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Documentation & User Guides | FotoWare

Sharpening filter sub action

Use this sub action to sharpen pictures in your workflows.


The Sharpening Filter sub action is used to increase the sharpness of images. It is similar to the unsharp mask filter found in Photoshop and other image editors. In addition to applying a basic unsharp mask filter, the sharpening filter has three modes of action: You can choose between the FotoWare SmartSharp™ technology, a Smooth mode that only sharpens edges and details, and a Contrast limiter that suppresses sharpening in darker areas of the image.

Note that sharpening an area that contains much noise (typically a dark area of an image) will make the area appear grainy.

As with image processing in general, make sure that you fully understand how the image processing works before using it in a production environment. We suggest testing the sub action on several test images to make sure that the sub action is performing the sharpening as expected.

Normal sharpening

To perform normal sharpening of images (unsharp mask), simply adjust the Amount, Radius andThreshold values as you see fit. Do not select any of the three checkboxes, since this will enable built-in sharpening technologies. It’s usually a good idea to experiment a little with the values and try them out on some test images to be able to verify the result before putting the sharpening filter to use in production.

Using SmartSharp™ technology

Select this checkbox if you would like to use FotoWare’s own sharpening technology. Essentially, SmartSharp™ analyzes the image to determine whether sharpening is necessary. By clicking on the Advanced settings button you can adjust the sensitivity to noise and sharpness required to apply sharpening. Since you generally don’t want noisy areas to be sharpened, a high noise sensitivity means that sharpening is disabled even for images with little noise, whereas a low noise sensitivity means that an image must have much noise before sharpening is disabled.

If FotoStation determines that sharpening is necessary, the radius and threshold settings come into play. To have the program automatically detect a suitable radius and/or threshold setting, select the checkboxes labeled Use automatic radius detection and/or Use automatic threshold detection respectively.

If you would rather set one or both of these values manually, leave the automatic detection unselected and adjust the values in the Radius and/or Threshold fields in the Unsharp Mask part of the Action properties window.

Smooth mode

When using Smooth Mode, FotoStation analyses the image and sharpens only edges and details in the image. Even areas are less affected by the sharpening filter. There are three smoothness levels to choose from in the dropdown list, Low, Normal or High smoothness. The lowest setting will apply some sharpening to non-edge areas, while the higher levels will apply little or no sharpening to these areas, improving the sharpness only around edges and in smaller details.

Using the contrast limiter

Using the Contrast limiter will make FotoStation apply less sharpening to darker areas in the image, since these areas normally contain much noise. The Contrast limiter setting also has three levels; Low, Normal or High limiter. With the limiter set low, some sharpening will be applied in dark areas, while with the higher settings, little or no sharpening will be applied in these areas to avoid making image noise more apparent.

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