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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

Sharpening photos


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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Sharpening photos

Almost every digital image can benefit from sharpening. That's because the very process of capturing and working with a digital image can soften it so that your final print or other output may look a little softer than you would like. Some people sharpen throughout their editing workflow. At the beginning when they first capture an image and then from time to time as they're working on the image. I think it's particularly important to sharpen just before you output the image. When you do so, you want to resize to your final output size first, because the amount of sharpening that you'll apply will depend on how large the image is.
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  1. 11m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      3m 47s
    3. Touring the workspaces
      5m 55s
  2. 54m 16s
    1. Working with catalogs
      5m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      5m 13s
    3. Importing files from your computer
      7m 31s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      8m 57s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      4m 44s
    6. Importing files from external drives/CDs/DVDs
      4m 44s
    7. Scanning photos
      6m 50s
    8. Dividing scanned photos
      5m 51s
    9. Importing from watch folders (Windows only)
      5m 4s
  3. 39m 10s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      6m 41s
    2. Viewing thumbnails
      6m 15s
    3. Rotating photos
      52s
    4. Renaming photos
      2m 55s
    5. Fixing photo dates
      2m 28s
    6. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 6s
    7. Stacking photos
      4m 22s
    8. Moving files
      2m 43s
    9. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 53s
    10. Using Help
      3m 55s
  4. 54m 22s
    1. Rating photos
      3m 58s
    2. Applying and organizing keyword tags
      7m 4s
    3. Searching by keyword tags
      3m 35s
    4. Tagging with People Recognition
      11m 3s
    5. Using Smart Tags
      5m 57s
    6. Creating albums
      4m 41s
    7. Creating Smart Albums
      6m 28s
    8. Searching by text
      5m 28s
    9. Using the Find menu
      4m 19s
    10. Using the Timeline
      1m 49s
  5. 30m 14s
    1. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 21s
    2. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      9m 20s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 56s
    4. Viewing by date
      3m 18s
    5. Mapping photos (Windows only)
      7m 19s
  6. 38m 36s
    1. Applying Photo Fix
      9m 0s
    2. The Quick Fix interface
      7m 9s
    3. The Quick Fix controls
      5m 22s
    4. Adjusting lighting in Quick Fix
      3m 46s
    5. Adjusting color in Quick Fix
      5m 39s
    6. Using the Touch Up tools in Quick Fix
      7m 40s
  7. 43m 43s
    1. Guided Edit basics
      8m 13s
    2. Making an Out of Bounds image
      10m 17s
    3. Perfecting a portrait
      7m 43s
    4. Adding realistic reflections
      5m 26s
    5. Applying a LOMO camera effect
      2m 0s
    6. Making pop art
      1m 31s
    7. Using Style Match
      8m 33s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Full Edit workspace overview
      6m 51s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      4m 51s
    3. Using tools
      7m 40s
    4. Arranging panels
      5m 18s
    5. Setting preferences
      3m 41s
    6. Using Undo History
      6m 39s
    7. Zooming and navigating
      7m 4s
    8. Creating a blank file
      5m 19s
    9. Photo resizing and resolution
      8m 9s
    10. Cropping and straightening photos
      7m 15s
    11. Recomposing photos
      8m 15s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 27s
    13. Saving and formats
      5m 46s
  9. 35m 4s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 17s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    3. Using layer masks
      7m 43s
    4. Using layer masks to combine images
      6m 27s
    5. Building composites
      8m 16s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Selection basics
      3m 22s
    2. Manual selection tools
      3m 19s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      7m 24s
    4. Refining selection edges
      3m 30s
    5. Saving selections
      3m 23s
  11. 1h 21m
    1. Color managing
      7m 14s
    2. Applying Shadow/Highlight adjustments
      2m 42s
    3. Using adjustment layers
      8m 24s
    4. Masking adjustment layers
      7m 38s
    5. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      6m 8s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      5m 56s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      4m 14s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 37s
    9. Reducing digital noise
      4m 7s
    10. Sharpening photos
      7m 32s
    11. Processing multiple files
      7m 59s
    12. Working with raw photos
      15m 57s
  12. 18m 34s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tools
      6m 16s
    2. Dodging and burning
      2m 29s
    3. Retouching blemishes
      4m 29s
    4. Content-aware healing
      2m 31s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      2m 49s
  13. 25m 53s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 36s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 34s
    3. Using layer styles
      7m 23s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 46s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 19s
    6. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
  14. 11m 25s
    1. Creating text
      7m 1s
    2. Editing text
      4m 24s
  15. 1h 25m
    1. Creating a photo collage
      8m 38s
    2. Fine-tuning a photo collage
      8m 3s
    3. Creating greeting cards
      8m 34s
    4. Creating photo calendars
      9m 28s
    5. Creating CD/DVD jackets and labels
      7m 43s
    6. Creating a photo book
      7m 44s
    7. Fine-tuning a photo book
      7m 11s
    8. Creating a slideshow (Windows only)
      8m 0s
    9. Fine-tuning a slideshow (Windows only)
      3m 23s
    10. Creating a flip book (Windows only)
      2m 47s
    11. End to end: Making a scrapbook page
      8m 15s
    12. End to end: Completing a scrapbook page
      5m 24s
  16. 49m 27s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 38s
    2. Contact sheets and picture packages (Windows only)
      6m 40s
    3. Sharing photos by email
      6m 38s
    4. Sharing photos by Photo Mail (Windows only)
      5m 8s
    5. Sharing to Flickr and Facebook
      4m 43s
    6. Saving images for the web
      6m 48s
    7. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      2m 55s
    8. Sharing online albums at Photoshop.com
      5m 4s
    9. Backing up
      2m 53s
  17. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training
11h 20m Beginner Nov 23, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training, Jan Kabili highlights the key features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. She shows how to correct and enhance photographs, and how to organize a growing collection of digital photos. The course also explains how to use photos in creative projects like photo books, calendars, and greeting cards, and how to share work online and in print. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Downloading files from a digital camera
  • Importing photos into an Elements catalog
  • Applying keyword tags
  • Organizing photos into albums and Smart Albums
  • Automatically adjusting photos in Quick Fix
  • Walking through Guided Edit photo techniques
  • Understanding photo resizing and resolution
  • Cropping and straightening photos
  • Making and refining selections
  • Correcting photos in the Full Edit workspace
  • Applying image sharpening
  • Adding text and special effects
  • Creating photo projects, such as greeting cards and calendars
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Sharpening photos

