FocalBlade: Parameters change as I zoom or move in window

FocalBlade specific discussions
chicagonature
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FocalBlade: Parameters change as I zoom or move in window

Postby chicagonature » Mon May 09, 2005 8:01 pm

I'm a bit confused about what's going on. The Automatic Parameters change as I zoom or move to different areas within the image window. However, these parameters shouldn't vary since I have one unchanging area for FB to sample.

Here's what I do to create the problem:

1) I first set Auto Sharpen, Auto Surface, & Auto Detail to Medium, Medium, and Fine, respectively.

2) I zoom in the viewing box to 6% since the file I'm using is huge. I then select a sample area for FB and FB comes back with certain settings: EDGES=123, SURFACE=148, Both with RADIUS=3.1.

3) When I zoom in to 100%, the settings change to:
EDGES=342, SURFACE=312, maintaining the same RADIUS=3.1.

4) This problem also occurs when I move around at the SAME ZOOM LEVEL and view different parts of the image.

It seems that the only way of working with this is to turn OFF all the AUTO FEATURES after FB comes back with the parameters. Then, it's possible to zoom and move around all I want. Is this the proper fix until you're able to fix what I think is a bug?

In general, what I do is create an image file for each print size and apply FB to each file. Along with each of these image files I save a FB Preset File name appropriately. Do I have to go this route or can FB use some of the same parameters from, say, one of the PRESETS from a larger version of the image file? Am I making myself clear?

Also, one problem I have is that I save the FB Preset File in the same directory as the image file. However, when I want to load a preset or I want to save a preset, it always defaults to FB directory. It's really a pain. Is there a way to make it somehow default to the last used directory like a lot of programs do?

Okay, so that's a lot of stuff. Thanks for all your help.

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Re: FocalBlade: Parameters change as I zoom or move in windo

Postby HaraldHeim » Tue May 10, 2005 12:21 pm

chicagonature wrote:I'm a bit confused about what's going on. The Automatic Parameters change as I zoom or move to different areas within the image window. However, these parameters shouldn't vary since I have one unchanging area for FB to sample.


This is in fact intended behaviour. If you found the right sharpening settings, you have to turn the Auto features off or don't change the zoom or preview area. I think I'll add an option for switching all Auto features off with one click in the next update.

For the auto features to find the best value I recommend that you set the zoom to 100% and choose the most important image area in the preview. At lower zoom values the Auto featues doesn't have all image data at hand for calculating sharpening values.


In general, what I do is create an image file for each print size and apply FB to each file. Along with each of these image files I save a FB Preset File name appropriately. Do I have to go this route or can FB use some of the same parameters from, say, one of the PRESETS from a larger version of the image file? Am I making myself clear?


Larger or smaller versions of the same file have a different blur intensity that was produced by increasing or decreasing the image size. Additionally, the details in these image versions are smaller or larger, so it is better to adjust the sharpening radius to that. So using different sharpening parameters for different image sizes makes sense. But if that is too much work for you, you could decide to work with one sharpening setting for all images. But finding the sharpening setting that would work more or less fine with all image size may require even more time.


Also, one problem I have is that I save the FB Preset File in the same directory as the image file. However, when I want to load a preset or I want to save a preset, it always defaults to FB directory. It's really a pain. Is there a way to make it somehow default to the last used directory like a lot of programs do?


By default FocalBlade opens its Preset sub folder. If you save the preset to another folder it will open that folder the next time. I'm not sure if it does that after you exit and restart it. I will check that and correct it in the next version if necessary. I guess it would be good to let the user choose that behaviour himself.

Thanks for your feedback! It gave me some things to think about and add to the next update.

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Postby chicagonature » Tue May 10, 2005 4:37 pm

Thanks for the reply.

My files are from 100 to 300MB in size and viewing at 100% gives me a very, very small area in the viewing window that probably would not be representative of the entire photograph. Therefore, after sampling an area that I feel is correct, I then zoom in to 100% to see how it really affects the picture.

When choosing an area to sample, what should I be looking for? Should I include in the sample only those areas that need sharpening (i.e., leave out the sky)?

