Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

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Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby Reign of Crows » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:23 pm

This one is a bit of a weird issue to me.

Normally I work in Capture One with my RAW files, export them in JPEG, import to Photos, and do any further sharing from Photos. Whether I can copy and paste the image (which seems to automatically resize to somewhere around 1024x768-sized images) or export and resize down, quality is maintained and the original sharpness characteristics seem to be maintained.

I had the thought to cut Photos out of the mix for certain applications, exporting scaled images directly from Capture One as a preview. Yet the output looks awful. Images appear very soft, to the point that it almost looks as if they're out of focus. This seems to occur whether I do a percentage size reduction or specify the longest dimension as being 1024 pixels long.

What I've tried so far has been to use the "output sharpening for screen" option from the "Adjustments" pane of the export dialogue. For photos taken from my 50 megapixel camera this has improved things a little bit, although they still don't look all that great; it makes me think that I just need to figure out an optimal sharpening level. Yet for photos taken from my 20 megapixel camera it makes lines appear jagged, and the output appears better without any export sharpening applied. (In both cases, sharpening is already being adjusted to the main file, and exporting a file without any scaling applied looks as perfect as I see it in Capture One.)

It's a bit frustrating - I mean, it's scaling! Aperture and Photos were always capable of doing this seemingly without needing any intervention. I can appreciate that Capture One offers finer control of the output, but the idea that I'd need to experiment to find an optimal sharpening setting per camera strikes me as overly complicated and makes me think that I must be missing something. Any suggestions?
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby SFA » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:28 pm

Scaling means adding or subtracting data and deciding you to deal with fine detail.

I have long been puzzled at the need for huge Megapixel sensors - for cameras or now phones - when the end result will so often be a file that throws away most of the expensively acquired data.


The manufacturers seem to be very good at creating a market for products that are rarely used to their capabilities.

Or maybe they are used to their capabilities and we just don;t spot it.

That said if you are outputting for screen use you need to consider the size of the image AND the size and resolution of the screen on which the image will be viewed. That can be quite tricky in the modern age with so many different devices and different screen standards around.

What are you using for displaying the images?
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby tenmangu81 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:04 pm

Reign of Crows wrote:What I've tried so far has been to use the "output sharpening for screen" option from the "Adjustments" pane of the export dialogue. For photos taken from my 50 megapixel camera this has improved things a little bit, although they still don't look all that great; it makes me think that I just need to figure out an optimal sharpening level. Yet for photos taken from my 20 megapixel camera it makes lines appear jagged, and the output appears better without any export sharpening applied. (In both cases, sharpening is already being adjusted to the main file, and exporting a file without any scaling applied looks as perfect as I see it in Capture One.)


As far as I am concerned, I don't apply any sharpening on my RAW files. They are sharp enough to my mind, even if my camera is a 24 Mpx only. When I need to export them as jpeg for the web, for instance, I need to scale them down to 1024 or even 700 px wide, and I sharpen them a little bit with the "output sharpening for screen" only (not that much, say between 100 and 200), and the result seems more than correct to me. I have tried to sharpen both with the sharpening tool in the regular adjustments together with a second sharpening at the output level, and the result could be awful, depending upon the image. This is why I've decided not to sharpen at the "adjustments" level.
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby Reign of Crows » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:30 pm

SFA wrote:That said if you are outputting for screen use you need to consider the size of the image AND the size and resolution of the screen on which the image will be viewed. That can be quite tricky in the modern age with so many different devices and different screen standards around.

What are you using for displaying the images?

