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Sharpen technique without the noise of the Unsharp Mask filter

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502 posts
Message posted at 05/27/2012, 21:16:53 PM by Mike2focus
During some resent online research I came across a great sharpening technique that doesn't have nearly the amount of noise you will get with a similar sharpening degree when using the Unsharp Mask filter. And it's easy and fast...

First, be sure that you are working on a layer that has all of your visible layers merged onto one flat layer. Then make a copy of that layer and convert it's mode to Overlay (this layer has to be no top of the original layer). Now go to Filter/Other/High Pass and set the Radius Pixels to 3. (1 pixel if you're working on web graphics)


Of course, all sharpening techniques are going to add some noise. So if you see any areas that got a little too noisy, then simply use a mask to airbrush out portions of the Overlay layer. And if it got too noisy overall, then reduce the opacity of the Overlay layer as needed.
Nikon, Adobe and Macintosh

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Message posted at 05/28/2012, 04:39:37 AM by Afagundes
Great tip, tks
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 17-40mm USM f/4L Canon EF 24...

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Message posted at 05/28/2012, 12:42:11 PM by Miketea
This is the technique I use, we must have read the same article. Its a gift and a curse though because I seem to do it naturally even on photos I don't need to like selling on Ebay and holiday photos. Their only of drunk friends but at least their nice and sharp
Canon 5D MKII 50mm f1.8 28mm 70mm f2.8 60mm f2.8 macro

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Message posted at 05/28/2012, 13:38:11 PM by Mariv
Same suggestion I recently read in daily news. It is fast and simple technique.
CANON EOS 400D, with EFS 10-22mm, EF 50mm, ...

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Message posted at 07/15/2012, 18:52:28 PM by Androniques
Yes, High-pass filters are very efficient (GIMP plugin has a selection of a few algos, best for different purposes)... did you notice that it also reduces glow/flares at the edges of bright objects against dark backgrounds, so it perfectly serves the two purposes. :)
Nikon D5000, 18-105mm Nikkor VR, Nikon CP-8800 (rarely,...

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Message posted at 07/16/2012, 03:54:19 AM by Dandamanwasch
Really nice tip!!!!!
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Message posted at 07/17/2012, 02:46:46 AM by Parkinsonsniper
Thanks for sharing the tip :)
- 2x Nikon D300 - Olympus e-PM1 - Nikkor 20mm f2.8 ...

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Message posted at 07/19/2012, 02:17:14 AM by Parisvas
Yes nice technique. For even less noise I use the LAB sharpening technique on the Luminosity channel.

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Message posted at 08/03/2012, 18:14:39 PM by Lesapi
Nice tip. Tnx Mike2Focus! :)

Parisvas, can you share details of the LAB technique you mention please? I like trying out different methods, especially if the photo is already a bit noisy in parts.

I recently got a nice shot of a Blue Morpho butterfly under very difficult lighting conditions (lots of very dark jungle green and consequent noise). I waited for such a long time for the butterfly to get still so I'd like to try to rescue the shot!
Nikon d90, 18-200 mm zoom, 50 mm 1.4 G Canon G9 + teleconve...

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Message edited at 08/04/2012, 02:28:37 AM by Parisvas
The LAB sharpening technique is nothing more than aplying sharpening on the Luminosity Channel of an image converted in LAB mode. Here is the url of an article for this technique (what comes around goes around):

Lab Sharpening

Regards Lesapi

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Message posted at 08/04/2012, 12:07:34 PM by Lesapi
That's very interesting. Tnx so much Prarisvas. I'll try it out. Enjoy your weekend :)
Nikon d90, 18-200 mm zoom, 50 mm 1.4 G Canon G9 + teleconve...

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Message posted at 08/30/2012, 09:18:16 AM by Hanmon
I will try it ! :-)

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Message posted at 10/08/2012, 11:20:23 AM by Rrisely
I 2 !

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Message posted at 10/10/2012, 00:00:15 AM by Nancyfromafrica
great tip will try soon
I don't have a camera but an iphone and a old nokia mobile f...

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