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05/31/2005 06:41:25 AM · #1
Does anybody have a problem with their challenge entries regarding sharpness, after processing and sizing????

My entry for Beauty is sharp as a tack when printed (8x10) and sharp enough on screen, in it's original size to fair well in a challenge, in the sharpness category but like many of my entries, don't survive the post, mark up. I showed it to the salesmen at J&R who both loved it and one of them said "that could definately go on the wall" (of their sample gallery) and here I find myself again with what I think is a sharpness issue with the voters.

I should add that I did use USM in PS. Any suggestions?

Here's another example of an image that lost sharpness in the post ordeal taken with a tripod for the Lighting challenge.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/342/thumb/179849.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/342/thumb/179849.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' BTW I only got 6 comments here so any additional critiques are more than welcome. Cheers!

Message edited by author 2005-05-31 06:43:23.
05/31/2005 06:46:20 AM · #2
Doesn't seem under-sharp to me. However, if you're looking for a general tip then the last step after resizing should be sharpening. If you're doing your sharpening before resizing it will become softer.
05/31/2005 06:49:25 AM · #3
It's a lovely image. I don't see any sharpness problem, nor any indication in comments that tohers do. It has a "soft" feel to it, a sort of volupruousness, but it's not a sharpness issue. I have a question though; given that you feel it works better at yoiur larger screen size, why have you shown it to us at less than the maximum, 640-pixel dimension?

Robt.

addendum: what he said... I always run a hint of USM through after resizing, to recapture what I've lost in lower resolution.

Message edited by author 2005-05-31 06:50:23.
05/31/2005 07:06:17 AM · #4
Originally posted by bear_music:

It's a lovely image. I don't see any sharpness problem, nor any indication in comments that tohers do. It has a "soft" feel to it, a sort of volupruousness, but it's not a sharpness issue. I have a question though; given that you feel it works better at yoiur larger screen size, why have you shown it to us at less than the maximum, 640-pixel dimension?

Robt.


Maybe not the best example after looking at the full sized original but I thought that was one of my better images ever and couldn't figure out why it didn't do better.

Back on topic, I did buy a new steadier tripod and hopefully there will be less room for sharpness issues and regarding my Beauty entry I had very little sharpness to spare but it printed out like a dream shot. Too bad the voters can't see that one.
05/31/2005 07:30:41 AM · #5
It's a really terrific shot... yes it does feel a little soft, though I think, as bear says, that soft feel may actually add to the image.

I'd say the score (which I'll add is not bad... though perhaps a little low for such a great quality shot) is more to do with the fact that the connection to the challenge might not be as immediately apparent as some other shots, and also, the fact that you didn't use the maximum allowable size. I'm sure it would have more impact if you'd sized it so that the maximum dimension was 640.
05/31/2005 07:48:50 AM · #6
Originally posted by samtrundle:

I'd say the score (which I'll add is not bad... though perhaps a little low for such a great quality shot) is more to do with the fact that the connection to the challenge might not be as immediately apparent as some other shots, and also, the fact that you didn't use the maximum allowable size. I'm sure it would have more impact if you'd sized it so that the maximum dimension was 640.


That's interesting to hear because it was the first time that I used a smaller size so people wouldn't have to scroll so much at the very first sight of the image. My hope was that the impact of the diagonal line might be immediate.
05/31/2005 07:51:12 AM · #7
I must agree that resize and sharpen are my two most difficult process/edit aspects for making 640x pictures. I consistantly ask myself - What the hell happened to the detail? Why does this picture look like s..t? Acceptance of an accomodation when you know a picture should look better is not the answer. Smaller original files seems to help some; Sharpen at capture image and at output has some good effect; The Fred Miranda ResizePro is also quite good. - but for me every image has an idiosyncrasy that never makes steps to sharpen/resize, and the sharpen/resize edit itself exactly the same. Often it is never achieved the way I want it. A question I wish would dissapear.... am looking forward to try the new cs2 resize buttons.
05/31/2005 07:54:59 AM · #8
Originally posted by pawdrix:

That's interesting to hear because it was the first time that I used a smaller size so people wouldn't have to scroll so much at the very first sight of the image. My hope was that the impact of the diagonal line might be immediate.


If you need to scroll to see 640pixel images - my first suggestion is to increase your screen resolution! I know there are several threads out there on this, but AFAIAA very few people work on less than 1024x768 nowadays, and 1280 x 1024 is very common. I only have to scroll 640 when using my mobile phone to review pictures...


05/31/2005 09:22:56 AM · #9
As previously posted, your example is not really soft, but not extremely sharp either. It does take well to a little USM. On this one, try amount=150, radius=0.3, threshold=3. You should do a light USM pass after resize.

05/31/2005 09:26:28 AM · #10
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

If you need to scroll to see 640pixel images - my first suggestion is to increase your screen resolution! I know there are several threads out there on this, but AFAIAA very few people work on less than 1024x768 nowadays, and 1280 x 1024 is very common. I only have to scroll 640 when using my mobile phone to review pictures...


I believe he isn't saying that scrolling is necessary to see 640 pixel image by itself rather that with the DPChallenge logo, menu, photo title, and voting above the image there is a little bit of scrolling down to see the whole photo for those with monitors set to low resolutions. (1024x768 and lower)
05/31/2005 10:17:06 AM · #11
I tried many variations on sharpening and I might have even done a little extra with the 640. Don't remember but I always seem to lose some desparately needed sharpness at the end. I worry a bit with almost every entry if voters will tap into it negatively.

Sharpness seems to be a simple standard that most voters can look for and agree on and I've noticed that most high ranking images are very sharp...not always but usually.

And yes, I wanted people to see the entire image as a whole and not have to scroll too much to gets it's effect.

