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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> USM?
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06/20/2006 03:33:53 PM · #1
I hear of people using USM in photoshop as a way to make things appear more and focus and such. How do I use this USM? I cannot seem to find it. I have CS2.
06/20/2006 03:35:51 PM · #2
USM = Unsharp Mask. On the toolbar, "FILTERS", "SHARPEN", "UNSHARP MASK".

You'll then need to experiment with the settings for it. 85, 1, 1 are good numbers to start with, working down the list of three available settings.
06/20/2006 03:40:26 PM · #3
I like 150,.5,0 Less risk of haloing.
06/20/2006 03:41:22 PM · #4
It stands for unsharp mask it is under filters/sharpen/unsharp mask. There is a tutorial on this site HERE
06/20/2006 03:41:33 PM · #5
I usually end up with somewhere in the range of 125% .3 3 for photos I submit to DPC. That is going from an unsharpened RAW file.

Amount: is the amount of sharpening to be done on the photo.

Radius: This is the width of the contrasting pixels along the edge of detail in a photo. This can be and usually should be a decimal number.

Threshold: This number helps to smooth out artifacts that can occur in sharpening. What it does is set the differnce a pixel should be from its neighbor before sharpening occurs between the two.
06/20/2006 03:43:20 PM · #6
175-250%, .3, 0-1 is usually what I do.

300-500%, .2, 0-1 is also good for a less in your face effect.
06/20/2006 03:43:20 PM · #7
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I usually end up with somewhere in the range of 125% .3 3 for photos I submit to DPC. That is going from an unsharpened RAW file.

Amount: is the amount of sharpening to be done on the photo.

Radius: This is the width of the contrasting pixels along the edge of detail in a photo. This can be and usually should be a decimal number.

Threshold: This number helps to smooth out artifacts that can occur in sharpening. What it does is set the differnce a pixel should be from its neighbor before sharpening occurs between the two.

Yeah, the amounts vary from image to image. Those are just the numbers I learned with, and I find them to be a good, safe starting place for the most part. But I'm sure your numbers would work just as well. :-)
06/20/2006 03:57:56 PM · #8
Originally posted by OdysseyF22:


Yeah, the amounts vary from image to image. Those are just the numbers I learned with, and I find them to be a good, safe starting place for the most part. But I'm sure your numbers would work just as well. :-)


Yes they do vary. The amount of sharpening should depend first on the photo to be sharpened.

I've actually started playing with smart sharpen and USM combos with multiple passes, fading the sharpening using the Fade command in the Edit menu.
06/20/2006 04:02:55 PM · #9
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by OdysseyF22:


Yeah, the amounts vary from image to image. Those are just the numbers I learned with, and I find them to be a good, safe starting place for the most part. But I'm sure your numbers would work just as well. :-)


Yes they do vary. The amount of sharpening should depend first on the photo to be sharpened.

I've actually started playing with smart sharpen and USM combos with multiple passes, fading the sharpening using the Fade command in the Edit menu.

I'm sensing PS CS2 here...I don't have smart sharpen in PS 7, no fair! :-P

I've heard of doing multiple passes, but have never tried it. I also read something around here a while back about using USM to do high-contrast passes. So I guess it has multiple uses that take some honing.
06/20/2006 04:07:09 PM · #10
Examples of sharpening and oversharpening.
06/20/2006 04:12:03 PM · #11
Originally posted by OdysseyF22:


I'm sensing PS CS2 here...I don't have smart sharpen in PS 7, no fair! :-P

I've heard of doing multiple passes, but have never tried it. I also read something around here a while back about using USM to do high-contrast passes. So I guess it has multiple uses that take some honing.


I wouldn't be too jealous LOL. CS2 is a LOT slower on my machine than PS7 even after a memory upgrade. I have PS7 on my notebook, which has about half the oomph as my desktop and it out-performs the CS2 resource hog by leaps and bounds.

But smart-sharpen is handy if the focus is a little less than tack sharp or a little camera shake has happened. It won't perform miracles, but can help a little.

As far as multiple passes of USM, it seems to produce less artifacting and doesn't enhance noise as much.
06/20/2006 04:12:36 PM · #12
Funny how everyone uses different settings. I read somewhere that for web viewing you should use 85,1,4. That's what I use. For printing I use 100,1,1.
06/20/2006 04:21:43 PM · #13
Originally posted by ChikaZAWa:

I have CS2.


Investigate Smart Sharpen - introduced in CS2, (Filters->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen), USM is the stone age compared to SS.

Link #0
Linkeroo #1
Linkeroo #2
And another
06/20/2006 04:31:45 PM · #14
Originally posted by larryslights:

Funny how everyone uses different settings. I read somewhere that for web viewing you should use 85,1,4. That's what I use. For printing I use 100,1,1.

It depends on the elements in the image, and the desired result. Not every image is going to yield desirable results with those settings. Some need more aggressive sharpening, some, more restrained.
06/20/2006 04:35:20 PM · #15
Almost all legitamate articles on Smart Sharpen in PS CS2 says it's much better than the old USM. It is still very controllable so it's really not automatic like many people think, just better programming.

I usually use lens correction, most accurate and either 1.2 at 75 or .4 at 125-200 depending on the photos.

Message edited by author 2006-06-20 16:36:47.
06/20/2006 04:48:03 PM · #16
I use smart sharpen for sharpening and USM for local contrasting. Since the two tasks use wildly different settings doing it this way keeps my settings in tact for each task. This saves critical seconds! :P
06/20/2006 04:58:45 PM · #17
Originally posted by PhantomEWO:

Almost all legitamate articles on Smart Sharpen in PS CS2 says it's much better than the old USM. It is still very controllable so it's really not automatic like many people think, just better programming.


In my opinion they are pretty much the same. The major benefit with Smart Sharpen is the improved workflow since it allows you to tweak the highlights and shadows separately. Before you could do that with USM but it involved creating a duplicate layer and applying the USM twice, changing the blending modes and opacity to tweak.

Message edited by author 2006-06-20 17:00:10.
06/20/2006 05:49:09 PM · #18
I usually use:

80, .8, 0
70, .7, 0
60, .6, 0

etc...depenging on what the photo needs.

EDIT: although I shoot JPEG with +sharpening from the getgo

Message edited by author 2006-06-20 17:49:38.
06/20/2006 07:44:36 PM · #19
Originally posted by alfresco:

Originally posted by ChikaZAWa:

I have CS2.


Investigate Smart Sharpen - introduced in CS2, (Filters->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen), USM is the stone age compared to SS.

Link #0
Linkeroo #1
Linkeroo #2
And another


Thanks for those links JP. That last one was particularly helpful.
06/20/2006 08:00:19 PM · #20
Yeah, it took me a few times to figure out that USM meant Unsharp Mask. :-)
06/20/2006 08:28:59 PM · #21
Originally posted by PhantomEWO:

Almost all legitamate articles on Smart Sharpen in PS CS2 says it's much better than the old USM. It is still very controllable so it's really not automatic like many people think, just better programming.

I usually use lens correction, most accurate and either 1.2 at 75 or .4 at 125-200 depending on the photos.


I'm with Phantom here as well. SS is the way to go, haven't even looked at USM now that I use SS.
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