9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 3, 2012 7:34 AM by Mollysnoot

    Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5

    3d Eye Level 1

      Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5

       

      I want to do two-pass sharpening - capture and output - with output capture done just before I print. I do the initial (capture) sharpening in the ACR Detail/Sharpening panel, with Amount slider set to, for example, 100.  Then, I open the image to PS CS5 as a Smart Object, and use layers and masks for further editting.

       

      My question is, can I go back to ACR for the final (output) sharpening pass?  When I re-open the file in ACR, the Sharpening Amount slider is back to zero, but the other three sliders are still at the settings I used at the start of the process, i.e., the capture sharpening.  If I again set the Amount slider to a positive value, then again open the image in PS for printing, will my second pass through the ACR Sharpening panel take effect - will it accumulate on top of the initial sharpening?

       

      By the way, the reason I want do output sharpening in ACR rather than, say, PS Unsharp Mask, is so I can use the Masking slider in ACR, which is much easier than the comparable techniques available in PS.  I am aware that some say you should not do any masking for the output sharpening. I'd like to, though.

       

      Thanks for ideas.

        • 1. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
          Mollysnoot Level 3

          I'm puzzled as to why the sharpening amount should go back to zero when you re-open the file in ACR.

           

          Just to be clear here, you're saying that you open the smart-object raw file from your PS document back into ACR for further editing, and when you go to the detail tab, the amount is set at zero, when it was previously set to a different value (say 60 for example) when you first created the PS document? If that is what you're saying, then something's wrong as it certainly shouldn't change.

           

          M

          • 2. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
            Jeff Schewe Level 5

            3d Eye wrote:

             

            My question is, can I go back to ACR for the final (output) sharpening pass?

             

            Not sure about the amount reset...I think something else is going on there. But in answer to your question, the Detail panel of Camera Raw is designed to be a capture sharpening and not intened to be output sharpening. The controls are really only designed to regain the sharpness lost turning light into pixels through an optical system.

             

            There is output sharpening available in Camera Raw but only in the Workflow Options buttom. Click that and you'll see the options. Yes, they apply the proper output sharpening, but note it ONLY applies it you that Smart Object....no other layers on top of or under that layer.

            • 3. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
              3d Eye Level 1

              I'm using two Mac computers, both with PS CS5 12.0.4, ACR 6.6.0, and OS x10.6.8.

               

              Thank you, M.  Your description of my situation is accurate.  I thought the Detail panel Sharpening Amount slider returning to zero was a bad sign, but an employee at Calumet told me that is the way it works, so I shifted my attention.  Your comments made me look more closely.

               

              I find that on my laptop, the Amount slider does not return to zero upon reopening from ACR; also, when I apply Detail sharpening in ACR, the effect shows up on the image when opened in PS, as you would expect.  However, on my desktop computer, I now confirm that the ACR Detail Amount slider returns to zero, and that the ACR Detail sharpening does not show on the image when opened in PS.

               

              Further strangeness: On the laptop, when I select a Sharpen For value in the ACR Workflow Options per Mr. Schewe's advice, the effect does not appear in my ACR screen (I'm guessing that's normal), but does appear in the image opened in PS, as expected.  On the desktop, the same thing happens - the ACR output sharpening appears to work, whereas the Detail sharpening does not.  Beats me.

               

              Any ideas about what's the problem would be appreciated.

              • 4. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                3d Eye Level 1

                Mr. Schewe,

                 

                Thank you for you comments.  I think the output sharpening setting is what I am looking for.  If I may refine my understanding a bit:

                 

                1]  Would the following be a sensible sequence for editting a raw image from a digital camera (D5 mk ii) to be printed on an Epson inkjet:

                  --   Open in ACR; set 'Sharpen For' to None;  do Detail panel sharpening and other ACR adjustments.

                   --   Open image in PS (I use Smart Objects);  do further editting, e.g., layers and masks.

                  --   Re-open in ACR;  set Sharpen For to my desired settings.

                   --   Re-open in PS and print.

