Workflow: Sharpening -- What is best practice?

Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2022 Jun 29, 2022

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My practice has been to edit a photo, including resizing, then apply sharpening as the last step.  Now, I just noticed Camera Raw applies sharpening (default value, 40) before importing into the Photo Editor.  WHICH WOULD BE BEST:  a) as I have done, let Camera Raw apply its default sharpening, then I again sharpen as last editing step;  b) set Camera Raw sharpening value to zero (0 - no sharpening), then perform all sharpening as last photo editing step;  or, c) Set Camera Raw to a desirable degree of sharpening, and do no more sharpening in Photo Editor ???

PLEASE ADVISE

 

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jul 01, 2022 Jul 01, 2022

@josephunit2n 

Your question has been discussed widely 10 or 15 years ago by the programmers of ACR themselves. The explanations were nearly always how to distinguish and optimize two different stages of sharpening; the 'capture sharpening' which compensate the slight blur creating from the anti-aliasing step after separating color components and the 'output sharpening' to adapt the result to the final output, printing size and parameters or display.

I have difficulties to find links to those di

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 30, 2022 Jun 30, 2022

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I don't think there is any BEST answer.  It depends on a number of factors including what you are going to do with the final image, what other edits you perform on the image and, most importantly, your personal taste.  Why don't you use each workflow on the same image and see what you like best.  (And can you really tell the difference?)

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Explorer ,
Jun 30, 2022 Jun 30, 2022

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Usually my images are saved both as full TIFF and reduced size .jpg, the .jpg viewed digitally by judges in photo competition.  My feeling is, double sharpening (Camera Raw and final edit) is not optimum, possibly unnecessarily degrading the image - yet - I wonder if allowing at least some initial sharpening in C.R. gives a better image to view in the Editor, for further processing.  That is, might turning off C.R. sharpening yield images more difficult to accurately edit, due to unsharpness?

Your attention and prompt response is greatly appreciated.  Unless you have further opinion, I'll likely continue as usual.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 01, 2022 Jul 01, 2022

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@josephunit2n 

Your question has been discussed widely 10 or 15 years ago by the programmers of ACR themselves. The explanations were nearly always how to distinguish and optimize two different stages of sharpening; the 'capture sharpening' which compensate the slight blur creating from the anti-aliasing step after separating color components and the 'output sharpening' to adapt the result to the final output, printing size and parameters or display.

I have difficulties to find links to those discussions, but my guess is that today, most people using ACR or Lightroom for raw processing will keep the default capture setting AND sharpen to taste for their outputs. That may be different for non raw editing (jpegs, tiffs...) were capture sharpening has already been done in camera or software.

I suggest you ask in the ACR forum directly:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/camera-raw/ct-p/ct-camera-raw?page=1&sort=latest_replies&lang=all&tab...

 

Keep in mind that the experts there have a tendency to discuss in details choices which won't give you a visible difference...

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Explorer ,
Jul 01, 2022 Jul 01, 2022

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Thank you for your kind attention!  Nice to hear you, you've helped in the past.  In reverse order, your last comment does not apply.  I do not capture .jpg's in camera ever, thus no in-camera sharpening.  Otherwise, your remarks give me confidence to continue as I have been (allowing default C.R. sharpening,  then final sharpening as last editing step).  I might submit to the  ACR forum, however, I am satisfied, at this point.  

Take care, stay well!

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