Selective sharpening

Hi guys,
I have a photo which I’m trying to recover (save), of a goldcrest (2.5" bird - acts like it had 4 cups of expresso).
Got a tip of a branch which made it just off-focus, and trying to bring it into focus.
Already went through high ISO denoising (using wavelet levels), but without being able to somehow apply the sharpening only to the apparent bird parts, it won’t work.
-Any help in understanding if this is a feature/ workable/ solvable - will be greatly appreciated.



did you already go through the local adjustments of RT 5.9?


Let’s try and stay on topic and assume OP has selected the editor they like and are looking for a solution and not to change software.

  1. Ensure Rawtherapee 5.9
  2. Switch to Local tab (hand icon), enable Local Adjustments and add spot
  3. Adjust spot size and location to cover the bird with some margin
  4. Add Sharpening, Wavelets or Contrast by detail levels tool to the spot.
  5. Adjust settings to achieve the sharpening effect you’re looking for
  6. Turn on Preview ΔE and adjust the scope in tool settings so that only the areas you want sharpened are tinted green. Also move the spot to adjust scope.

Hi nosle,
Thank you for the instructions.
Did these to some effect, but not advanced (no node assisted shape to really close on the subject, that I know of, but if there is - will be happy to try again).
-Still not the best effect, but better than before ( I actually tried to apply it twice using duplicate, but still doesn’t look right).
-Anyways, I have two more photos, and struggling to apply all the setting to them without having to save as a preset, but I suppose that worse-comes-to-worse I can use that, and tweak it later - per photo.

Hi Todd,
Thanks for the advise.
I actually use DT as my primary tool, but I like RT for its denoise and export resampling capabilities (for now - these are the more obvious to me), and other things, so I try it out when the going goes tough.

Both software come with their strengths and weaknesses, which would be great if they could “speak” to each other, and maybe in the future - transfer partially worked on RAW files, in terms of us the users.

Since this is not the case, for now I try and be as proficient as I can in both.

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I did not, but thanks to nosle, I did now. Thanks.

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The spot isn’t like a traditional mask. You shouldn’t try to shape it around the subject. Instead you can use various sliders to control what colours and shapes it selects. The center circle defines what colours/tones to select and the outer larger shape (Ellipse, Rectangle) defines the hard edge of the area affected. The show additional settings check box enables more options controlling the affected area while changing the tool settings from Basic to Standard or Advanced reveals more ways to configure the tool effect.

You can also add a spot and change it from “Normal” to “Excluding” to remove certain colours from the sharpened area.

Thanks for responding. I was just throwing out a suggestion incase you came up short with whatever info you end up collecting here. Apparently I was flagged for it…

I’m not sure how a mere suggestion could be worse than people providing edits and advise using ART RT GIMP or Filmulator when someone has posted with the title that says struggling with highlights in DT… but I will take note of my censure and stay exactly on topic as best I can…


Thanks a bunch nosle,
You gave me some “homework”, but of the best kind.
Obviously, now I have to rework the photos - but really - that’s the point !!
Happy 2023 - May it be fruitful and happy.