The biggest advantage of the sharpening workflow I've described in this chapter is that images receive optimal sharpening. That in itself is no small thing. But an equally significant advantage is that images receive optimal use-neutral sharpening, so you can easily repurpose them for different outputs and sizes.
Decoupling the image source and image content concerns from the demands of the output process makes sense from both a quality and a productivity standpoint. It's conceivable that at some point in the future, savvy printer vendors will build optimal output sharpening into RIPs and printer drivers so that we can deliver images without having to worry about output size and resolution.
Looking even further forward, it's at least conceptually possible that display profiles could contain sharpness parameters that controlled antialiasing to the display, ironing out differences in sharpness the way they do color differences today. But in the here and now, it's fair to say that control of detail is a subject that has received far less attention than control of tone and color. This book is a small step toward redressing the balance, but a great deal of work remains to be done.
In the next, final chapter, I'll demonstrate case studies that show the entire sharpening workflow applied to images of different types from different sources.