The following method has been around for ages and is used a lot by people doing landscape photography. The way it works is oversharpening on a larger image and then reducing the image size which keeps detail and sharpens in a more refined way and is considered a more finely tuned method. Only you can be the judge of whether it's better or worse than other methods. I will elaborate on how I do this method below.
Please see Processing RAW to TIFF to see how I processed the RAW image and saved the TIFF file ready for web presentation processing.
Again, after saving the TIFF as a master copy, the first thing I do is change the depth of the image from 16bit to 8bit (image > Mode > 8bits/channel). Then I will ensure the colour profile is set to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 (Edit > Convert to profile > Destination Source). You will notice in the diagram below that my Source space is already sRGB. That is because I opted to output that colour profile during my RAW conversion stage. It's possible that not all RAW conversion software will let you do that, so I thought I'd include it here as it's important for web images.
The difference this time is resizing for web in a different way. I want my image to end up at 720px on the longest side. For this sharpening method, I will resize my image to around 1300px on the longest size initially for sharpening purposes (i will resize to final output size of 720px later). In CS3 i will use the Image Size option (Image > Image size)
I set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch and then set the pixel dimension longest side to 1300px. By checking the box "Constrain proportions, the image will resize the shortest side without elongating or squashing the image. To resample the image, I use bicubic and this has been recommended by others (although I haven't personally tested the differences).
If there are any more adjustments required I make them at this point. This will also include border, signature and copyright symbol.
Sharpening for the web
I select the areas that I want to sharpen by using the tools available. Again I get the selection as precise as I can and then use the Contract option to contract your selection slightly to avoid sharpening halos. I would contract my selection by 2 pixels. Once I have the completed area selected, I apply my sharpening.
This will give me the option to state how many pixels I want to contract my selection by.
I then select Sharpen from the Filter menu. (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen). I do this twice and it will look really oversharpened when viewed at 100% like the image below.
Now is when I resize the image to my final presentation size of 720px on the longest side. Again I go to Image > Image size and resize to 720px and keeping the Constrain proportions box ticked so I don't have to worry about the other side of the image
I then select Save for Web (File > Save for Web and Devices). The diagram below shows the settings I use
The final output will look something like the below image (please note I have been a bit rough with the image and it's not truly reflective of the method as previous sharpening has been applied, so it may look overdone - when I get more time, I will reprocess the whole image!)
And that's it for this alternative method. Again, this isn't new technology and has been used for ages mainly by landscape photographers but it has very pleasing results for wildlife too!
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