Over-Sharpened After Camera Raw


Today’s Question: Where has the Camera Raw preferences option to apply sharpening to preview only gone? I have toggled off Output Sharpening, but it still seems the Camera Raw sharpening is getting applied to the PSD file I save from the RAW. I am also finding lately that images that look nicely sharpened when examined at 100% in Camera Raw look far too over-sharpened when I open the saved PSD file.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The option to apply sharpening only to previews has been removed from Camera Raw. Output Sharpening can be disabled in the Camera Raw Preferences dialog. Keep in mind sharpening can also be applied in the Detail section of the right panel in Camera Raw.

More Detail: The “Apply Sharpening To” option is no longer included in the Camera Raw Preferences dialog, though I don’t have any information on why it was removed. This option previously enabled you to only apply sharpening to the preview image, not to the final image processed by Camera Raw.

If you don’t want output sharpening applied, make sure the Sharpen For checkbox under the Output Sharpening heading on the Workflow tab in Camera Raw Preferences is turned off. This sharpening is never shown in the preview in Camera Raw but does apply to the processed image.

Keep in mind there is also sharpening available in the Detail section of the right panel in Camera Raw. This sharpening will appear in the preview image within Camera Raw.

If an image processed with Camera Raw immediately appears over-sharpened when opened in Photoshop, most likely there had been output sharpening applied in Camera Raw. Since that sharpening does not appear in the Camera Raw preview, having output sharpening enabled would cause the image opened in Photoshop to appear with more sharpening than the preview in Camera Raw.

If you have confirmed that output sharpening is disabled and a raw capture opened via Camera Raw still appears over-sharpened, I would check to make sure you aren’t using any other software or plug-ins that might be applying sharpening to those processed copies of the images.