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In Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training, Ted LoCascio teaches casual photographers how to organize, edit, and share their digital image libraries using this powerful software package from Adobe. He tours the included Adobe Bridge application, used for importing and organizing photographs, and explores every feature of Elements itself. He demonstrates how to navigate the Elements workspace, which is used to correct and improve images, combine them into projects, and produce slideshows, photo books, web galleries, and more. Ted also explains how to get the most out of each editing mode, and shares tips for correcting, retouching, and sharpening photographs. Example files accompany the course.
Now I'd like to show you how to sharpen your images using the Auto Sharpen option and the Sharpening slider available in Quick Fix Edit mode. I'm currently in the Bridge application and I'm viewing our exercise files folders. What I'd like to do is double-click on the Chapter 5 Using Quick Fix Mode folder and then double-click on the Sharpening folder and then double-click on this Quick Fix 11. All right, so here's our image in the Full Edit mode here in the Elements' Editing workspace. I actually want to open this up in Quick Fix mode. So in the Edit tab I will click the Quick button and now we have access to our Quick Fix controls. Notice at the bottom here, we have the Sharpen control. All right, we have Auto Sharpen and then we also have an Amount slider.
Okay, now before we even start playing around with these controls here in Quick Fix mode, the first thing that you really need to know is that you need to zoom into your image to 100% in order to get an accurate preview of what's going to happen when you apply sharpening to an image. So that's the first thing we're going to do, and I want to show you a keyboard shortcut to do this. If we go onto the View menu, you can see we have the Fit on Screen and then Actual Pixels commands. When you choose Fit on Screen, it's just going to increase it in order to fit the work area. But if we choose Actual Pixels, Option+Command+0, it's going to zoom in to a 100%. That's a really good keyboard shortcut to learn, especially when you're working with sharpening.
All right, so Option+Command+0, now we're viewing the image at 100%. You can see there is a lot of intricate detail in this image. This is a very, very good candidate for applying some sharpening. Just about every image that you take is going to be a good candidate for sharpening. I think you should always apply some sharpening and it's usually your last step. After you applied all of your other adjustments, if it were in Quick Fix mode or any of these adjustments above the Sharpening area here, apply those first and leave your sharpening for last. Then you want to zoom in to 100%, and apply a little bit of sharpening in order to bring out some extra detail.
What we're doing with sharpening is we're creating the illusion of focus. What sharpening does is it goes into your image and it looks for all of the pixels and it increases the contrast between them. So that's what we're going to be doing here. Let's take a look at this moss and here we can see all of this intricate detail, we want to try and bring that out a bit with some sharpening, creating the illusion of focus. So the first thing we're going to do is try the Auto Sharpen button. Let's let Elements do the work for us first and see how good of a job it does. We'll click the Auto Sharpen button and you can compare the before and the after.
It's actually done a pretty good job. As you can see here, by increasing that contrast between the adjacent pixels, we can see much more definition now in this very detailed image of the moss if you compare it from the before to the after and it actually looks really, really good. Now this is something you definitely want to do when you print an image, because the printing in itself is a softening process, okay. Now the thing that I find with Auto Sharpening is it doesn't really compensate well enough I think for the printing process. I think we just actually use just a little bit more sharpening than what we got here using the Auto feature. So what I'm going to do is click Undo and try to do this manually using the Amount slider underneath.
So let's drag it out, like I said before, I like to always use the first check on the line here as my first milestone. And that's actually not looking too bad, might be a little bit much and if so, we can just drag it to the left a little bit, so that's not quite as severe. But I do think it's a little bit better than what we got on the Auto Sharpening, because remember, you want it to look sharp, but you want to compensate a little extra for that printing process because even if it looks really nice and sharp on your screen at 100%, when you print it, it's guaranteed to look a little bit softer than what you saw on the screen, okay. You want to compensate for that.
So doing that using the manual slider down here at the bottom, I'm going to go ahead and click the green Commit button. We have now applied that sharpening adjustment to our image. So the things take away here. Always remember that you always need to zoom in to 100% in order to get an accurate preview of your image that every image should have some sharpening applied to it especially before you print it and that you want to do it last after you make your adjustments, and always compensate a little extra for that softening that happens during the printing process.
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