Lightroom/Camera Raw: Improve Sharpen Masking

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I love everything about the new sharpener, except the masking artifacts.

There is a tell-tale artifact of the masking that I call "sparkling", which I've grown to dislike so much I rarely use the masking anymore.

Its sort-of reminiscent of the masking halo artifact left by brushing - the sharpening spills too much out of the edgy area and into the smooth areas, leaving a sharpening sparkle around the edges of things.

Its unfortunate, since the concept of masking is great, and the UI for it is awesome (alt key to see where it will apply).

Some way to "pull in the sharpening effect" around the edges, so to speak, (or something like that), to eliminate sparkling would by greatly appreciated.

PS - Reducing detail helps, but then of course you lose detail in sharpened areas...

Rob
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Rob Cole

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Posted 7 years ago

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Lee Jay

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I have masking set up in my defaults, and I've never noticed any "sparkling". Can you post some examples of similarly-sharp images both with the sparkle and without it? The "without" will obviously have to be sharpened using another method.
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Sean Phillips

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I don't use auto masking any more for the exact same reason. It simply doesn't work well enough.
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Rob Cole

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I've heard people say things like "I use it all the time on photos I dont care about..." - meaning, its a nice convenience when speeding through a shoot, but if you care about quality - just say "no"...
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Rob Cole

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Settings chosen to exagerate the problem, so it looks pretty bad, but here's one:



Note: Crustiness around the edges I call sparkling.

Sharpness: 70
Radius: 1.5
Detail: 80
Masking: 80

Lum. NR: 17
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Rob Cole

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And here's one with same sharpen settings, but detail turned way down, and masking turned all the way off. I also reduced luminance noise reduction some.



Note: This was not a sharp picture to begin with, and was shot with a D300 @ISO3200.

Note: less crusty around the edge junctions.

Sharpness: 70
Radius: 1.5
Detail: 10
Masking: 0

Lum. NR: 9
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PS - Color NR detail was set to 80, which is too high for this photo. Reducing it to around 20-30 reduces the apparent CA and softens the hard edges some.
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Rob Cole

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Note: I realize this is not a "fair" comparison.

As I said before: one can reduce the sparkle by reducing detail, and the extra Lum. NR in the above shot tends to oversmooth the areas without the sparkle, which was the purpose. The point of this exercise was to demonstrate the phenomemon to which I am refering, which I think this example accomplishes.

PS - A good way to compare these two shots is to download the images, then switch back and forth..

R
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Rory Hill

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Rob - it looks to me like your image has CA (along the lower edge of the flower) that you are sharpening. Try removing the CA and see what happens.
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Rob Cole

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This was shot with a Nikon 70-300 at 300mm/5.6(wide-open) - read: CA is generally bad with this lens at these settings. CA is as corrected as it gets in Lightroom. Note: the CA is absent in NX2 and DxO (I checked). Anyway, it doesn't change the phenomenon - look all over...
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Rory Hill

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Rob - do you get this problem with other lenses and at base ISO? Also, what does equivalent sharpening look like in NX2? I tried an image taken with a D700 and 105VR, ISO 800, f/8 and I just tried maxing out both sharpening amount and detail (100), with the radius set at 2. These are extreme settings and I do not see any sparkling halos. On one bright leaf there is a very small amount of CA that lightroom does not correct that is exacerbated by sharpening as you would expect.
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Rob Cole

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This phenomenon seems to be noticed by and bothers some individuals, but not others. If the shot has very little noise, or very little sharpening, then its barely noticeable. It becomes more glaring as noise and sharpening increase. The reason I chose a noisy unsharp photo was to make it obvious. Its not tied to the lens. It is tied to the masking. It could be remedied by an adjustment to the masking algorithm.
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Perhaps I don't usually see it because I virtually never crank up detail beyond 25. My defaults are 25 detail and 35 masking, and I use regular sharpening as needed.
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Rob Cole

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DxO:
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Surprised me how good this photo turned out in DxO. I purposely tried to process it to look the Lightroom version.
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NX2:

Note: I did not spend as much time working the NX2 image as I did the others, but should still give an idea...
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Rob, I don't think you should change the "Detail" settings between comparisons.

I wonder whether the crustiness you are seeing isn't just noisy sharpening halos, i.e., has nothing to do with the masking. In this case masking would only highlight the noisy sharpening halos because the rest looks smoother, but wouldn't introduce them.

