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Lesson 39 from: Lightroom® 4 Fundamentals

Laura Shoe

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Lesson Info

39. Sharpening


Class Trailer

Day 1


Pre-Show Banter


9:00 am - Introduction: Why Lightroom®?


The Lightroom Library Catalog


Staying Organized


Backing Up Your Library


Importing Your Photos


Preferences & Settings


Settings Q&A


Reorganizing Files and Folders


Using Views and Labels to Evaluate Photos


Filtering and Stacking Photos


Assigning and Managing Keywords


Keywording Q&A


The Metadata Panel


Searching for Photos


Creating a Collection


Day 2


Day 2 Pre-Show Banter


The Map Module: Assigning Locations


The Develop Module


Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping


Fixing Your Photos: Spot Removal Tool


11:30 am - Upgrading to Lightroom® 4


11:45 am - Basic Developing in Lightroom® 3 & 4


Basic Developing Part 2


Color Adjustments


Tone Curve Panel


Making Subtle Adjustments


Lens Corrections


Local Adjustments: Partial B&W


Local Adjustments: Portrait Touch Up


Additional Local Adjustments


Graduated Filter


Bonus: Day 3 Preview


Day 3


Day 3 Pre-Show Banter


Bonus: Recap of the Develop Module


Virtual Copies


B&W and Creative Effects


Noise Reduction




Sharpening for Portraits


Syncing Changes to Multiple Photos




Creating and Using Presets


11:45 am - Lightroom® and Photoshop


Sharing Your Work


Exporting for Web


Exporting for Print


Workflow Recap


Thanks + Credits


3:00 pm - Lightroom® 4: Publishing


3:30 pm - Lightroom® 4: Video Editing


3:45 pm - Lightroom® 4: Book Module


Lesson Info


So let's go ahead and go into sharpening. Now I like to show sharpening, um, on this particular photo, but I'm gonna it I would sharpen all of my photos, but let me go ahead and reset this now sharpening is designed to add Christmas two edges, and I generally do it at the end of my workflow. So how crisp the edges look is affected by how much contrast you've added. How dark they are. Help, right? They are. So I want to make all of those decisions first. So sharpening is is generally at the end. But once I sharpen, if I then look at the photo and say, Gee, I wish I had made this guy bluer There's nothing to stop me from continuing to do additional, develop work on it. I just like to generally think about it being the final stage in the process. Now they're actually three types of sharpening. There's capture, sharpening, creative sharpening and output sharpening. Capture. Sharpening is designed to cut through the haze that a digital capture produces. So as I look at this photo, it doesn'...

