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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.
In this movie, we are going to go way off the beaten path. And here I want to highlight a technique which is referred to as edge sharpening. You know, sometimes when you sharpen your photographs, you want to sharpen the entire image. Other times, you want to get more selective and paint the sharpening in to a certain area. And still other times, maybe you just want to highlight, and sharpen, and intensify, the edges. Well that's what we'll do here. Now, this technique is a little bit complicated at first pass, so you may need to pause the movie, or rewind to watch it again, but it is a worthwhile technique to know.
So, stick with me on this one. We'll be working with this photograph that I captured out in the California desert near Joshua Tree National Park. There are all these sculptures in this one area out in the middle of nowhere and they're kind of interesting, and I want to do some edge sharpening with these pictures. Now edge sharpening begins by going to the Channels panel. Then there, were going to create a new channel. We''ll find the edges on that channel, invert it, modify it, and eventually we'll turn that into a mask. Now if that sounds confusing, don't throw in the towel.
Again, stick with me and take a look at how we can do this. We'll go to the Channels panel first. Inside of Channels, we can click into a channel to view the content that we have, here, either red, green, or blue. You want to look for a channel where you see really good edge definition. I think in this image, the blue channel will work well. So, let's click and drag the blue channel down to the New icon and this will give us a copy of that. This is an alpha channel, which we are going to use, which won't wreck the image. We can change how this appears and it won't effect the overall photograph.
Double-click this one, and let's call this, Edges. We're going to do some edge work here. Next, we need to run a filter. The filter that we're going to run can be found underneath Stylize. So go to Filter > Sylize > Find Edges. My guess is that you've never gone to this filter before, and this is one of the only times that I actually use this one, it's Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. Select that, and all of a sudden the photograph looks kind of interesting, a little bit strange, but kind of interesting.
What we need to do with this is invert what it's given us. It's given us great edges, you can see those. It's almost like someone traced all of the edges in the photograph. Let me zoom in, perhaps on this, so we can actually see that a bit better. It's amazing how it actually found and defined and reenforced those edges. We need to invert that, press Cmd+I on a Mac, Ctrl+I on Windows, to invert. Now, again, if you feel like I'm going too fast, or if you missed a step, pause and rewind, because we need to get each of these little steps in order to accomplish what we're going to do.
After we've done that, the next thing that we want to think about is whether or not we want to modify what we're seeing. You notice how we have bright white, and black, but then we also have a lot of gray areas. If we want to minimize that so it's really just about the edge detail, we need to apply a Levels Adjustment, or Curves Adjustment to this alpha channel we have here. To do that, navigate to Image > Adjustments, and next, to keep things simple, let's just use Levels. Levels is the easier of the two out of Levels and Curves, at least, in my opinion. Here will go to our mid-tone slider.
As I drag this to the left, notice how it's bringing out more of this gray and mid-tone tone that we have here. As we drag this to the right, it's getting rid of it. What, you can think about this kind of like a detail slider. This is going to help define what details are sharpened. Drag it more to the right, and it's going to be less about the little details and more about the edges. Drag it to the left, and you'll bring out more of that detail at the end. Alright, well here, I want to get rid of some of those details. It's not exaggerated, but I'll just scale those back a little bit.
Then we'll click OK, and at that point, we have accomplished the first step. And the first step was all about copying the blue channel, to create an alpha channel. And then we went to our Filter, we chose Stylize and then Find Edges. The result that that gave us was the opposite of what we needed, so we inverted that. You remember how we did that? It was Cmd+I on a Mac, Ctrl+ I on Windows. Then last but not least, we went to Image > Adjustments > Levels.
And there, we applied a Levels Adjustment in order to minimize some of the mid-tone that we had here, which will help us to hide the effect from those areas. Alright, well this is a good stopping point, because what we'll do next will be to dig deeper into how we can use this alpha channel to improve the edges. So, leave this file open. We'll continue with it in the next movie.
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