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Thread: Post editing Tips Number 1 ..sharpening

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Post editing Tips Number 1 ..sharpening

    I thought it would be a good idea to start a series of Tips on Post editing. Anyone is free to add a tip, just add one following the numerical scheme and naming system I have here... "Post editing Tips Number 1 ..Sharpening"

    Using editing tools is really essential to getting the most out of your photos. The proper use of software tools can make a great picture into a superb one. They can also make a poor picture into a passable one. They can't however make a really bad picture into a really good one. There are thousands of photo editing programs available, some are free, some you need to take out a second mortgage to afford it! We discuss them a bit here... http://forum.simplydiscus.com/showth...tting-software and over time I am sure we talk more and more about them.

    Each of these software packages offers a set of tools, some are specific to the program, others more general that are found in many programs. Often they are called editing filters and they let you change all manner of aspects to your image, things like color balance,contrast, saturation,black and white and sharpen are all pretty common. They even have filters that let you turn a picture into something creative by giving it the look or a painting or charcoal drawing. I enjoy taking pictures but sometimes its fun to just play around with the filters.

    I thought we would start this series off with one of the more common and useful filters.. "sharpen". This filter pretty much does what its name says. It makes your picture look sharper. It does this by making the dark edges darker, and it also makes the brighter ones,brighter. Shadows become deeper. The effect is the image become more outlined. Its something that you can play around with in gradations and is trial and error. One image may need alot, another may need little or no manipulation. You can also over do it and make a good picture look worse!

    For this discussion I thought I would post a picture of a red shouldered hawk I snapped today from my porch. Its made using a Pentax K20D camera and I threw on a very inexpensive telephoto lens I keep out for bird watching, manual quantaray 1:6.3 f=400 mm. (the EXIF data will say 200mm but it isn't) We are in the middle of storm here and the wind is really whipping. The Hawk was sitting there for a moment so no time for a tripod or to dig out a better lens.. The camera and lens are handheld( this 400 mm is very light).


    The picture did not come out great..but its not all that bad given the circumstances.


    _IGP5690_original


    Still we can improve it a tad. In this case I am going to use a free software program that I have recently fell in love with called "darktable photo workflow software" its Linux product. You can use Gimp, photoshop ,picasa, whatever..The interface changes but the sharpen tool works essentially the same.

    So here a screen shot of the image opened in dark table before editing...



    Screenshot-2

    I've circled in red the tool for sharpen. Most tools use a slide bar feature and instant preview so you can see what the change looks like.


    Here is an adjustment I made in Darktable.. I'm pushing this a tad over what I would normally use, but want to clearly show the before and after. Its also a subjective thing..some people will like the look of less sharpening over more.

    after sharpen

    You can see in the red circled area that I adjusted the radius and amount a bit... and the image has become "sharper"


    Here the final image...


    _IGP5690_sharpened


    and here are the two images side by side...

    sidebyside


    So you see, for some images, editing one simple aspect such as done here with sharpen tool, makes an okay image into a better image.
    Play around with your image editing software and see what you can do with "Sharpen"

    Best always,
    Al
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    Default Re: Post editing Tips Number 1 ..sharpening

    Great example Al. Freeware has come a long way. Gimp was the favored editing program before I got Photoshop.

    Additionally to your example, there are times when you just want a certain part of your picture to have a certain edit. This is referred to as localized editing, as opposed to globalized editing. Typically you will use localized editing when there are other elements in the frame that wouldn't benefit from sharpening, typically strong contrast subjects.

    I would highly recommend gimp. Photoshop and DxO have both offered freeware in the past for their older versions. I actually picked up a nice DxO package that became available only for one day, and it is a super great program. I honestly can't believe they gave it away for free. I remember calling everyone I knew, and telling fellow photographers about it when it happened, and sure enough, they never offered it again.

    So, keep an eye out for deals like that. If you are a student, you also get discounts on editing software. Lightroom is one of the most well rounded editing tools out there on a budget.

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