By the way, I know that I'm supposed to look at the image at 100% to view the sharpening results, but I've also been told that looking at the picture at "Print Size" better represents how the sharpening will appear on a print. Often, the little artifacts or sharpened pixels that I see at 100% on the monitor are diffcult to see on the actual print.

What I've also been told is that for making a print, a little bit of "oversharpening" is good because the halos and little artifacts viewed at 100% on the monitor will not appear as pronounced on the actual print. Supposedly, the resulting print will look very sharp, but not oversharp. Since you are Sharpening Man, I suppose you'd be the one to ask about this.

And one final thing: I'm probably just dreaming, but will the day ever come when I could use FocalBlade (or other filters, for that matter) as an Adjustment Layer. Currently, I perform non-destructive editing and never actually touch the original scan after the initial crop. I clone using a clear layer. I apply noise reduction using a duplicate layer of the image and I do the same with creating a sharpening layer. I usually apply intricalte masking and it works great, except that my master files are starting to exceed 1GB in size.

(These masks are great because when I resize to make a smaller or larger print from the Master File, the masks resize, too. On the Master, I create a Sharpen Layer along with a sharpening mask. After I resize to a new print size, I duplicate the unsharpened Background Layer as a New Sharpening Layer and copy the resized sharpening mask (from the original Sharpening Layer) onto it. Then I delete the original Sharpening Layer. This allows me to retain the sharpening mask for any size image. I basically can recreate any of the prints from just one Master File (albeit huge). For each print size, I save a FB Preset File named for and in the same directory as the prints.)

All this said, it takes a long time to open and save files, resize, etc. even with 2GB of memory on my PC. I'm learning to do tasks in between.

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Postby HaraldHeim » Tue May 10, 2005 5:10 pm

chicagonature wrote:When choosing an area to sample, what should I be looking for? Should I include in the sample only those areas that need sharpening (i.e., leave out the sky)?


If there is a face in the image, please make it visible in the preview, otherwise any other area that represents the whole image best.

By the way, I decided to add a Lock check box to FocalBlade in the coming version. If you activate it, the Auto feature won't evalue the preview, but stick to the last evaluated values. That way you will be able to scroll around and view the whole image without changing the sharpening values.


By the way, I know that I'm supposed to look at the image at 100% to view the sharpening results, but I've also been told that looking at the picture at "Print Size" better represents how the sharpening will appear on a print. Often, the little artifacts or sharpened pixels that I see at 100% on the monitor is diffcult to see on the actual print.


If you look at a 25% zoomed version of your image in Photoshop, you probably get something that is close to the actual print, but it you can't fully rely on it. In FocalBlade you get a much sharper view if you zoom out to 25%. The idea behind it is to see the sharpening effect even at lower zoom levels. A future version will let you decide yourself if you want to see the sharper version, something similar to Photoshop or probably a simulation that comes more close to the print version.

What I've also been told is that for making a print, a little bit of "oversharpening" is good because the halos and little artifacts viewed at 100% on the monitor will not appear as pronounced on the actual print. Supposedly, the resulting print will look very sharp, but not oversharp. Since you are Sharpening Man, I suppose you'd be the one to ask about
this.


Yes, that is correct. But you shouldn't over do it. It should only appear slightly too sharp on the monitor. Then again the same image appears sharper on a TFT monitor than on a CRT monitor.

I personally perfer it if a print is slightly less sharp than too sharp. But people with glasses may like the too sharp version better, because their eye sight is less sharp. So you always have to make a compromise.


And one final thing: I'm probably just dreaming, but will the day ever come where I could use FocalBlade (or other filters, for that matter) as an Adjustment Layer.


I taked about that with some Adobe people and it seems they won't even allow Unsharp Mask as an adjustment layer. So I don't think there is a chance that they will allow filter plugins to work as adjustment layers. They only want very simple filters as adjustment layers.

I still hope that they will add a feature in the next Photoshop version that will allow something in that direction...

All this said, it takes a long time to open and save files, resize, etc. even with 2GB of memory on my PC. I'm learning to do tasks in between.


If you look at ColorWasher and LightMachine, you can see that I added a feature called "Log Settings". This features automatically saves the settings that are used on a certain image with the file name of that image. If you open ColorWasher/LightMachine on the same file and have "On Start-Up" set to "Logged Settings", the settings that were previously used on the same file are automartically opened.

