Greg Benz, who is the developer of Lumenzia, has now produced a web sharpening script which is very simple to use, and it gives some very good results. I got an early release of the script and played with it to see how it performs.
I have a very simple approach to web sharpening, Lightroom’s built in sharpening feature always has been my go-to option. There are several web sharpening scripts out there, but I have never bothered. However, Greg pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Here is the download link in case you want to try it. It’s free to use.
Testing the script
The first time I ran the script I was puzzled. It seemed like nothing had happened. I toggled between my full-size tiff and the downsized web sharpened file several and I could spot any difference.
It wasn’t before I began to zoom into the low-resolution image that I noticed that the image was downsized. I had to zoom quite a bit before I spotted any sharpening halos. They will in all likelihood be invisible on photo-sharing sites, unless you overdo the sharpening.
Installation and how to use
When you download the script, it comes with an installation guide. Basically, you need to put the script in the right folder and restart Photoshop. Now you can launch the script from the Filters Menu or via a keyboard shortcut (you can assign this via Edit / Keyboard Shortcuts).
The interface is basic, you need to choose your preferred output size, quality, sharpening amount, whether you’d like to remove metadata from the final image, and the folder where you’d like the image saved. Now you can choose between three options for sharpening.
Your first option is to simply click “Sharpen”, and the script will save the sharpened downsized image directly to the folder you selected. In this mode the script will not open any new files in Photoshop. However, there are some advanced options available if you hold down modifier keys while clicking “Sharpen”.
The second option is to hold down Shift + Sharpening to interactively choose JPG compression settings. This will resize, sharpen, and convert to sRGB for you and then open the “Save for Web” interface after sharpening. Save for Web has a very handy “2-Up” interface that lets you compare the file size and quality for different JPG compression settings side by side. Just try different JPG settings and save (leave the dimensions alone).
The third option is to hold cmd/ctrl + Sharpen to apply the sharpening locally. The script will open a layered file instead of immediately saving for you. It will downsize the bottom layer but not sharpen it. The top layer is sharpened, and it comes with a white mask in case you would like to mask out the sharpening effect from for example the sky. Once you review or make any local adjustments, you may then save as a JPG like you normally would do. You can also do it like this: Simply run the script again and the “Save for Web” interface will open immediately.
Behind the scenes and download link
Greg tells DIYP:
The script is designed to look very simple, while doing a lot of complex things behind the scenes. The actual code is nearly 2000 lines long. My goal was to provide high quality detail with minimal sharpening halos, and to do it all with an interface that removes the confusion and clutter of options you don’t need or that the script can take care of for you.”
You can download the script and see further tutorials here.