The capture sharpening tools in Lightroom were originally designed to mitigate the softening effect that is caused by the anti-alias filters in many digital cameras, as well as other processes that occur in-camera that can affect image sharpness. To ensure that Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) produce consistent results, many of the image processing tools in these two programs are identical in their appearance and functionality. So if you’re used to working with ACR, jumping to a Lightroom workflow should come naturally for you.
As with prior versions of Lightroom and ACR, the Amount slider controls the intensity of the sharpening effect, while the Radius control defines in pixels how far from your edges the sharpening effect will be applied. Detail controls the halos typically associated with sharpening pixels, while Masking allows you to completely remove regions of your image from the sharpening process, so that you don’t create unwanted artifacts. You can hold down the Alt/Option key while moving these sliders to get a grayscale preview of your sharpening effect, making things easier to judge. What’s different about these Sharpening options in Lightroom 3 is that they produce better results, as seen in Figure 2.
Figure 2 Capture sharpening has been much improved in Lightroom 3. Here we see a comparison of the same image region, using the same Develop and Sharpening settings in Lightroom 2.5 and Lightroom 3 beta, respectively. Notice that extra definition has been created in some areas without producing any artifacts.