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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
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Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur


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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur

Alright gang, are you ready to build your own Unsharp Mask using nothing more than Gaussian Blur, Apply Image and a booey knife? In this exercise we're going to see how. Now I do want to stress right upfront that there is no earthly reason to do this, this is not a technique, I am not suggesting that you do this on a regular basis for your own images. You'll see this is a very complicated technique that I am about to share with you and you would not want to do this on a regular basis. Even if you actioned it, you'd be out of your mind to work this way. The Unsharp Mask ommand is much more convenient. I am just showing you this so that you have a sense of how Unsharp Mask works and how it is that Photoshop uses blurring in order to create the effect of sharpening because after all, Photoshop is utterly incapable of generating actual detail inside of an image, so instead its just an illusion.
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  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the effects of sharpening
      5m 26s
    3. Understanding the mechanics of sharpening
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding sharpening and gradual transitions
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding sharpening and noise reduction
      4m 0s
    6. Understanding amount and radius
      7m 50s
    7. Measuring your screen resolution
      6m 19s
    8. Using reliable zoom ratios
      5m 30s
    9. Calculating the actual print size
      4m 54s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 31s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 4s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 39s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 44s
    6. Recognizing problems with the conventional workflow
      9m 38s
    7. Erasing sharpening with the history brush
      4m 30s
    8. Using alternative sharpening workflows
      2m 37s
    9. Sharpening a scanned photograph shot on film
      2m 45s
    10. Sharpening a digital photograph
      3m 6s
    11. Sharpening specific details
      3m 43s
    12. Finding broad workflow conclusions
      2m 49s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 27m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      4m 47s
    4. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      4m 54s
    5. Understanding the history of Unsharp Mask
      3m 51s
    6. Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur
      7m 35s
    7. Using the Smart Sharpen filter
      7m 35s
    8. Compensating for camera shake
      8m 50s
    9. Building your own Smart Sharpen with Lens Blur
      6m 59s
    10. Using directional sharpening with Emboss
      9m 13s
    11. Using Smart Sharpen extras
      8m 56s
    12. Using Convolution Kernels for more accuracy
      7m 8s
    13. Using the High Pass filter
      7m 32s
    14. Using Luminance Sharpening
      5m 5s
  4. 2h 14m
    1. Smoothing filters, smart objects, and masks
      1m 25s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 7s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 17s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 15s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 24s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 24s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 8s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 5s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 32s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      8m 59s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 36s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 14s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 13s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 52s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 30s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 32s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 41s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 36s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 42s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 15s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 8s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 27s
    2. Using low-frequency source sharpening
      5m 53s
    3. Using High Pass for portraits
      4m 19s
    4. Actioning a low-frequency edge mask
      7m 42s
    5. Modifying the source sharpening
      5m 21s
    6. Using high-frequency source sharpening
      5m 26s
    7. Using Smart Sharpen for cityscapes
      3m 2s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 4s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 4s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 24s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 16s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 10s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
      56s
    2. Focusing in on a person’s eyes
      4m 22s
    3. Blurring the area outside the eyes
      4m 22s
    4. Sharpening eyes and other details
      5m 38s
    5. Darkening the lashes and eyebrows
      7m 13s
    6. Sharpening dark-haired people
      5m 2s
    7. Edge mask and emphasize
      3m 39s
    8. Nesting a Smart Sharpen effect
      4m 48s
    9. Density mask sharpening
      5m 35s
    10. Adding depth of field
      4m 39s
    11. Sharpening a background
      4m 23s
    12. Masking background from foreground
      8m 51s
    13. Eliminating halos around a person
      5m 38s
    14. Deepening and warming a background
      3m 28s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 37s
    2. Understanding the use-neutral composition
      4m 15s
    3. Restoring much-needed antialiasing
      4m 2s
    4. Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
      7m 24s
    5. Making a third-level smart object
      3m 55s
    6. Preparing an image for print
      5m 18s
    7. Using ideal settings for commercial reproduction
      5m 37s
    8. Calculating very large-format settings
      5m 11s
    9. Using ideal settings for inkjet output
      4m 26s
    10. Sharpening for commercial reproduction
      5m 45s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 58s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 41s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 9s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 30s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 50s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 50s

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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
10h 33m Intermediate Feb 15, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the effects of sharpening
  • In-depth examinations of Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass
  • Smoothing an image with the Surface Blur, Despeckle, and Reduce Noise features
  • Working with smart objects and smart filters
  • Creating edge masks and non-edge masks
  • Sharpening for digital-image capture using Camera Raw
  • Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
  • Exploring creative applications of sharpening
  • Sharpening a multilayer composition
  • Sharpening eyes, hair, and out-of-focus backgrounds
  • Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
  • Determining ideal settings for commercial and inkjet output
  • Sharpening very large-format images
  • Sharpening an image for the web or screen output
Subjects:
Photography Sharpening
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur

Alright gang, are you ready to build your own Unsharp Mask using nothing more than Gaussian Blur, Apply Image and a booey knife? In this exercise we're going to see how. Now I do want to stress right upfront that there is no earthly reason to do this, this is not a technique, I am not suggesting that you do this on a regular basis for your own images. You'll see this is a very complicated technique that I am about to share with you and you would not want to do this on a regular basis. Even if you actioned it, you'd be out of your mind to work this way. The Unsharp Mask ommand is much more convenient. I am just showing you this so that you have a sense of how Unsharp Mask works and how it is that Photoshop uses blurring in order to create the effect of sharpening because after all, Photoshop is utterly incapable of generating actual detail inside of an image, so instead its just an illusion.

