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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.
In this exercise we are going to take care of that halo around this man's shoulders and around the top of his hair as well and to give you a sense to what I mean, let me show you what the final version of this composition is going to look like. It will look like this and you see that there is no halo dividing him from his background. Lets go and zoom in on that a little bit so that you can see the difference. There is the shoulder without any halo, here is the current version of the shoulder with a little bit of a halo. Notice that it's actually pretty noticeable, I think pretty obvious, and that white line around him that's encircling him here, this little bit of an aura is serving to divide him from the background, which is exactly the opposite of what we want.
So we want it to look like this. We want it to totally go away. Now there is going to be a little bit of softness that replaces that halo instead that's OK that's better then the alternative. Alright. So anyway here we are at work inside of this composition and the name of this image if you are just showing me you want to catch on up is Sharper background.PSD found inside the 07_For_Effect folder. And actually I am going to zoom in to 50% so that we can see things very clearly here. I am to bring back up my Layers palette.
Now what's happening here, the reason this halo exists, is because the filter mask exactly traces this gentlemen's outline and that means that the Unsharp Mask command is calculating in the edge just ever so slightly. It's calculating the edge between him and the background and it is of course drawing a halo around the edge and because it's a very significant edge because there is so much contrast between the foreground and the background, this is a very obvious halo. So what we need to do is expand the mask outward.
We need the black portion of the mask, which is concealing the Unsharp Mask effect, we need to shift it outward a little bit, we need to spread it, as they say, so that we are covering up that halo essentially. So heres what we are going to do. Go ahead and select the filter mask by clicking on its thumbnail here inside the Layers palette. Then I want you to go up to the Filter menu choose Other and choose this guy right there, Minimum. And what Minimum does is it expands the minimum brightness value, which is black. So it's going to expand the black portion of the mask outward.
So go ahead and choose Minimum and I am going to expand the mask by a radius of 6 pixels. Now the reason I am going with six by the way, you may recall that we applied a Radius value, where Unsharp Mask was concerned, we applied Radius value of 4 pixels. This Radius value associated with a Minimum filter right here is one and a half times as much, so 150%, half again as much. So we had four before, now we've got six, this is basically what we are doing. If your Unsharp Mask value was 8 pixels then you would enter 12 into this Radius value.
You would divide 8 by 2 you would get 4 pixels and you'd add it to 8 and you get 12. Anyway that's what we are doing. Go ahead and click OK and that does tend to work best and notice that the halo goes away. I am going to go in zoom in on this portion of his shoulder here. This is the before version where the halo is tracing around him, this is after version where the halo goes away. It's replaced by a weird edge though. If I zoom in close, you can see that there is a little bit of sharp edge that's replacing that halo. So there is the halo from before, there is the weird sharp edge. Now that's no good, we need to blur that edge away.
So I am going to go up to the Filter menu- now this is a two parter, so pay attention here. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur and I am going to match that Minimum value, which wouldnt be a radius of 120 pixels, it be just 6 pixels like so. So we are matching the Radius value that we assigned inside of Minimum and I will go ahead and click OK. So 6 pixels for Minimum, 6 pixels for Gaussian Blur in our case. Now that ends up blurring both inward and outward from the shoulder, which means that we could end up lightening the very edge of the shoulder a little bit and indeed we do. If you are working along with me, you may see on your monitor that you are kind of ruining the edge a little bit, making a mess of it.
So in order to make sure that we're only darkening this effect, so we are only blurring outward from the shoulder, not inward, I want you to go up to Edit menu and choose Fade Gaussian Blur or you can press Ctrl+Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac and I want you to change just the mode, the Opacity value is fine, change the mode to Multiply. So we are going to go ahead and fade it to Multiply like so and that's going to darken that edge and we will click OK. Now that brings back some of our wonky little Minimum edge that we had before. Once again its better then the alternative. And once we sort of zoom out from the image a little bit and once we print the image as well, we are not going to notice that edge at all.
So that's how we go about getting rid of that halo. If you are still troubled by the sharpness of the Minimum edge then rerun that Gaussian Blur effect. You can go ahead and choose from the Filter menu. You could choose Gaussian Blur again in order to run another pass of Gaussian Blur then you would go to the Edit menu choose Fade Gaussian Blur and again change it to Multiply. So you can rerun these effects multiple times in order to get a still smoother transition. Alright. So anyway this looks brilliant to me. I think everything is looking every, every good.
In the next exercise, we are going to make the background look darker. Right now it's sharper, but it is still very light. We are going to darken it up so it looks like this, using an adjustment layer. Stick with me.
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