Taking Control of Sharpening in Lightroom
This article discusses an image sharpening strategy found in Lightroom but also uses illustrations that highlight the importance of applying image sharpening in a selective manner when necessary. This Lightroom feature is a staple in my image processing workflow!
TIP: Holding the ALT key (Option key on Mac) while adjusting the Amount, Radius, and Detail sliders will also reveal a mask that is helpful for evaluating the sharpening effect.
Lady GooGoo La La(non-registered)
Thank you so much Kevin your effort is appreciated!
Lady GooGoo LaLa
Hello, Lady! I hope this helps ...
I wouldn't apply noise reduction to any area of the image that didn't need it, so in that case I wouldn't recommend a global noise reduction. You really only have a couple options for applying selective noise reduction in LR. For a noisy sky I would first use a gradient mask to cover as much of the area as possible. Then, if needed, I would use a soft brush tip (medium feather and medium flow) to brush in noise reduction closer to the ground.
Tip 1) When using the adjustment brush, use the "o" key as a shortcut to display the mask overlay. Alternatively, you can enable or disable the mask overlay by clicking on "show selected mask overlay" when using the brush.
Tip 2) Be careful with the "auto mask" feature when using the brush. Turn the auto mask feature on and off while brushing across parts of the image where there are edges. You'll see how the auto mask reacts differently when crossing edges depending on this feature being enabled or disabled.
Tip 3) Apply the brush to all areas of the sky that you want to adjust (using the mask overlay) BEFORE you move any of the sliders in the brush's adjustment panel. Once you have the mask brushed in, then move whatever adjustment sliders you want to see how it effects the image.
Lady GooGoo LaLa(non-registered)
Excellent, Kevin, but what if I want to apply noise reduction on the sky.
Are the only options:
paint it all with an large adjustment brush, or
global noise reduction?
Kevin Childress Photography
Hello, Pat! Figure A is shown before any edge sharpening had been applied to the image. And I agree with your comment that fine detail like the noise/grain in the sky might not matter when viewed on a typical computer display or when displayed as a low-resolution image. Take for example that I display images on my website sized to only 800 pixels on the long edge. I could certainly get away with displaying a much more grainy/noisy image at that low resolution. As you suggest, the viewer would not likely be able to detect excessive noise/grain at that resolution.
To your second question: Lightroom has an amazing number of built-in keyboard shortcuts. When using the sharpening tools in Lightroom, the ALT key is only used as a keyboard shortcut for revealing the mask that is being applied to the image (literally to make the mask visible on the display).
Question: I figure A before or after being sharpened? Although fine detail like that might not matter on a regular computer screen since it's resolution is likely much lower than a high res photo?
Another question: What is the purpose of holding the ALT key, does that allow you to preview as you make adjustments, or is this just the way Lightroom operates?
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