Sharpening is so personal and to taste that I just wanted to share what I use- and not charge for it. I actually use this set on all my images. ALL. I round out my corners if I want, I add my watermark and then run one of the sharpen actions. The defaults are my own. So some adjusting of the opacity will be in order. And maybe even some masking. If you are familiar with my action shares- you’ll notice I am sharing a whole set. Wow right?
About the actions.
There is a web wallets action that sizes to 350px on the long end. I sometimes use this action (or the 600 one) for the websized versions I give to clients on purchased images. Watermark it and if they try to print it- it will look sooooo bad (and if you are a client reading this going say what?? how rude! realize that web versions are never for print). You will note that these come in V (vertical/long/portrait) and H (horizontal/wide/landscape) versions- as these actions size the longest end of that orientation. Almost all the actions, except the print sharpening actions have a V and H version.
And then there are 3 (6 if you count them individually) Facebook resize and sharpen actions. You can absolutely use them for anywhere, but I tweaked the sharpening for my personal use on Facebook. That’s why the label FB.
They come in 3 sizes: 600, 700, 800 pixels. I use 600 in client galleries. The 700 for images for Facebook- personal and fan page. And I use 800 for my blog. But I sometimes use the other sizes on Facebook too. And of course the V and H versions for the correct image orientation.
Proof 4×6 Prints: Then my handy little action that I use when I am printing a large amounts of 4×6 prints from my lab. I use this action for actual 4×6 cropped images only OR if I want very large web versions of an image. Why would I use this for 4x6s and reduce the pixel size? For uploading times. If I am uploading 30 4×6 images to my lab- it takes less time to get them uploaded. You may never need these actions though. It’s also handy if you sell a scrap pack digital collection (where you sell 4×6 sized digital images rather than full res). In Photoshop it can be batched and it’s so darn handy. I use this action too if I am sending files to family- knowing they only want the file to print a quick 4×6 of my toddler or something from Walmart (think personal family snapshots).
And then finally my printing actions. These do not resize at all. Or change resolution. They simply sharpen. One is USM (unsharp mask), another in USM but inverted so you use a white brush and simply paint on the places you want to sharpen and then lastly- High Pass Sharpen adds clarity.
USM is the most used sharpening method. A little goes a long way. Watch the eyes and hair. We don’t want sparkly hair and alien eyes. Err I hope.Pull back the opacity or mask if you see this happening. I LOVE using the inverted aka Paint On version of the USM the most. I paint my subject and let my bokeh be sweet and creamy without any sharpening. I also use these on any images I don’t want to resize- even if it’s for web. Sometimes I size other sizes than my (600, 700 and 800) and these actions come in handy. Although I need to dial down the opacity a lot.
With High Pass some people use it as their sharpening, some use it at a low opacity to add a little clarity. Especially on textures..bricks etc. Looks so awesome. You can invert the mask (ctrl + i) and paint it on parts of the image you want to pull out little details- like veins on petals, bricks, cars etc. Elements users please note that when you play the action that contains the sharpening actions (USM and High Pass) it will appear to do nothing. You must turn on the layers yourself or use a white brush on the black mask of the paint on USM version.
A before and after. Although I almost found it hard to do this. Harder to see sharpening affects because monitors vary so much.
with web. you get what you see. that’s why i always make sure i size as close as possible to the location the image will be in and THEN sharpen. it will look it’s best this way. like with fb- they scrunch your image to 720 pixels on the long end. if it’s larger than that- facebook shrinks it and this can make your image appear softer than it really is. that’s why i use 700 almost exclusively. smaller looks great too. but not bigger than 720.
*update: now Facebook resizes to 960 pixels on the long end. I now personally use my 960 Facebook action for resizing and sharpening for blog and web. But you pick what works best for you!
be sure to zoom in at 100% to see how it’s really sharpening. sometimes it looks great until you zoom into 100% and go oh crud- way too much!
[for pse6 to cs5]