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Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2 1st Edition

20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342449914
ISBN-10: 0321449916
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

It's a sad but undeniable fact of life: Whether you scan, shoot, or capture, the process of digitizing images introduces softness, and to get great-looking results, you'll need to sharpen the great majority of digital images. The softness introduced during digitizing results from the very nature of the digitizing process. To represent images digitally, we must transform them from continuous gradations of tone and color to points on a grid. In the process details gets "averaged" into the pixels, softening the overall appearance. For some types of printed output, further softness is introduced when the image pixels are converted to dots of ink or toner. As a result, just about every digital image requires sharpening. But another sad fact of digital photography is that most images are sharpened badly--either not enough, too much, or using the wrong methods--creating chunky details and harsh edges. Author, Bruce Fraser is here to teach readers all they need to know about sharpening including when to use it, why it's needed, how to use the camera's features, how to recognize an image needs sharpening, how much to use, what's bad sharpening and how to fix over sharpening. For more on Sharpening:

About the Author

Bruce Fraser is an internationally known author, consultant, and speaker on the topics of digital imaging and color reproduction. In addition to authoring Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2 (ISBN 0-321-33409-4), he is a contributing editor for Macworld magazine and co-author of the best-selling books Real World Adobe Photoshop CS2 (ISBN 0-321-33411-6) and Real World Color Management, Second Edition (ISBN 0-321-26722-2).


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (July 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321449916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321449917
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,936,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon VINE VOICE on August 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of books by Photoshop gurus that explain the software's tone and color controls and most users can usually master these functions if they make a serious effort. But one function that always seems rather inexact is the detail function, as exemplified by the sharpening tools. This still seems to be a rather hit or miss proposition, and there has long been a need for more detailed instruction on this function. Fraser takes the function on, and even if you don't agree with all his recommendations, this book should clarify what sharpening is about.

The book spends more time explaining how and why to sharpen than actually showing the reader how to sharpen pictures and that's as it should be since using the sharpening tools is relatively simple once you understand what is happening.

Fraser agrees with most experts that output sharpening should be the last thing you do to an image before you print or create a web page. However, he convincingly argues for sharpening in several passes for source and content before output sharpening. However to avoid the problems created by over-sharpening an image, he strictly controls source and content sharpening through the use of image masks in the earlier stages.

He also recognizes that dealing with digital noise before sharpening is critical to avoid actually enhancing the noise. He recommends doing this in the raw processing stage where possible, and recommends the use of plug-ins where noise is really serious.

Fraser's writing is clear and unambiguous. The first time he describes a procedure he includes all the steps involved. Fraser explains the use of smart sharpening, but generally dismisses this Photoshop tool in favor of unsharp mask.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By HugeStakkaBoFan VINE VOICE on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book nicely compiles all of the information regarding multi-stage sharpening workflows Mr. Fraser has previously published in various articles over the years. If you've never read any of them, then this is a definite must buy. If you've read all of them, you won't find a lot of new information here aside from the highly welcome detailed explanation of CS2's Smart Sharpen filter. Adobe's own documentation has always been pretty ambiguous as to what all the little checkboxes and sliders do in the new dialog.

My main complaint about the book is the size of the images and quality of the paper used in its printing. It is often times impossible to see any difference whatsoever between two variations of a single image. I understand that many of the examples are meant to differ only subtly (the reader is certainly beaten over the head with this information enough times throughout the first few chapters), but it would make it a lot easier to see those subtle differences if the images were larger and printed on a heavier, glossier stock. My copy also suffered from a large number of printing boo-boos (looks like the ink wasn't drying and smeared all over the place) which is no doubt exacerbating the problem.

Overall, it's an excellent book, I just think the price is a little steep considering the quality and size of the product coupled with the fact that most of the information is available free of charge on the web. Please stop printing books about photography on such flimsy stock, Peachpit.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caraleisa VINE VOICE on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a photographer and owner of a photo-restoration business, this was a very important topic for me. I regularly get out of focus images to restore and often the basic sharpening methods in Photoshop simply aren't sufficient.

There is a lot of theory in the beginning of the book, which is good; helpful especially if you don't have a solid understanding of digital sharpening, but then comes the real meat. Fraser goes into many different ways to achieve the effects you need with detailed instruction. It's sometimes hard to see the changes in his photo illustrations, but trust him and try what he says. My copy is FULL of post-it tabs. Superb book for the professional.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book rather nicely covers What sharpening is, why it is needed, and how to do it. Whats nice about this book it it breaks up the types of sharpening needed based on the the photos and the type of details in the photo. It cover raw pre-sharpening to conteract the softening introduced by a digital camera, and then goes on to suggest detail sharpening and then final output sharpening.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Best on July 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Despite appearances, this book is fairly slim and a quick read. Fraser's central tenets are multipass sharpening (to retain your output options plus fit with an automated approach) and the use of masks to isolate sharpening to real edges (to reduce halo width and/or not exacerbate grain/noise).

In practical terms, a lot of what Fraser says just has to be taken on faith as he doesn't engender a methodology for the reader to evaluate overall image sharpness (up until the output pass) on screen. Given the recent changes to the Details tab in ACR 4.1 I suspect a lot of readers will be on their own though as the only guidance this book has is on radius. Still, the creative/output sharpening approaches are proven and just as valid.

Curiously I find most of the "optimally" sharpened half-toned images presented in the book to be somewhat over-sharpened. The digital revolution would seem to have brought about a change of emphasis in maximizing the potential of the file rather than presenting a real world similitude. But maybe all this is a personal thing. I don't think anyone has a mortgage on "optimal" sharpness.

The only other book that I'm aware of that treats sharpening with any depth is Dan Margulis' "Professional Photoshop" which is aimed more on getting images out the door. In my experience, both approaches can achieve similar results on the page.

This book shows the workings of Fraser (and co's) popular Photokit Sharpener commercial product which embodies the approach presented in this book. In fact, there's sufficient detail herein to write your own routines which will give identical results ... at least for the specific examples given. I was curious why he would do so but with foreknowledge of his impending death I think his wisdom was that knowledge lives on longer than products. For this I am grateful.
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