May 14, 2007 HelpLine

Q) At what point during image editing should I be sharpening? I’ve experimented with doing it while processing in Adobe Camera Raw, but I’m just not sure.

Mark T., Via the Internet

A) Sharpening should be one of the last things you do. How much sharpening you do will depend on your final image output size. Since you might be outputting an image at several different sizes, you might need to sharpen at several different levels for each output size.

Even if you’re sure of your final image size, sharpening early on in the workflow might lead to problems with any image adjustment that you make later on. Sharpening during RAW processing doesn’t offer you the opportunity to selectively sharpen different areas of the image. So for maximum flexibility, wait until the end of your workflow for sharpening.

There’s one thing to use during RAW processing. You can change the preferences in Adobe Camera Raw so the sharpening adjustment only affects what’s displayed on the screen as a preview. This way, you can work on your image in Adobe Camera Raw and get an idea of how it will look with some sharpening applied. Then, when you bring the image into Photoshop, the sharpening isn’t applied to the image.

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