A high pixel-density monitor with a display size that is much larger than that of what I'm exporting. Forgive me for saying this, but while it's a complicated issue on the back-end, scaling is something that many other programs and viewers have been performing seamlessly for decades. This shouldn't be that complicated for the end-user - not in 2019.

tenmangu81 wrote:As far as I am concerned, I don't apply any sharpening on my RAW files. They are sharp enough to my mind, even if my camera is a 24 Mpx only. When I need to export them as jpeg for the web, for instance, I need to scale them down to 1024 or even 700 px wide, and I sharpen them a little bit with the "output sharpening for screen" only (not that much, say between 100 and 200), and the result seems more than correct to me. I have tried to sharpen both with the sharpening tool in the regular adjustments together with a second sharpening at the output level, and the result could be awful, depending upon the image. This is why I've decided not to sharpen at the "adjustments" level.

For the cameras I'm using, Capture One applies sharpening by default. Both have different values by default. I would not have thought it necessary to sharpen a second time during the export/resize process... but just to clarify, are you setting your standard RAW sharpening to zero, and only applying output sharpening when resizing?
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby SFA » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:36 am

Reign of Crows wrote:
SFA wrote:That said if you are outputting for screen use you need to consider the size of the image AND the size and resolution of the screen on which the image will be viewed. That can be quite tricky in the modern age with so many different devices and different screen standards around.

What are you using for displaying the images?

A high pixel-density monitor with a display size that is much larger than that of what I'm exporting. Forgive me for saying this, but while it's a complicated issue on the back-end, scaling is something that many other programs and viewers have been performing seamlessly for decades. This shouldn't be that complicated for the end-user - not in 2019.



So how small are you displaying the output on the high pixel density screen? Or is it being re-scaled by the monitor of the monitor feed for viewing?
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby Reign of Crows » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:30 am

SFA wrote:So how small are you displaying the output on the high pixel density screen? Or is it being re-scaled by the monitor of the monitor feed for viewing?

The working resolution for the monitor is 1920x1080, but the native resolution is double that (4K display). I've tried a few different sizes for scaled output but the latest I've tried working with have a long resolution of 1024. What's being viewed is 100% of the size of the scaled export. As such I am fairly certain that the problem is on Capture One's end and I am somehow exporting scaled output in a sub-optimal fashion; I can't pin this one on the viewing applications. Furthering that belief, as I mentioned before, is that if I export the full-sized image into Photos and then export a scaled image from Photos, it looks just fine.
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby tenmangu81 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:15 am

Reign of Crows wrote:For the cameras I'm using, Capture One applies sharpening by default. Both have different values by default. I would not have thought it necessary to sharpen a second time during the export/resize process... but just to clarify, are you setting your standard RAW sharpening to zero, and only applying output sharpening when resizing?


Yes. And I do the same for the noise reduction : zero when importing into the catalog, and applying noise reduction when needed.
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby Ian3 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:08 am

Reign of Crows wrote:For the cameras I'm using, Capture One applies sharpening by default. Both have different values by default. I would not have thought it necessary to sharpen a second time during the export/resize process... but just to clarify, are you setting your standard RAW sharpening to zero, and only applying output sharpening when resizing?

My understanding is that you may need extra output sharpening because

(1) resizing an image (up or down) can adversely affect sharpness. (Either because the pixels are essentially being interpolated to make the image bigger or discarded to make it smaller.) So if, for example, I want my 6000x4000px image to appear on my website at 1200x800px, I may need to add some sharpening that makes it look as sharp at 1200x800 as it did at 6000x4000. That is the reason for the option to add sharpening for screen and the proofing tool lets me view it at 1200x800 to see if I like the result, while I can create a process recipe including that extra sharpening that I can use every time I want an image for the website.

(2) when it comes to printing, ink dots on paper and pixels on a monitor are not necessarily of the same sharpness. So similarly you can add sharpening for print, in which case you can do it by reference to things like the distance of the viewer from the print (50cm away in a magazine, 2m away on a gallery wall, etc).

There is no obligation to use these, of course. I have taken to using this feature at least for images destined for the screen, and it seems to produce results I like.

Ian
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Re: Exporting with scaling looks awful... how to improve?

Postby SFA » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:12 am

Another reason for removing sharpening at output would be where the file is to be further processed in another application and will be sharpened at a later stage.
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