t look and I will zoom in on it will get to it. But it looks fine, But once I add little Scharping, then I can actually see that. You know what? It was kind of hazy. Now it's not out of focus. Sharpening is not designed to bring out of focus photos into focus, unfortunately, but it's designed to cut through that that haze that a digital capture produces. So that's capture sharpening. And that's what we'll be doing here in the develop module with these sliders, creative sharpening is the next optional step, and that's local sharpening. So I might do capture sharpening on the whole photo. But then I'll do a little bit more sharpening on a baby's eyes. For example, Teoh pop out the eyes, and that's an optional step. The third step output sharpening, is dependent on your output medium and size. So if I'm gonna output this as a small J peg to go on my website, that photo is going to need a lot less sharpening than if I'm going to output the photo and print it at 16 by 2016 by 20 is gonna need more sharpening. 16 by 20 on Matt Paper is gonna need mawr sharpening than printing 16 by 20 on glossy paper because glossy paper thanks Don't suck. The inks don't soak in the edges look crisper mad paper The ink soaks in things look fuzzier, so that needs more output sharpening. So I'm mentioning these three stages in sharpening so that as we do this first stage where we're looking at cutting through that haze, you realize that even if you don't do local sharpening, there's still an output sharpening step on top of it. So you don't want to go too far. You don't want to be aggressive in your capture sharpening because you have that output sharpening stage as well. That makes sense. Any questions here in the All right? So let's go ahead and look at this photo here, and I'll go ahead and zoom in on it and we'll just say, for the sake of example, that I've that I've worked this photo and I'm here in the the detail panel and I have two choices, really on how toe work with the detail panel. It has this little preview window, so actually I could stay zoomed out on this photo and I could use this preview to see various parts of the photo zoomed in what I would do is click on this little tool here, and I would just click or move my mouse. Actually, just move my mouse wherever I want to see in the photo. So that little preview would show me zoomed in 1 to 1, totally a matter of preference. But what I like to dio is actually collapsed. This this little preview window and zoom in the entire photo. Now, if I do that, I notice when I collapse that preview window that I got a little exclamation point here. This exclamation point means, hey, you really need to zoom in to 100% or 1 to 1 to appreciate what you're doing. If I'm zoomed out on a photo and I ignore that and I take sharpening way up, I can't really appreciate what I've done. It looks okay to me, you know, at this point. But watch what happens when I zoom in. Look at this kind of disaster that I've created for myself. So the exclamation point is toe warn you that you really need to zoom in to to make your sharpening decisions. So I'm gonna come up to this area here and I'm gonna reset these sliders. Now, I'm gonna talk through what the sliders mean, But then I'm gonna give you some recommendations on starting points. If you know, working with all force sliders is overwhelming. So I'm gonna start by just explaining what they do. So I'm gonna take amount all the way up, and I'm gonna take radius all the way out, and I would make the decision at 1 to 1, but I want to make sure that that everybody home can can see thes. So I'm going to see if I can look at this. A 2 to 1. Now, the sky is getting very, very noisy from this sharpening. I'm gonna ignore that at this point, But notice this halo along the edge. So have a bright halo along here. And I have a dark halo along here. So sharpening adds contrast to edges. So what toe add contrast. You brighten the bright and you dark in the darks. So adding contrast to an edge, you brighten the bright side of the edge and you dark in the dark side of the edge. So that's what sharpening does. But of course, if you go too far, but I mean, the main sign of over sharpening is an obvious halo. So of course, we're gonna back off on these sliders significantly. But this helps me to explain the sliders themselves. So amount controls how much brightening and darkening there is. How much contrast gets added. So if you if you look at the picture as I'm sliding the slider here, you'll see that as I slide the amount back, I still have a wide edge. But it's not as bright on the bright side, it's not as dark on the dark side. Okay, get it Very subtle and again, amount all the way to the right just really brightens up. The bright side darkens the dark side, so that's what amount does. It's the amounts of contrast. Added radius controls how far out from the edge that frightening and darkening happens. So right now, radius is a three, and that frightening and darkening is coming out three pixels in either direction. So it's a wide radius as I slide the radius back, I've still got amount very high as I slide the radius back. It's still very bright and dark, but it starts to get narrower. It doesn't come out from the edges much now, A radius in the area of one is almost always gonna be a good answer between 0.81 point four. Um, I personally, I'm not a sharpening expert, to be honest with you, but I personally have never had a situation where I needed to go with an extremely high radius. You want the effect to be subtle detail controls. How much of the fine detail? The high frequency information in the photo is a candidate for sharpening. So let me actually let me see how this is gonna work best eso worked pretty well, Okay? So as I slide detail up, I'm in fact sharpening. And again, remember, I zoomed into, like, 300%. So you're seeing individual pixels Never make decisions at this level. But as I slide detail up, every single pixel almost in the photo is is being sharpened. There's contrast being added around every single pixel. And as I bring detail down, it's focusing Mawr on edge is in the photo. Now what level of detail slider gonna need? Depends on how much fine detail in the photo you're trying to bring out. Okay, You're generally trying to bring out more fine detail in a landscape photo than you are in a portrait. Finally, masking allows you to mask off smooth areas in the photo, so I'm actually going to zoom out on this now where we have a lot of sharpening going on. I realize that we can't see it so much when I'm zoomed out. But let's regardless of how much you saw that it was affecting the sky. So masking allows me to protect smooth areas, which in this case could be a sky. So if I saw it was affecting something like a sky, what I would do is hold down the altar option key, slide the masking slider up. Now it's still a zero. I'm holding the alter, the option key down, and it's showing me in white everything. Whatever's in white is going to be sharpened. So right now everything is gonna be sharpened. But as I slide them asking slider up, you see how it just amazingly starts masking off smooth areas. So whatever turns black will not be sharpened. So it's a great way toe mask, off skies and, of course, portrait's. It's critical, right? We don't want to be bringing out pores and fine detail in skin so we can mask off skin in our sharpening for portrait's. So if I zoom out all the way here, you can see kind of if I started zero and hold the option key down or the all key on the PC that it's very effective again. I I wish that just once I could see the math behind some of these things in light room. I think I would see it, and I would probably run in the other direction. But, you know, it's still be fun to see it. Okay, so that's the kind of explanation. But let's actually look at making some decisions on this particular photo. So I'm gonna go ahead and zoom back in, and I'm gonna go to the Navigator panel and make sure that I am, in fact, at 1 to 1, I don't want to be zoomed into 200% as I make these decisions, bring the sliders all the way down so that I can start from scratch and let's see now it helps if you have good glasses. You know, everything looks blurry to me because of my glasses. so OK, what I want to do as a starting point on this photo I said I was gonna explain the sliders that I was going to give you a recommendation on how to actually cope with them. This is a landscape photo. So what I'm gonna do is come up to the light room general presets section here. It may be collapsed, So hit the sideways triangle. If it's not, and I'm gonna choose the sharp and scenic preset, I'm going to start with kind of what the light room team is suggesting is a good place to start for for this kind of photo. And actually, I'm seeing noise in the photo. