When an image is formed by the camera lens, its focus is defined. The moment you press the shutter release, you accept that focus and store it as a permanent attribute of the photograph. If the photo is out of focus, guess what? It stays out of focus. No post-processing solution can fill in missing or blurry detail. But while Photoshop can't reach back into your camera and adjust the lens element for a better shot, it can simulate the appearance of enhanced focus by comparing neighboring pixels and increasing the amount of contrast between those pixels that trace the already existing edges.
Your eyes think they see a more sharply focused image, but really, they see an exaggerated version of the focus that was already there. In other words, it's a trick. So? Digital photography is a trick that simulates reality very specifically geared to human eyes and brains. If Photoshop sharpening augments that trick, more power to it. I just want you to know what you are doing. After all, the magician who truly understands his bag of tricks is better equipped to perform magic, and sharpening ,agic is what this chapter is all about.
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