Sharpen Comparison for Jim (Mistyisle)

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    • #436392
      bucweeet
      Participant

      This is hopefully a better assessment for Jim ( @mistyisle ) of the sharpening capabilities/comparison between PS High Pass Filter and some of the Topaz suite.

      Like most post-processing, the final image is always dependan upon how much editing is done. This also applies to the sharpening. Overall I find the PS High Pass sharpen feature to give a better overall and “natural” sharpness to the image. But I must also add… I’m still getting used to the Topaz software. I find that it quite often takes “very little” adjustment to make a big difference in the image (especially when using Precision Contrast and Precision Detail). As such I’m finding my self going through an “over sharpening” phase of post-processing.

      I have also included an example of the Nik Colection of RAW Pre-Sharpen and the Output Sharpen

      The Original image alongside the Nik Collection of RAW Pre-Sharpen and the Ouput Sharpen

      • This topic was modified 5 days, 5 hours ago by bucweeet.
      • This topic was modified 4 days, 13 hours ago by bucweeet.
    • #436393
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Topaz Labs Sharpen AI –> AI Focus – works very well on Out Of Focus images. But it also works by using increased ‘contrast’ to enhance the sharpness. However, if used through PS, it becomes a layer and the opacity can be adjusted as well as the ‘regular’ layer adjustments (lighten, darken, pin hole, luminosity, etc)

      • This reply was modified 4 days, 13 hours ago by bucweeet.
    • #436394
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Topaz Labs Sharpen AI –> AI Stabilize – does a nice job when one has had ‘camera shake’ when shooting a hand-held slow shutter speed. If used through PS, it becomes a layer and the opacity can be adjusted as well as the ‘regular’ layer adjustments (lightern, darken, pin hole, luminoscity, etc)

    • #436395
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Topaz Labs 2 — Used ‘only’ the Precision Detail which has the ability to adjust specific traits of the image.
      Overall Small Detail – as well, one is able to ‘boost’ the amount of detail applied
      Overall Medium Detail – as well, one is able to ‘boost’ the amount of detail applied
      Overall Large Detail – as well, one is able to ‘boost’ the amount of detail applied

      These can be applied —
      To ‘Overall’ the image, and also, able to separate adjustments to ‘just the shadows’ or ‘just the highlights’.

      Once applied, one is able to adjust the “sharpness” of the image as well as the Midtones, Shadows, Highlights, Black Point and White Point.

      The Topaz Labs 2 has the ‘all 3 Details area’ adjusted in ‘all’ the options (Overall, Shadow, Highlights) then Sharpened to 100%. No adjustments made to the Midtones, Shadows, Highlights, Black Point or White Point.

      Interesting to note that Topaz Labs 2 also has a ‘sharpening’ filter of its own that can be applied at the end of processing.  This image – does not – have the sharpen filter added to it. Only the Precision Detail.

      If Topaz Labs 2 is used through PS, it becomes a layer and the opacity can be adjusted as well as the ‘regular’ layer adjustments (lighten, darken, pin hole, luminosity, etc)

      • This reply was modified 4 days, 13 hours ago by bucweeet.
    • #436396
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Jim… looks like I forgot to actually add the Topaz Sharpen AI where the “Sharpen” feature of the software works (my apologies).  After reading you’ll see that I’ve added the other two features… Focus and Stabilize.

      I’ll try and post a comparison of the High Pass Filter and the “Sharpen” feature of Sharpen AI late tonight, early tomorrow.

    • #436397
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Here’s the comparison of High Pass with the Sharpen AI – in the Sharpen mode.

    • #436446
      ElinL
      Participant

      Thank you so much for posting Paul. Very informative – results are impressive.

      In Topaz: Can you select area where you use High pass and another area where you use Sharpen AI ?

    • #436458
      Rob Eyers
      Participant

      Nicely done Paul. Your results are pretty similar to what I found while trying Sharpen AI. I liked it for some things but not for everything.

      To Elin’s question: in PS if one type of sharpening is good for part of the image and others are preferred in others then just put each sharpening type on its own layer and apply a mask to each layer. Masks can be pretty simple or more complicated like a luminosity mask if need be. If necessary a layer can be put in a group and then another mask applied to the group to refine things. It can be as simple or complex as is required to get the desired results.

