The "Sharpen" brush is a deprecated adjustment from earlier Aperture versions. It is only included for compatiblity reasons, so that "Sharpening" adjustments made in earlier Aperture versions can be edited.
For new adjustments, it is recommended to use the better "Edge Sharpen" brush.
The difference between "Sharpen" and "Edge Sharpen" is the added "Edges" threshold in "Edge Sharpen". This allows to restrict the sharpening to genuine edges and to exclude noise pixels from the sharpening.
See the Aperture online manual:
Sure it does:
"You can also brush the Edge Sharpen adjustment on selected parts of an image. For more information, see Making Brushed Adjustments."
Similar text is under the section on the Sharpen adjustment.
The take-away: use Edge Sharpen. It's better. Sharpen is superannuated but for compatibility has not been deprecated.
Sorry to be terse. I can't edit or format from miPad.
(Sent from my magic glass.)
Apple has made this confusing. There are only two Adjustments(1): Sharpen and Edge Sharpen. Each has a corresponding Adjustment Brick that shows in the Adjustments Inspector. Each can be brushed in all the ways brushes work.
Of the two Adjustments, only Sharpen has a Quick Brush (available from the Viewer Tool-strip). (The same Adjustment Brick should show up whether you invoke it from the Sharpen Quick Brush or from the "Add Adjustment" drop-down.)
Edge Sharpen gives you more and better control over the adjustment. Use it. For spot-sharpening (minor touching-up for aesthetic reasons), I don't know any reason not to use the built-in Sharpen Quick Brush. I do.
(Afaict, this should have been replaced by an Edge Sharpen Quick Brush, but was not. I don't know why. You might be able to set a keyboard shortcut to bring up an Edge Sharpen brush -- I can't test this right now as I don't have any access to Aperture.)
(1) Just to confuse things more: there is a sharpening adjustment in the RAW Fine Tuning Brick. It cannot be brushed on, and is not applicable to this discussion.
The User Manual page on Sharpening is, imho, very good. Read it all. I would emphasize the following (since I can't format them properly, better to read them in the original):
"You use the Edge Sharpen controls when you want to sharpen the detail in your image. Images shot with digital image sensors are often a bit soft in focus because of the demosaic filter applied by the camera’s processor. The Edge Sharpen controls adjust the luminance values in the image, increasing the contrast between light and dark pixels that touch, creating an “edge.” Increasing the contrast between these neighboring light and dark pixels gives the image a crisper, or sharper, appearance. You also use the Edge Sharpen controls when you make noise-reduction adjustments, so that the image retains detail and crisp edges that might otherwise be obscured by the effect of the noise-reduction adjustment."
"Important: The Edge Sharpen controls are not designed to correct images that were shot out of focus. They are designed to help mitigate the effects of the camera’s demosaic filter, as well as maintain image detail when noise-reduction adjustments are applied."
"In the Edge Sharpen area of the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, set the Intensity slider to the maximum value to see the effect of the operation.
Adjust the Edges slider so you can see which parts of the image are being sharpened. If possible, adjust the Edges slider so that edges are sharpened, but noise and texture in the image are not affected.
Adjust the Falloff slider so that the edge sizes you want sharpened the most are accentuated.
Decrease the Intensity parameter value until the sharpening effect is appropriately subtle. Values below 0.5 usually work best."
I wholly agree about Apple confusing the matter.
When I show both the Sharpening & Edge Sharpening bricks in the Adjustments panel and then invoke the Sharpening Quick Brush, a 3rd brick appears that only has an "Amount" slider. It's not clear at all as to which algorithm the Quick Brush uses.
a 3rd brick appears that only has an "Amount" slider. It's not clear at all as to which algorithm the Quick Brush uses.
It is a "Quick Brush". So it will have only one control in the brick, like the other quick brushes. But all captions are saying "Sharpen", "Brush Sharpen in", so it is an educated guess to assume the algorithms will be using the "Sharpen" algorithm. But it us not documented. And it is not very useful, since Apple has introduced a newer algorithm and advices against using the older method.
