November 1st, 2007
Recently a reader asked me if every image needed sharpening. The answer is yes when you are downsizing images for web use like real estate photographers do all the time, sharpening is necessary for every image.
About the same time I was reading an excellent article in Photoshop User Magazine called Pro Sharpening Workflow in Lightroom 1.1, by Chris Orwig. Chris went into all the great sharpening features that Lightroom 1.1 has. At the the end of the article it dawned on me that since I’d started using Lightroom heavily and and carefully keeping all my images in Lightroom that I’d quit using the Photoshop Smart Sharpen filter like I always use to do. Lightroom sharpening has always looked a little weak to me compared to PS smart sharpen.
At first, I thought that Lightroom was downsizing after the sharpening but after more consideration I don’t think that’s the case. As with all output from Lightroom fixing the image data as a pixel image is the last step. I think the sharpening algorithms in Lightroom are not quite as aggressive as Photoshop Smart Sharpen.
So what I’m going to start doing is doing my sharpening as a last step in Photoshop Smart Sharpen.
- When you downsize an image always sharpen AFTER the downsizing as a last step in the workflow.
- Sharpening and then downsizing is NOT the same and downsizing and then sharpening.
- If you have Photoshop CS3 you might check out the Smart Sharpen filter… it is the best sharpening filter I’ve seen.
Update note: on 11/2/07 I updated this post. When I first made the post I jumped to the conclusion that because Lightroom sharpening was a little weak that it was downsizing before applying sharpening. Matt Stec pointed out this is unlikely.