                 

                2]  In his sharpening for CS2 book, Mr. Fraser seems to have recommended that output sharpening be global - no masking of, e.g., smooth areas.  I never understood the reason for this.  When I sharpen, I always mask smooth areas that I want to keep smooth.  What is the logic of the 'global' SOP?

                Does the ACR output sharpen follow this?  I just experimented on an image, and it seems there may be masking going on.  A large global, no-mask sharpening in the ACR Detail panel sharpens smooth areas a lot, but applying only the ACR output sharpening barely sharpens the smooth areas, while clearly sharpening the edges.

                 

                3]  By coincidence, this morning before you posted your reply, I was looking on Amazon to see what was the latest version of your and Mr. Fraser's sharpening book.  I saw the 2d edition.  Is another edition planned?  If not, how much have ACR and PS sharpening changed since the 2d edition?

                 

                Thanks again.

                • 5. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                  Jeff Schewe Level 5

                  3d Eye wrote:

                   

                  2]  In his sharpening for CS2 book, Mr. Fraser seems to have recommended that output sharpening be global - no masking of, e.g., smooth areas.

                   

                  That was then, this is now...the capture and output sharpening is indeed inspired by Bruce but things have changed over time (Bruce was not alive to see the final implimentation of these sharpening done for ACR 4.1).

                   

                  But Bruce is not wrong in stating that output sharpening is really something that is a printer/media specific result. If your capture and creative sharpening is correct, there's little or no reason to use masks with output sharpening.

                   

                  3d Eye wrote:

                   

                  3]  By coincidence, this morning before you posted your reply, I was looking on Amazon to see what was the latest version of your and Mr. Fraser's sharpening book.  I saw the 2d edition.  Is another edition planned?  If not, how much have ACR and PS sharpening changed since the 2d edition?

                   

                  The sharpening part, not much has changed...the noise reduction? A lot has changed...ACR/LR 3.1/5.1 added industrial strength noise reduction which supperceeds a lot of the most recent book. The sharpening part, not so much. As for future revisions, I really can't say...we'll see.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                    3d Eye Level 1

                    Thanks again.

                    So, does ACR output sharpening do some masking?

                    • 7. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                      Jeff Schewe Level 5

                      Well, it's really not so easy as that....the process ACR/LR use for output sharpening is based upon sharpening edges so edge finding is involved and surfaces are not as sharpened hardly at all. I don't know that you could call it "masking" though...

                      1 person found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                        3d Eye Level 1

                        Good to know.

                         

                        Back to the crux of my original question, if I do two passes of sharpening in ACR, will the effect accumulate?

                         

                        That is, if I open an image in ACR and sharpen for content it the Detail panel, then open it as a smart object in PS and do further work there, then bring it back to ACR by double clicking the thumbnail - when I then do output sharpening the Workflow Options area, will that output sharpening take effect in addition to the earlier sharpening done in the Detail panel?

                        • 9. Re: Output sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Photoshop CS5
                          Mollysnoot Level 3

                          That is, if I open an image in ACR and sharpen for content it the Detail panel, then open it as a smart object in PS and do further work there, then bring it back to ACR by double clicking the thumbnail - when I then do output sharpening the Workflow Options area, will that output sharpening take effect in addition to the earlier sharpening done in the Detail panel?

                          Yes, if I understand you correctly. The output sharpening will be applied in addition to the capture sharpening already carried out in the detail panel, although it will use that capture sharpening to 'guide' the output sharpening (sure Jeff can phrase this in a better way!).

                           

                          However, if you've applied additional edits in layers above the smart object in PS, then they will of course not be output sharpened, and I think this could therefore result in quite an awkward workflow: you might for example get sections of an image with no output sharpnening because they were in a pixel layer in PS. Personally, in this situation I'd rather apply output sharpening in PS (maybe using a flattened version of the file) and not use ACR for the output sharpenining... But I guess as an alternative you could save the PS file as a flattened TIFF, then import that into ACR and apply output sharpening... never tried it myself though. I use PhotoKit Sharpener 2 if output sharpening in PS.

                           

                          IMHO Lightroom makes this kind of work much easier.

                           

                          M