Kirby, Jasonina: One puzzling observation for me is, that Smart searches for adjustments do neither recognize the "Sharpen Quick Brush" as "Sharpen" adjustment nor as "Edge Sharpen" adjustment. Only searching for the "Quick brush: Sharpen" will find images with this adjusment.
And if you add all three kinds of "Sharpen" bricks, they all show differently in the "Lift&Stamp" HUD.
This suggests, that the quick brush may very well be using a different algorithm. At least, it is very annoying that it is unclear how the Quick Brush Sharpening amount relates to the intensity parameter of the other sharpening algorithms.
Thanks for pointing this out. I now have access to Aperture and will take a look, though I don't doubt your conclusions.
aapl.crox -- you are correct. Please accept my apologies.
Wait just to be clear, there's three sharpen bricks.
At least, it is very annoying that it is unclear how the Quick Brush Sharpening amount relates to the intensity parameter of the other sharpening algorithms.
You are being very kind here, Léonie!
Apple needs to improve the sharpening tools and the noise reduction tools in Aperture.
With Adobe going commercial only with their professional level products, it would be great to see Apple fill in the void for non-commercial professionals and enthusiasts with Aperture.
The current iteration of sharpen acts like PS CS3 did with the global unsharp mask filter and the current iteration of the edge sharpen acts like running a find edges > create mask > set to illuminosity > apply sharpening to edges (similar to what was typically done in PS CS3 as well). Both of those are behind the curve compared to the other manufacturer's tools at the moment.
Hopefully, Apple is just waiting for the rumored changes in the OS X UI before releasing something new with Aperture (but those are just rumors at this point). It sure would be a bit of a waste to let this great product stagnate.
Message was edited by: CorkyO2 to correct quoted text.
Contrary to what Apple indicates, I actually stay away from their 'Edge Sharpen' as it is too agressive for my taste in detailed images (with a lot of edges). I can mess around with the settings, but it still doesn't look quite right to me.
If I use Aperture's tools, I typically use the Sharpen command via adjustment menu for global application and the Sharpen Quick-Brush for local application. I tend to use the 'Detail' slider in the 'Enhance' brick to bring out the contrast first, then apply sharpening. I find this looks much better in the exported images.
Note - since I own PS CS6, I use that program for serious sharpening as I have full control over edges and sharpening application.
Contrary to what Apple indicates, I actually stay away from their 'Edge Sharpen'
That might be risky - Apple does not like to carry around support for deprecated features ad infinitum. "Sharpen" may be gone completely in the next Aperture version, seeing the clear warning in the manual not to use it. At best, your current "Sharpen" adjustments will be converted automatically to the next best match with "Edge Sharpen" settings, but you may not like the results.
I can mess around with the settings, but it still doesn't look quite right to me.
Well, you are supposed to take control, not to mess around - that is really funny, for Apple's main argument for using "Edge Sharpen" is better control, and I found that to be true - the main parameters of the algorithm are neatly separated and mapped to three sliders :
However, to do further sharpening on other images, it is recommended that you use the Edge Sharpen adjustment controls, which generally offer more precise control over how sharpening is applied.
I think the main difference between "Sharpen" in Aperture and "Sharpen" filters in Photoshop is, that Aperture's sharpening filters are solely designed to cope with blurring caused by smoothing operations (demosaic smoothing, noise reduction). You can use "Edge Sharpen" to undo certain kinds of smoothing filters (gaussian filters); that is what the "global unsharp mask" algorithm can do precisely, but nothing more.
Edge sharpen simply has not been designed to cope with motion blur or out-of-focus blur (that would require more elaborate filtering in the frequency domain), unfortunately that is what most users will want iSharpening for - to enhance the sharpness of the eyes, for example.
Important: The Edge Sharpen controls are not designed to correct images that were shot out of focus. They are designed to help mitigate the effects of the camera’s demosaic filter, as well as maintain image detail when noise-reduction adjustments are applied. Edge Sharpen adjustments can also compensate for the softening that occurs with some printing processes.