Almost every digital image can benefit from sharpening. That's because the very process of capturing and working with a digital image can soften it so that your final print or other output may look a little softer than you would like. Some people sharpen throughout their editing workflow. At the beginning when they first capture an image and then from time to time as they're working on the image. I think it's particularly important to sharpen just before you output the image. When you do so, you want to resize to your final output size first, because the amount of sharpening that you'll apply will depend on how large the image is.

When you're ready to sharpen, you want to view the image at 100% which is the only way to accurately judge sharpening. So I am going to go to the toolbar and I'll double-click the Zoom tool to view this image at 100%. Then I can use the Hand tool or I can press the Spacebar to temporarily access the Hand tool to pan around to the area that I want to see. To sharpen the image, I'll go up to the Enhance menu and I can choose either Unsharp Mask or Adjust Sharpness. Let's look at Unsharp Mask first.

That open the Unsharp Mask dialog box. Here, there's another preview and I can pan around in this preview by clicking and dragging. If I want to, I can zoom in by pressing the + symbol or zoom out by pressing the - symbol here in the small preview in the Unsharp Mask dialog box. When I press-and-hold here I see the image as it would be without any sharpening and when I release my mouse I see how the image will look with sharpening at the settings that I currently have in this dialog box.

There are three settings here. The Amount and the Radius settings work together. So, the way that I approach these is usually to drag the Amount slider all the way over to the right. Then to start increasing the Radius slider until it starts making the image look too crispy and then I'll back off. But before I back off I want to increase a little more, because I want you to understand what sharpening is doing. Sharpening looks for an edge and that means a place where there are light pixels right next to darker pixels.

