batch command – unsharp mask/settings – can you do it??

IW
Posted By
Iain Williams
Jan 25, 2004
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1416
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Hello, After much trial & error I have decided to ask the experts! I am using Elements 1 and have many hundreds of images to sharpen using unsharp mask.

My workgroup is convert jpeg to tiff, then: brightness -8, contrasts +8; USM 20/45/0 (amount/radius/threshold); convert to jpeg; save & archive a copy.

Is there a functuion in Elements 1 that allows me to do the above in one go for ALL images (saving time)?? If not in Elements 1, then what programme allows you to do this??

Thank you for any help. Iain (Aust)

MacBook Pro 16” Mockups 🔥

– in 4 materials (clay versions included)

– 12 scenes

– 48 MacBook Pro 16″ mockups

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BH
Beth_Haney
Jan 25, 2004
What you’re actually wanting to do is called run an Action. There are some addon tools that allow certain actionst to be run in PSE 2 and possibly PSE 1 (I can’t remember), however you can’t design your own action set in either version. For that you’d need full Photoshop.
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 26, 2004
Hi Beth,

We have spoken before some time back – hope your well.

I would seem then that Photoshop has the ability to batch command brightness/contrast and unmask settings in one hit for all images.

Which Photoshop do you recommend I buy? Thanks……………Iain
JF
Jodi_Frye
Jan 26, 2004
lain, I’d stick with 7. You’ll also have to learn how to write the action that incorporates it into the batch command…it’s not automatically in the program. There are plenty of on-line tutorials available for this though. Good Luck.
BH
Beth_Haney
Jan 26, 2004
Well… Photoshop CS is the newest version, and it’s been out since Fall. I doubt you’ll find any bargains, so it would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $600. Photoshop 7.0 is now obsolete, and I saw several copies available on eBay. There was quite a range in price, but it looks like that could be had for $100 – $200. Just be careful! I noticed there were a number of upgrade CDs, and you need a full retain version – not OEM or educational, either, because neither could have the registration transferred legally.

I’d look for somebody who had done quite a bit of business on eBay and has pretty good satisfaction rating. I’ve bought stuff on there a couple of times without trouble, but every once in a while people can get ripped off. I suspect software doesn’t draw the number of scam artists as other big ticket stuff.

Now keep in mind there’s going to be a steep learning curve! You might actually find you can make all of those changes manually faster than you can learn how to create and run Actions in full Photoshop! I have CS, and I do recognize and can use a lot of the features, but there’s sure a lot to learn!

Good luck! 🙂

Oh, I see Jodi got here first with essentially the same suggestions! (I had to take a break for dinner!)
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 26, 2004
Thanks Beth and Jodie – I’ll keep my eyes peeled for PH7 on e-bay, Cheers for now………..Iain
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 26, 2004
Beth/Jodie, Another quick query if I may, and I realise the time it takes to reply to some of these "quick questions"!

What do most of the experts do with regard to USM, brightness values and so on – do they batch command / auto run these processes for their images in one go?, or take the time and do it manually per shot?

I have become very aware that no matter which method you select, there seems to be always downfalls for doing something automatically and quickly in comparison to taking some quality time!

Thanks again………….ME
NS
Nancy_S
Jan 26, 2004
Iain,

My 2 cents worth…

Automation would be useful indeed in a situation where you shot a bunch of images using an incorrect white balance setting in your digital camera. All of the images would suffer the same color shift. After correcting one image with adjustment layers, the others would fall into line with the same adjustment applied.

I could do this in PSE by using the drag and drop technique to paste my correction (adjustment layer(s)) into each of the other images, saving lots of time.

Conceivably there would be other instances where automation would be helpful for sure, but as far as the USM goes, it feels to me to be a per image thing. I don’t think best results are often obtained by an "across the board" solution. Each image is different.

Nancy
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 26, 2004
Nancy, Thank for your comments and backing up what I initially thought correct. I will persist with my 2000 images! Enjoy the weekend……….Iain in Australia
CS
Chuck_Snyder
Jan 26, 2004
To add a quarter-cent to Nancy’s 2….

I find myself experimenting with different amounts and thresholds of the USM tool, especially when faces are involved. I might sharpen a landscape with a threshold of 0, but a close-up of a face might get a threshold of 7 or 8 to prevent oversharpening some of the facial features.

Chuck
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 26, 2004
Iain – If you want to speed up the brightness adjustments a little (or any other adjustment that you can do via an adjustment layer) you can do the first image and then then just drag the adjustment layers to each image after you open them. I agree with Chuck and Nancy that the right USM settings vary a lot from image to image.

Susan (also in Aus)
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 26, 2004
Good idea Susan, but the time saving is minimal.