I tried to replicate your problem and in my experiments masking never introduced crustiness but only made it more visible. I only tried two photos so I'm not saying you don't have a point, but it might be worth posting a comparison where only the masking value is changed and everything else is left constant.
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Rob Cole

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There's no question where it comes from: The mask encompasses edgy areas with a fading from edgy area to smooth area. That works out nicely in broad areas that have gradual transitions between edgy and smooth, but across hard edges the noise is being sharpened in areas that should be smooth bokeh. You can tell by looking at the mask that the algorithm has two rankings: edgy and smoothy, and the mask value just sets a threshold. It needs to be modified for hard edge to smooth bokeh transition detection and not spill the sharpening into the bokeh. Or something like that. I mean, other software does not have the same artifacts (see DxO & Nx2 above). Sometimes they have other artifacts instead, but my point still stands. I've commiserated about this in private with several other people who can't understand why this isn't noticed by every critical eye, and bothers all of them. I've brought this up a few times before in the forum, and always with the same generally cool reception, except for a couple of people saying "Amen". The purpose of the above examples was to illustrate the phenomena, not to compare different methods of sharpening. You can see from the top picture, that the detail sharpening extends too far beyond the edges of things. I mean maybe my under-the-hood speculation and/or proposed solution is laughable to those who understand the inner workings, but the phenomenon is offensive enough to me and some others that we simply dont use it (except as a quick solution for photos we dont care too much about...). If we are in a small enough minority that Adobe wont fix it, then so be it, but I hope something gets done about it.
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I would have no objection to a solution that integrates luminance noise reduction with sharpening. I mean, in most photos, I either want to reduce noise OR sharpen a particular region, but not both. In fact, I could even see a solution via using the exact same algorithm for masking as noise reduction, but allow a different threshold for the sharpen and noise reduction masks. (and of course the NR operates on the smooth areas, instead of the edgy areas). That way I could set the sharpen mask at say 40 to sharpen most edgy areas, but spilling into the bokeh more than I'd like, then set the noise reduction mask to say 60 which would NR all the smooth areas pushing further into the edgy areas to help eliminate the sparkle. Hmm... - I may be on to something here... Thinking more: It may make more sense to use the exact same mask, but have a bias setting to indicate the NR vs. sharpen weighting in the transition zones (effectively adjusting the mask to confine the sharpening...). This would also go further to eliminate the sparkle just because less sharpening would need be done to attempt countering the NR, and less NR would need to be done to counter the effects of sharpening...
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So it appears that "sparkling" is only a problem with noisy images. I see your point about confining sharpening and NR to a mask and its invert plus a way to define the transitioning between the respective areas.

However, I'm not experienced enough in image processing to judge whether that would really be a good idea. It seems to me that you first have to remove noise and then can start to sharpen. If you do the latter without the former, your sharpened, noisy areas will have lots of artificial detail and look quite different in character to the unsharpened, denoised parts.

I would be against treating NR and sharpening as opposite ends of a spectrum. It works for the clarity slider because it wouldn't make sense to both decrease and increase mid-tone contrast at the same time, but I feel it makes sense to both denoise and sharpen at the same time. I'm wondering whether the "sparkling" examples are just examples of trying to use masking as a replacement for prior denoising.
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Rob Cole

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One of the things I like about NX2 is that both noise reduction and sharpening can be be done entirely locally. And more often than not, I lay a global base coat of both NR & Sharpening, very minimally, then do NR & Sharpening locally, but never in the same region (maybe overlapping in some regions) - buffing out the bokeh with NR, and crisping up the edges and/or subjects with the sharpener. I also regularly sharpen different regions with different settings. Anyway, if Lr had the ability to apply NR locally, preferably backed with a good auto-masking technology, and sharpening with different settings, that may be enough to assuage...
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"Anyway, if Lr had the ability to apply NR locally, preferably backed with a good auto-masking technology, and sharpening with different settings, that may be enough to assuage...": I see you are already following the "adjustment brush for noise reduction" topic. I hope that if anything like this is realised then not with an additional slider on adjustment panels, but as part of a generalised "selection & adjustement" scheme in which you can define masks in various ways that combine (e.g., painting with brushes, polygons, mask gradients (<- graduated filter)) and then associate arbitrary adjustments with them.
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Rob Cole

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Yup.
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Rob Cole

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When I do use the sharpen masking, I generally set Detail on zero. Lightroom's PV2010 raw conversion algorithm is inherently very detailed, and as you've said: its hard to tell the difference between true detail and noise detail in the sharpening of it. I have presets based on ISO that assign a default detail between 25 (for ISO100), 20 (for ISO-200), ..., to zero for ISO3200... Its true that I never noticed this phenomenon for the first year I used Lightroom, but now I'm very sensitive to it. Anyway, yes: best to recover detail in high-ISO shots using the NR detail sliders if possible before resorting to sharpening detail.

