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01-01-2021, 10:55 PM   #1
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What is this magic? (sharpness editing Q)

To start with, editing sharpness is one of those things that has eluded my understanding because I've never really seen a big difference before and after. In the top photo, it's the camera JPG with 2 cropped and blown up cutouts. The spark lines in the camera JPG are nice and sharp. In the RAW photo, they are slightly blurry. The top cutout is from the camera JPG. The bottom cutout is of the same area, but saved from the RAW file and converted with no sharpening (or other processing for that matter, so ignore the exposure differences). The second photo is the full image converted from the RAW file. It is hard to see if you look too close (kind of a forest for the trees effect), but is much more noticeable when comparing the full images.

I have tried to mimic the sharpness of the JPG in Raw Therapee, which is the only raw processing program I have, and no luck. I tried Topaz DeNoise AI and its sharpening tool, but it had no difference either. I did get sucess with Topaz Sharpen AI using the Stabilize mode, but I only have a free trial of it since this isn't something I typically need. So my question is if I can achieve the sharpness of the camera JPG from Raw Therapee, and how?

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01-02-2021, 01:10 AM   #2
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I don't have RAW Therapee so I can't help you with the specific settings (although I expect it to be possible), but are you sure the difference is because of the different amounts of sharpening applied and not because of the higher contrast and clarity in the jpg?
01-02-2021, 01:33 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by othar Quote
I don't have RAW Therapee so I can't help you with the specific settings (although I expect it to be possible), but are you sure the difference is because of the different amounts of sharpening applied and not because of the higher contrast and clarity in the jpg?
I did play with the contrast, but that wasn't doing a lot. I have tried local contrast and turning on tone mapping. Those two, combined with using RL Deconvolution instead of the standard unsharp mask method of sharpening may be getting me there as I keep playing with it.
01-02-2021, 06:16 AM   #4
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I sharpen with affinity or NIK . If you’re sharpening a DNG the easiest way to see what’s happening is go to 100% magnification on a split screen, you should see why’s happening .

I don’t think you’re sharpening jpegs?


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01-02-2021, 06:57 AM   #5
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The photograph has very little fine detail. You need to use a tool to sharpen larger elements.

My choice in Rawtherapee are the following. (there are a lot more under the detail tab)
1. *Capture sharpening* at the bottom of the demosaic tab. (sharpens very fine detail to recover lens unsharpness)
2. *Sharpening* in the details tab. By increasing the radius you can sharpen larger elements. Also choose between "Unsharp Mask" or "RL convolution" which controls how sharpening looks. Choose the former for large scale details but be mindful of halos.
3.*Contrast by detail level* As the name implies you can manipulate 6 scales of detail called "levels" zoom in 100% and try the sliders until the detail you want sharpened is affected.
01-02-2021, 08:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mooncatt Quote
I did play with the contrast, but that wasn't doing a lot. I have tried local contrast and turning on tone mapping. Those two, combined with using RL Deconvolution instead of the standard unsharp mask method of sharpening may be getting me there as I keep playing with it.
Not too familiar with Rawtherapee but....

I think that RL Deconvolution is used mainly for trying to correct the slight blurring (loss of detail) you get with cameras using AA filters and the demosaicing process. Once this is corrected then further sharpening using USM / High Pass etc. should get you where you need to go.
01-02-2021, 09:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeMcE Quote
If you’re sharpening a DNG the easiest way to see what’s happening is go to 100% magnification on a split screen, you should see why’s happening .

I don’t think you’re sharpening jpegs?
This turned out to be the underlying issue.

I was editing the DNG's, not jpegs, and was working at 1:1 zoom. What I found out after fussing with it for about 5 hours was that, for whatever reason, RAW Therapee wasn't previewing sharpening correctly even when zoomed in. Using RL deconvolution eventually got me where I needed on the purview, but when i exported to jpg, it over sharpened to the point of distraction. I had to dial it back to where it still looked a little blurry in RT, and test the final results with multiple exports for fine tuning.

On the other hand, loving how much I could push the shadows from the K3 II without noise being too distracting at ISO 400.
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01-02-2021, 02:21 PM - 1 Like   #8
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As a side note - looking at the EXIF info for the three images you posted, I see that the posted jpeg quality is 85%. PF will compress images if they are above a certain size in pixel dimensions. When I first started posting images here I noticed that sometimes the posted images were considerably less sharp than they were when I viewed my local image files on my computer monitor. I always save jpegs at 100% image quality, but the EXIF on PF was showing 85%. I found that if I keep the images I post to no more than 1200 pix wide x 800 pix high, the posted jpeg quality stays at 100%, and the images look sharp. Your images are 900 pix high, and jpeg quality is 85%. What we are seeing on the website may not be as sharp as what you see when viewing your local image files on your computer monitor. The 1200x800 dimensions aren't a hard and fast rule. I've seen other people's images that were a little larger and showed a jpeg quality of 94% for instance. Just something to keep in mind.

01-02-2021, 04:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mooncatt Quote
RAW Therapee wasn't previewing sharpening correctly even when zoomed in.
If you mouseover the 1:1 label to the right of the adjustment it will give you a tooltip saying the effects are only visible at a viewing scale of 1:1
01-02-2021, 04:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pkboy Quote
If you mouseover the 1:1 label to the right of the adjustment it will give you a tooltip saying the effects are only visible at a viewing scale of 1:1
And as I said at the start of that post, I was working at 1:1.
01-03-2021, 12:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mooncatt Quote
I was working at 1:1.
Until you zoomed in then wasn't...
01-03-2021, 09:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pkboy Quote
Until you zoomed in then wasn't...
What I meant was that RT wasn't previewing correctly even when zoomed in to 1:1 like it's supposed to. I didn't zoomed in more than that.
01-03-2021, 04:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mooncatt Quote
What I meant was that RT wasn't previewing correctly even when zoomed in to 1:1 like it's supposed to. I didn't zoomed in more than that.
ah understood
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