My camera is a Canon G5 and I find that 99% of my shots always produce a veil like appearence on the image which needs cleaning up to get a snappy clean looking shot (other G5 ownners report the same, and Canon states it is from the low-pass filter that the G5 has. Canon did it this way to allow greater scope for post shooting image manipulation – so they say).

Adjusting the brightness -8, contrast +8 and USM to 20/45/0 really improves all my shots and removes the veil (looks like a sort of very thin hase). I then do more work per shot on those I want to keep or the good ones.

A batch command/run action would have been a great time saver to initially make all the shots the same thereby removing the veil (as I have not been able to do this though, I’ve been doing each shot manually, so my idea may not work at all – Susan mentions each shot is different in anycase). I have breesebrowser V2.8 which has batch command, but I find that NOTHING so far bets Adobe for end quality….

I guess the easiest, less frustrating, although more expensive way is to purchase the new Photoshop CF which supports batch command / run actions and allows you to easily do what I have mentioned above. Thanks everybody – this has been a very good learning experience………Iain (still in Aust)
JF
Jodi_Frye
Jan 26, 2004
hmmm, now i wonder how many people are going to want the G5 after reading this thread. Other G5 owners out there having this problem with veil appearence on images ?
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 26, 2004
That’s an odd one Iain – I have the Canon G3 and don’t notice this problem. Most of my images can be used straight from the camera if I really want to, although all will benefit from a touch of USM, and I often tweak the levels (or curves – I have the Elements add-ons that allow me to do this.) I presume that you do have your monitor correctly callibrated and the color management reasonably straight – the appearance of my images can vary a lot depending on the options I choose and how my monitor is calibrated (she says sighing having spent another evening/early morning trying to get her head around just these issues…!) I do find the G3 does tend to blow out highlights and overexpose to my eye for outdoor shots – to avoid this I tend to have my exposure compensation permanently set on -1/3 to 2/3 in these circumstances, and then use Elements to lift the shadows if I need to.
Susan S.
JF
Jodi_Frye
Jan 26, 2004
Lain, me again, I was just over at steve’s digicams to check out your camera reviews and i didn’t notice any of his sample pictures with the ‘veil’ appearence. Overlooking the review i did notice that the camera has alot of settings to tinker and play with. Is it possible one of your settings got knocked a little off course ? It might be something that will save you the hassel of having to fix your images. Anyways, i posted his review if you wanted to take a look.

<http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/g5.html>
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 27, 2004
Thanks people. First, I know of a few folks with G5s and all say the same thing to some extent or another – there is nearly always a thin veil over the image. This depends widely on the image. Monocolour shots (like a quarry or a rock face) always have the veil – it sort of looks underexposed. As said earlier, auto contrast or USM 20/45/0 will always remove the veil with the end result being the image jumps right out at you and demands coffee!

To be safe I checked my G5 and all setting are as they should be.

YES Susan the monitor calibration is one REAL pain…… In fact, I’d say this may be part of my problem. I think I’ll do some further work on the issue and review my results. I downloaded quick gamma yesterday and I’ve discovered it produces very different calibration results to Adobe gamma!

Monitor calibration may also indicate why some folks (as you say) get great results out of the camera, whilst others struggle to fix their images – monitor calibration is rarely the same for everyone and may be also the cause of the thin veil!! In fact, if you mess with the gamma you can cause all images to have the same type of veil appearance.

All this writing, thinking, and well written feedback by you certainly helps you think out the problem (s). Cheers…………….Iain
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 27, 2004
Susan and friends, I hope this is not outside the elements parameters – if so please let me know.

GAMMA. The gamma seems to remove the veil effect when it is darkened up somewhat, which makes me conclude that it may be my gamma that is out! I’ve read fairly widely on the issue, but to tell the truth I’m not a real gamma geek – I just want it to be set correctly so I can get on with life!.

Question one: Is Adobe gamma OK to use – or would you suggest another gamma programme such as quick gamma??

Question two: When setting Adobe gamma – it says to move the slider until the rectangle fades into the box. Does this mean you move it until the rectangle STARTS to fade, or wait until it sort of blends with the background lines (about half way)??

I notice that if I open an image (which previously had a veil), start Adobe gamma and operate the slider (fading box), I can totally remove the veil and image jumps out at me!

Next question: Is it better to set the gamma with a picture open as a template and save the slider setting when I am happy with density/gamma/contrast of the template image?

This can be very complicated and I hope this makes sense. Thanks awfully………Iain
NS
Nancy_S
Jan 27, 2004
lain,

About the gamma box with slider…you are supposed to be a distance away from your monitor, but be able to reach the mouse to move the slider, squint with your eyes somewhat and determine at what point the entire area looks uniform. The box should disappear into its surroundings.