Summary: masking is not creating the artifacts. the artifacts come from sharpening detail all around edge areas, and the sharpening, unfortunately extends too far into the smooth regions for my taste, when using the sharpen mask.

PS - Even at detail = 0, there is considerable "detail" sharpening...

I mean, maybe the solution is not in the masking, but in the sharpener itself - something that can separate more linear edges and leave the "sand" alone - I dunno. I've never written any image processing software in my life...
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"I mean, maybe the solution is not in the masking, but in the sharpener itself - something that can separate more linear edges and leave the "sand" alone - I dunno. "

There's always room for improvement in the smooth-but-steep-transitions to crunchiness ratio.
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Rob Cole

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Lightroom again:

Sharpening:
Amount 70
Radius 1.5
Detail: 10
Masking 65

Lum. NR: 17

i.e. same settings as original post, except detail left low, and masking reduced.

Intended for comparison purposes (as opposed to exaggerating the phenomenon like the first sample).

These are more reasonable settings, and the sparkling phenomenon is far subtler, but still existent.

I think a simple change to reduce detail sharpening in transition zone between masked and unmasked areas would do it. So full detail is rendered only in areas not near boundary between masked and unmasked regions, and zero detail is rendered in transition area bordering on masked region - blended in between. As it stands, full detail is being sharpened if its unmasked, and zero sharpening is being applied if its masked, and there is no graduation, no blending in the transition zone, making for an abrupt transition between masked and unmasked which is why the sparkling.

Note: this phenomenon also occurs in the bokeh - spurious detail sparkling occurs due to edge threshold being exceeded a smidge - little patches of unmasked areas with sharpened detail dance with the adjacent completely masked & smooth bokeh. The above mentioned change would fix this too, since detail would be repressed due to proximity to the adjacent masked areas.
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Scott Mahn

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Rob, LR Detail is the devil. I rarely go above 10. In fact, I rarely go above zero.

Push it up to max just to look at the grain structure it creates and tell me if it create shapes you want applied to to your pixels at any opacity.

Amount, radius, masking = pleasing.

Detail = trouble.

I like that image, btw.

Have you tried Detail and NR both off?
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Hey Scott,

Yeah, I hear you about the detail.

For this image, at such high ISO, if I were sharpening it soley in Lightroom, I would definitely turn detail off completely, and keep NR low - begrudgingly (NR does good things everywhere except the bee's fur, which if more than a tiny bit essentially ruins it). And then just hand sharpen the bee. In fact, here it is:

Global Sharpening
Amount: 0
Radius 1.3
Detail: 0
Masking: 0

Lum. NR: 8

Not as sharp as some of the others, and still has a fair amount of grain in the bokeh, but has a natural look without artifacts, IMO.

Final Thoughts:
--------------------
I usually sharpen *some* detail if its a low ISO shot (such that the detail is real, and not just sharpened noise), and/or the picture really warrants it: textured surfaces like rock... but, if I decide to cut corners and use the masking, I almost always crank the detail all the way down to zero, to lessen the sparkling.
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Rob Cole

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Quoting Scott Mahn: "LR Detail is the devil..."

Scott - the more I think about this, the more I think you are right. The masking is OK once detail is set all the way to zero. But, I really do like the effects of detailing in some areas, especially at the lower radii, but presently, the radius is used for both hard edge sharpening and detail. Yet, I often want a larger radius for the hard edge sharpening, but a smaller radius for detail sharpening. So, it seems that one possible solution, would be to add some controls to the sharpener:

Instead of:

Amount
Radius
Detail
Masking

Have:

Hard Edge Amount
Hard Edge Radius
Hard Edge Masking

and:

Detail Amount
Detail Radius
Detail Masking

That way one could have coarser sharpening for firming up the bounding edges of things for overall sharpness / focus effect (by using a relatively large radius, and relatively small amount, and a hefty mask maybe - to confine sharpening to true hard edges), yet enhance detail more finely and sharply by using a smaller radius and relatively strong amount for the textural details, with a smaller mask to allow more liberal sharpening of the finer detail.

