Why is it so soft? - Having export problems

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TheReef, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. TheReef, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've been having this issue for a while now - for some reason Aperture 2.0/Preview seems to doing a really bad job of downscaling images on export.
    At first I was alerted to the fact that my JPEG slider wasn't on 10 - thank you Ms P, that improved things, but exported images still have a soft appearance.


    Here is the softness I'm describing:
    Aperture Export To: 1024px wide @ 72 DPI:

    [​IMG]

    And here, I downscale in Photoshop Elements 3, which is a lot better...
    Aperture Export Full Res -> Downscale to 1024px wide @ 72 DPI with Photoshop Elements 3:

    [​IMG]


    Also,

    When in Aperture, I find exporting at 200 DPI seems to look better than at 72 DPI or 300 DPI, I'd rate them in order:

    200 > 300 > 72
    I find this a bit bizarre.

    1024px wide @ 200 DPI from Aperture:
    [​IMG]



    It has me puzzled as to why Apple's downscale algorithms are seemingly behaving so poorly, Aperture/Preview give identical results and PSE is a lot better.
    Is anybody able to shed some light, or have an ideal DPI to export at from Aperture? Or is there something blatantly/not so obvious I'm missing? :confused: :(

    Any input would be much appreciated :)

    -Reef
     
  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #2
    This is quite strange. I no longer use Aperture, so I can't be of much help, but I can say that I've noticed some photos reduce better in Photoshop with Bicubic Smoother (followed by manual sharpening) than they do with Bicubic Sharpener (also followed by manual sharpening). I don't let LightRoom do any exporting for me unless it's for a big batch job where 'good enough' works for the purpose. I prefer to have complete control over the reduction algorithm and sharpening amount--like most things I do in post, I often do do my sharpening selectively, giving more or less to different areas of a photo as needed.

    In short, I suspect that Aperture's global sharpening is just not fine-tuned enough. One size doesn't fit all, that is.
     
  3. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #3
    I used to be very pro Aperture...for the price its fantastic but since I upgraded to Lion its running very slow and crashing all the time.

    I also compared Raw conversion from Aperture and Lightroom/Bridge. The colours looked much better in Lightroom and Bridge.

    I suspect I'm just going to have to try and get my head round LR but it just seems like so much hardwork when compared to A3... I cant even figure out how to get cropping ratio (say 3:2) to stay the same on lightroom, it seems to reset itself each time :(
     
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #4
    I processed a wedding earlier this year in LR3 to give it a shot over A3, and for all intents and purposes it IS the better program. I just couldn't swing being so ineffiecient on unfamiliar program in peak season, so I plan to give LR3 a fair shake this winter.

    I have never been overly pleased with Apertures exporting, from the watermark scaling issues to the "softness", always finding little problems.
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #5
    You need to perform a re-sharpen after downscaling an image.

    Lightroom has a setting on it's Export setup which will do this - with different targets (like medium screen sharpness etc.).

    If this exists in Aperture, then turn it on.
     
  6. TheReef, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011

    TheReef thread starter macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #6
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    I cannot seem to find such option.
    My problem here seems to be that it's 'antialiasing' too much, I don't think any amount of sharpening can bring back the lost detail after Aperture has ran it's reduction algorithm on the image, that detail's gone.

    I experience the same undesirable behaviour when downscaling in Preview, they probably both use the same API.
     
  7. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #7
    It looks like Aperture might be trying to do some smart sharpening... since it's looking at the DPI settings you've chosen to change it's algorithms (I guess it's assuming screen use for 72, and printer use for 200).

    I don't know what you can do to remedy this... the better image editing tools and control over import and export sharpening were exactly the reasons why I went for Lightroom.
     
  8. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #8
    What dpi is your monitor? A3 has a custom export setting that lets you match your screen. It looks like this for my 23' Samsung Syncmaster. I used this dpi calculator to find the setting for my screen.

    Dale
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Ruahrc, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #9
    DPI settings in an exported image are irrelevant for on-screen viewing. It's the resolution and the zoom that matters. As long as you're viewing the image at 1:1 (one image pixel to one screen pixel) it won't make a difference whether the image is 72, 200, 300, even 357 or 10,000,000 dpi. It's all going to look the same as long as the image resolution (pixel dimensions) of the images are the same.

    There is an option in Preview preferences that determines what "actual size" or 100% zoom is- the default setting is "1 image pixel equals 1 screen pixel". If it is set like this, the embedded DPI of the image has no meaning on the display of the image.

    Now whether or not Aperture is using different output algorithms depending on the chosen DPI of the exported image, I don't know. Generally the accepted practice is to slightly sharpen your image after downsampling it to the output resolution, to restore the crispness to the image that might have been lost in interpolating the pixels during downsampling. Many programs like LR do this automatically- it seems like Aperture does not, in which case you'd want to sharpen it up a little after exporting. But since you want to avoid re-saving a JPEG, it might be better to export everything from Aperture as TIFF, and set up a batch or action in Elements to do a slight sharpen, then save as JPEG format. You can then erase the TIFF intermediaries and just keep the final JPEGs.

    Ruahrc
     
  10. TheReef thread starter macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #10
    Setting the DPI to 94-96 seems to do the trick. :) Brilliant! Thanks Dale!


    Many thanks to all those who chimed in, thanks for the great info, I may eventually move to Lightroom or wait and see what A4 has to offer.

    Cheers :)
    -Reef
     
  11. captain kaos macrumors 65816

    captain kaos

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney
    #11
    I think may A3 may be better at exporting, i haven't found an issue with softness on exports.
     
  12. Nostromo macrumors 65816

    Nostromo

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    Deep Space
    #12
    I use Capture One, but here are some comments:

    1. Is there an option "disable sharpening"? Is it checked?

    2. How much compression do you apply. Compression in high degrees gives images a smeared look.

    3. How old is your software. I remember that three years back downscaled jPEGs from RAW images didn't look as good as they do with modern versions of RAW processors.
     

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