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What Is Clarity?

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i use LR 2 and there is a slider called clarity... also i think there is an action at sg called clarity? so what is clarity? when do i use it and why? thanks for any help

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I know that the Clarity action that Heidi has out for is to make digital LO's sharper! It seems that every digital LO has a certain amount of fuzz or graininess after saving so this action helps with that, especially if you have saved a LO with glitter or shimmery objects you might have noticed they look drab after saving! I have a lO I used with clarity with glitter I will BRB with a link.

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Example of Clarity on LO

 

When I saved without the action the glittered fram along the edge was much drabber, I hope this helps. I don't have LR but I would think it is some type of sharpening filter?

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thanks shannon... lsl on your lo..way cute... so you use this action when you are done with your lo and use it on the jpeg? or do you just use it on the layers with the glitter???

 

also hoping someone comes along with the LR explanation of clarity

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It adds sharpness in the midtone range. LR actually adds a mask that is like the unsharp mask and targets only the midtones.

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The clarity slider in lightroom is like a magic wrinkle remover when you slide it down just a touch. ;)

 

Can I get one of those sliders for daily home use? I was noticing last night that I REALLY need one! rofl.gif

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BTW, Heidi's Clarify Action is really amazing. I like to use it especially on the 600x600 px files I put in the Gallery. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the image. The text is more legible, the textures clearer and the whole layout looks SO much better in the Gallery. I've used it on print versions too. BIG difference. I highly recommend the Clarify Action!

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BTW, Heidi's Clarify Action is really amazing. I like to use it especially on the 600x600 px files I put in the Gallery. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the image. The text is more legible, the textures clearer and the whole layout looks SO much better in the Gallery. I've used it on print versions too. BIG difference. I highly recommend the Clarify Action!

 

 

two questions.... for the clarify action do you apply it to certain layers? or to the whole layout? if it still has layers does it work on the whole lo or do you have to merge all your layers before using?

 

and for the LR clarify.... when do you find you use it? portraits of people with wrinkles? or for certain midtones photos? or what?

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Bobbie when I used the action I applied it to the entire LO after it was saved as a 600 x 600 and the fullsized on to! I am not sure if you can us it on layers, it has three different options tho they are Clarify 3600, Clarify 600 and Clarify Photo, so you can us it on a picture! Hope that helps!

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thanks... so i guess you have to make your psd into a jpeg to use it on the whole lo... sounds cool...will definately be checking this out in the boutique and hoping for yet another sale!

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I've used the Photo action particularly on old photos or those just-a-little-too-soft photos. Since it creates it's own layer, I can adjust how much/little effect I want on the particular photo and then merge them. I've used the 3600 on a paper that I'd done some "adjusting" too. It made it crisp and my added textures more realistic. Mostly I use the 3600 on my full-sized JPG (that I use for printing). And as I said before, the 600 is for the files I put in the Gallery. It's a bit addictive. It's one more cool thing to do to make the LO shine!

 

I'm so interested in LR! Wish I had the $ for it now....Someday!

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I found a jpg that I have with and without the Clarify action. The difference is so obvious on my computer. Hope you can see the difference too.

 

BEFORE: post-10202-0-45645900-1295466729_thumb.jpg

 

AFTER: post-10202-0-50697200-1295466790_thumb.jpg

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thanks debbie..yes i can see it...so do you use it on all your layouts??? and do you have to merge all your layers ??? i always save the psd... so i guess i would have a psd ( just in case of changes) and then a jpeg? if i want to use this action.... thanks for letting me know

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Glad you can see the difference. I use it on most LOs...mostly the JPG. I think you could use it as the top layer of your PSD without merging so it covers all the layers below. Haven't tried it though. I always keep a JPG that I use to print, so that's not an issue for me. I know some just keep the PSD and then just make the JPG>Print>Delete the JPG.

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I use clarity in LR on just about all my photos. Just a little boost really makes things more lively. Just don't overdo it, too much seems to increase chromatic aberration. Always check the photo at 100% before taking it into PS.

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I use clarity in LR on just about all my photos. Just a little boost really makes things more lively. Just don't overdo it, too much seems to increase chromatic aberration. Always check the photo at 100% before taking it into PS.

 

thanks

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I love Heidi's Clarify Action and run it on every finished 600x600 jpg after saving a psd. My usual procedure is to save the psd, then resize to the jpeg for upload to the gallery. Close the jpg. Reopen the jpg and run the action. I choose the stop option which Heidi built in so that I can finish it on my own. I look at it with the 100% action, which is very, very sharp and affects the photos and glittery objects, plus as others have mentioned, greatly improves the legibility of the text for uploading to the gallery. Then I lower the opacity of the sharpened layer to 75%, 50%, 25% to see if I like that look better. Most often I am very happy with a 50% opacity. Sometimes I want a soft looking LO and don't use it at all, but other times I want some sharpening, so on the layer mask which is applied as part of Heidi's action I use a soft brush at a low opacity and brush over the areas I don't want sharpened. Works great and I get it just the way I want it.

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I've used the Photo action particularly on old photos or those just-a-little-too-soft photos. Since it creates it's own layer, I can adjust how much/little effect I want on the particular photo and then merge them. I've used the 3600 on a paper that I'd done some "adjusting" too. It made it crisp and my added textures more realistic. Mostly I use the 3600 on my full-sized JPG (that I use for printing). And as I said before, the 600 is for the files I put in the Gallery. It's a bit addictive. It's one more cool thing to do to make the LO shine!

 

I'm so interested in LR! Wish I had the $ for it now....Someday!

 

I am so glad that you mentioned that you use the 3600 pre-printing. Thanks! I love that Heidi added the stop.

 

I am interested in LR, too. Seems like everyone who uses it really likes it, but I am not clear on what it does.

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Hi Bobbi, I use LR3 so not sure it is the same as LR2, but here's how I think of it:

 

See the "Contrast" slider bar? The "Clarity" slider bar is right beneath contrast. It's because they are closely related.

 

If you adjust Contrast, you'll see the exposure change across shadows, midtones & highlights. If you adjust Clarity, you'll see the contrast change only in the midtones. Clarity will not change shadows and highlights.

 

It's great for when you want to brighten up those middle toned areas, while keeping shadows dark and avoiding blowout on the highlights. Clarity is a contrast tool which is not the same as sharpening. That's how I understand it anyway.

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Clarity adds contrast to the midtones, and makes those areas look sharper. It's my understanding it doesn't necessarily actually sharpen things, just gives that appearance by increasing the contrast.

 

Heidi's action uses I think a high pass filter which is a powerful sharpener. I often reduce the opacity of it to between 25 and 40% (the action automatically stops and asks if you want to change the opacity, then you hit the play button again and it flattens your .jpg). On the rare occasions I've needed more sharpening in, eg. the journaling or glittered areas, I use a layer mask to allow the fuller sharpening effect to show through those areas, but leave the papers unsharpened. If papers are sharpened to too great an extent they begin to look pixelated.

 

I LOVE Heidi's action as I think it helps show off details in my pages so much better than before, especially as someone else mentioned when there are sparkles and glitter on the page. They look great at full .psd or 3600 pixel x 3600 pixel .jpg size, but lose a lot of sparkle at 600 pixel x 600 pixel unless the clarify action is used.

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Hi Bobbi, I use LR3 so not sure it is the same as LR2, but here's how I think of it:

 

See the "Contrast" slider bar? The "Clarity" slider bar is right beneath contrast. It's because they are closely related.

 

If you adjust Contrast, you'll see the exposure change across shadows, midtones & highlights. If you adjust Clarity, you'll see the contrast change only in the midtones. Clarity will not change shadows and highlights.

 

It's great for when you want to brighten up those middle toned areas, while keeping shadows dark and avoiding blowout on the highlights. Clarity is a contrast tool which is not the same as sharpening. That's how I understand it anyway.

 

 

thanks tina that really helped explain.... and lol..i have LR3

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Clarity adds contrast to the midtones, and makes those areas look sharper. It's my understanding it doesn't necessarily actually sharpen things, just gives that appearance by increasing the contrast.

 

Heidi's action uses I think a high pass filter which is a powerful sharpener. I often reduce the opacity of it to between 25 and 40% (the action automatically stops and asks if you want to change the opacity, then you hit the play button again and it flattens your .jpg). On the rare occasions I've needed more sharpening in, eg. the journaling or glittered areas, I use a layer mask to allow the fuller sharpening effect to show through those areas, but leave the papers unsharpened. If papers are sharpened to too great an extent they begin to look pixelated.

 

I LOVE Heidi's action as I think it helps show off details in my pages so much better than before, especially as someone else mentioned when there are sparkles and glitter on the page. They look great at full .psd or 3600 pixel x 3600 pixel .jpg size, but lose a lot of sparkle at 600 pixel x 600 pixel unless the clarify action is used.