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna I'm gonna take a time out on the sharpening. So even without even without sharpening, I'm seeing a little bit of luminous noise in the photo, so I'm gonna slide this slider up a bit to get rid of that. Then I'm gonna go to sharpening hit the Sharpen Scenic preset, and I'm gonna hit the switch on and off at the top of the detail panel. So we got the switch here. I hit it on and off. That's before and that's after. Hopefully, you can see that it's starting to cut through that haze. Thank if I don't feel like it's enough, then I would go ahead and slide the amount slider up. Now I'm starting to see it. Bring out the noise in the sky again. That's OK, because I can mask off the sky, right so I can make a note of that and deal with that later. Now my goal is to cut through that haze without creating an obvious halo along the edge. And you have to keep in mind that were staring at this right? Normally, customers don't stare it our prints on the wall, you know, if your photos air in a gallery and someone standing six inches away from it there, photographer right there, they're looking at how much sharpening you did, right, So So this is another example, like like you mentioned yesterday of where sometimes it's useful to step away and come back. OK, we'll hit the switch on and off. So what? I did Waas by hitting this preset light room, set the four sliders for me, so it took care of radius in detail for me. It gave me some amount. That was a little bit too. Not quite aggressive enough for me. So I bumped up the amount. And then I saw the issue in the sky. The smooth area in the sky. So now I'm going to mask off the sky by holding the L to the option key down and getting most of the sky mast off. I don't need to worry about getting it completely black. And to do that, I probably would not be sharpening enough of the building. But I want to get rid of most of that. Most of the sharpening going on there. So now I'm just basically sharpening the building and other details in the photo, and I've cut through that haze questions. I'm gonna do a portrait next. So yeah. Um, so Omar and New Jersey for Portrait's with a shallow depth of field, is it better to sharpen? The image is mostly eyes using the adjustment brush. And maybe that's what you're gonna be talking about in a bit. I wasn't gonna go into that, but but I think that that's a very good good option as well. Okay, Question from Shasta do raw files need more sharpening than J Peg. Since J pegs air usually sharpened in camera. Excellent point. So when you look at a raw file in light room that you haven't worked on, you're going to see that. Let me see if I have one here. Okay, I guess I don't. But you're gonna see that the raw file is going to get some sharpening by default. Okay, That j peg is not because J picks often are sharpened in camera. So leg room doesn't want to assume that you want to apply. I'm or sharpening on top of that. So I certainly with the JPEG, I would still come to the detail panel and evaluate how sharp it is. See if it could use some additional sharpening, but I wouldn't assume it does. And I would prefer why would prefer to always shoot in raw, But if I'm shooting J pegs, I would turn off the camera sharpening and do all of my sharpening in light room. The problem with the camera baking in camera settings a saturation and contrast in sharpening for J pegs is you can't take him out, right? Particularly the sharpening. You can't unsure. Pinned a photo. Wendy. Alana, if you are giving if you're giving someone a disc of images and you're not sure what will be done with them afterwards, what are your recommendations for general sharpening? I went in any case I would be. Unless you're going. You're in any case where you're not in control of the entire workflow. I would be conservative. Okay? I would still do some myself. I would do some capture sharpening, but I would be conservative even on that if I wasn't sure what was going to be done with them. When we get to the output stage, when we talk about exporting photos, I wouldn't sharpen. I wouldn't do any output sharpening if they're going to send them toe Walgreens and Walgreens has automatic sharpening built in. I don't want to have three stages of sharpening on the photos, So be conservative. You mentioned that all digital captures have some sort of haze in the capture itself. Um, is that the raw capture? So I'm thinking in terms of scanned images where, um, that was always come out as a JPEG, I guess unless you say tiff. So can you dress that at all? I think that that's I mean, from what I've seen, scanned photos also have a little bit of Hayes. Now. What is it in the capture process that isn't up? Isn't a perfect reproduction of the detail I couldn't say, but and whether your scan goes to J. Peg or two tiff doesn't matter. It's But I would make sure that you're scanning software. I wouldn't do any significant work in your scanning software, certainly wouldn't do any sharpening. And they're, you know, leave everything for where you've got a professional tool where you can completely control it. Here in light room question from K bolts in Houston, Texas Is the sharpening panel in the develop module here in light from the same as the sharpening in adobe camera Raw? Yes, it ISS is like, you know, as long as they're both the same version, your up to date on both of them. So, really, all of the developed tools that we've covered are available in camera. You just don't have the elegant, um, workflow and, you know, work space and the ability to see before and after side by side. And many of the other advantages that we have here in light room

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Day 1 Slides.pdf

bonus material with enrollment


Ratings and Reviews

Miguel Lecuyer

Great workshop! New to Lightroom and found it very helpful. Saved me a couple hundred dollars and time by not taking an evening LR class. Creative Live workshops match my learning style perfectly. Laura is awesome! My only complaint is maybe Laura can use a PC next time which is what she seems more comfortable using. Her shortcut mix-ups on a Mac were making me a bit dizzy :)

a Creativelive Student

I cannot express enough how impressed I was with Laura and this class. I learned more in the 3 days of this workshop than I did in all 6 weeks of a class I took online that cost three times as much. I left not only impressed by the class but MOST importantly - refreshed and energized to put my new knowledge to use! Thank you for that!!!

a Creativelive Student

Excellent workshop bar none. I learned more about Lightroom than I did from any other tutorial/workshp that I previously encountered. Thanks Laura!

Student Work