How to get sharp pictures… pt 2
The next part of sharpening is actually done outside the camera. The sharpening of an image is a vital part of post processing, which quite a number of people neglect before showing off the final version of the image.
For the purpose of this sharing, I will use CS5 as the editing tool to show this. Also I will share the method I use to share photos over the internet, in other words the final print will be in the dimension of 720×480 at 72dpi. Most of my output is around the 6×4 size format.
Once you have downloaded the image from your camera to the computer, open it with CS5 & do the necessary editing that is required. Once you have satisfied with the final image it is time to resize it.
1. Click on Image > Image size. Or alternatively you can press ctrl-alt-I as a short cut.
2. Under Resolution, change this to 72 pixels/inch.
3. Under Width (if this is a portrait shot, then select Height instead), change the value to 720 pixels.
4. Click OK.
At this time, the photo will be rendered to a really small size which can be hard to see. You will need to zoom it up to 100% crop size. To do this, press ctrl-alt-0 (0 as in zero). This will zoom automatically to actual pixel size.
This is a cool short cut to remember especially when you are editing the actual size photo & you need to see 100% crop to check things like details, noise or sharpness.
We are almost there but not quite yet.
If you are posting on Flickr or any other site which does not compress your image further, you can skip to the sharpening part. But if you are posting on Facebook, you will need this one extra step.
Additional step if uploading to Facebook
Click Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast
When the Brightness/Contrast window comes up, select Brightness & alter the 0 value to 10.
The reason I do this is because photos uploaded to Facebook tend to boost up contrast at the expense of brightness. So all I am doing is actually compensating for this change.
1. Click on Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen (before CS4 we would have been using Unsharp Mask, but since CS4 & after, use Smart Sharpen)
2. Make sure Preview is checked
3. Select Lens Blur under the setting Remove.
4. For Amount select 150%
5. For Radius select 0.1 px
At this point, if you left click on the image in the Smart Sharpen window, you will see the before… & if you remove your left click, it will preview the image as after. With the settings I just recommended, you should see a distinct difference between the before & the after. Make changes to the Amount or Radius to suit your tastes & your intentions. I normally stick to 0.1 px radius for all my 720x? output & use either 100% or 150% depending on how much sharpening I require. Generally for portraits, I use 100% for a slightly less sharp finish. Anything else is usually 150%.
6. Once you are satisfied, hit OK
At this point you can still compare the before & after by pressing alternately ctrl-Z.
I’ve posted both products, before (the first photo) & after (the second photo) below. Notice even the colors are more vibrant in the second photo. I didn’t turn up any color saturation, this is purely the sharpening effect.
What’s scary about this is that, if you look closely to the two photos, you’ll see that the sharpened photo seem to contain detail that was NOT available in the original photo in the first place!!! Crazy ass eh? That’s why this is called Smart Sharpen… muahahahaha!