So this feature helps a lot if you want to use ColorWasher/LightMachine for non-destructive filtering as you described it. I will add it in a later version of FocalBlade, too.

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Postby chicagonature » Tue May 10, 2005 5:57 pm

I guess I should have said that my main photographic subjects are landscapes, but not so much distant mountains or shots of The West. My shots are primarily of the nature found in the Chicago area, which is quite a lot. I usually have very detailed foregrounds filled with wildflowers in prairies and stuff like that. So, the prints need to show a lot of detail. But, of course, there are always parts in every landscape that require different levels of sharpening--hence why I use masks.

Why doesn't Adobe want filters as adjustment layers? Is it that the program will bog down?

Noise Reduction:
I apply Noise Reduction using Noise Ninja. I play it real safe by removing quite much, but not all, of the noise. Then, once again, I apply a layer mask and brush and brush to get things right. Only when I'm ready to print do I apply FB.

I assume that this method would allow for more aggressive sharpening since most of the graininess in the detail-less areas has been removed. With my medium format (645) scans grain is not a big problem, but with 35mm there can be a lot of grain (even with fine-grained film). I read somewhere in one of these forums that you recommend mainly removing color noise, but it seems that that's not the main noise in most of my images--it's luminance. So, that's what I've been removing. But, Noise Ninja allows contrast to be adjusted, so I do my best to retain the contrast of the original. This tends to bring back a little bit of the grain, but it's an acceptable trade-off because almost all the the detail remains intact.
Do you think I'm on the right track with this method of Noise Reduction & Sharpening with FB?

By the way, it amazes me what sharpening software can actually "see." For instance, when I reduce noise, very faded lines or very thin become more faded or thin--almost to a point of disappearing. But then, I use FB and it brings them back.

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Postby HaraldHeim » Tue May 10, 2005 10:29 pm

chicagonature wrote:But, of course, there are always parts in every landscape that require different levels of sharpening--hence why I use masks.


I see. I plan to add something to FocalBlade that will apply different sharpening to different image areas. I mean not just edges and surfaces as FocalBlade already does now, but image areas with different textures. Hopefully doing that more or less automatically will produce some useful results.


Why doesn't Adobe want filters as adjustment layers? Is it that the program will bog down?


I think so...


I read somewhere in one of these forums that you recommend mainly removing color noise, but it seems that that's not the main noise in most of my images--it's luminance.


I wrote that it isn't good to completely smooth away the noise. Making it less visible is better, because it keeps the details.


Do you think I'm on the right track with this method of Noise Reduction & Sharpening with FB?


I would think so.

I only apply noise reduction in very extreme cases, but usually I don't use it. Reducing the image size or printing the image often smoothes away enough of the noise. If I turn photos to B/W, I like it if there is noise. Only if I use my compact camera at ISO 400 under bad light conditions (which I try to avoid), I feel it is necessary to apply noise reduction.

By the way, it amazes me what sharpening software can actually "see." For instance, when I reduce noise, very faded lines or very thin become more faded or thin--almost to a point of disappearing. But then, I use FB and it brings them back.


I especially like the 0.0 and 0.1 Radius setting of FocalBlade, which makes a lot of very small details visible.

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Postby chicagonature » Tue May 10, 2005 11:06 pm

Harald,

Funny, I was going to ask in the last posting if it would ever be possible to vary the sharpening for different parts of an image.

If you would add this variable sharpening to FB would put it in a league of its own. Were you planning on introducing a way to tweak the automatic results that FB calculates for these different areas (since FB might do a great job on all but one area)?

And, now that you got me excited about it, I must ask if this is something that will be added to the upcoming PC version of FB.

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Postby HaraldHeim » Wed May 11, 2005 11:36 am

Well, it is just an idea. I don't know if it is practical or will produce much better results. I can't tell you much about it, because I didn't really look into it.

I have a lot of new ideas for FocalBlade 2, but I plan to release another PhotoWiz plugin before I start working on FocalBlade 2.

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Postby chicagonature » Fri May 13, 2005 8:13 am

Well, if you need any feedback or need someone to test the implementation of the variable sharpening feature, I'd be glad to help.


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