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A Sharper Image

An easy and more intuitive sharpening control is Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro 3.0. The plug-in provides a straightforward interface that sharpens images based on resolution, image and print size, as well as the expected viewing distance between the subject and the final photograph. U Point-powered Control Points allow you to make precise and selective adjustments to sharpness and detail without having to create layer masks.

Avoid Too Much

If you see halos in your image, you’ve gone too far. Halos are those bright edges that look unnatural. You’ve also sharpened too much if you see a loss in tonal range or the image simply looks too harsh. If you’re conservative in the amount of sharpening you use, you won’t have that negative “digital” look that too much sharpening produces.

Why It’s The Final Step

Usually, it’s best to sharpen last, after you’ve finished making all other adjustments—color correction, saturation, distortion corrections and more. These adjustments can affect the overall contrast of the image and the apparent sharpness. Another reason to sharpen last is that the amount of sharpening you need depends on your ultimate use and output size. Images that you plan to use on the web typically will need less sharpening than those you plan to print.

Ultimately, your eye is the best judge of how much sharpening to apply. If it looks unnatural, you’ve gone too far. Keep a copy of your original file so you can always go back and adjust sharpening for different uses and sizes.

Resources

Adobe
www.adobe.com
Apple
www.apple.com
Nik Software
www.niksoftware.com

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