Several months ago I made the transition from a PC to a Mac. Switching platforms was easier than I expected (thankfully) but one thing I hadn’t anticipated was the change it caused in my workflow. Some things, bad habits mostly, that I was able to do easily on my PC weren’t possible on a Mac.
One change to my workflow has been how I export files for delivery to clients. On my PC I had an action set up in Photoshop to resize, sharpen and save images as .jpgs. For some reason I’m having difficulties with creating actions on the Mac (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t) and even more bizarre, I’m unable to save a .tif as a .jpg.
Partly because of this and partly because of my new archiving system (The DAM Book has changed my life!) I started using Lightroom for exporting files. It was quick, I could save my settings for each resolution batch and it auto sharpened for web or print, which I liked.
I just loaded a shoot that I did earlier today on flickr (I like to do this so that I can see how the images will look on the web and can tweak images, if necessary, before delivering images to clients) and everything looked awful. The colors were a little off, the brightness and vibrancy seemed dulled down and everything looked too over-sharpened. The first two issues I wasn’t too worried about as I know flickr sporadically tends to mess with colors and vibrancy. The sharpening issue, however, concerned me. I wasn’t sure if it truly was over-sharpened or if I’ve just been staring at the computer too long so I decided to do a little experiment.
I took an image and exported, once through Lightoom and once through Bridge/Photoshop. The results, pictured below, confirmed what I thought. The auto-sharpen feature on Lightoom over-sharpens images and, since there’s no way to control how much sharpening it’s applying, it looks like I’m going to have to change my workflow again. It’s difficult to see the differences here, on the blog, but if you click through to the images you’ll be taken to a larger size where, if you go back and forth, the over-sharpening should be obvious.