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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.
Now that I've filled your head with three of what must be a couple of dozen different alternative sharpening workflows that are out there, what are you to make of it? Well, I want to make it clear. What I am not suggesting is you'll pick and choose your favorite alternative sharpening workflow, one of these three must work for you my friend. I don't actually hold with a kind of reasoning. I am a big believer that different images require different approaches. So what is my big conclusion? Now I am going to tell you. I am working here inside of that same Alternative Sharpening Workflows.PSD document, that's found inside of the 02_when_to_sharpen folder and currently looking at the 'and more' Layer Comp right here, I am going to switch down to the Conclusion Layer Comp.
Here's my conclusion; you need to do what needs to be done. Now that may seem like ridiculous and very obvious advice but just watch here. At the risk of sounding a little cavalier, image editing rules are at best guidelines. There is no perfect recipe for sharpening, although, there is undeniably more than one wrong approach. In another words, if you were to grab an image and then apply the Smart Sharpen filter flat, to a flat image like six times in a row with different settings, that would be a bad approach because you would be actively destroying that image.
So I don't recommend you work that way but if you keep your modifications nondestructive and you try to rein them in as much as possible, use them deliberately and conservatively, then you're probably going to be in pretty good shape. So here's my recommendations. First of all, take care, be watchful for artifacts, pixels gone bad that is, so if you have random variations between neighboring pixels and they aren't contributing to the good in the picture, the larger overall view of your image, then they are considered to be artifacts.
So things like JPEG transitions, noise -- any of that stuff you want to diffuse as much as possible. When in doubt, make a new layer, that goes to applying nondestructive modifications of course, and as always do as much as you dare with as little as you can. And that's something of an image editing mantra for me. Now you may say well, that sounds really great Deke, but what in the world does that mean? Well, here's what it means. Be decisive, make your edits count, don't overwork it. That's probably the biggest piece of advice because it's very tempting to go into a composition and just clobber it to the extent that there's nothing good left inside of it.
So you really want to take it easy and make your edits count as much as possible. And the best way to do that in my opinion is to not think so much in terms of workflow but to think about sharpening techniques. I am going to show you the big four kinds of sharpening techniques that are available to you in the very next exercise and then we'll explore those techniques in detail in the following Chapters.
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