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Sharpening an image

From: Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9

Video: Sharpening an image

To really enhance the detail of an image, Photoshop Elements 9 provides Sharpening options that can really make your images pop. Although sharpening can't fix a completely out of focus image, it can improve slightly out of focus images. Or images that simply need a detail enhancement. Every image can benefit from some level of sharpening. How much sharpening depends on the initial quality of the image. I'm going to begin this video from the Elements 9 Organizer. And in the Search text field, I can do a search for the word Group.

Sharpening an image

To really enhance the detail of an image, Photoshop Elements 9 provides Sharpening options that can really make your images pop. Although sharpening can't fix a completely out of focus image, it can improve slightly out of focus images. Or images that simply need a detail enhancement. Every image can benefit from some level of sharpening. How much sharpening depends on the initial quality of the image. I'm going to begin this video from the Elements 9 Organizer. And in the Search text field, I can do a search for the word Group.

And in the Results, I'm going to select this image called Birds_Group.jpg. Now, with this image selected in the Organizer, I'm going to come over here to the Fix tab. And to the right, I'm going to click on the Arrow, and I'm going to choose Guided Photo Edit. When this image opens in Photoshop Elements, I'm going to come in there to the Basic Photo Edits and I'm going to click on the Sharpen Photo category. Now, this image needs a little bit of sharpening. And the best way to look at an image when you're looking at sharpening it is to view it at 100%. The easiest way to do that is to double click-on your Zoom tool, and that will magnify this image as you can see to 100%.

I'm going to hold down my Space Bar to temporarily access my Hand tool, and I'm going to focus in on this bird that's towards the center of the image. Over here in the Guided Edit category, it says, click auto to apply an overall sharpening affect. So, you can try this option. If I click Auto, you can see that it's going to try to automatically apply the sharpening. Now, you can also use the slider to drag the sharpening to the right to increase the sharpening, and to the left to decrease the sharpening.

Now, the trick with sharpening is to apply just enough to enhance the image without over doing it. So, I'm going to adjust this slider until I think I like the amount of sharpening that's being applied. Once again, I can drag it all the way to the left to see before, and then I'm just going to gradually increase. And you definitely see that we're getting more detail. But notice we're also picking up noise in the background here. So, that's one of the side effects of sharpening. So, that's how to apply sharpening in the Guided Edit section.

So, I'm going to go ahead and click Cancel to exit that mode. Now, we can also apply sharpening in the Quick Edit mode. Of course, once I click on this at the very bottom, I can see that I have a Sharpen category, and once again, you can drag this slider if you like. You can also click on this triangle. And that allows us to see different levels of sharpening that we'd like to apply. So you can hover over these different icons to see the different levels of sharpening. So, that's how we can apply sharpening in the Quick Edit mode.

Now, I'm going to go ahead and click on the triangle here to close this. I didn't really apply any sharpening yet. And let's move on over to full edit. So, I'll click on the Full Edit button. And once again, I'm going to reposition this so I can see this a little bit better. And to apply sharpening in Full Edit, I'm going to go to the Enhance menu. And down here, I have two options. I have Adjust Sharpness and I have Unsharp Mask. I'm going to go ahead and choose Adjust Sharpness for now. And this provides some additional tools that I can apply. Now, as you get more familiar with Photoshop Elements, you'll get used to some of these options.

And I'm just going to reposition these so I can kind of see this side by side. So, first of all, I have the Amount, and the Amount is basically the volume or how much sharpening to apply. So again, you can adjust the sharpening. The more I applied, the sharper it gets. Now, what you can do is you can turn the Preview off. And what that'll do is turn off the preview in your original image, but show you the sharpening effect inside of this window.

So, you can see as I increase the sharpness, I can see the effect over here and I can see essentially before and after. The radius is the thickness of the sharpening. Essentially, what sharpening does is it improves the contrast between Contrast Edges. So, if I increase this, you can see how it really gets crazy. It really gets intense, and I'm going to pull this back down. Usually, I keep the Radius somewhere between 1 and 2, maybe sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. And then, the Remove section allows me to apply different types of blur to actually remove blur from the image.

So, we have three options, Galcian, Lens, and Motion. And depending on your image, you can try different options and try to remove a blur from the image. So, in this particular example, you can try Lens Blur, and that actually looks pretty good. So, you can increase the amount, and now we can essentially see before and after, and you can see how much clearer the content is. We're picking up some of the detail in the feathers here on the head and below the eye. So really, it's about experimentation.

And once you're happy with this, you can go ahead and click OK to apply that effect to your image. I'm going to do one more thing. You can undo this. I'm going to click the Undo button to go back to my original. And one more sharpening option is to go to the Enhance menu and choose Unsharp Mask. And this is the traditional sharpening method used in the full version of Photoshop. But it's just yet one more option I'm going to go ahead and do what I did before, position this, and turn off my Preview because I can still see the preview in here. And once again, we have the Amount, which is essentially the volume, you know how much sharpening is going to be applied.

We have the radius, the fitness of that contrast edge. And then, we also have a Threshold, and this controls how many levels of tones in the image are going to be effected. Zero affects all tones in the image. And then as I drag to the right, that affects less tones. So, you can see in the preview that I'm starting to not affect some of the tones in my image. So unless you have a specific reason, generally keep the Threshold pretty low so that it's affecting the majority of your image. So that looks pretty good.

And maybe, I'll increase the Amount a little bit more. And once again, you can click Preview to see before and after. And we're definitely improving on the detail of the image. So, I'll go ahead and click OK. And I'll do a File > Save As on this image so that I'll have a copy of it. Once again, I'm going to type _edited1 for the name of this. You can call it whatever you like. And I'm just going to make sure that I include in the Elements Organizer so that I can see both of them. I'll keep my quality all the way up, click OK. And now, we can close it, which will return us back to the Elements Organizer where I can see both of those images have been saved. As you can see in this video, by understanding how to apply sharpening to an image, you can significantly improve the quality of your images and make them look their best.

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Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9

31 video lessons · 942 viewers

Chad Chelius
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