Then, maybe, as a compromise to having pins that can vary any of these items, just have the two: Hard Edge Amount + Detail Amount under local control, to possibly fit in better with existing design and/or for efficiency...

Am I on to something here?

Summary:
--------
The main problem with the present sharpener is that detail is too coarse and prevalent when cranking up the amount and/or radius, and ends up sparkling around the mask transition areas, and even if no masking is used, then there is just too much coarse detail sharpened in bokeh. The workaround being to lower detail, but then you can't have detail where you want it either.
Perhaps the solution is to separate textural detail sharpening from hard edge sharpening such that one could "deblur" according to degree of focus softness, and detail according to desired detail effect, separately.

Put another way:
----------------
I very much like the overall quality of Lightroom's sharpening algorithm - sharpens things up in a way that looks very natural. However, maybe detail sharpening needs to be handled separately from "de-blurring" (what I've called hard-edge sharpening), or something like that.
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Example:
(Note: This simulates the difference the above-mentioned sharpening change would make)

No sharpening:

Note: Not a very sharp picture.

Sharpened with Amount=70, Radius=1.5, Detail=0, Masking=40

Note: Edges are nicely firmed up, but not much detail under wing.

Sharpened with Amount=70, Radius=1.5, Detail=30, Masking=40
(same settings as previous, except for detail)

Note: Although there is more detail, it looks harsh and unnatural, and there are significant edge artifacts - in this case, I'd say a lot of haloing, and only a little sparkling.

Double sharpened in Lightroom, first round same as original, namely:
Amount=70, Radius=1.5, Detail=0, Masking=40:
but then exported back to Lightroom for detailing:
Global Amount=0, Radius=.5, Detail=100, Masking=0 (extreme detail just to show that it can be cranked that high as long as radius is low)
Local sharpening Amount = 30 (brush opacity 100)

Note: Fine detail under wing - no edge artifacts.

Double sharpened again, but this time using global sharpening only - no locals, settings more like what I would actually choose in real life, namely:
Amount=70, Radius=1.5, Detail=0, Masking=40 (same as initial image)
but then exported back to Lightroom for detailing:
Global Amount=25, Radius=.7, Detail=50, Masking=30
(no local sharpening)

Note: This is perhaps more similar to the result that would be achieved if the above suggested changes were made to the sharpener: i.e. 2 different settings for hard-edge/de-blur sharpening vs. detail sharpening - accomplished with no locals. Although the global sharpening with detail also created some haloing and jaggies around the outside of the bird, it was far more confined due to the smaller radius and lesser amount - much nicer than anything I was able to accomplish with a single set of settings - not too shabby, eh?

PS - ISO: 400, Lum. NR: 5
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Scott Mahn

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I like where this is going.

I'm far from a sharpening expert so I fully expect Schewe to come and smack the ignorance out of me, but I still wonder if Detail is a necessary evil, or simply evil.

I'm gonna post some screen shots here. It's a snippet of a well exposed portrait (RAW capture, Exposure and Brightness at LR defaults) shot on an Canon 5DII at ASA 100. It's largely grain free.

As in my other examples in the other thread, I'm not trying to finesse the image, I'm using gross settings. In all examples the radius is set at 0.5 simply because that's the lowest Lr3 goes, and picking up where you left off, I'm considering the effect of Detail at "low" Radius. Similarly, in each instance Amount is maxed out, not because its the best setting, but just to give us the most heightened look at that radius.

Click on images to enlarge:

First image is Amount 150, Radius 0.5, Detail 0
IMO, not sharp enough, but clean.


Next, Amount 150, Radius 0.5, Detail 100
Of course this is too much Detail at this amount, but look at what Detail creates. And this at it's finest particle size (0.5).


Naturally we need to scale back. By cutting Detail in half (Amount 150, Radius 0.5, Detail 50) we see the effect is largely the same, it's simply applied at a lower opacity. But is the effect really heightening the details of the clothing in a usable fashion?



