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Getting the Look - part 8 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

by Mike McNamee Published 01/07/2016

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Nik Sharpener Pro
We have written a lot on the subject of sharpening but it remains an elusive quarry this perfect sharpening thing! Additionally changes in chip technology mean that a watching brief must be kept - does a Canon 50mp chip respond the same way as a 12mp Nikon D700? - most probably not! Do CSC chips respond differently to full-frame DSLR? - they certainly do!

Our test file is a Nikon D810 Raw file and given that we already know that it is vital to print a test sample at your intended size, and resolution, we are not going to be able to show things correctly on a magazine page. The image is 103MB in Photoshop, nominally 20x14 inches at 360ppi. It was opened in Raw and the Detail sliders were set to zero amount. Three files were then layered together for comparison: 'no sharpening', Nik Raw Sharpening only' and 'Nik Raw plus Nik Output sharpening'. In each case the default and auto conditions were employed. The composite image was then printed at size and at maximum quality on an Epson 4900.

The differences could be detected on screen, especially at 100% viewing.

There was no obtrusive noise of artefacts. The residual chromatic aberration was visible (we did not correct for it). In a 20-inch print there was an obvious sharpening of detail but no sign of any haloes. Overall then the sharpening was deemed a success, this is a workflow that could be trusted on these big files at least.


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Nik Silver Efex
This is a popular application from the suite and has been responsible for quite a lot of award winning and well regarded images. It comes armed with standard image adjustment sliders but with a raft of effects available as presets including many mimics of analogue film types. It is simple to use so there is no need to expand the description here. The only comment we would make is to beware of overworking 8-bit images, some of the effects are heavy on the lightness channel and can cause banding. Obviously 16-bit processing is a better workflow from the outset if you envisage any issues.


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1st Published 01/07/2016
last update 21/07/2022 10:39:57

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