Try this…in PSE create a new document which is a long narrow rectangle. Choose the gradient tool from the ToolBox, select a black to white gradient. Beginning at the left edge of the rectangle, drag the cursor on a straight line to the right edge and let go. You should have a transition from black to white in the box. Now go to the bottom of the Layers Palette (which you should always have open on your PSE workarea), click on the blk/white circle and choose " Posterize". Choose about 20 steps in the dialog box which appears. Now that black to white transition should not be continuous, it should be a series of small boxes, each one a separate and distinct shade ranging from black to white.

If a monitor is properly adjusted, one should be able to see all the boxes. They should all appear to be slightly different. This is the ideal. (I confess however that I can never distinguish between the two blackest boxes). Perhaps it would be helpful to have this "Step Wedge" open when you run the Gamma utility.

I have a suggestion about your editing procedure. Generally using the Brightness/Contrast adjustment is not the best practice. You might find better results by pulling up a Levels Adjustment layer and move the outside black triangles inwards until they are directly below the beginning and end of the black histogram. Use the middle slider to control general lightness/darkness of the image, this is for the midtones.

Nancy

—edit: midtones meaning gamma

—edit: watch the image on your monitor as you move the triangles in the Levels Adjustment, you will see it change.
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 27, 2004
Nancy, Thanks for the essay (joke here). Ah so that’s what you do! It’s amazing – the box disappears completely when you do as you suggest – THANKS for explaining this to me – it also makes the pictures look consistently the same.

Yes I like levels too and think it produces better results than brightness/contrast. It seems you can almost match the results with levels just as quickly as using auto-contrast with USM.

I thing I’ve learned (and I’m sure others are also reading this) is that there is no definite approach that can be used for all pictures (out of the box so to speak). Depending on the image (which may differ due to light intensity, etc) it may be best to use auto contrast with USM, levels with USM, or if the results are similar auto levels with USM – USM always being the last step.

Thanks…..Iain

Well it seems as if I am sort of sorted.
NS
Nancy_S
Jan 27, 2004
lain,

I wonder if you have been printing out any of your images, or are they all for strictly screen viewing….because I believe images print out a bit softer than they appear on the monitor. For printing one might want to sharpen to what appears to be just a bit overboard on your monitor and the printout will be perfect. Your USM setting seems a tad low to me, but your numbers would be more for a global contrast increase. I think for sharpening of elements in the image a general starting place would be like amount 100, radius 1, threshold 2 (sometimes threshold) and increase these values a little if desired.
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 27, 2004
Nancy,

100/1/0 seems quite good also.

What is your work flow? Do you always use levels (to add contrast to make it a little more punchy) then USM, or do you use auto-contrast and USM??

Iain
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 27, 2004
Nancy, I only view on screen – never print (thank goodness).

Just experimented with your settings of 100/1/0 – subtle differences with a much better quality image than what I was using before. I find that all my images need to be darkened up somewhat using levels – usually to about 30 – this removes the veil I keep talking about. Pity I cannot send an image?……Iain
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 27, 2004
Iain -if you have broadband I would be interested to see one of your (unedited) images to see if they look the same way on my screen as on yours…..my email adddress is in my profile (assuming you are reading using the web forum, just click on my name)

(added interest factor being that I use an imac so my callibration utility is different and Macs usually use a gamma of 1.8 rather than 2.2 , the windows standard – the latter is darker – I’ve just switched to using 2.2 as my printer appears to assume that is what it looks like and it saves me from having to brighten everything up before I print it)

Susan S.
NS
Nancy_S
Jan 27, 2004
lain,

Yes, I always use Levels and move the triangles under the histogram ends and sometimes move the gamma triangle. Most of my images are from my digital camera (though some from my scanner)and I always apply some USM. Sometimes I use a general USM near what you use, about 10-20 amount, radius anywhere from 10-60 and then follow that with another USM to sharpen detail (beginning at 100/1/2 and going from there if needed). Have to be careful not to get "halos" around objects though when sharpening. I often make a merged copy of my image, change the mode to Luminosity and sharpen that layer on top of stack, helps not to get the halo effects.

—edit: I have never used the Auto anything

—edit: end of the day here, bye now
NS
Nancy_S
Jan 27, 2004
Suan,

Intersting…I have always used 1.8 on my Windows box, the prints are more to my liking.
T
Tel
Jan 27, 2004
I found a tutorial recently on sharpness and the author’s recommendation was as follows:-

For the first sharpening (after other corrections – not aimed for printing) Amount 200%-500% (I sometimes use down to 150%)
Radius 0.3-0.5
Threshold 0-2 (The lower the better)

For the second – aimed for printing, should look a bit exaggerated Up to A4 size 100%-200%.
Up to A4 size 0.6-0.9
Threshold 0-2

For larger prints find it by experimental printing, but keep below threshold 10.

