Using The Detail Module in Camera Raw and Lightroom - ColdSnap Photography

Using The Detail Module in Camera Raw and Lightroom

Using The “Detail” Module In Adobe Camera Raw
While these instructions are for use with Photoshop CS3 or CS4, they may also be applied to Lightroom 1.4 or 2.0.
The Detail Module controls one of the most important post-processing features available to the digital photographer.


Vernazza Harbour

The first adjustment is to set the “Radius” to .9. This will apply the sharpen filters to only one pixel at a time. If this is set to something greater than 1 the sharpen filters will sharpen and re-sharpen the same pixel resulting in sub-standard results. Next enlarge the preview to 100%(lower left corner of the preview) to view the effects of the sharpen filters on the individual pixels. Select an area of the image that has critical information, like tree branches against the sky or a subjects face.
Hold the Alt key (or Option key) down and move the “Amount” slider. The preview will convert to a B&W image. This is to help delineate how much sharpen is being applied. My partner , Val, doesn’t like the B&W conversion so she simply adjusts the slider to her likely while viewing color preview.The next slider is the “Detail” control. This determines how the edges within the image are sharpened. If you hold the Alt key (or Option key) down while activating this slider you will see an embossed preview showing how much of the edges are being affected. Experimentation and personal preference will determine how you need to adjust your images. Typically I find that setting is correct if I adjust the detail slider to the point where I can just begin to see a white subject outline on the embossed preview. Too much detail can result in hard edges that look digital and fake, it is most noticeable in landscape images with trees against a sky.
The next slider is the “Masking” control. This determines how much sharpening is applied to the middle-tones of the image. Holding the Alt key (or Option key) will show a bunch of squiggles on the preview. The squiggles should just begin to form in the mid-tones of the image. This can be tricky as the mid-tones in one area of the image begin to form before the mid-tones of another area. Compromise and practice are the keys here.
Images sharpened for print by ink jet printers should be sharpened to a slightly greater degree than images for projection or web use. Ink jet printers spray ink, hence the ink will soften slightly when it hits the paper.
Noise Reduction:
There are two sliders in the Noise Reduction area; Luminance and Color.
The Luminance slider controls grayscale noise, which can make an image appear grainy. The Color slider controls chroma noise which is seen as speckles of color contamination.
Noise is a function one or more of the following:
Improper exposure
High ISO settings
Poor quality optics
Poor quality image sensor
The higher you set the noise reduction settings the softer the image becomes. Therefore I do not adjust the noise reduction settings. The defaults settings are: Luminance at zero, and Color at 25. You should properly adjust the image sharpness as noted above, if noise is an issue consider setting your ISO at a lower setting, getting a new lens or camera, or avoid under or over exposure.