4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 16, 2008 4:51 PM by Bill_Janes

    Input (capture) sharpening workflow in ACR 4.3.1

    allhere
      At the suggestion of another member, I'm posting this here in addition to posting on Windows Photoshop forum:

      I shoot raw, always, and have avoided using Camera Raw in my workflow until recently (4.3.1), because so much time and organization effort is now saved by including Camera Raw 4.3.1 in my workflow, where it wasn't in previous versions.

      My problem is that I had been trained in numerous Canon tutorials to always perform input sharpening as the first step in the workflow, using a radius of 0.3 and an amount of 300 in Photoshop CS2, in order to remove the effects of the camera sensor's anti-alias filter.

      This is only possible in Photoshop, since the Camera Raw controls limit those parameters to 0.5 and 150. My workflow is first forced into Photoshop proper followed by Camera Raw, if I am to follow Canon's recommendation, which means I lose one of the principle benefits of using Camera Raw 4.3.1.

      I have reviewed many posts and tutorials relating to sharpening in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop, and none of these documents refer to input sharpening as part of the workflow, but to the use of sharpening as a creative tool in image manipulation or for optimizing for media, etc.

      Thanks for any advice.
        • 2. Re: Input (capture) sharpening workflow in ACR 4.3.1
          allhere Level 1
          Thanks Jeff. After a brief reading it looks as though I ought to relearn input sharpening.
          • 3. Re: Input (capture) sharpening workflow in ACR 4.3.1
            01af Level 1
            Guy,

            first thing to note, the Amount and Radius parameters in ACR and in Photoshop's USM filter are on different scales; you cannot compare their numerical values directly (Jeff, please correct me if I'm wrong!).

            Second thing, of course you're never supposed to apply Sharpening for Source first (in Photoshop) and then take the file back to ACR to tweak it further. If you don't want to use ACR's new capture sharpening feature then disable it and fully develop your raw image in ACR, applying white balance, exposure, brightness, saturation, noise reduction, and lens correction settings as required---and THEN, to the fully developed TIFF, PSD, or JPEG file, you'd apply Sharpening for Source first thing in Photoshop.

            By the way, I don't like ACR's new sharpening feature too much. Lately I developed the notion that Sharpening for Content (as presented in Bruce's four-stage sharpening workflow, i. e. Source, Content, Creative, and Output; see his book "Real-World Image Sharpening") conceptually belongs into one category with Creative Sharpening, not with Sharpening for Source. So the concept of Capture Sharpening---which combines Sharpening for Source and Sharpening for Content into one single sharpening stage---seems reasonable technically but not conceptually. The parameters for Sharpening for Source depend solely on the properties of the image-acquiring device (i. e. scanner or digital camera). The parameters for Sharpening for Content and for Creative Sharpening both depend on image content as well as on the author's taste and intentions. In my opinion, Sharpening for Content *is* a sort of a kind of Creative Sharpening---so combining Sharpening for Source and Sharpening for Content into one Capture Sharpening stage makes sense only when processing one image at a time (for the one-image-at-a-time workflow, I do like, and use, ACR's capture sharpening feature).

            When processing a whole batch of raw images which come all from the same source, it usually makes sense to automatically apply the same degree of Sharpening for Source to all of them but to apply any further sharpening (namely for Content and Creative) individually to each image. That's why I usually disable ACR's sharpening altogether and stick to Bruce's four-stage sharpening workflow, applying Sharpening for Source via Photoshop's batch automation.

            -- Olaf
            • 4. Re: Input (capture) sharpening workflow in ACR 4.3.1
              Bill_Janes Level 2
              >So the concept of Capture Sharpening---which combines Sharpening for Source and Sharpening for Content into one single sharpening stage---seems reasonable technically but not conceptually. The parameters for Sharpening for Source depend solely on the properties of the image-acquiring device (i. e. scanner or digital camera). The parameters for Sharpening for Content and for Creative Sharpening both depend on image content as well as on the author's taste and intentions

              As you note, Bruce combines sharpening for source and content into capture sharpening. An example for a Canon EOS 20D is given on page 263 of the book. The sharpening for source is done globally with protection of highlights and shadows via the blend if sliders. The radius is dependent on the resolution of the camera and the amount on the strength of the blur filter. So far as I know, this would be the same for all images produced by a given camera, and there is no need to vary the settings.

              One can then proceed to sharpening for content. Why separate the two, since the first step is invariant? Personally, I see nothing wrong conceptually with his approach.

              I have no idea if ACR or PKSharpener follow a similar approach, but since they are based on Bruce's concepts, I would think that they do.