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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
The last step in your workflow, after you have corrected lighting, color or applied any other corrections to an image in Quick Fix, is to sharpen the image and you can do that right here in the Quick Fix workspace from the Detail panel down here at the bottom of the Quick Fix column. The reason you want to sharpen an image is because the very process of digitizing an image, either by scanning or by taking a digital photo, does soften the image somewhat, and most images will look better if they are a little crisper. Before you begin to sharpen, you want to make sure that the document window is set to 100%, so that you can seriously evaluate the results of sharpening.
To do that, I'll select the Zoom tool in the toolbox and then I will go up to be 1:1 option in the Options bar and click, and now my image is zoomed into 100% as reported down here at the bottom right. The quickest way to apply sharpening is to go to the Detail panel and click the Auto button. I am going to do that now. Keep your eye on the image as I do it. And you may have noticed that the image is a little bit sharper. I actually think it's too sharp right now, because I can see a lot of blemishes and uneven areas in the model's skin. You can see that even better if I show you the Before and After view.
So I am going to go down to the View menu and choose Before and After Horizontal. Then I'll get the Hand tool, and I'll click in either Preview and move over so you can see the model's face. Here on the left is the original rather soft image, and here on the right is the sharpened version of the same image. So I would like the model's skin to remain soft like this, and I would like her eyes to be sharp, because the eyes really are the focal point. So I am going to undo by going up to the Undo button at the top of the screen, and I am going to go back to the Detail panel, and I am going to click the grid to the left of the Sharpen slider.
I'll scroll down using the scroll bar on the right. Here I see a series of thumbnails with different amounts of sharpening. The default is this first one, the one with the orange arrow in it. I am going to move my mouse over the other thumbnails one by one to see a preview of how the image will look with a corresponding amount of sharpening. Now I think that the third thumbnail on the top row is already too much. So I am going to go back to that second thumbnail, and I think that's a little much in the skin area as well. So rather than apply sharpening to the entire image, I am going to make use of the Quick Selection tool to select just the area that I want to sharpen.
I'll click on the Quick Selection tool here in the toolbar, and then I am going to go up to be Brush option and click the arrow there. Because I want to reduce the hardness of the brush, I'll reduce it down to maybe 70%. There is no magic number here. I just want the edges of the brush to be a little bit soft, so that the area I am sharpening blends into the area that won't be sharpened. And then I'll click in a blank area of the Options bar to close that menu. I'll move into the image, and I'll make sure my brush is about the size of the model's iris. I am going to press the Right Bracket key on my keyboard to make the brush a little bigger.
If I want make it smaller, I could press the Left Bracket key on my keyboard. And I am just going to brush across the model's eyes here and here. I might make my brush a little bit smaller, and brush across her eyebrows as well. Like that. Now I'll go back down to the Detail panel. I am going to click the grid icon and then I am going to scroll down, and I'll move my mouse over the various thumbnails, keeping my eye on the after version of the image. I am going to select the third thumbnail in the top row, and then I am going to deselect by going up to the Select menu and choosing Deselect.
That way I get a better view of the edge of the sharpened selected area, and I think that looks pretty good. The subject's eyes are nice and bright and clear, and the skin is soft. So don't overlook this step when you're done editing an image in Quick Fix. You can make it look even better by sharpening all or part of the image for output.
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