Export sharpening is a setting that’s often overlooked when you generate images for online...Read More
Almost all digital images need some degree of sharpening, even if you don’t know it’s actually happening. This is partly because of the way colour images data is interpolated from the camera sensor’s red-green-blue pixel array, partly because most cameras have anti-aliasing filters over the sensor to prevent moiré/interference effects with fine patterns, and partly because no lens is perfect and will deliver different levels of sharpness and different aperture/zoom settings.
But it’s good to be clear about what kind of sharpening is applied and when. The kind of sharpening applied by default for in-camera JPEGs and most RAW processing software is ‘capture sharpening’, which addresses the types of image softness described above.
But there’s also ‘creative sharpening’, which you can use to digitally blur backgrounds or intensify the sharpening on your main subject.
Finally, there’s ‘output sharpening’, which is used to optimise the photo’s detail rendition for different output devices. The type of sharpening you need for on-screen display is quite different to the settings needed for a large art print or publication in a magazine.
You can use capture sharpening and creative sharpening to enhance your pictures, but output sharpening is best kept for when you’re preparing an image for a specific purpose.