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Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I am going to show you how to create a high frequency edge mask here inside Photoshop and we are going to save the creation the edge mask is in action so that you can play it back very easily in the future. Now I am still working inside that same High freq cityscape.PSD image that I opened and modified using the Smart Sharpen filter in a previous exercise and in this exercise what we are going to do is, we are going to Alt+click or Option+click on the filter mask in order to display the filter mask on screen here, so that we can keep track about modifications.
Notice that I am way zoomed in on this left hand cab, I will go ahead and zoom out a little bit to the 100% zoom ratio. Lets go over to the actions palette once again you should still be working, if you have been working along with me you should have a sharpening actions folders and action set that you created and you should have an action already made that's called LF edge mask, I am actually going to call that LoF edge mask so that I can keep track of it a little bit more easily. Alright. Lets create another action this time by clicking on the sharpening action set to make sure that were adding this new action to the sharpening action set, then I will click on a little new page icon, and I will call this one HiF edge mask, so that I know its a high frequency edge mask and I will click record in order to begin the recording of this action.
Now we've already got the filter mask selected and displayed on screen, so I am not going to have a problem with recording the selection of that mask as a step. I am just going to I'mmediately set about modifying it now because this is a high frequency image we don't need to apply the median filter first in order to thicken up or goo up those edges. We are just going to dig right in with the Find Edges functions. So go up to the Filter menu, choose Stylize and choose Find Edges and the reason by the way that we are not applying the median filter is because we have so many tiny details nested right next to each other median would end up destroying those transitions.
Alright. So lets go ahead and apply Find Edges and that's going to of course find all the edges inside of the image. We need to invert our mask, so that the edges are white and non-edges are black you do that by pressing Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac. Now again we do not have to visit the levels Command because if you were to bring up levels, so I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac, you'll see that you have tapering group of colors here inside this histogram that goes all the way to white and we have some very strong whites over here on the right hand side of the histogram as well.
So theres no reason to modify the histogram at this point because we didnt apply the median filter in advance. So just go and cancel out it there and because you clicked the cancel button, levels is not reordered as a step inside the action. The only other modification we need to apply is a little bit of blur, I just want to slightly blur our edge mask at this point. We don't thicken up the edges, because again we have very tight details inside this image. So lets go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and then choose Gaussian Blur and I want you to apply a low Radius value just one pixel, will do the trick and then click OK and that's all there is to it.
Now just go ahead and click on the stop button so these far fewer steps involved in creating a high frequency edge mask than a low frequency edge mask and we are now done. There is our high frequency edge mask action. Now you can go ahead and back step, if you want to bring to, lets bring up the History palette and we'll back step to before Find Edges to this step that says, Enable all Smart Filters right there. Now lets switch back to actions and lets go ahead and apply our HiF Edge mask action by Alt+clicking. First of all we need to make sure that we are editing the right portion of the document.
So Alt+Click or Option+Click on the filter mask here inside the Layers palette and then select your action and click on the Play button in order to play it and you should have this nice filter mask right there. Alright. Lets go ahead and hide the action palette Alt+Click or Option+Click once again on this filter mask in order to display the full color RGB image and you can see that we have smooth the way much of the noise that were bringing out using Smart Sharpen. So this is what the Smart Sharpen effect looks like. Before I Shift+click on that edge mask, I'll turn it off and you can see that were bringing out all kinds of noise inside the image.
So lets zoom in even farther so you can see how much noise is brought out, its just terrible actually and I'll Shift+click again it turned the layer mask on and all that the noise goes away, as a function of that the high frequency edge mask, its a wonderful thing. Now lets see what the image looks like with and without the Smart Sharpen Filter, this is without and this is with. So you can see you are not harming the smooth edges of the cab at all, we are just bringing out the actual edge detail. Now we are bringing in out too much because we have bunch of clipped highlights and shadows that were also bringing out a lot of color noise.
Now we are going to take care of both of those problems with a very simple blending modification in the next exercise.
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