my eyes, at least).

As I understand it, noise reduction counteracts sharpening; sharpening works by increasing contrast between neighbouring pixels. I think the key is to find a happy medium between sharpness and smoothness that leads the brain to see solid colours where there should be solid colour and distinct differences where there should be variations in colour. Behind the scenes, software is adjusting tone and intensity to produce a more natural looking optical illusion.
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