Sharpen your X photosTips


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  1. crboone

    crboone Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I found something that has helped my X photos to have more clarity. But before I write this, this is *not* spam to promote a product. It's just something I wanted to share because I've been a little disappointed with my X photos (as can be seen in some of my prior posts), and there may be others who feel the same way.

    After reading the "Droid X vs. Droid Incredible 8MP Camera Showdown" thread comparing photos between the 2 phones, and seeing the sharpness of the Incredible camera over the X (even though the colors of the X appear to be more accurate), I wondered if there was a way to improve the photos taken with my X.

    I did a search on the internet and found this free, almost professional-grade photo editing software:

    GIMP - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So I downloaded it to see how well it worked.

    I found that using the "sharpen" feature actually produced a certain harshness to the photos, and the size of the photos were reduced when saving them. After enlarging both the originals and the "sharpened" photos to 100% to compare them, I could see why. The Sharpen filter seems to reduce the overall quality and pixels of the photos, thus producing a harshness.

    However, I read on the Wiki site about using the "Unsharp Mask" to accomplish the same thing without the degradation that the Sharpen filter produces. And sure enough, not only were my photos sharper with the "Unsharp Mask," but they did not have that harshness produced by the Sharpen filter. And after enlarging the before-and-after photos to 100%, I could see that the quality of the full-size view had not been reduced in the process as it had with the Sharpen filter. And when saving the edited photos they are approximately the same size as the originals (indicating that some of the photo information hadn't just been "removed" while filtering the picture).

    That said, there are settings to the Unsharp Mask that need to be considered. I have changed the "amount" setting from .25 to 1.0 depending on the photo in order to make sure I'm sharpening the photo as much as possible without overdoing it and producing a similar harshness that results from too much alteration. You must be careful to look at the entire photo, and even to enlarge the before-and-after to 100% if needed, to get the proper balance on a per-photo basis.

    The photos still aren't quite as sharp as the Incredible's after editing (the optics must simply be better on that camera in that regard). But this near-professional quality software can really make photos stand out with more clarity and it retains the accuracy of the color content of the Droid X camera. It also offers a large selection of interesting filters to do other things with your pictures.

    Note: If anyone decides to try this out, be aware that this software attempts to install other programs, but it allows you to decline them. You must decline about 2-3 other programs during the process of installation. I also had to uninstall the Yahoo toolbar afterwards. I guess that's how they can offer it for free.

    I apologize if this post is inappropriate -- please feel free to remove it if it causes any offense. I am just really glad that I can tweak my X photos so that they have greater clarity than the X software (including Vignette) produces.
     

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  2. Willyg44

    Willyg44 Well-Known Member

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    Would you mind posting some before and afters?
     
  3. crboone

    crboone Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Here's an example, but the difference isn't quite as distinquishable with the smaller pictures on Photobucket (Photobucket reduces the size and quality of the originals). Notice the texture of the leaves, the bushes, the grass along the bottom of the picture, the dirt by the road, the roof of the building. The "before" shot is typical of all of my X photos.


    Before:

    [​IMG]


    After (I use a very conservative (light) setting because I'd rather under-sharpen than to overdo it.):

    [​IMG]
     
  4. crboone

    crboone Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Here's an example taken in softer light (around 6:45pm). The original almost seems to have a "haze" to it, which, I think, is just because of the slight fuzziness.


    Before:

    [​IMG]


    After:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. crboone

    crboone Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Just a couple of the interesting filters:


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  6. nynvolt

    nynvolt Well-Known Member

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    Nice find, thanks for sharing.
     
  7. tom108

    tom108 Well-Known Member

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  8. crboone

    crboone Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks, I'll check it out and compare. If it's as good, I'd prefer web-based in this case rather than having to install software. Otherwise I'll keep using GIMP.
     
  9. Stone

    Stone Well-Known Member

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    Gimp is very high quality free software. I used it quite a bit before I bought CS5, It can do almost everything Photoshop does if you take the time to learn it.

    I use Lightroom 3.2 on my DX photos since I already own it for processing the raw files from my DSLR.
     
  10. iresq

    iresq Active Member

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    The unsharp mask (used judiciously) is almost always good for digital pics and video.
     

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