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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 will continue to dive deep into how we can use our Smart Sharpen controls in order to improve our photographs. In particular I want to focus in on the sliders which are more advanced, which allow us to work with scaling back or changing the way that the sharpening effect is affecting the highlight or the shadow area of the photograph. Here let's select this image and then navigate to Filter. Then choose Sharpen, then choose the option for Smart Sharpen to open up our Smart Sharpen dialogue.
In this case, we want to view this at 100% here. So let's take our view to 100%. And let's again apply an exaggerated amount with our overall Amount and Radius. As we start to bring up the radius, we can see that the edges are really glowing. When we bring up the amount that intensifies that effect, so that it's really exaggerated. Having an exaggerated amount in Radius will be helpful to understand how our Shadows / Highlights controls work. Click to open up those controls, and you'll find that there are three sliders for each group.
Fade Amount, Tonal Width, and Radius. Well what is all of this about? Well Fade Amount, what it does is it actually fades away, or removes the effect in the highlight area. In this image if I exaggerate for a moment by cranking this up all the way to 100. What we'll see is that it cleans up some of this part of the photograph. Let me increase my Amount and Radius here even more so you can see that perhaps a bit more dramatically. Here's without this. And then here's with this. Do you see how it's removing from some of those highlight areas, the sharpening effect in its entirety? Now, how far this reaches into the shadow area is tonal width.
With a low tonal width, the effect isn't, or this amount here isn't really affecting the image as much. As we drag this to the right, well, it's going to affect it even more. Again, now you can see that before and after of how we're scaling back or fading away the sharpening from that side of the image, or that part of the image from those shadow edges. Well, what about highlights? This works in a similar way. Here, let's increase the Tonal Width for demo purposes and let's bring up the Fade Amount of the highlights.
You can see how I've done here is successfully removed all of the sharpening in its entirety. Now why does this even matter? Well it matters because sometimes what you might want to do is remove some of the sharpening. Or maybe you can allow just a little bit of it to come through, which you can customize by working with all of these sliders. And you can define exactly how you want that to appear. And even now, I think if we click on the image, here's our before, and then here's our after, it looks pretty good.
Yet we have an exaggerated amount in radius, how is it that it looks good? Well, it looks good because we started to work with these sliders, which allow us to fade the effect, and then the Tonal Width slider is the the reach, how many tones or how many tonal variations is it reaching into. How broad is the adjustment. Then the Radius as we've seen before is sort of that edge extension as well. So each of these sliders and controls allow us to scale back the sharpening or to fine tune the sharpening so that the image looks its best. Okay, well that's how they work.
Let's reset their values. Let's bring back all of the sharpening that we have here and let's see if we can't use these controls to improve this picture. What we've seen before is, what I like to do at least is to bring my radius to somewhere around one pixel or so, and to bring the amount down below 100. Then I slowly bring up my amount until I think I've brought it to a good place, and here we'll this up, let's say we want a little bit of a higher amount of sharpening. That looks good except for the noise.
So we bring up noise reduction here to reduce and to clean out and smooth out some of those noisy areas. I'm going to exaggerate my amount even more. Then if I find that there's an area which just feels like it's too intense, like the shadow edges are glowing too brightly, I might work with those. Well bring up the fade amount and the tonal width. For the radius we can start to incrementally bring that up as well. And just bring these values up here. And sometimes you have to almost exaggerate them. Look at your before and after.
And I need to zoom in so you can see what I'm seeing here because I know it gets tricky in these movies. So let me zoom in to this little motor right here. Take a look at this. Before you see how there's all this strange noise and even some artifacting in that part of the image? And then when I reduce the sharpening from that portion the, the image what I'm doing is cleaning up those shadow edges. So the glowing aspect of the edge is now fading away. If I click on the image, I can see here's my before and after. I still have sharpening which is being applied, it's just that I've scaled it back from that area.
We can do a similar thing with our highlights as well, right? We can bring up these amounts to target those edges. So the point with all of this is that as you start to work with Smart Sharpen, there may become a point where you want to fine tune or finesse the way that the smart sharpening is affecting your photographs. If you want to do that, all that you need to do is to open up the Shadow / Highlights controls, and then begin to exaggerate the settings on these controls to actually see which area you're affecting.
And then scale those values back until you feel the photograph looks its best.
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