I also keep my screen at 800x600 because I like larger type. I don't want to go blind looking at smaller type all day long. Maybe that's an issue I'll need to resolve with a better/larger screen???
05/31/2005 10:25:44 AM · #12
Better question: At what resolution do most of you have your screens set at?

I get nice big views at 800x600.
05/31/2005 10:46:40 AM · #13
Originally posted by pawdrix:

I also keep my screen at 800x600 because I like larger type. I don't want to go blind looking at smaller type all day long. Maybe that's an issue I'll need to resolve with a better/larger screen???


Agreed that sharpness of images is strongly picked up by commenters.

As for 800 x 600, have you tried enabling large fonts? On MSW 2000, and probably most other versions, it is Control Panel/Display/Settings/Advanced - drop down box:small=>large fonts, then reset the computer.

The effect of large fonts is pretty self explanatory: text in tool bars etc is made larger. The consequence is that you can increase screen resolution, which increases your screen "estate" - you can fit more onto the screen. On screen photographs will contain more detail, as they will be more dense. You will be able to see more of what you are looking at, as certain elements will get smaller (eg buttons and slider bars).

The disadvantage may be that buttons and the slider bar will be smaller - you may not be able to get comfortable with that, though it may be worth persevering with for a day or two just to see.

With programs like MS Word, documents may open up and look a little smaller - but do not forget that you can zoom into and out of MS Word documents very easily - hold CTRL and roll the mousewheel (also works with some, but not all, websites in MS Explorer). With MS Word documents displayed at the same relative size, the higher resolution will give more detail to the text, making it easier, not harder, to read.

I also note Technoshroom's comment that the DPC logo and toolbars etc take up a bit of space. I have just been directed by RonBeam in another thread to the F11 key (view/fullscreen) which minimises some of those distractions.

For sharpening, I have experimented with a variety of options, but find that no USM prior to resizing, resize to 640 then USM at 70%, radius 1.7, 0 threshold tends to give decent results for 640 pixel images. At least that is my starting point (as well as, sometimes, trying 100 or so passes on 500%, 0.1 radius, 0 threshold).

Message edited by author 2005-05-31 10:47:41.
05/31/2005 11:03:58 AM · #14
Originally posted by pawdrix:

Does anybody have a problem with their challenge entries regarding sharpness, after processing and sizing????


Sharpening is the most fundamental, yet elusive, post processing concept to master. You'd think it is easy, but it is not.

For example, there seems to be some discussion when to sharpen. I've always been told that you might sometimes, but not always, apply pre-processing sharpening but then would always apply sharpening as the very LAST step before saving for output. That is even after it has been resized. Is that view wrong?

I, for one, would like to see a much more in-depth review of sharpening techniques than the tutorial on DPC. I'd like to know how to determine when, where and how much to sharpen within your workflow. I'd like to know what specific techniques can be applied to images that are soft to begin with. I'd like to know how to maintain razor sharp fine detail without to much contrast and loss of tonality. Stuff like that.

For me it is a constant struggle to properly sharpen images that contain a lot of fine detail.

I've looked and read about these things at places like this:
//graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshoptutorialssharpen/

But that only seems to deepen the mystery for me.

OK... who is going to put that tutorial together for us?

I vote for Kirbic. :)
05/31/2005 11:21:35 AM · #15
I've been running this sequence in PS under "Actions" as saved...
- USM : effect 18, radius 40, threshold 0
- USM : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
- edit/fade USM, 100%, darken blend mode,
- USM : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
- edit/fade USM, 50%, brighten blend mode.

It was shown to me by Manny Librodo. It does a nice job of bringing out color as well as sharpen but I sometimes bring it back a few steps if the sharpening get's weird.

05/31/2005 11:28:37 AM · #16
Originally posted by pawdrix:

I've been running this sequence in PS under "Actions" as saved...
- USM : effect 18, radius 40, threshold 0
- USM : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
- edit/fade USM, 100%, darken blend mode,
- USM : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
- edit/fade USM, 50%, brighten blend mode.

It was shown to me by Manny Librodo. It does a nice job of bringing out color as well as sharpen but I sometimes bring it back a few steps if the sharpening get's weird.


Wow! That is a lot and with some interesting USM values, particularly the first one. Are these all done at the same time after the image has been post-processed and resized?
05/31/2005 11:44:05 AM · #17
I looked at your image read the comments. I don't think sharpening is your issue. To me, primarily a film photog and relatively new to DPC, I think it looks pretty natural. Close to the way my eye would see it in real life. In DPC we become accustomed to looking at images that have been sharpened to the razor edged look. A natural look and soft focus is not understood as a rule. I don't see from the comments left, that sharp was an issue.
I am thinking that you have applied a sepia to the image which has cut down on the contrast, which to some may make it appear softer, and less detailed. Since the shadows are now brown, and the whites a lighter brown, detail becomes obsured and the SHARP look decreased.
IT would help if you posted your post processing steps so folks could may an educated guess.
Just my opinion, of course.
05/31/2005 11:45:35 AM · #18
Well, I've been running it straight at various points of the post processing and with my last entry in Beauty I ran it at the beginning and the end after resizing.

Since it was suggested to help bring out color tone as well as sharpness, I've run it at the beginning of post processing before I did any color/contrast/hue/saturation work.

Based on the advice on this thread, I will use it at the end to see what happens.

05/31/2005 12:13:30 PM · #19
Originally posted by sofapez:

IT would help if you posted your post processing steps so folks could may an educated guess.
Just my opinion, of course.


I do things in random order and I'm not sure how my mind works which makes me chose my path. I assume, I attack what strikes me as the most important detail or flaw that needs to be addresed.

Without having to buy or read a book on the subject I'd love to know a few simple rules of thumb which apply to all post processing. Order of operations being at the top of that list of things to know.
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