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.