Maybe relative to the first shot at Amount 150 and no Detail. But what if we had more Amount? This last shot was exported to PS without Lr sharpening, then USM was applied at Amount 500, Radius 0.5, Threshold 0. The details in the clothing is enhanced, giving a sense of sharpness, but without the nightmarish artifacting of Lr Detail.



Greater detail enhancement could be had in PS with another dose of USM or Smart Sharpen, but higher Radius or Amount (if available) in LR would only increases the appearance of the Detail artifacts.

Let me say again, I fully acknowledge these are not ideal settings, I merely picked up the small radius idea Rob was using and amplified it in Amount and Detail to get a strong look at what Detail creates and overlays upon your image. It's opacity can be reduced, but that is the minimum size of it's grain - a grain I'm not convinced is native to the capture.

I've decided it's contribution is rarely a worthwhile trade-off in my images, though I could envision some where it might be useful. But I think better effect can be had outside of LR.
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Rob, my summary.

I think multiple user selected radii and masking is needed, but I'm not convinced Detail is needed when they are available. I have a feeling it's a kludge to compensate for the inability to do multiple radii.

Even increased Amount (as demonstrated in the PS image) is a step in the right direction.

User control over Small, Medium, Large radii (like Topaz Adjust, and Aperture's stacking adjustments ) with stronger Amount would be a fantastic addition.
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Rob Cole

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Hey Scott - thanks for posting the samples. Helps to see pictures to go with words...

I'm still not sure about the devil being the detail exactly - the quality of detail enhancement clearly deteriorates rapidly with the sharpen amount. It also can become too coarse with increasing radius. But typical sharpen amount for me is 35-50 (60-70 is about as high as I ever go, except under unusual circumstances) - in that range, lr-detail can be quite pleasant (at lower radii). My problem is more that I tend to like higher radii for sharpening photos that aren't very sharp to begin with, and that's when the trouble begins for me, detail-wise, because I end up with coarse grain in the bokeh, or if I mask it, then I get the sparkling. And if I turn detail off as a counter-measure, I lose all textural detail sharpening.

You, on the other hand, tend to use very high amount, and lr-detail sucks when amount is high, regardless of radius.

I don't know whether 'Detail', as we know it, is no longer required once multiple radii and independent masking are supported, or whether detail is a kludge since only one radius is supported (from a user perspective), but what I do know is that deblur type sharpening and detail refinement seem to be at odds with one another, as currently implemented.
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I agree that I'm overstating the case and not using the controls to their best effect in my examples. Used appropriately, Detail can be helpful. I wouldn't lose it, and I wouldn't be surprised if the pendulum swings again and I find myself using it again for "normal" subjects.

You're approach of giving it it's own Amount/Radius/Masking controls is probably the right way to go.

In either case, I need more robust Amount though, and I not the only commercial shooter who thinks so.
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Rob Cole

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Scott - I think we've identified 2 issues for sure with the sharpening, at least as far as you & I are concerned. My attempt to summarize:

1. It just doesn't have enough kick for you and others like you, and strong settings essentially preclude detail enhancement, due to the detail artifacts.
2. The single set of settings, as implemented, is just not enough to deblur yet still allow selective detail enhancement, without creating unwanted artifacts.

The suggested solution is as much a way to help describe the problem as anything - hopefully if Adobe makes some improvements to the sharpener in Lr4 they will take these things into consideration.

That's all I got for now - tah-tah.
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Rob Cole

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Maybe:

Capture Enhancement (alias global/un-masked sharpening/nr)

  • Sharpening

    • global controls

  • NR

    • Color controls
    • Lum. controls



    • Focus Enhancement (alias masked edge sharpening + inverse-masked NR)

      • Threshold (same as masking amount now)
      • Sharpening (hard edge sharpening - applied to edgy areas)

        • edge sharpening controls

      • NR (applied to non-edgy areas)

        • nr controls (lum)

        • Edge Detail (inverse of "Sparkle Suppression")


        • Detail Enhancement.
          • detail controls


          The idea being that "Capture Enhancement" allows one to lay down a "base coat" of noise reduction and sharpening.

          "Focus Enhancement" - The goal of this section being to deblur without inducing noise in the bokeh. Note: sharpener cooperates with NR, instead of fighting with it - i.e. allows one to not try and sharpen areas being noise reduced, and conversely, not try to noise reduce areas being sharpened more. The "Edge Detail" is a fine-tuning control which dictates NR/Sharpening bias around mask transition zones: 0 -- like now, -ve values -- favor NR to control edge artifacts at the expense of losing sharpness around edgy areas. +ve values: favor sharpness over NR in transition zone...

