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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie, I'll show you how to sharpen a noisy photograph. Specifically, this one here. So, even though we've managed to correct the colors in this turtle, and they're looking just great, right? We've got some detail problems, that become very obvious when you zoom in on the image. And what I suspect is going on here, I'm working with a digital camera, Panasonic Lumix, that doesn't have a RAW file format. In many cameras, what they'll do when they write a JPEG file is they'll auto sharpen it. And in this case, it looks like whatever auto sharpening is going on has some sort of threshold associated with it. That is to say, some areas get sharp and some don't, and as a result we get this pock marking effect, which is exceedingly unfortunate.
What we're going to do, is we're going to take this guy here. And I'll go ahead and go up to the Window menu, choose Arrange, and choose this guy right there, match all. So, that we can compare him to the final version of the image, which is this one right there. So, we have this porcelain like detail. You might look at this and think, you're kind of over smoothing. And you're definitely over sharpening this image. Some of that is for effect, because I want you to be able to see all of the modifications without any ambiguity. But, I will say, if you print this image at the resolution I've established here, it's going to look really really great.
I'll go ahead and switch back to the image at hand here and zoom out as well. And now what you want to do is click on the turtle layer to make it active. And as you may recall, this is a smart object. So, we can assign dynamic smart filters to it, by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Noise, and choosing Reduce Noise. Because the first step when you're sharpening a noisy image, is to get rid of the noise. And then you follow it up by sharpening on top of that. And what we're seeing here are the default settings, but then I really going to do us much good, where this very noisy turtle is concerned.
So, we're going to have to enhance the strength value in particular, all the way to its maximum, which is 10. And then I'm going to take down the preserve details value, because if we leave it cranked up to 60%, then we're going to keep all those pockmarks, and I'm going to take it down to just 5%. Then I am going to increase the color noise value to 50%, and I am going to take this dreaded sharp and details value down to zero, and the reason it's dreaded is because all of the sharpening functions in Photoshop, this one is least useful.
You're far better off following a produce noise with an application of smart sharp. Now, we don't want to ruin the default settings, so go ahead click on this little Save icon. And let's call this guy High Noise, and then Click OK. And then just to make sure that you don't replace the default values, you want to choose High Noise from the Settings menu, then click OK in order to apply the effect. Now, it may take a moment or two for Photoshop to run Reduce Noise, but once its done you will have a much smoother turtle.
Now, lets sharpen the image. Now, I should say I am working in Photoshop CC in which the smart shop and filter has been overhauled. So, you going to get different results if you are working in an earlier version of the software. I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen, and choose Smart Sharpen. And then, notice we've got these default values here. A radius of one pixel, and a reduce noise value as well. Might as well go ahead and heap on some additional reduce noise, since this is such a very, very noisy image.
And I'm going to crank it up to 50%, as you see here, and then I'm also going to crank up the amount of sharpening that I apply to 500%. So, I'm going to take it through the roof. Now, by the way, this filter right now as I'm using it anyway, is very, very slow. So, you may have to give Photoshop a moment between applying each one of these values. Also, check this out, this is a really cool thing about this filter. You can make it really huge, so that you can preview all over the place inside of the image. Problem from my perspective and why I am not going to do that, is because we're only seeing the one Smart object.
We're not seeing the composite image, so that preview isn't really doing us any good. So, I am just going to pay attention to the image that work in the background. Next, I am going to take the radius value up to three pixels and press the Tab key. I want to give you a sense, especially for those you who are working in earlier versions of Photoshop, I want to give you a sense of what you'll get from these very same settings. You want remove, by the way, to be set to lens blur, as is now the default. But if I click on this little gear icon right there and turn on Use Legacy, watch what happens to the turtle in the background.
Notice how much thicker those halos appear, and we end up getting rattier details as well. So, you will want to compensate for that by entering a lower radius value. Again, if you are working in the previous version of Photoshop. However, if you are working in latest and greatest, then leave the use legacy check box turned off and in a moment we'll see the better looking halos. And in much more tactile looking image over all. Now, go ahead and click OK in order to apply the effect, and you'll probably get a progress bar, telling you that Photoshop is applying the Smart Sharpen Filter. Then, when it gets done with that, you need to back it off a little bit, and I'll show you why.
I'll go ahead and zoom in, and notice down here that we've got, in addition to these much sharper details, we have all kinds of weird color action going on. Now, we also have some weird detail action. We're not going to do much about that, but we can get rid of the colors. And this is something you should do anytime you sharpen an image. You should always follow up with this step. Which is to double-click on the little slider icon, that's associated with smart sharpen. Now, because things are so sluggish, I get another progress bar. But in the fullness of time, I'll eventually see the blending options dialogue box, and what you want to do is change the mode from normal to luminosity and keep an eye on all these weird aberrant colors here.
As soon as you choose luminosity, those very highly saturated aberrations go away. Because now, we're just sharpening the luminance information inside the image, we're not sharpening the color discrepancies. Then I recommend that you take down the opacity value. You'll really want to take it down to taste. You may want to take it down to 50%, frankly. But for the sake of this video, just so you can see thins as they work, I'm going to take it down to a higher value, so we have more sharpening a little bit of over sharpening. Add an opacity of 77%, and then I'll click OK in order to apply that modification. Press the F key a couple of times to switch to the full screen mode. And I'll press Ctrl + 0 or Cmd + 0 on a Mac to zoom out, or at least to center my zoom.
And that is the final porcelain smooth, sharply detailed version of that wonderfully color corrected turtle. Thanks to the reduced noise, and the overhauled smart sharpen filters, working together here inside Photoshop.
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