Problem with sharpening when working with Local Adjustments

I have updated from Optics Pro x9 (having previously been through versions x7 and x8) to PhotoLab 3, just before PL 4 was released.

I like and am very happy with the program (obviously, because if not I wouldn’t have been using DxO’s for so many years and wouldn’t have updated to a newer version), but I have noticed something that I think ought to be improved (or I would like to see being improved) in future versions of the program to come (or maybe I might be mistaken and/or doing something wrong).

Local adjustments are great (in general), but it is my impression that “sharpening” within local adjustments generates noise (or are they artifacts?) even if the areas of the raw file to which I apply the sharpening are highlights. Much more than when for example doing a conventional sharpening (using Unsharp Mask) to a tiff file after having developed my raw file (for which purpose of doing it locally, I can use masks).

I have stopped using the sharpening feature with DxO’s Local Adjustments.

The one time I used sharpening as a local adjustment (in PL4), I noticed this tendency as well. There are significant sharpening artifacts. I only needed a little bit of sharpening, though, along with some other enhancements. When I need better local sharpening, I like to include Topaz Sharpen AI in my workflow with PhotoLab.

Thank you Egregius for your feedback.
Your comment awakened in me the interest of checking on Topaz Sharp AI. I’ll try its demo version. I have Topaz Detail and other of their legacy plugins, which allowed me (made me qualify) to get some of the new ones for free. I have received a Black Friday’s offer to complete the programs I’m missing from them, which is quite tempting (68 % discount is tempting if the AI programs that I am missing, efficiently do what Topaz says they do). I’ll try them and see (though Denoise AI I think I might not need as I have PhotoLab, which does a great job in that respect).

Try using micro-contrast instead.

I use DeNoise when I do pano shots, stacking etc in Affinity. Not as great as Prime or DeepPrime, but is are really available when you transport back as a Tiff from an image done in Affinity.

Handy to have around

Thank you Joanna and yes, I have been using micro-contrast as it works fine.
I think I tend to use more contrast (of whichever kind) to sharpen most of the time, as even when I use the Unsharp Mask on a tiff file I usually set the sliders differently than most commonly used, I tend to set them with a low Amount and a higher Radius, which I believe (though might be mistaken) rises contrast (even to colour but in a subtle way) in a manner that increases a perception of sharpness. If I do the opposite with the sliders of the Unsharp Mask, I prefer doing so working in LAB mode in the Luminosity channel (not to affect colour).

And thanks Tilltheendofeternity (that was hard to write :slight_smile: ) for your input. I also have and use Affinity Photo.

But regarding the Black Friday’s offer from Topaz, though very tempting, I think I’ll pass, so I won’t be getting neither Sharp AI nor Denoise AI.

I have tried a bit Sharp AI. It takes a lot of time to process the images in my computer. Nevertheless, this is not the reason for not going for it. Seems to work OK, but Topaz had in the past a tendency of repeating tools on their different plugins, which it seems they are now trying not to do, but somehow still keep doing. For doing some localized sharpening I have realized that I can perfectly use Studio 2 (which I wasn’t using, and which I got for free from Topaz because I previously got Studio Classic, coming from FXLab, and many of their now legacy plugins). Studio 2 has the AI Clarity and Detail features / filters (set of tools?) that work fine for the purpose and the masking capability within these filters are very powerful.