I haven’t done any prints using these settings yet but for screen observation I’ve never had such good looking images, sharpness-wise.

The Canon raw images do indeed look softish (from the 300D) but I don’t see much change with the file viewer utility adjustments. Contrast changes the percepted sharpness a lot so I use that if there is free space to do it in the histogram but I use levels in PE in preference as then I know how much data I’m throwing away and don’t risk burning out the whites.

Tel.
LK
Leen_Koper
Jan 27, 2004
Tel, could you provide the URL?

Leen
IW
Iain Williams
Jan 28, 2004
Yes Tel I also would love to see this URL as it no doubt will assist me and others. THANK YOU……Iain
JD
Juergen_D
Jan 28, 2004
These USM Quick Tips were mentioned here a little while ago. I’ve had good success with them.
http://www.lonestardigital.com/photoshop_quicktips.htm#clari fier

Juergen
T
Tel
Jan 28, 2004
It was in an excellent article by Rob Galbraith entitled ‘Looking Sharp’ in PhotoLife, volume 29, number 1, jan 2004.

I forgot to mention that it applied to photoshop in that one should, immediately after usm, do an Edit/Fade/Luminosity command which PE doesn’t support.

However, you can also do it on a luminosity layer created with some hassle or easily with Richard Lynch’s Hidden Powers. The latter is the other greatest improvement my pictures have seen in years..

Seems I’m always plugging hidden powers but let’s face it, it’s deserving of it, so I’m not at all put out 🙂

Tel.
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 29, 2004
To expand on Tel’s last post – manual fading of a filter is dead easy in Elements- Richard’s tool just allows you to do it after the event. If you see an instruction in a photoshop tutorial to eg "Edit/fade filter X to fifty per cent luminosity’ all you need to do is to duplicate the layer you are going to run the filter on, run the filter on the duplicate layer, set the blending mode (in this case to luminosity – it could be darken or whatever) and then set the opacity to the nominated percentage. Then merge down. For portraits I sometimes oversharpen a duplicate and then switch the duplicate to darken (the equivalent of fading to darken) and fiddle with the opacity until I get the effect I want – the light halos disappear and eyelashes are emphasised without bringing up the skin blemishes too much.
DS
Dick_Smith
Jan 29, 2004
Susan,

Thanks for that tip. It goes directly to my tip file!

Just played with it a bit and really liked the effect.

Dick
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 29, 2004
Dick – Needless to say it ithe tip is not original to me – my understanding of the way that the fade command works is from Richard Lynch and the use of fade to darken after sharpening comes from somthing on retouching portraits that I read somewhere (it may be Katrin Eisemann’s book – but I can’t find a reference right now)
JF
Jodi_Frye
Jan 29, 2004
Geeze, i could have sworn it was Richard Coencas that shared that tip here a few months ago.
CS
Chuck_Snyder
Jan 29, 2004
Susan, as always, your memory needs no Unsharp Mask….! It’s in Eismann’s section on sharpening (p. 190 of the first edition, page 263 of the second edition).
JF
Jodi_Frye
Jan 29, 2004
oh, i was referring to the layer fade tip.
SS
Susan_S.
Jan 29, 2004
Actually I think Jodi is right – my feeling is that is where I came across it, here on this forum, although as Chuck has noticed these things appear in various places.
Whenever I come up with anything "new" in Elements it is likely to have already been spotted by someone else or is only a minor improvement on something someone else has already acheived, which would not be possible without their work – "we are like dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance"
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Jan 29, 2004
Another vote for Levels and USM…that’s my standard procedure with almost every image that I value enough to work on. I have found that with many images, it’s best to do the white and black point adjustments on the individual R, G and B channels, rather than on the composite RGB, but my final step is to tweak the midpoint on the RGB channel to the right to increase color saturation.
Just to correct a comment someone made many posts ago, Levels is included in PSE. Curves is not and must be added. I have a copy of Photoshop LE 5.0 that came with my scanner that includes Curves, so I use that when I have a "problem" image that needs correction beyond what I can do with Levels. My settings for the USM are usually 70-110/0.7-1.5/0-3 but it depends greatly on the image. For landscape shots I usually set the threshold to 0, but for skin tones, you need to raise it to 1 0r 2 at least to avoid granular-looking skin.
The radius setting is highly image-dependent. Lots of detail requires a very low value to avoid haloing.
Although I understand Iain’s desire to automate the USM process, I think it’s not really possible to do it very effectively unless the images are all very similar in content.
Bert
DS
Dick_Smith
Jan 29, 2004
Well, ya know, I won’t site any one particular source, I’ll just say it "Came From the Forum" instead. (Any resemblance to it came for outer space is intentional!)

Regardless it is a tip worth remembering!

Dick

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