PHOTOKIT SHARPENER Questions

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by jfenton, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Previously, when I ran PHOTOKIT on PS 7 and then once I got CS, when I executed Capture sharpening and then final output sharpening, I could see the progress with all of the masks, etc., as PHOTOKIT did it's thing.

    With CS2, I see none of these steps and it appears as though the masks aren't happening as everything is sharpened rather than just the edges. This brings blotchy noise in some instances to things such as skies which have no other detail.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    Are there some settings which I'm missing?

    I have contacted Pixelgenius and they keep telling me that nothing has changed in the way PHOTOKIT operates.

    I'd love to have this back and working correctly once again!

    Thanks in advance....
     
  2. This is strange because I also use PK Sharpener.... and haven't noticed any changes from PS7 to PSCS..... you sure you're not confusing it with selective sharpening in PK sharpener?
     
  3. MattKuether

    MattKuether Guest

    I use PK Sharpener on CS2. When I run capture/output sharpening I end up with a a number of layers over my original image, masks clearly visible. Sharpening is definitely not applied to the entire image.
     
  4. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hi Sandi and Matt

    Are you folks still seeing all of the steps of the operation as they occur, such as the edge sharpening, high pass sharpening, etc?

    Previously it was like watching a step by step movie as the operation occurred. Now it takes about 5 seconds for any given portion (as in Capture sharpening, output sharpening, etc.)...the image is done and IMHO looks BAD to the point where I've stopped using it...and I used to love it :(
     
  5. MattKuether

    MattKuether Guest

    I do not see anything happen to the image while the process is running, but I think this is normal for CS2. I can see the name of each step in the title bar of the image window and I can watch each step process in the status bar that appears when a filter is running (my computer is slow so I see a lot of this). When it is finished I can left with an image that has a light contour layer and dark contour layer. Masks for these layers are included and look how I would expect them to.

    Are you using the "and smooth" option for sharpening? I always use the "sharpen and smooth" even if the image is basically noise free. I find running it this way and then deleting the smoothing layer produces more pleasing results to my eye than the regular sharpener.
     
  6. MattKuether

    MattKuether Guest

    After playing with PK Sharpener a bit more, I cannot duplicate the effect you are talking about. However, I think when I was sharpening some sample D200 files I might have had a similar issue, PK didn't seem to nearly as clean a job on those. I see you shoot a D2X, so perhaps it has something to do with file resolution. Do you have a sample file that I could try running through PK Sharpener on my computer? Perhaps PK doesn't handle high-rez files that well on CS2.
     
  7. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I found PK Sharpener's Capture sharpening to be a real disappointment. Just not enough control, and the results aren't as good as what I can get with other tools. If you're willing to look at alternatives, check out Photowiz FocalBlade.
     
  8. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hi Jeff

    Actually, I prefer to set my sharpening to NONE in the Advanced Raw Palette in NC and then apply USM in NC of just enough to overcome the AA filter for any given ISO.

    In post processing (CS2), I was then applying the PHOTOKIT Output Sharpener, although since trying it with CS2, I currently am really, really unhappy with the outcome. Perhaps it's just me being more critical. I can't imagine that they eye transplant had anything to do with it?
     
  9. MattKuether

    MattKuether Guest

    Which output sharpener are you using? I don't think the output sharpener is intended to be used by itself.
     
  10. general

    general

    Apr 30, 2005
    Nebraska
    PK Sharpener

    I don't understand how anyone can say that PK Sharpener does not provide latitude. You have a multitude of selections for capture, creative application, and output processing and you can vary the opacity of any layer of any of these choices.
     
  11. gvk

    gvk

    388
    Jun 17, 2005
    Mystic, CT
    PK Sharpener does run much faster under CS2 than it did with PS7. You don't see the individual steps displayed on the screen any more, but as Matt said, the step names flash by quickly in the title bar.

    In my setup, the results seem to be the same with PS7 and CS2. However, I have always found that PKS capture sharpening, at least using the high resolution digital camera setting, produces the awful results you describe. After running HRDC capture sharpening on a D2X file (converted to tiff from NC with no sharpening), I see emphasized noise and blotchy, obliterated details unless I reduce the layer opacity to useless levels. I have also had mixed results using the PKS capture sharpener options for 35mm film scans. After a few attempts I just gave up and now do capture sharpening in NC or with USM in PS.

    I also have mixed feelings about the output sharpening options. They seem a bit oversharpened to me, especially for the web. I do still use them when I am processing many files, but find that I usually reduce the opacity of the sharpening layer somewhat to suit my taste.

    On a more positive note, I do use some of the creative sharpening tools. I find that small amounts of luminance sharpening help to bring out subtle textures. Edge sharpening works ok, and is quicker than creating the masks directly in PS. I also use the sharpening brushes to emphasize certain details when necessary. All of these things can easily be done directly in PS, and with infinitely more precision, but using PKS for these tasks is quick and convenient.

    Although, as Don responded above, PKS provides much latitude and many options and adjustments, there are a couple of major omissions. In particular, none of the tools have a threshold setting similar to the standard USM in PS. This is an essential feature to avoid sharpening in uniform regions such as skies. Another problem is that PKS, except for luminance sharpening, introduces slight color shifts that are usually, but not always, invisible. There is no "fade to luminosity" option as in PS, and PKS does not work in LAB mode, so you can't just sharpen the lightness channel.

    In summary, after having used PKS for almost a year, I find its utility does not really justify the $100 price. Since I already have it, I use it when convenient, but usually not when I want to achieve the optimum results.
     
  12. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    My complaint is specifically with the Capture sharpening. I do use the Creative sharpening on occasion; don't have any use for the output sharpening since I use QImage for printing and in the case of web JPG's a simple USM after interpolation works fine.

    Why do I feel that PK's Capture sharpening is lacking? Although it does give you the ability to adjust the opacity/masking of the two sharpening layers, all of the other sharpening parameters are hidden away behind vague descriptions. What exactly does Narrow Edge sharpening do? What if I want to tweak the radius/amount for the sharpening process?

    To see the level of control I'm talking about, download the demo of Focal Blade; it uses a sharpening approach similar to PK (edge mask is created to separately sharpen edges and surface), but unlike PK it actually gives me control of all the sharpening parameters. Although it has an easy mode that allows you to make a few selections from a combo, there's also an Expert mode. In Expert mode I have control over the radius/amount for both the edges and surface, light/dark halo correction, not to mention complete control over the edge mask.

    FocalBlade doesn't have any intrinsic support for layer-based sharpening; it just sharpens the currently selected layer. But it only takes about 30 seconds to record an action that duplicates the current layer, runs FocalBlade, and then adds a layer mask. And unlike PK, which can only sharpen the background layer (and in fact will fail to run at all on an image whose background layer has been "promoted" to a real layer), FocalBlade can run on any layer along with the ability to merge layers while leaving the originals intact.

    Finally, since PK sharpener isn't a real plugin, you don't have a realtime preview of the sharpening like you do with FocalBlade.
     
  13. general

    general

    Apr 30, 2005
    Nebraska
    PK Sharpening

    The Users' Manual describes in considerable detail what is happening when Narrow, Medium, or Wide Edges is selected and provides recommendations as to when to use each setting.

    I would agree that Output Sharpening should not be used for pictures destined for the web. It does an excellent job on inkjet output although the view on the screen is scary.
     
  14. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    It gives an overview of the type of image each choice is intended for, but no technical information about radius/amount/mask. And more importantly, no ability to change those parameters. I often want more control than just choosing narrow/medium/wide. FocalBlade gives me that option (although it also has the more general settings to choose from when you don't need the extra control).
     
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