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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.
If you were with me in the precious exercise then you witnessed me turn a bison into a Smart Object and if you are working along with me, you did the very same. If you like to catch up by the way with where I am at, then you can open this image, its called the Shaggy smart object.PSD and its found inside of the 04_support staff folder. And we have this Smart Object thumbnail here inside the Layers palette. Now I am going to go ahead and sharpen the creature. That's how we are going to start things off and we are going to apply a non destructive Smart Filter. The way you do that, you just make sure that you are working with a Smart Object, that's step 1, we already did that.
Now you go up to the Filter menu and you just choose the filter. Now you will notice that most of these top filters are not available to you, just the Filter Fallery is available to you if you are working in a RGB image. Not available in CMYK or any other modes and then we have all these filters are available, again assuming that you are working in the RGB mode, except for, if you go the blur menu, you will see Lens Blur is mysteriously not available to you because it is too complicated, as I understand. There's a couple of other filters that are misplaced in another submenu that are also available to you and I will go ahead and show you them.
They are under the Image menu, you go to Adjustments and you can see Shadow/Highlight is available as a non-destructive Smart Filter and so is the Variations command, also available to you. Well anyway, what we are going to apply, of course, we want to apply a sharpening function and it is going to be Smart Sharpen, so we can just run Control+Alt+F, so that's what I am going to do here. I will press Control+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac. Brings up the Smart Sharpen dialog box and these are the settings I want to apply. Amount value 350%, a Radius value of 4.0 pixels, Remove set to Lens Blur, More Accurate turned off, end of story.
Really that's it. You can check out the preview if you want to. Otherwise just go ahead and click OK, and that's all it is to it, because I am working with a Smart Object, Photoshop knows that I want to apply a non-destructive Smart Filter and there it is. Also we have a couple of things going on. If you take a close look at the Layers palette here, we have got this item that says Smart Filter, so this is sort of the heading for all of your Smart Filters that are contained underneath, they are inset underneath. And then we have got what's called the filter mask that affects all of the Smart Filters in kind. So you can't assign different mask for different filters.
If you want to do that, you have to create a nested Smart Object. I will show you how to do that actually in a future exercise, but for now just notice that you have got this filter mask. Now if you don't intend to use the filter mask, you can just go ahead and throw it away because it kind of clutters up the palette, and that's what I am going to do. I am going to grab it and I am going to drag it down to the trash can and that throws it away. Now you can always bring it back later. Notice how things are much tidier now inside the Layers palette and sometimes it is useful to be tidy because otherwise when you start working in big layer compositions, you start taking up the entire height to the Layers palette, and it's is nice to be able to see more than the just a handful layers at a time.
If you want to bring that filter mask back at any point in time, you don't click on here on this little guy. That creates a layer mask, you can make it create a filter mask for you. So instead what you have to do is you right-click on the word Smart Filters and you choose Add Filter Mask. Now we will go ahead and bring that filter mask back. Alright, I am going to go ahead and do that though. I want the filter mask gone for now and I just want to focus on Smart Sharpen. Now this inset here tells me that I have applied this sharpening effect and it's non-destructive and if I want to modify it, I can just double click and that will bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog box and I can change the settings, if I wanted to.
I am happy with the settings the way they are though. Now I click OK, presumably to go ahead and update the settings, and I will do that right now. Now you will notice a lot of delays associated with Smart Filters. Smart Filters are not the fastest features on earth and once you start combining multiple smart features together, which is where the real power comes in, that's when you really start to get some major slowdowns. So when you start combining your sharpening options with your smoothing options, which is something you need to do inside Photoshop.
So anyway, we have got this very sharp buffalo, just like that one sharpened versions of the bison I was showing you in the previous exercise. I was telling you it wasn't very good because its bringing out all these artifacts, so we need to down play the artifacts to the degree that we can, and we will do that by changing the blend settings associated with this Smart Sharpen effect right here. And you do that by going to this little icon, the slider icon, and you double click on it. That brings up the blend settings. Now you need to be prepared to wait. You are going to get delays, like I was telling you, just slight delays at this point, they are going to grow to be bigger delays shortly here.
I am going to go ahead and click on the eye, so we can keep an eye on it, here inside of the Blending Options dialog box. Notice that I can change the Mode or the Opacity. I am going to change the Mode of course to Luminosity and I can do this on the fly, live, non destructively. And you could see, if you look closely there, I will go and zoom in so that you can see that this is before, if I am clicking and holding, you can see that the eye has sort of blue halos around it and as soon as I release, all that blueness goes away because we are no longer sharpening the color discrepancies between the various color channels, and we are just focusing on the luminance information.
Alright, I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. Now this is good but its by no means good enough. We do need to smooth this creature to some extent before we sharpen it and I really want to smooth away this weird color patterns that are showing up. For example we are still seeing that burgundy pattern. Notice this area of sort of burgundy stuff that's going on inside the animal, as if we threw some wine on him. Which we didn't, we had the wine later in the day actually. But we did not do anything to this animal. It's just part of the photographic process.
I have no idea why the camera captured the data this way because its really not there. So we need to downplay this color anomalies. We did our best where Smart Sharpen was concerned, we set it to Luminosity but that didn't do the trick. So what we are going to have to do is apply a pass of the Median filter just to the color information and we are going to apply Median as a non destructive Smart Filter in the very next exercise.
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