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Thread: Sharpening settings for film scans

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Sharpening settings for film scans

    Hi Friends,

    Would you have any recommendations about sharpening film scans? If I understand correctly, one has to do capture sharpening and output sharpening, but I'm a bit confused about the amount. I usually tick the sharpen setting in Vuescan as capture sharpening and use some subtle USM sharpening after resizing, but I am wondering about the very high level of grain visible even at small web sizes. Would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks,
    Edward
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    I decide on a case-by-case basis whether capture sharpening helps or harms the picture.

    I keep sharpening turned off in the scanner software, though. Instead, I select from among the capture sharpening options in the PhotoKit Sharpener plug-in for Photoshop. I think those tend to be more subtle than what you get in scanner software, though I've not done a systematic comparison.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    Thanks for your reply Oren! I will take a look at photokit sharpener. Several sources seem to recommend it.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  4. #4
    ColSebastianMoran
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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    Edward, I learned a lot from Bruce Fraser's book Real World Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2. That's right, CS2, but the info is still current and Fraser has sadly passed away. Fraser was the creator of photokit sharpener, but I use the current tools in Photoshop and Lightroom.

    A couple of quick points:
    - Do noise reduction before sharpening. Otherwise, you might be sharpening the noise.
    - Then, some capture sharpening for anything scanned.

    Fraser has specifics, including typical settings for the tools, Photoshop actions, and guidelines for adjusting things.

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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    I would second what Oren has said. I find it is best to leave your sharpening until your processing stage. PhotoKit sharpener does a great job, but I tend to use it only for output sharpening during the print stage. Lightroom has a very sophisticated sharpening system, and that is how I tend to sharpen. If you hold down the option key while adjusting, it will allow you to see much more clearly how the sharpening is being applied. For film I tend to use the masking tool to keep from sharpening the grain too much, while keeping the radius low. Film does not sharpen as well as digital, since the base pixels tend to be softer than digital. While I still sharpen using the sharpening tools, I also find that increasing the midtone contrast a bit can give the appearance of a sharper file, without enhancing the grain too much.
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    Thank you Stuart for your reply. I'm starting to form an idea of how I should best sharpen my scans.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    Quote Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
    Edward, I learned a lot from Bruce Fraser's book Real World Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2. That's right, CS2, but the info is still current and Fraser has sadly passed away. Fraser was the creator of photokit sharpener, but I use the current tools in Photoshop and Lightroom.

    A couple of quick points:
    - Do noise reduction before sharpening. Otherwise, you might be sharpening the noise.
    - Then, some capture sharpening for anything scanned.

    Fraser has specifics, including typical settings for the tools, Photoshop actions, and guidelines for adjusting things.
    Many thanks for the good advice!
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Sharpening settings for film scans

    If you are scanning B+W, scan it in color, then select the sharpest channel. I found my scanner will average RGB in monochrome mode and the RGB elements are not exactly in line. You will see the shift when you look at the RGB scan of a B+W neg and switch through the channels.

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