Then to give the illusion that those areas are sharper; the pixels on the dark side of that edge are made darker and the pixels on the light side of the edge are made lighter. That increase in contrast at edges makes the image appear to look sharper. I hope that explanation will help you to understand what the Radius and Amount sliders do. As I drag the Radius slider over to the right, it is increasing the number of pixels out from an edge that are getting the treatment that I just explained. So, you could see a wider band of dark pixels at this point along the edge of the dog's nose and a wider band of white pixels.

As I move back on the Radius slider, those bands of pixels, sometimes called the sharpening halo become narrower. The Amount slider controls how intense that effect will be by determining how dark the dark halos will be and how light the light halos will be. So as I drag Amount back, the dark pixels along the sharpened edge are becoming less dark and the light pixels are becoming less white. So, the question is how much to sharpen and really that's a matter of taste.

Although, you may keep in mind that if you're sending an image to print, you might want to sharpen it so it looks a bit too sharp here on your screen, because when you do send it to print the image will soften a bit more. I generally don't drag the Radius slider too high, because then you get this crispy sort of look. I tend to leave it lower than 2.0. So in this case maybe I'll put it just about there. Where you put the Amount slider does depend in part on where the Radius slider is as you've just seen. I'm going to leave my slider as they are now for this image and then I'm going to go down to the Threshold slider.

This image was taken through a screen door and I can see a vague imprint of the screen on the dog's face and I certainly can see the little pieces of the screen here in the background. When I sharpen, I want to sharpen just the dog, not the screen and that's where the Threshold slider comes in. When Threshold is set to 0, everything in the image is sharpened to the same amount. But as I drag Threshold to the right, Elements tries to decide what the most important details are and focus on sharpening those and not the other things in the image like the screen.

Now, I think I went too far there, because the area around the dog's eye now isn't very sharp. I do want to make sure that the eye is sharp, because that's a point of focus. So I am going to back off on Threshold a little bit and with those settings I'll check a before and after view by unchecking Preview. So, that's how soft the image was to start and that's how the image looks now with these sharpening settings. If I'm satisfied I would normally click OK, but I'm going to click Cancel so that I can show you the other sharpening feature, Adjust Sharpness under the Enhance menu.

That opens a different dialog box. This one also has an Amount and a Radius slider. So, I get those set to the way I like them and then I'm going to come down and click More Refined which gives me an even more accurate view of the sharpening. There is one more choice in this dialog box that I don't have any Unsharp Mask dialog box and that is the Remove menu. This gives me a choice between three different formulas for sharpening the image.

Gaussian Blur is much like the kind of sharpening that we saw in the Unsharp Mask dialog box. Sometimes Lens Blur can bring back some of the detail in an image that's set to a shallow depth of field. I actually think that gives me a worse result in this case. Then Motion Blur can sometimes bring back a little bit of blur that's caused by camera shake or by motion of the subject. Again, I like Gaussian blur the best in this case. I also want to mention that this kind of sharpening is not really intended to sharpen a blurry image due to camera shake or the subject moving or a shallow depth of field.

This is more about sharpening the kind of softness that comes from the digitizing workflow. When I'm satisfied here, I'll click OK. Now, there are a couple of more sharpening features you should know about. Over in the toolbar, here behind the Blur tool there is a Sharpen tool and this can be used to sharpen specific areas. So, often in portraits I'll run the Sharpen tool over the eye or here I might run it over the nose to sharpen those areas a little more so that your eye focuses on them when you look at the photo.

But you don't want to go too far with the Sharpen tool because it tends to give these odd results like underneath the dog's eye here where I think it looks a little bit too sharp at this point. There's also under the Enhance menu an Auto Sharpen command. So, if you are in a hurry you might want to try Auto Sharpen. But I tend not to use Auto Sharpen or actually any of the other auto commands under this menu, because the advantage of working in the Full Edit workspace is that you get to make the correction decisions rather than use these auto commands. If you want to use auto commands, you might want work in the Quick Fix workspace or in the photo fix options in the Organizer.

So, remember that when you're doing your final sharpening for output view the image at 100% and resize the image to the output size before you sharpen in order to correct for the softening that is an inevitable part of the digital workflow.

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