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Is there a way I can varnish my photo?


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Sometimes when I initially come across a photo on the web it looks extremely sharp and very clear. But after I download it and open it up in a program like paint.net it does not look as sharp or clear. Don't know why this is.

 

But I'd like to find out if there is a way I can give my photo a shine. Similar to giving a piece of wood a shiny coat of varnish. 

 

Just to make the photo really come forward and be more sharp?

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A good example would be helpful (a comparison, but with images.)

Hmm... I wonder if it's because you're downloading photos in the JPEG format. It tends to lose compression and definition every time it's saved in that format.

Or, it might be because the photo is huge. I've took photos with digital cameras. And, when I processed them, they were really big, and didn't look good zooming in at 100%. But they did look nice and sharp when I resized them. Sometimes, I ran a sharpening filter at a low setting. :/

 

As for the shine, I searched for wood varnish. My hypothesis would be that it could be achieved with:

  • A multiply layer: filled with black, the layer would be at low opacity to darken the picture (things that are damp or wet have a darker appearance), and;
  • A screen layer: using a linear gradient (from white to black) for the shine, the layer would be at a low opacity as well, but not as low as the multiply layer.
  • Optional: Running the frosted glass plugin on the screen layer (sometimes, photographs, even if they're glossy, have a texture.)

I hope this helps. :)

(Please, be careful. Some of the sites I'm on might not be family-friendly. 😱 )

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As Beta0 wrote, in most cases the reason is saving again and again an JPEG with lower quality settings than 100%. In many programs is the default value around 95% and so you get once 95% of 95% of 95% of 100% or so.

Either you change this settings or you save the image in a lossless format like PNG.

 

Big images (by pixels), resized in browser looks sharper then the normal 100% view or a zoom in the details, thats clear.

 

Sharpening an unsharp image is a little difficult. There is no magic one-click-tool. You have to compromise. A very useful plugin in PDN is in my eyes Laplacian Pyramid Filter.

Edited by IRON67
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Yeah but how do you actually save a photo from the web as a .png and really get full quality? When you save a photo Windows will say Save as Type - All Files. So I just download a photo and this time I said Randy Rhoads.png so does that mean that the photo is actually a lossless photo? I did not see a quality difference between the newly downloaded .png version and my .jpg version of the same photo.

 

I suspect there is more to it.

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Okay I think perhaps the best way to go is to install the extension to Chrome that will automatically convert the photo to a .png even before giving you the Save As dialog box. It seems to me that if the original person that uploaded the original photo has already uploaded it as a .jgp then the photo has already lost data so there isn't anything you can do to restore it.

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47 minutes ago, 357mag said:

Yeah but how do you actually save a photo from the web as a .png and really get full quality?

 

You can't get more quality as is. The quality changes under the circumstances I wrote about before. If you simply download and save an JPEG image from web, you have exactly the same quality as every other people doing this despite what browser you are using.

 

If you save this image (or a copy) as PNG the quality ist the same, but you will not lose quality if you later repeatedly save this image.

Edited by IRON67
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@357mag The only way to download a high quality image from the web is if the image was already uploaded in high quality for others to download it (whether is in the PNG or the high quality JPEG format.) It would be on sites like Wikimedia Commons and DeviantArt where images are uploaded as such. At least, that's what I know.

Oh! And said quality depends if the person managed to take a good photo. It'll be difficult to sharpen a photo if it has some sort of blur caused by an unsteady hand.

(Please, be careful. Some of the sites I'm on might not be family-friendly. 😱 )

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Don't accept the image you're shown in your browser. Many websites resize images to suit available screen sizes. Try right clicking on the image then View Image. It will open in a new tab at full size. It may be the same size, but you never know.

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If you're really interested in improving low quality images, there are a few interesting tricks you can try with varying levels of success depending on the original image quality. One of such techniques is addressed in this thread, a technique discovered by Ego himself nearly a couple years ago and several times used by yours truly, where there's some input by me as well. Hope it hits close to where you're aiming at ?

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Y'know I had completely forgotten about that post :)  Thanks Max!

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