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Output Sharpening?

Engaged ,
Mar 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017

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If I've already adjusted my images in Lightroom and it's set to 72 ppi, what’s the purpose of the Output Sharpening settings?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Mar 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017

Output sharpening is designed to compensate for loss of sharpness caused by resizing and/or printing.

You should first do capture sharpening in the Develop module, so that the image looks reasonably sharp at 1:1 magnification.

Then select appropriate output sharpening when exporting. In most cases, low or medium sharpening should be suitable.

Note that there is different output sharpening for screen and print.

Also note that the ppi number only affects printing. If the image is intended for screen v

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Community Expert ,
Mar 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017

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Output sharpening is designed to compensate for loss of sharpness caused by resizing and/or printing.

You should first do capture sharpening in the Develop module, so that the image looks reasonably sharp at 1:1 magnification.

Then select appropriate output sharpening when exporting. In most cases, low or medium sharpening should be suitable.

Note that there is different output sharpening for screen and print.

Also note that the ppi number only affects printing. If the image is intended for screen viewing, the ppi is irrelevant, only pixel dimensions matter.

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Engaged ,
Mar 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017

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Thanks Bernsten. Out of curiosity, what happens if you don't select this option?

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Community Expert ,
Mar 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017

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If you don't select that option then there will be no additional sharpening applied during the export. If you don't need it or want it, don't use it.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 04, 2021 Feb 04, 2021

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I assume LR output sharpening is intended mostly for photo printing (whether on desktop or in printing services). It has sharpening selection for Matte or Glossy paper. But does it work for offset printing purpose? If I use the output sharpening from LR, can I expect good results on a book printing project? Are there designers who use this method without having to sharpen again in Photoshop?   

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Community Expert ,
Feb 05, 2021 Feb 05, 2021

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The output sharpening is designed for inkjet printing, but I've never been pleased with it. It produces too many artifacts/halos for my taste, and I used to use Smart Sharpen in Photoshop for inkjet prints. (I now use Topaz Sharpen AI as a Photoshop plugin)

 

For output sharpening for offset printing, I have used the Photokit Sharpener from PixelGenius for many years with very good results. The people who made it, also created LR's excellent capture sharpening.

The Photokit Sharpener is now freeware, and you can download it from PixelGenius.

I think it works with the latest version of Photoshop, at least it works on my 2020 version (21.2.2)

After installation, it will appear under File > Automate.

 

image_2021-02-05_125049.png

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 05, 2021 Feb 05, 2021

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Thank you very much. This is like an invaluable gift. Looking forward to see the result in the near future 🙂

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Community Expert ,
Feb 05, 2021 Feb 05, 2021

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If you’re interested in the thinking behind output sharpening, here’s the 2003 article about it by the man who coined the term, the late Bruce Fraser, also a member of PixelGenius.

Thoughts on a Sharpening Workflow

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Community Expert ,
Feb 05, 2021 Feb 05, 2021

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The three step sharpening workflow, partially introduced in ACR/LR come originally from:

http://creativepro.com/out-of-gamut-thoughts-a-sharpening-workflow/ 

All explained by the fellow who came up with this workflow many years ago. Worth a read. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Feb 05, 2021 Feb 05, 2021

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Perhaps the best practical argument for using output sharpening, IMO, is to consider:

the same working image (as processed, adjusted, externally worked on, whatever) might be output in multiple different ways at different times, including at different scales even when it's the same hardware and paper type, or to different pixel dimensions when it's digital.

 

The printer driver / export settings control the resolution etc, and an output device / paper profile can be imposed... for managing all the output specific aspects and output specific sharpening is part of that.

 

This all helps some "general purpose" detail processing as seen in Develop, be delivered towards a visually consistent result. The point of output sharpening is that it belongs to a given form of output; not to an image. It adapts itself to whatever makes this form of output different from others; most importantly, to calculate and compensate the particular scaling / resampling factor involved.

 

If your Develop sharpening is done with a particular output usage in mind, you are IMHO potentially missing a trick.

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New Here ,
Aug 29, 2022 Aug 29, 2022

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Purpose and effect of Output Sharpening still not clear and disappointing no simply help page on this for a quick check.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 29, 2022 Aug 29, 2022

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At Stephen, this option is to provide options when a user is exporting for a specific task e.g. Web sharing, resizing, printing etc. It is an option it is up to the user to decide when to use or not. 

See the following obtained from the LrC help menu.

To put things into perspective this is basically a user-to-user forum so the majority of responses you receive will be from other users like yourself.

If you need an opinion as to what to try for a specific task then simply provide details and other users will respond.

Screenshot 2022-08-29 at 7.21.30 AM.png

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.7.1 BigSur,; LrC 12.0.1, Lr 6.0, Ps 24.0, ACR 15.0,; Camera OM-D E-M1

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New Here ,
Aug 29, 2022 Aug 29, 2022

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Thank you - much appreciated.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 29, 2022 Aug 29, 2022

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@stephenb84371298 wrote:

Purpose and effect of Output Sharpening still not clear and disappointing no simply help page on this for a quick check.


 

Again: http://creativepro.com/out-of-gamut-thoughts-a-sharpening-workflow/ 

For a lot more info on Capture, Creative***, and Output sharpening, go here**, download the free plug-in or read the manual for PhotoKit Sharpener. This again IS the basis for the sharpening workflow for LR/ACR:
** http://pixelgenius.com

 

*** Output sharpening in ACR/LR is for display and inkjet printing, unlike the product it is based upon. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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