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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 and the next exercise we are going to talk about a couple of scenarios that aren't well suited to Smart Filters and we are going to see how we can still achieve non destructive effect albeit using old school technique essentially. I am looking at this image that is called Trade runner.jpeg that's found inside of the 04_Support_Stuff folder and this image comes to us from photographer Nick Roberts of iStockphoto.com once again. I am going to sharpen this image using the High Pass filter.
Now High Pass. You can combine High Pass along with a Smart Object if you want to, so you can apply it as a Smart Filter, however its a rather limited utility as you will see. So lets run through the Smart Filter approach. I am going to take this image here inside the Layers palette, I am going to click on the Layers palette menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, in order to convert it to Smart Object. We will just go ahead and rename it something like Model or something along those lines. Then I am going to go up to the Filter menu and I will choose Other and I will choose High Pass, and I want to apply a radius of- 3 pixels ought to work pretty well for this image because I am going to output with this image.
I am actually going to print this image at 240 pixels per inch. So the radius of 3 pixel, a little on high side, but it will work out nicely I think. Then I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. Then I need to change the blend mode of course, so I'll double click on this little slider icon right there, the blend mode icon in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box and I will change the Mode from Normal to Overlay. Now I was telling you can exaggerate the effect if this effect is not enough for you, which it is not enough for me, then you can elevate slightly by going with Hard Light.
That's just a slight improvement, however, that's just a little tiny bit more sharpening and after that you have got to resort to things like Linear Light that are really pretty much over the top effects, although they do in this cases it does deliver something along the line to what I want it to. I can back off the Opacity values as well if I want to, something like lets say 70% in order to give this effect right here. Alright that's one way to work, however, what I would really like to have is independent control over the Amount value.
So you may recall the High Pass filter gives the Radius value, so you have control over radius, but it doesn't give you any control over Amount. In order to control the Amount, if you really want specific control over the Amount, then you have to add a Levels adjustment to that High Pass result and you can't really do that. If I were to apply a Levels adjustment to this image right now as an adjustment layer for example, it would effect the entire image, not strictly the High Pass effect. I want to gain control over the High Pass effect independently and that's not something I cant do with Smart Filter.
If you are not sure exactly what I am talking about, you will know in just a moment. Lets go ahead and back up here by pressing the F12 key or I can choose the Revert command from the File menu. Here is a different way to work. This is like I said, this is old school, it's going to increase the size of the file on disk, but its a good technique. It's an old school technique that just doesn't have a Smart Object equivalent. So here we go. I am going to start by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on a Mac and I will call this layer High Pass and then I will click OK in order to make that layer. So I have got a new version of the image on an independent layer.
You can see down here on lower left corner of the window that the size of my image has grown from and 7.91 megabytes to 15.8 megabytes. Now I am going to go up to the Filter menu and apply that same High Pass treatment, so a Radius of 3 pixels. There it is. Looks terrible of course. That's why we are going to change the blend mode from Normal to Overlay. Now I want to gain some independent control over the Amount setting, so that I can elevate this effect and you do that using a Levels adjustment layer, which will be applied strictly to a High Pass layer.
Now how do we make that happen? Well you press and hold the Alt key or the Option key in the Mac and then you click here on this little black white icon and with Alt or Option down you choose the Levels command. I am going to call this- that should by the way, having Alt or Option down, should force the display of the New Layer dialog box. I am going to call this guy Amount because he will be my Amount control and then I am going to turn on this check box. Use previous layer to create clipping mask. Very important so that the Levels adjustment effects the High Pass layer by itself and then both the Levels adjustment and the High Pass layer are applied as a group to the background layer.
Alright. Now I'll click OK in order to accept that modification and you can see we are going to end up with an indented adjustment layer right there because its clipped to High Pass. Now we have got this sort of cone right here. This cone of brightness values, luminance levels inside the High Pass layers. So not much left. They are all shoved towards the center, that's why so much of the image is grey. We are going to spread it apart by grabbing the first Input Levels value and I am going to press Shift+Up Arrow as many times as required to get it close, to get this black slider triangle close to the beginning of the cone, the point at which it starts going up.
So 80. So I just need to remember that I am going to subtract now 80 from the maximum brightness side right here and I am going to that by pressing Shift+Down arrow 8 times. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 like so. Because if you don't modify both of these values by identical amounts, so adding 80 on this side, subtracting 80 on this side. If you don't do that then you are going to end up affecting the overall brightness of the image, and we don't want that. We want brightness to stay the same as this is right now.
So I am, however, increasing the heck out of the sharpening effect. I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. So this is what the image looks like without that Amount adjustment. This is what it looks like with the Amount adjustment. So I am going to go and zoom in so we can see that again. I will go ahead and turn the Levels adjustment off and I will go ahead and turn it back on. So it makes a huge a difference to the overall sharpening effect of the image. Now there is a couple of things that are troubling me about this effect so far.
I think it is too over the top and I can back it off. That's no problem. I can back it off by selecting this High Pass layer and then lets say I want to take it down to 80% opacity. So I press the 8 key to reduce the Opacity value to 80% right there; you can see that in the upper right corner of the Layers palette. Secondly, I am going to go ahead and scroll around here and we will see, especially in this coat, that I have brought out all kinds of weird color artifact. So this is what the original image looks like without High Pass, we will turn it off for a moment.
So reasonably homogenous colors. That is, mostly in the orange range, but there are some blues and purples that are showing up. They are just very tenuous at this point, but as soon as I sharpen the purple comes right to the surface, we also have this weird lilac strains inside of the hair. So to get rid of that, we need to get rid of all the colors that are occurring in the High Pass layer. We can't change the blend mode to Luminosity because it is already Overlay, but we can extract the color from the High Pass Layer and we are going to do that by going up to the Image menu and this again, this is not something you could do if you were working with a Smart Filter. You couldn't extract the color out of the High Pass layer because you don't have that kind of access to it.
So I am going to go up here because I do have access. Now I am going to go up here to the Adjustment submenu under the Image menu and I am going to choose this guy right there, Desaturate or I can press Ctrl+Shift+U Command+Shift+U on the Mac and keep an eye on the fur right there whether it is real fur or fake fur, don't know. I am just going to go ahead and choose the command and notice all of that color goes away. So this is before, lots of lilac in there; this is after. I de-saturate. It looks great and it looks exactly the way I want it to. This now is the final sharpened effect. It looks a little over the top. This is before, this is the unsharpened image that is to say.
This is after I appllied the High Pass sharpening, but bear in mind, we are printing it so it's probably going to look about the way it looks at 50% or 25%'s another way to gauge it. So here we are at 25% zoom level. This is without High Pass, this is with High Pass. I could of course go ahead and flatten the image and image size it down to the resolution of my screen in order to get an even more accurate view if I wanted to, but this is good enough for now. So that's something that you canst do with Smart Filters. This whole exercise I just showed you, we couldn't pull that off with the Smart Filter.
We can pull it off the old school way using an independent layer and of course we keep the file size down by relying on an adjustment layer right there, the adjustment layer didn't add any size to the image. In the next exercise I am going to show you yet another thing that we can only do if we are working old school and that is adjust luminance blending as we will do very shortly indeed.
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