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My pictures, once uploaded to website, don't look very sharp

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by Rupert49, May 3, 2018.

  1. Rupert49

    Rupert49 Well-Known Member

    I frequently take photographs during outings undertaken by my local U3A and, having edited them, I send a selection to the person who manages our website, so that those who took part (and others besides) can relive the visit.

    I've become increasingly dissatisfied with the way the photographs 'look' on the website .. they nearly always appear 'soft' as if not sufficiently sharpened.

    My current method is as follows: A typical raw file of average size 30MB, measuring 5760 x 3840 pixels, is processed first using ACR and then opened in PSE11. Once appropriately sharpened I save it as a jpeg, setting the file size to somewhere between 2MB and 3MB. That saved file is then re-opened in PSE11 so that I can reduce its proportions (as requested by the person who will be uploading the pictures to the website) so that the width across is 900 pixels (I have 'constrain proportions' turned on so that the other dimension changes automatically). I then re-save it, without any further alterations, as another jpeg file, usually setting the file size to between 200KB and 250KB.

    Should I be applying more sharpening to the reduced size image before saving it? Wouldn't that introduce the distracting edge effect often seen with an over sharpened image? Some advice from AP Forum friends would be very much appreciated.
  2. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    Resize the image, then apply any sharpening. Sharpening is always the last thing I do when processing. A smaller image (physical size) should require less sharpening
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  3. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I use a different processor from you (so my comments are not much use) and seem to have no problems but two questions
    1. Are the other images on the site OK?
    2. Does the final process allow you a choice of algorithm for the resizing? Mine offers 11 choices and I prefer Lanzos3 which is described as sharper.

    I presume your images look fine at full size.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't compress it then resize. I'd resize directly to 900 pixels then compress, adding sharpening. That's basically what I do for Flickr in LR with target max side 800 px, file size 200 kb and medium sharpening (options low, med, high). Works pretty well even with 5Ds raw files that start at 50 MP !
  5. Rupert49

    Rupert49 Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone ... I'll certainly give your method a go, PeteRob, as I already do all the other things that people have mentioned.
  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Resizing a JPG and re-saving effectively and unavoidably loses more detail. JPG is a lossy compression, so every time it's applied to an image afresh, it's going to be working on an image with some detail missing, and then throw some more away.

    Saving as JPG should always be the last and final thing you do with an image, if you want to resize, or make any changes, you should do that from the original RAW.
  7. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Edit: JPG supports some changes which don't trigger a re-compression, but not many. Rotation and flips can be done without causing additional loss of data, but only if the application knows how to achieve it.
  8. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Who is going to care? If your photographs are interesting and/or aesthetically pleasing, then people will enjoy them for their content - not for their sharpness. If they are not interesting/aesthetically pleasing, no-one is going enjoy them just because you sharpened them.
  9. swanseadave

    swanseadave Well-Known Member

    To my mind,if a saved .jpg needs work then I would convert it to .tif and carry out the adjustments and resave as a .jpg.

    Does that make sense?:(
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  10. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Sort of, but this example starts with a raw file so all of the processing can be done before it is saved to the desired jpg dumensions and file size.
  11. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    As long as you don't save it and reload it between each change, it won't make any difference. JPGs are uncompressed when loaded into an editing tool, and only re-compressed when saved. So load, save as tif, make changes, save as jpg is exactly the same as load, make changes, save as jpg. Unless you save and reload multiple times (e.g. taking a break and coming back to it later).
  12. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    There is no point in closing the file and opening the newly created JPEG. Once you have saved the file as a full size JPEG simply resize it to the required dimensions, apply extra sharpening if required (resizing can induce softness) and use the 'Save As' option to save the smaller file with an appropriate filename. I also rarely set the JPEG quality below maximum and never below 10 in PS when saving small files - excessive compression compromises sharpness, detail and colour consistency. Unless the image contains a lot of detail I find that a pic 1600pixels on the long side generally comes in at about 1MB in JPEG, IIRC 800pixel images were quite a lot less...
  13. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    I usually use Adobe's standard bicubic setting when downsizing, because to my eye the "bicubic sharper" algorithm sometimes gives slightly crunchy results.

    ACR and Lightroom are designed around the 3-stage sharpening process (or 2 stages if you don't use "creative sharpening") first prescribed by the late Bruce Fraser many years ago. So it's not unusual to apply another round of sharpening after resizing for web, the first having been applied in the raw convertor.

    There are ways to offset halos when sharpening - quite neat tricks in Photoshop CC such as use of the "blend if" layer options or channel masks. In PS Elements, you should be able to refine it with shadow/highlight adjustments as described here.

    Sometimes there is code written into web pages that automatically resizes the image, which would take the edge off of sharpness. Obviously it only takes a minor adjustment in this respect to have a detrimental effect (happens on Facebook in its default view, but then Facebook savages photos anyway with ferocious compression).
  14. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree. I discovered this some years ago, when dissatisfied with re-sizing, and decided to experiment a little with the settings. IIRC, the setting is bicubic sharper by default, upon installation of the program (unless, of course, I don't remember correctly!).

    By coincidence, the word "crunchy" was how I described this characteristic to someone at the time, so I guess that you and I were seeing similar problems. :)

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