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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.
Alright, gang this is what we've got. This is what we are going for. So lets get started here. We are going to start things off by applying the Gaussian Blur filter to a limited portion of the image to the area around the eyes. So I am going to restore the original version of the image which is called Piercing gaze.PSD from photographer, Tom Young, and you will find this image inside the 07 for_effect folder. I have a Smart Object already waiting for me here. So I am bound to create a nondestructive modification using a Smart Filter and the Smart Filter that I am going to apply is Gaussian Blur.
I am going to up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and by the way note that only one filter, only one Blur filter, is not available to you and that is the Lens Blur filter. You cannot apply Lens Blur as a Smart Filter. So our next best bet for blurring is Gaussian Blur. I am going to go ahead and choose that command and I am going to raise the Gaussian Blur value to 8 pixels, so I am applying quite a bit of Gaussian Blur as you can see here. Then I am going to go ahead and click OK and Photoshop automatically assigns Gaussian Blur as a Smart Filter and provides me with the Filter Mask, so that I can limit the effect if I want to and of course, I do want to.
I am going to go ahead and switch to the Elliptical Marquee tool right here, and then I am going to draw a general ellipse around pretty much to this portion of the image here, almost as if I were giving her something like a snorkel mask or scuba mask if you will. So this area is the portion of the area that I am going to select. It is more or less centered on the eyes as you can see and lets go ahead and switch over to the Filter Mask by clicking on it, here inside the Layers palette, and then I am going to check my foreground and background colors.
My background color is currently set to black that is just fine by me. So I'll press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+Delete in order to fill my selection with black like so and that rules out Gaussian Blur from the area inside of the ellipse and you can see that I now have a black ellipse inside of my Filter Mask over here in the thumbnail inside the Layers palette. Alright, now press Ctrl+D or Command+D in the Mac in order to deselect the image, and we have something of a naturally sharp transition between the blurry and unblurry portions of the image.
We need to go ahead and fuzz that up, create a gradual transition and we are going to do that using Gaussian Blur, but this time we are applying Gaussian Blur as a static adjustment to the Filter Mask. So what I want you to do is press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac to bring up the Gaussian Blur filter, and I am going to enter a Radius value of 120, so a very high Radius value. Now you should know at this point just a little bit of an aside here, notice how it a gradual transition between the blurry and unblurry portions of the image; that's a good thing.
You may wonder why didn't I create the selection before I applied Gaussian Blur? Why didn't I select the elliptical area and then apply Gaussian Blur, so that Photoshop would automatically generate a black on white mask for me in advance? The reason I didn't work that way is because if I did, then the area outside of the canvass would have been treated as black and now would be blurring in on the edges and you would know what I mean, if you would gone ahead and applied things in a wrong order; it is a big mask actually. So this way we avoid that problem.
I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and here is the blur outside of the blurry mask, applied very nicely; the eyes are still in very nice shape. Now I don't want all of her details out here to be completely blurry like this. I just want a heavy duty coating of blur, but I want the original unblurry details to show through just a little bit in the background. So I am going to double click on this little blending icon right there next to the where is Gaussian Blur in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, and I am going to change the Opacity to 70%; nothing more, I don't want you to apply a special blend mode, leave Mode set as Normal.
We are just going to reduce the Opacity to 70% that allows some details to show through. So we just have a little bit of balance to the details just a little bit of blurry balance going on here, then click OK in order to accept that modification. Now just to give you a sense of what we have managed to accomplish inside of this exercise, this is the original version of the image and this is the modified Gaussian Blur version of the image. In the next exercise, we are going to go in and sharpen the eyes using the High Pass filter.
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