No doubt you have all played around with various methods for sharpening your images using the standard Unsharp Mask (a confusing name in itself), lab mode and high pass filters in Photoshop. I’m sure that many of you (like me) have never really found a simple to use solution that suits all images.
Michael Richeman over at the Luminous Landscape has published various articles relating to sharpening methods, if you want to read more about it just go to The Luminous Landscape web site and search for sharpening.
If, on the other hand, you just want a simple and reliable solution to image sharpening that you can apply time and time again to all your images then Pixel Genius’s PhotoKit Sharpener is the product to use, well it’s the product I use anyway 😉
PhotoKit Sharpener is a plugin for Photoshop and breaks down your sharpening into 3 stages:
– Capture Sharpening, applied after raw conversion before resizing your image
– Creative Sharpening, for that extra ooomph or images that need extra sharpeing “love”
– Output Sharpening, specific sharpening depending on the final output process and image size
Generally my workflow goes something like this:
1. Work on an image in Lightroom (all sharpening turned off)
2. Export a 16 bit image to Photoshop and apply final tweaks
3. Save a master copy of the image with layers
4. Flatten the image in Photoshop and apply Capture Sharpening based on the size of the captured image and the amount of fine detail in it
5. Apply Creative Sharpening if required, I find that this is not always needed and handle it on an image by image basis
6. Resize the image for printing (or digital display) and apply the appropriate Output Sharpening.
7. Flatten the image and save it for re-printing
8. Print the image
All of these sharpening process are controlled by a simple dialog box and all results are preserved in layers for extra control over the amount of sharpening applied.
Since I started using PhotoKit Sharpener several years ago sharpening has simply become a problem free final step in my workflow before printing. Sure it’s not perfect every time and I always have to check that I am getting what I want but 9 times out of 10 it’s a no-brainer, and I like that.
If anyone wants to read a more detailed review of Photokit Sharpener then there’s one here on The Luminous Landscape by someone who knows alot more about it than I do.
Just in case anyone is wondering I have no affiliation with The Luminous Landscape or Pixel Genius and gain nothing from anyone visiting their web sites or buying their products (unfortunately 😦 ). If you are interested in who’s responsible for the pixel Genius products then take a look at the people behind the business it’s a pretty impressive list of notable people in the industry.
If you are interested in trying out Photokit Sharpener then simply go to their web site and download the trial.
Now I need a break after making my largest post ever 😀