Lightroom/Camera Raw: Provide High Pass Sharpening

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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I'd love to see some high pass sharpening effect controls in Lightroom under Develop>Effects. Might require rethinking Clarity (which I think shouldn't be in basic anyway). But it would lesson the need for Photoshop and plug-ins like (Lucis, Topaz Adjust, etc) and provide needed functionality once we can combine HDR frames in LR.

Here's a nice high pass sharpening effect sample from Matthew Mahon (matthewmahon.com) that one can't get with LR alone today:

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Scott Martin

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Posted 7 years ago

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Rob Cole

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This would be nice but I do wonder how good of a fit it is for Lr at this stage.

I mean 'Clarity' is sorta like a light-handed no-control medium/high-radius high-pass filter, with halo suppression, sorta.
And the Lightroom sharpener is sorta like a better small-radius high-pass filter, sorta.

Don't get me wrong - I want it all!!!, but I'm not sure the opportunity cost for this.
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Scott Martin

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I want it all too, and I want an elegant workflow that eliminates (or further reduces) the need for PS. I'm not saying this should be prioritized over other features. I do think it's a neat idea that someone like Eric Chan could geek out over and implement a few really nice sliders that could be surprisingly cool. Clarity and sharpness don't come close to what a whole pool of "High Pass Sharpening" photographers are doing in PS with filters like Lucis and Topaz Adjust today.

This seems like an easier thing to do than say, develop the tech to composite multiple frames. Naturally it's up to Adobe to prioritize these requests, I just hope to get it in there. I know firsthand that there is a pool of high end professional photographers that would love to have their workflows streamlines with this kind of capability.
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Rob Cole

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I'm in favor of the spirit of this request, but I still have concerns over implementation. I mean, Lucis Art accomplishes something akin to Topaz Adjust, except *very* differently - inside (design) and out (UI).

High-pass as implemented in NX2 (I've never used Photoshop's implementation), has a very "advanced" feel to it, and Lightroom has a very "simple and intuitive" feel to it. i.e. so far, Adobe has mostly been successful at distilling what is often a bewildering set of overlapping tools into a simple nicely done set of mostly-not-overlapping tools - and that's one of its strengths: start at the top, go toward the bottom, stop when it looks good enough...(with the exception of camera calib/profile that is).

And so far, Lightroom has confined itself to natural photographic looks - sliders are mostly light-handed and stop shy of gaudy.

On the other hand, they did create a section called "Effects", so far populated only by vignette & grain - maybe they have more in mind...

I'm not sure exactly what I'm trying to say here, except maybe if Adobe could capture the essence of high-pass but make the UI more like Lucis, it would somehow seem more appropriate to me - dunno...

And whether this was implemented as native could also depend on whether they've got 3rd party effect integration (e.g. imaging plugins) on the plate.

Summary:
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I still have the question in my mind: Is this request for porting of high-pass functionality, as implemented in Photoshop, to Lightroom, or for a new Adobe-esque LucisArt/TopazAdjust-like functionality to be invented, or something in between...?

PS - Perhaps Adobe should consider an "effects" module, that costs extra, so user's who want built-ins for special effects could pay for them, and users who are set enough with plugins, or don't care for special effects would not have to pay for them.
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Scott Martin

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Good thoughts here Rob. LR is pretty confined to pretty natural effects. I think Clarity is often used for more of a stylized effect and should perhaps be in the Effects section. I think if they implemented high pass sharpening it would be nice if the limits were reasonable so one couldn't go off the handle with it. I think Matt Mahon, Jim Fiscus and others do a nice job with high pass filtering and make a nice case for it.

Of course, if we ever see HDR compositing in LR we'll really have good need for some high pass sharpening so maybe there's some synergy there.

I think the Lucis UI is horrible and hope that Adobe's best brains can condense it into 1-4 well designed sliders that intuitively make a lot more sense, and can of course, be used with presets.

My request is to develop new LucisArt/TopazAdjust-like functionality and build it into ACR/Lightroom.

I like your thoughts on an Effects module and the possibility to have ad-ons. Since day 1 I've thought that LR would eventually gain a "Retouch" module which is a similar thought. The Develop module is getting heavy, requires too much scrolling and the "work from the top down" is messed up with the localized adjustment tools at the top.
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Lee Jay

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The thing is, the overall sharpening workflow in LR is quite excellent. The problem is that people don't take it through to the end (export). Instead, they want it to look perfect in Develop, so they disable the export sharpening, send it to PS or some other tool, and re-import the result so it looks good in Library Loupe or Develop.

My opinion: If they have time to add more effort to the sharpening system, add something like what Focus Magic does (correction for out-of-focus and/or motion blur) and apply that to lens profiles (like DxO does) for correction of lens softness. The existing sharpening is fine (excellent, really) for sharp originals.
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Rob Cole

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Lee - high-pass is only akin to sharpening at low radii. At medium & high its more like 'Clarity', and can create effects not unlike LucisArt & TopazAdjust. I think its the latter kind of effect (primarily) targeted by Scott (right, Scott?), as opposed to enhanced sharpening. Try it with larger radii, *and* create multiple layers with different radii if you really want to have fun...

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I agree that Lightroom sharpening is overall fabulous, especially when used in conjunction with output sharpening, but this 'Idea' as I understand it is not about "sharpening", but "special effects". I too would prefer to see improvements in more traditional sharpening (and deconvolution / lens sharpness falloff correction), than high-pass effects, but high-pass effects (or some ingenious incarnation based upon it) would also be a very welcome feature.
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Scott Martin

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Lee, I think the capture and print sharpening are excellent in LR but it's the creative sharpening that's largely missing. Checkout:

http://www.sachawaldman.com/
http://www.fiscusphoto.com/
http://www.matthewmahon.com/

Man, if we could do this in LR!

Rob, yes, it's the creative sharpening or effects that I'm envisioning. Whither it belongs in the Effects Panel, the Retouch module, the Effects module, etc is up to Adobe. Fun stuff to consider.
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Rob Cole

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Scott,

You got my '+1' for this (finally ;-}.

I'd hope for a version that distills the high-pass essence into something with a simplified UI, since high-pass proper as presently implemented in Photoshop and NX2 is a little "too far out there" for Lightroom - maybe.

You may also be interested in a related idea: Local contrast adjustments that are actually localized. Personally, I think this idea is a close cousin to your idea, and has been equally unpopular so far, my theories why: either people don't understand it very well, or just have other priorities...

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This idea seems a little nebulous so far, but I think has seeds of a really cool feature idea.

Cheers,
Rob