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Nik Sharpener Pro

Adobe Photoshop's UnsharpMask filter compares each pixel in an image with its neighboring pixels--the greater the difference between two pixels, the more it increases the contrast. In addition to other undesirable results, this causes a halo effect around edges that seems to increase an image's sharpness. If the image is destined for print, there will be an unfortunate difference between its on-screen version and how it looks on paper after being put through the halftoning print process.

Nik Sharpener Pro is a clever Photoshop plug-in that not only sharpens images but also offers output profiles designed to retain an image's integrity, whether it's being sent to a laser or ink-jet printer or to an offset press.

Sharpener Pro's options appear in Photoshop's Filter menu, and all trigger an easy-to-use preview window. The image-quality options are optimized by default, so they rarely need tweaking. The eye-distance setting simulates the distance between the final image and the viewer (a magazine as opposed to a poster, for example), and the printer-quality slider lets you compensate for varying paper and printer standards.

Macworld's Buying Advice

Nik Sharpener Pro will be a boon for graphics pros who use Photoshop's Unsharp Mask feature and want to reduce the halo effect.

Sharpen SimplyUse Sharpener Pro's preview window to easily adjust your sharpened image.
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