 

 

thanks cheri..that explains things a bit more.... i will play around in LR to see the differences...

 

and i am considering getting heidis action come next sale...seems lots of gals like it.... could you explain about the layer mask and what you or how you use as you mentioned above.... can you apply the action just to that one layer??? so you havent flattened the lo before using the action??? i am confused but would love some "clarity" on it...LOL

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Teehee to wanting "clarity" on what I meant:)

When my layout is finished, I of course save it as a full-sized .psd and keep that. Then I make a 600 x 600 pixel copy at 72dpi (.jpg). That is what I run the Heidi_Clarify_600 action on. There are two other actions in the group. One is for 3600 x 3600 pixel images at 300dpi (for printing purposes at eg. Shutterfly) and the other is for plain photographs to sharpen them.

 

99% of the time I just run the HDI_Clarify_600 on the 600x600 72dpi .jpg, turn down the opacity as mentioned before, hit "play" again on the action, and then save the .jpg.

The rest of the time I realize I need something to be sharper, but the rest to stay as is. So I will use a layer mask on the sharpness layer (which the action creates) and allow the sharpness to show only in places such as text and glitter, perhaps the photos, but not the background paper. In this instance I will sometimes have the opacity as high as 60-70% on the sharpness layer, which is often just too high for things like background paper. As I mentioned above, some backgrounds look too pixelated when sharpened too much.

 

HTH:) Ask away if something isn't clear yet!

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Bobbi,

Clarity in LR is used to give punch to mid-tone contrast, which gives the appearance of something being sharper and more clear. In LR, for more control it's best to use the tone curve sliders for adjusting clarity vs. the Clarity slider. But easy does it, because too much of a good thing, well.... isn't so good.

 

Most images will benefit from some level of clarity adjustment. In the LR Preset collections, I have a set tailored for people/portraits and another for outdoor/landscape shots. :)

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I've learned a lot from this thread, thank you! I use PSE7 and I have Heidi's clarify action. My question is what is the Merge option really for, and when would you use it? From playing with it on a psd I know it merges one layer to the layer beneath it. When would I want to do that rather than run the action on a completed jpg?

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Ack! So after a hectic few days (trying to get product in store and tearing down a wall in our house), I finally found some time to try and go through this thread and answer a few things for you! Thanks so much to those who jumped in for me. :)

 

Bobbie, as an answer to your question in #4, you could use my Clarify action on either the finished layout JPG OR the individual layers. It's up to you to determine the look of sharpness you want.

 

In #9, see above. Also, if your layout still has layers it will only really work on one of the layers. So, you can merge all your layers and Clarify your whole layout or you can use it on just one layer and only Clarify that layer.

 

#15 - I save all my layered files too, but also save a 3600x3600 file for printing and a 600x600 file for sharing. If you only wanted to share, you might choose to only use the action on your 600px file.

 

Think of your PSD as your working file. You don't need to sharpen your working file - it's just a means to an end, either printing or viewing. Most printing places don't print from a PSD, so if you decide to print, simply sharpen the JPG you create to print from. Likewise, you don't share PSD files on the Internet; they're too big. So run the Clarify action on any smaller JPG files you create to share. :)

 

#16 - Debbie, since the action will duplicate the layer you choose to run it on, simply running it on the top layer of your PSD and then not merging won't work. It will still only affect the top layer, not the whole document.

 

#27 - Hi, Karen! I created this action (like all of my actions) in Photoshop before converting it to PSE. In PS, the action runs as one complete action with a stop in the middle where you can adjust the opacity. After the stop, there is only one more step: merging the adjustment layer with the original layer.

 

In PSE, actions are not "allowed" to stop and start up again (the bane of my existence!), so I created two seperate actions to create a similar effect. So in PSE, you run the main action, then it finishes and you can adjust the sharpening layer. If you then choose, you can simply run the "merge" action instead of trying to find it in your menu or right-clicking and finding the option in that menu. It's more of a convenience than anything else that the Merge Action is included in the PSE versions.

 

I know you have my Shadow action, so think of it like those. I have one set of shadow actions that run straight through, and another set in two parts so that you can make adjustments in the middle. The Clarify action can have two parts, if you choose. ;)

 

Hope that helps a bit, and I'm so glad you all are getting some use out of this action!

 

THANKS!

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Good to know those things about PSE; that will help me answer questions in the future! You're so smart, Heidi, that's why you are the designer:)

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thank you heidi very clearly stated answers to all the questions... now is there a way to save or bookmark this mb so i can easily come back to it when i need to ?

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