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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
So far in this chapter we've covered some great techniques that you can use when you're interested in using Photoshop filters to sharpen your photographs. In this movie though, I want to go the next step, because sometimes what can happen is when you use these filters, you can sharpen and exaggerate and bring out unwanted color noise in your images. In order to correct for that you want to use a specific layer blending mode. So here we'll work on this photograph, apply some sharpening, and then change the layer blending mode of the layer which we sharpened.
Yet before we get to all that, I want to show you a quick demo to convince you why this technique is so valuable. You don't need to take this step, let me just demo real quick. I'll create a new layer by clicking on the new layer icon, and I'll name this new layer Demo. Then I'll grab the brush tool by tapping the b key. Here I'm going to choose a color. Maybe I'll start off with red up here, and I'm going to make a smiley face on this photograph. I'll choose another color here for the smile, alright, there you have it.
On this demo layer, I obviously have some colors. And the colors are distracting. Yet what you can do is you can use a layer blending mode, which is called luminosity. You'll find it right here, and it will allow you to primarily just show the luminant's value of that layer and remove most of the color. What this can do when it comes to sharpening, is it can make sure that you aren't sharpening or exaggerating unwanted color noise, and this is phenomenal.
So let me so you how this this works. Here, we'll delete the demo layer. We'll go through a normal workflow. We'll click into this background photograph, this is a portrait of a family friend here, and I'm going to click and drag this to the new layer icon. I'll double-click the layer name and call this one SS or maybe I'll type out the full name, Smart Sharpen. Then we'll go to our filter. In the filter pulldown menu, we will select Sharpen as we've done before, and then we'll choose Smart Sharpen. This will open up our Smart Sharpen dialog.
I'm going to go ahead and re position the view so I can evaluate this photograph,and I'm going to drop my amount radius down because that did not look very good from the very beginning. For most images, what I find is that I don't actually need to work with my shadows and highlights, there are some that really benefit from those controls, yet most images don't. So I tend to leave those controls closed so I'm not distracted by them. And that's what I've done here, I've just closed or hidden those. Alright, well let's go back to the top.
For the radius a good starting point often is right around one or so, sometimes higher with higher resolution files. This isn't that high of a resolution file, so perhaps I might even drop it a little bit below one. Then I like to bring my amount underneath 100 and incrementally bring it up, 10 or 20% of the time. And we've seen how all of this works. Because this is a portrait, I want to make sure that I'm not oversharpening the skin, but this image has a nice crisp, snappy look to it.
So I do want it to look sharp, let's reduce some of the noise. This will also protect some of our skin tone texture. When we bring that up, I'm liking the results looks like I went a little too high, got too excited about removing the noise there. Don't know if that ever happens to you, but sometimes in Photoshop I just, I get carried away. Alright, well here, I'll click on the image, you can see my before and after, nice detail on the eyes. Bring my amount up a little bit more, and I think that's a good amount of sharpening.
Amount 174, radius point seven, noise reduction 11%. Great, next step click Ok. Once we click Okay that will render or apply those filter settings to this layer. Now this last step is simply about clicking on the blending mode pull down menu and choosing luminosity. And often when we choose that blending mode, we'll think to ourselves does this really matter, have I really done anything at all.
You have to trust me here, you definitely are. You shouldn't see any visual change, unless you have horrible noise in the photograph. What you'll find is that we'll clean up those areas. But more than anything what will happen is this will take care of issues that you didn't even realize were there. Is it essential to do this on all images, with all photographs and all scenarios? Not necessarily, but it also doesn't hurt. Even with Images where you don't have a lot of noise issues.
You can't really go wrong with this technique and if anything, it's going to help you out and improve your overall result. So either way, in my own workflow, what I tend to do is to apply the sharpening level on a separate layer, and then at the end of the workflow, I click on this menu and choose that luminosity blending mode in order to ensure that I accomplish the best sharpening results.
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