      • #436537
        bucweeet
        Participant

        @elax

        Elin, further to Rob’s comment on using layer masks to blend both the High Pass Filter and the Sharpen AI.

        As Rob states, I’ve added layer masks to both sharpening techniques. As you can see, I’ve hidden parts of each and shown parts of each. Please Note: I have set the mask style to Multiply and Lighter Color – only – so that it is easier to differentiate between the two sharpen techniques and masks.

        I first ‘merged all visible layers’ to make one image/layer for Sharpen AI. I then ‘duplicated’ that layer (before sharpening) for the High Pass Filter. I then applied the various sharpening techniques to their appropriate layer.

        Once I had the masks painted the way I wanted, I ‘grouped’ the two masks together…. Then I added a layer mask to the ‘group’ and adjusted accordingly. This enabled me to – hide or show – both the sharpen techniques in the ‘grouping’.

        • This reply was modified 3 days, 6 hours ago by bucweeet.
        • This reply was modified 3 days, 6 hours ago by bucweeet.
    • #436461
      bucweeet
      Participant

      Thank you both Rob and Elin.

      Elin:  Additionally, while in Sharpen AI, one has the ability to ‘paint’ in specific areas to sharpen (some what like one would do in a PS layer mask).  Using this method one can be selective as to which part of the AI layer/image one wants to sharpen.  But… as Rob suggests, it is easier to just add a Layer Mask in PS and paint over to reduce or remove the amount of sharpening in an area.

      Upon further testing, I attempted to use a PS Smart Object and then apply (in individual layers) both Sharpen AI and Topaz Studio 2.  I found that unlike using PS High Pass Filter when applied to a smart object (which one can go into and adjust)… the Topaz products reverts to their “original state” when opened. So one has to reapply the adjustments they’ve made.

      • This reply was modified 4 days, 4 hours ago by bucweeet.
    • #436550
      Mistyisle
      Participant

      Wow, Paul, you have certainly done a lot of testing.  It is great to see what you have achieved!  Glad that you chose High Pass Filter for comparison purposes, because that is the way that I sharpen approx 95% of the time.  I notice that the high pass filter does a better job, IMHO, re the lion, because the Topaz AI seems to give a delicate finish on the lion’s coat.  However, for the pile of stones, Topaz AI gives an outstanding result.  Seemingly Topaz AI can, quite possibly, rescue that occasional shot, which has all of the winning features, except for a little camera movement.  I do have the original free version of the Nik Collection, of which I only use the Silver Efex module in the past year.

      Rob, I see what you mean, plus since I work most days in layers and masks, that would not faze me.  However, regarding knowing which sharpening tool to use, in which circumstance, I am a lot behind you and Paul regarding that.  As one last comment, I use Lightroom for the bulk stuff, but Affinity Photo for the serious stuff.

      Many thanks, Paul, for all your valuable work on this – very much appreciated.  Am very sure that others will learn from it, in addition to just me!

      • #436764
        bucweeet
        Participant

        Jim, Sharpen AI definitely works very well on ‘soft’ images and image with small amounts of camera shake (using low shutter speed, etc).  As for the Sharpen AI – Sharpen mode… it does to a nice job, just takes a little to get used to the minor adjustments.  But with that said…. I’m like you, use PS High Pass Filter 95% of final sharpening on the images the I “do extra work” on.  For the rest, and like you, I use LR (pre-CC) for post-processing and basic editing.

        • This reply was modified 12 hours, 49 minutes ago by bucweeet.
    • #436694

      This is awesome.

      Would be a great write up for the blog…

    • #436752
      Dahlia Ambrose
      Keymaster

      I have been following this post and this is a very useful comparison of different tools. Would like to try Topaz someday as it looks pretty impressive. Thank you very much Paul and Rob for the detailed comparison and explanation. Love this 🙂

      • #436768
        bucweeet
        Participant

        Thank you Dahlia.  Doing this also helped me appreciate the differences between the two and how to incorporate both when I need to.

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