cagenuts wrote in post #13126145
Would you mind sharing the noise and sharpening settings please? I'm just getting into Lightroom and I would appreciate a good starting point.
I don't know if there is a generalized "starting point" for noise and sharpening. It really depends on the image you are working on, things such as is it a portrait or a landscap? And, are you using a high ISO that would show more noise or a low ISO with plenty of light and less noticeable noise?
So, it would be worth your while to take the time and work on a variety of image "types" with different characteristics. Over time, you will get a feel of what tends to "work" with different things. With, for example, a landscape that was shot in good light and all you scene is (and should be) nice and crisp, the most "natural" thing is to set a nice relatively high sharpening level. You could mess with the radius and detail settings -- they may (or may not) make a significant difference. The thing to avoid with such scenes is over-sharpening that can result in artifacts. A good, well-lit scenic/landscape photo benefits from decent sharpening, no noise reduction, and that can pretty much be it.
But, let's say you shoot the same scene, but in lower light so that you need to up the ISO from, say 100 or 200 to, say, 1600 or 3200. Or, let's say that even with a higher ISO, your light was so low that your exposure ended up not as bright as needed and so you will have to boost the tones in Lightroom, especially the shadows and midtones.
Well, we know that this is where you will begin to encounter digital noise. How noticeable it is will depend on the image and how you will use/display it. But, in general, if I have a shot like that I will assume that 1) strong sharpening will tend to bring out the noise more and 2) some noise reduction will be beneficial.
And, there are two great tools Lightroom has: first there is the Masking slider under Sharpening. What this does is detect areas that have a smooth tone -- think of a blue sky or some part of your image that should remain, well, smooth. Upping the Masking slider will keep your sharpening from "bringing out" unwanted noise in those areas and it's a good thing to use when dealing with those high ISO images.
Noise reduction can be tricky because it tends to soften detail -- use it when needed, but to me goint a bit light on sharpening, using Masking, and going as light as possible on Luminance Noise Reduction helps to keep things intact.
But the other Lightroom tool I was referring to is the Local Adjustment Brush. This can be used for "selective sharpening" in Lightroom for some really cool results!
With, say, a shot of a critter with good detail and a background that you don't want sharp, you can get great results by keeping the "global" Sharpening slider to zero, and maybe even the Noise Reduction slider to zero. Open a new adjustment brush and set the sharpening slider to say 100 and brush the subject you want nice and sharp. And then, you can open a new brush and set that slider all the way back to the end of the Softening scale and brush the background. With the right image, that could kill two birds with one stone -- soften noise in the background, and bring out the crisp detail with the subject!
Anyway, if you really want a "starting point" then you will need to address different image "types", get some decent setting for each type (including ISO and such, and then you could at some point create a preset for a given type.
But, don't go for some kind of cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach!
Note that Lightroom has a couple built-in presets for sharpening -- one for "landscapes" an one for "faces" that do different "things". It would be worth your while to try those presets, see what they do, and try to come up with your own approach.
Also, Lightroom sharpening has been a subject for various online tutorials, so doing an internet search for "lightroom sharpen tutorial" brings up some very promising hits: