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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.
The Adjust Sharpness feature offers a few more options than Unsharp Mask does. With this movie I would like to show you how to sharpen your images properly using Adjust Sharpness. I'm here in the Bridge application and I'm viewing the exercise files folders. What I would like to do is scroll down here in the Content panel and go down to the Chapter 13 folder, double-click on the adjust sharpness folder, open that up and then double-click on the tree_mos _01.JPG image. All right, that opens it up here in the Elements' Editing workspace and what I would like to do is first view the image at a 100%. We always need to do that anytime we're going to apply sharpening. So under the View menu let's choose Actual Pixels or you can use this keyboard shortcut of Command+ Option+0, that's a good one to memorize, very, very useful.
Okay, so now that we're viewing the image at a 100%, we can really see that the image is soft. It contains a ton of detail and lots of contrasty edges but overall still looking a little too soft. Knowing that printing is a softening process in general, if we want to print this image, we should probably compensate for that in addition to the softness that already exists in the image. So we definitely need to apply some sharpening here especially if we want to print it, okay. All right, so what we need to do then is take a look at the Enhance menu and the Adjust Sharpness dialog box, okay. Now, this particular sharpening feature offers a few more options than the other sharpening feature, which is called Unsharp Mask. All right.
So let's take a look at the similarities and the differences. One similarity is that they both have a preview area except for the Adjust Sharpness one is a lot bigger than the one in the Unsharp Mask, okay. Of course, it's defaulting to a 100% because you always want to be at a 100% in order to ensure that you're getting an accurate preview anytime you're applying sharpening, okay. You can scroll around here just by clicking and dragging, just like you can in the Unsharp Mask dialog box. You can use this in conjunction with the document window that's behind the dialog box here. As long as you have the Preview option turned on, you can choose to view one area of the image here in this portion of the dialog box and another portion of the image in the document window behind it, okay. So you can use these two together, all right.
We also have an Amount slider in both Unsharp Mask and Adjust Sharpness. Okay, this controls how much of a sharpening effect you're applying to the image overall. So let's bring this up to about 50%, just to start out with, somewhere right round there. We also have a Radius setting like we do in Unsharp Mask. This reaches into your image, it controls how far you're reaching into your image in order to create this illusion of sharpness, okay. That's basically what you're doing anytime you apply sharpening, no matter which tool you're using. We're creating the illusion of sharpness, okay, by enhancing these contrasty edges throughout our image.
Now in general, you want to keep the Radius setting between 1 and 2 pixels. If you go any higher than that, things are going to start to get a little bit strange and look very unnatural, like this. This is what over sharpening looks like and that's not what we want to do. Instead, we want to keep things looking natural, just a little bit more in focus. Again, we're creating the illusion of things being more in focus, that's what sharpening is, that's what sharpening is. Okay, so I'm going to bring this up to about 1.4-1.5, somewhere around there to start out with. I think that's a good starting setting between 1 and 2. Now here's where things are different between Adjust Sharpness and Unsharp Mask. We have this Remove menu here, it's defaulting to Gaussian Blur and with this selected, it's going to apply the same type of sharpening as you would find in Unsharp Mask. However, if you were to change this to Lens Blur, you're then applying a much finer type of sharpening. It also results in less of the sharpening halos that can sometimes pop up whenever you apply sharpening to an image, okay. You might see that around some contrasting edges, when you have applied sharpening you can see a little bit of halo around it. That happens less when you choose this particular option, Lens Blur.
So this is actually a much better option and different from Unsharp Mask. Then we have Motion Blur; if your image contains motion blur in it you can choose this and then control the angle in which you would want to try and sharpen it out, okay. We don't have that problem here, so we're going to choose Lens Blur in which case the angle setting does not apply. But does apply a finer sharpening technique than the Gaussian Blur, that's also found in Unsharp Mask, okay. So here is where things start to differ. We also have this More Refined option. If you turn this on, it's going to use a different process and also add to this finer sharpening technique along with Lens Blur, okay. If you turn that on, it can sometimes help but it can also bring a lot more noise in your image. If your image already contains noise, this is going to really enhance it. So you want to be careful with that okay.
Inspect for noise first, maybe try and reduce it if you need to and then beware of this option, okay. This one is not so bad so I think I'm going to go ahead and use that. Again if you click and hold in the preview area, you can get a before image and then let up on the mouse button, you can get an after image, okay. So we can see the before and the after. All right, so I think this is actually looking pretty good. I might actually want to bring back the Radius a little bit down to about 1 pixel and I might increase the Amount just a little bit up to about 60%. That's really looking good to me. There is the before, there is the after and maybe we will go up to just a little bit on both of these, 70% and 1.2 pixels. Things are getting a little bit strange, aren't they? I will turn off More Refined; I think it's overdoing it a bit there. Yeah, I turned that off and I think that's actually looking a lot better.
All right, so lets go ahead and click OK to apply this sharpening and then if we want to we can scroll around our image as we have it being viewed at a 100% here in the document window and it's looking a lot better. I really like that. If you want to see the before and after here in the document window, we can click Undo and there is our soft image and click Redo now we can see the much sharper image. That's actually looking really, really good. All right, so the main thing you need to know here when working with Adjust Sharp is, is that you have a couple of different options. You have that More Refined option which unfortunately didn't work well in this particular instance but might work well with another image that you might want to try and experiment with and we also have those different settings you can choose, the Gaussian Blur setting, the Lens Blur setting and the Motion Blur setting.
Lens Blur will give you some really nice results that we used it here and it actually applies a finer sharpening technique that you will not find in the Unsharp Mask, alright. So you might want to try that when you apply sharpening to your own images here in Elements.
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