          Detail Enhancement - an all new section aimed at enhancing textural details (reminiscent of topaz detail...)

          Summary:
          ------------
          Allows one to have both global nr+sharpening, and nr+sharpening tied to a common mask. The latter features sparkle suppression for those who've become hyper-sensitive to this phenomenon (like me). Focus enhancement geared toward restoring focus lost due to lens sharpness etc, without inducing noise nor detail artifacts. New detail section aimed at enhancing the appearance of various details - now independent of the focus-oriented sharpening...

          Any seeds of good idea here?

          Review: the problems I'm trying to solve:
          - I generally don't want to sharpen and noise reduce (lum.) the same areas, except maybe minimally.
          - Sparkling (sharpening of detail in mask transition zones).
          - The needs of focus enhancement settings and detail are presently at odds with one another: Larger amounts/radius (to bring into focus more) causes unwanted detail effects.
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          Rob Cole

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          PS - Hot tip:

          One can crank up sharpening amount using relatively high radius sharpening, and still include some detail (albeit overly coarse) by cleaning up the sparkly hard edges using a brush, e.g.:

          100 clarity (replaces sharpening around bounding edges)
          -50 sharpening (removes detail sharpening artifacts - sparkling)
          Optional: -5 brightness and/or -0.1 exposure - removes haloing and further darkens bounding edges- be careful to confine painting to halo region feathering into darker regions around edges.
          Recommend 2:1 - 11:1 zoom. Note: Do not use brush mask unless you've discovered the magic secret - I haven't.

          I haven't tried this everywhere, but works wonders for relatively dark birds against a light background, like sky.
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          Rob Cole

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          Perhaps a better title for this FR/Idea would be:

          "Improve Sharpen Detail"

          The problem being:

          1. Detail is unnatural at higher sharpen amounts.
          2. Detail is too coarse at higher radii.
          3. Unwanted detail emerges in the bokeh, and around bounding edges of things - extending too far into the bokeh, when using sharpen masking.

          One can lower detail, to zero if necessary - but then there is no way to enhance detail in regions where it is desired, since local sharpen tool shares global detail value.

          One can leave detail on, and instead: turn masking off, and/or turn the global amount way down, then sharpen locally, but detail may still be too coarse (esp. larger radii), and its very time consuming. One can lower the radius so the detail is not so coarse, but then one loses the focusing power of the larger radius.

          Final thoughts:
          -------------------
          None of this matters if the picture is taken at low ISO, and is already pretty sharp to begin with. And, I realize when a picture isn't very sharp to begin with, there *isnt* much real fine detail to sharpen. Likewise, at high-ISO, the distinction between noise and true detail gets pretty iffy. Still, some improvement in Lightroom to better handle this problem would be welcome. Another trick I've found is to apply grain locally using NX2. That way one can crank up the NR a little more, and let those details smoothen in the interest of a less-noisy photo, then introduce the illusion of detail/texture (via grain) in areas that warrant it. Some might say this is tacky but it can be quite effective - *all* of sharpening is in some way "the art of illusion"...
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          Rob Cole

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          I'd go further to say: "You are better off decreasing luminance noise reduction to preserve detail, than increasing sharpening detail" (after exhausting detail recovery via lum. NR detail slider, that is).

          Put another way: Never increase sharpening detail beyond zero unless luminance noise reduction is already zero.

          (Actually this would not always be the case if masking is employed, since with masking, one would not always be trying to sharpen detail in masked areas that have NR applied, but then there's the sparkling...)

          i.e. other than very minimal noise reduction, maybe, there is no point in trying to apply noise reduction and detail sharpening to the same region - given Lightroom's present detail sharpening and lum. nr algorithms. This is why I would like to see the ability to apply noise reduction to the inverse of the sharpen mask (or at least the "detail" sharpening mask if it were separated from the "focus sharpening") - less sharpening required to overcome noise reduction, and less noise reduction required to overcome detail sharpening - less artifacts for the same net amount of sharpening.

          Or something like that...

          Now that I think about it, since lum. NR is dang near the inverse of detail sharpening, simply controlling sparkling when masking is used may serve the same purpose...