So here I am working inside this Test shapes.PSD image, which features this Background layer, this demo file here. The Background layer with this USM 100/12/0 layer sitting on top of it that we'll use to compare the two effects once we are done. I am going to turn that layer back off, I've got the Background layer selected, and now I don't necessarily expect you to follow along with me, I am going to work fairly quickly through this because its not necessarily going to make a ton of sense, but I just want you to see this is how it works. So I am going to start by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac in order to jump this image to new layer, and I am going to call this layer Gblur 12.

It's going to be Gaussian Blur with Radius of 12 pixels. I am going to click OK, then true to it's name, I am going to go up to Filter menu, I am going to choose the Blur command and I am going to choose Gaussian Blur. It's probably still set to that big whopping a 140 pixel value. I am going to change it to 12 pixels and I am going to click OK. Now believe it or not, this is going to create the effect of height and contrast. I know its hard to believe but it is going to do it. That is the only filter we're going to be applying is Gaussian Blur 12 right there. The next step is to go back to my Background layer, grab the original version of the image, and I am going to jump it once again by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I am going to call this layer, this may seem crazy, but I am going to call it Orig minus Gblur, because we're going to actually take the original version of the image and subtract the Gaussian Blur version of the image from it.

So I'll click OK and then I'll take this guy and I'll drag it on top of Gaussian Blur. So we reinstate the original version of the image. Now I am going subtract the Gaussian Blur version of the image using the Apply Image command. So I'll go up to the Image menu and I'll choose Apply image and I will go ahead and set Layer, currently we're applying whatever it is we are applying. We're applying it to the Original minus Gblur layer right here. The layer that I am going to apply to it is Gblur 12, and then I am going to set the Blend mode to Subtract, in order to subtract that image, the Gblur image, from the original image, and I am going to leave Scale and Offset set to their defaults.

So 1 and 0, notice that Opacity is set to a 100%, that's all I am going to do. I'm not going to Invert anything. I am going to click OK in order to accept that result. Now this may look crazy but you can see what we have is we have the highlight edges set against blackness. So now lets mix these guys together. I am going back to the Background image, I am going to jump it once again by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I am going to call this one Orig+(0-GB) and then click OK.

So basically I am going to take this guy and add this guy to it. Let's go ahead and move it to the top of the stack so we can see what we were doing, and I'll go back to the Apply Image command under the Image menu and I am going to set the layer this time to this one, Orig minus Gblur, and instead of subtracting I am going to go ahead and Add it, and watch this. We get the highlight edges right there. Isn't that cool? Check it out, I think that's awesome. These are highlight enforcers, the highlight enhancements that are associated with Unsharp Mask.

Then I'll go ahead and click OK. Now we still need the dark edge in here. We need the shadow edge, and so we're going to have to build that manually as well. So I am going to go down here to the Background layer. Once again, go ahead and Ctrl+Alt+J, Command+Option+J to jump it. This time I am going to call this one O, for Original, plus GBinv, which is Gaussian Blur Inverted (O+GBinv). So this time we are adding by the way and still subtracting, and I could actually spell it out because last time I spelt out minus for this letter.

So I'll spell it out O plus GBinv, click OK, drag it to the top of the stack, go up here to the Image menu, choose the Apply Image command, so a pretty familiar stuff, even though its mind-boggling at this point but still familiar. I am going to go to Layer and I am going to set this guy to Gaussian Blur 12 once again and instead of subtracting it, we're going to go ahead and add it, but we need to add an inverted version of this. It's way too highlighted, it's like we've got back-lightning going on. I am going to go ahead and click on the Invert option in order to create this effect here.

So we are getting rid of this white zone and we're going to keep the shadow edges. Now click OK in order to accept that effect. Now I am going to go back to Orig+(O-GB), that layer, the one that has, if I go and turn this layer Off for a moment, you can see this is the layer that has the highlights applied to it. So I want it to be selected, I'll go ahead and turn on again 0 plus GBinv. I am going to jump that layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I am to call this one Orig+(0-GB) just like we have, and then minus the sum, which is (0+GBinv) for invert.

It's not necessary that you name these layers anything; you don't have to name them so scrupulously as I am doing, I am just doing so that I can keep track of what the heck I am ought to. I'll click OK, drag the guy to the top of the stack so that you can see it. We are actually going to subtract away those dark edges by going up to the Image menu, choosing the Apply Image command and we're going to go ahead and set the layer to this guy right there, 0 plus GBinv and were going to subtract it this time around by changing the Blend mode to Subtract and look at those dark edges.

So we have the highlighted edges, we have the shadow edges, everything's there, I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. Now I am going to zoom-in because some of you might be thinking by this point, if you are thinking at all, if you have any semblance of a brain left, you might be thinking this can't possibly be the exact same effect. Now I am going to scroll to the top of the Layers palette, I am going to turn on USM 100/12/0. That is an authentic application of the Unsharp Mask command. Did you see anything change? Nothing changed. That's because we exactly emulated, this is not even simulation.

It's an exact emulation of Unsharp Mask set to a 100 with a Radius value of 12 and a Threshold of 0. You can build your own Unsharp Mask command using nothing more than Gaussian Blur and Apply Image. So this is totally the effect of sharpening created using blurring. Now at this point you might say, "Wow! that's really cool, Deke, where in the world did you learn that one?'" If you are thinking it's cool of course. And the truth of the matter is, I came up with it myself. Alright, you should just kNow I mean that's the kind of sick man I am.

In the next exercise we will be shifting focus away from this totally theoretical, ridiculous application of the Gaussian Blur function, we will be shifting to a much more practical application of the Smart Sharpen filter in Photoshop CS3.

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