Do you have opinions on smugmug's sharpening?

BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founderMountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
edited October 1, 2004 in SmugMug Support
There's a persistent opinion at dpreview that we add too much unsharp mask when we resize photos to take them down to medium, small, etc.

My opinion is we should try to match the sharpness of the original, but clearly on this one of Andy's, we made it sharper. Here's the original:

8654718-O.jpg

And the version we resized (unsharp=40% radius=1)

8622259-M.jpg

Here are progressively less sharpened versions. Does one look right to you?

30% radius 1:

8767306-M.jpg

25% radius 1:

8767305-M.jpg

20% radius 1:

8767304-M.jpg

10% radius .4:

8767303-M.jpg

Any favorite images you want us to try this with?

Comments

  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    I'd love to see what would happen with no sharpening. For reference, if nothing else.
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  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited September 20, 2004
    DavidTO wrote:
    I'd love to see what would happen with no sharpening. For reference, if nothing else.
    Your wish is my command. Here it is with zero sharpening using our resize algorithm (Lanczos, which preserves a lot of detail and doesn't require as much unsharp mask after as Photoshop's bicubic).

    8771000-M.jpg

    Here it is with no unsharp mask after using Photoshop's bicubic resizing:

    8771001-M.jpg

    By way of history, we know we can't get away with no unsharp because customers tell us we made their images fuzzy.
  • dkappdkapp Custon Title :) Registered Users Posts: 985 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    I prefer the last one (10% radius .4) The colors are very close to the original.

    Look at the difference between the default Smugmug sharpening & then the last one.

    Smugmug Default:
    8654718-M.jpg

    10% radius .4:
    8767303-M.jpg

    This is just my personal preference.

    Dave
  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    I say: the less the better.
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  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited September 20, 2004
    DavidTO wrote:
    I say: the less the better.
    One thing we've wanted to do for a long time but there are always higher priority things is to enable pro accounts to set their own unsharp parameters.

    It seems that portrait photographers want less than car photographers do, and pros want less than consumers.

    In the meantime, I think our inclination is to reduce it but not by so much that we get the my original was sharper help messages coming in again.
  • flyingpylonflyingpylon Major grins Fishers, IN USARegistered Users Posts: 260 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    Being able to set our own unsharp parameters would be great. The other thing I would like is a little less compression or again, the ability to set compression. But I realize that's another topic.
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited September 20, 2004
    Here's a car original:

    8787917-O.jpg
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited September 20, 2004
    Unsharp 40 radius 1:

    8787920-M.jpg

    Unsharp 30 radius 1:

    8787922-M.jpg

    Unsharp 20 radius 1:

    8787926-M.jpg

    Unsharp 10 radius 1:

    8787929-M.jpg

    Unsharp 10 raddius .4:

    8787930-M.jpg
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Charleston, SCRegistered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    Is this an eye test?


    I can't see any differences, just had my eyes checked, too. And with no hearing I am very visual.

    Actually in sharpening my own photos, sometimes I notice a difference and sometimes I don't. I try not to push it.

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    thanks for doing this, baldy
    question and comment

    so do i understand that no matter what, you'll *always* have some amount of sharpening added to -L, -M and -S images on smugmug?

    boy, the pro feature of having sharpening on or off sure would be nice.

    i have had numerous comments over the past year that my -M and -L images look too sharp, or show halos, or otherwise aren't right. and i figured it out, that smug was sharpening ontop of my sharpening. that's when i went waaaaaaaay down on my standard usm in post - i usually use (100, .4, 0).

    funny thing about the guitar man, that was shot with canon's fifty f/1.4, really sharp glass - the -O you've linked has no sharpening whatsover :D

    i would suggest that you sharpen all basic accounts, and let intermediate and pro accounts apply their own sharpening as they wish. i know this may take a big effort, but the rewards will be there. sharpening for basic accounts is in order, as many folks will upload shots with little or no ps.
  • snapapplesnapapple Major grins Sunny San Diego, CARegistered Users Posts: 2,093 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    Sharpen everything?
    Wow! I hate what you did to Andy's guitar man. It looks fine with no sharpening. I agree that the car looks better sharpened. Cars need sharp lines and sparkle, faces don't. I only have a basic account, but I don't think my pictures need sharpening for the most part. I use unsharp mask to get them where I like them. If it's low resolution JPEG and the person orders a very large print, sharpening might be needed. But, that's not most of us here. Do I have to switch to a more expensive account just so you won't sharpen my pictures?
    "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds." - Francis Bacon
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  • onethumbonethumb SmugMug CEO & Chief Geek Silicon Valley, CAAdministrators Posts: 1,269 Major grins
    edited September 20, 2004
    andy wrote:
    question and comment

    so do i understand that no matter what, you'll *always* have some amount of sharpening added to -L, -M and -S images on smugmug?

    boy, the pro feature of having sharpening on or off sure would be nice.

    We should note, this is the way it was on Day One (no sharpening at all). And we got tons of complaints (with only like 100-200 customers) about it, because everything looked way too "soft" after being resized down to Large, Medium, etc. Everyone, pros included, *demanded* that we add sharpening.

    Now, we have sharpening on, and we rarely hear complaints (with tens of thousands of customers). Of course, rarely != never.

    If there's a happy medium we can come to that causes even less complaints than we get now, that would be ideal, hence this thread. :)

    Don
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited September 28, 2004
    andy wrote:
    question and comment

    so do i understand that no matter what, you'll *always* have some amount of sharpening added to -L, -M and -S images on smugmug?

    boy, the pro feature of having sharpening on or off sure would be nice.

    i have had numerous comments over the past year that my -M and -L images look too sharp, or show halos, or otherwise aren't right. and i figured it out, that smug was sharpening ontop of my sharpening. that's when i went waaaaaaaay down on my standard usm in post - i usually use (100, .4, 0).
    The issue is that when you downsample, as we have to do to make smaller images, it loses sharpness. So if you sharpen your original, if we add no unsharp mask, your photos would look less sharp in L and M (and all the other sizes) than the original.

    Right now they look more sharp, so my tendency is to lean toward a lower sharpening setting that would keep it about the same.

    Make sense?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited September 28, 2004
    i'm hip, don and chris .. furthermore,
    you'll not find a better group of measurebators than those that congregate at dpreview forums. lol3.gif

    so, i'm liking what baldy and you have just said, and i git it....
  • zero-zerozero-zero Overworked idjet Vigo, SpainRegistered Users Posts: 147 Major grins
    edited October 1, 2004
    I'd say bring it down a notch or two, with the prior understanding that you will never find the way to please everyone. As you mentioned, some subjects beg for more USM while others need less, combine that with each user's personal tastes and you're done for no matter what algorithm you use.

    Maybe an optional "sharper/smoother" (never say "softer" :D ) resize option upon upload would be the way to go. Gives people the power to choose and I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult to implement.
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited October 1, 2004
    zero-zero wrote:
    I'd say bring it down a notch or two, with the prior understanding that you will never find the way to please everyone. As you mentioned, some subjects beg for more USM while others need less, combine that with each user's personal tastes and you're done for no matter what algorithm you use.

    Maybe an optional "sharper/smoother" (never say "softer" :D ) resize option upon upload would be the way to go. Gives people the power to choose and I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult to implement.
    Okay, good advice. We just set it to 20%, which is half of what it was and the setting that seemed about right in the images we tested. It will go live on the site that way in a day or two, probably.

    Then we'll wait and collect feedback to see if any further adjustment is necessary.
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