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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 we have assembled our absolutely, perfectly sharpened use neutral composition, we are now going to prepare it for output and I have gone ahead and saved my modifications. I urged you to save your modifications as well because we are about to flatten the image and downsample it and all that jazz, but first go ahead and save your composition. I have saved mine as Destination unknown.PSD inside the 08_for_output folder and of course the destination is unknown at this stage and again that is the whole point of creating a use neutral composition.
Now the fun begins. Let us go up to the Layer menu and choose the Flatten Image command. After you get done saving your changes, choose Flatten Image and that gets rid of all of the layers and the nested Smart Objects and so on. You might want to check that you do not have any output channels or any paths inside of your image. Then go and choose Save As, and the reason I do this first before I resample the image, is just to protect the original. So I do not end up accidentally saving over it. As long as I am thinking about how I need to save it, I ought to save it.
So you choose Save As, not Save of course, and then we will go ahead and call this image Downsample Face and I will make sure that the format is set to Photoshop PSD, so we are saving a native PSD version of the image. Then I click on the Save button in order to save it out. Now we need to downsample the image to the desired print size. I am going to go up to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command and where this image is concerned, I want to leave it at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch but I am going to go ahead and reduce the size of this image to 7.5 inches wide.
So it is going to measure 7.5 inches wide by 5 inches tall. I am downsampling of course. I can see that the first value is smaller than the second value. So that is good. And then I will click OK, in order to accept that modification. Now she is ready for sharpening. Now I want to go ahead and prepare this image both for commercial reproduction and for inkjet printing. So I am going to go over to the Layers palette. I am going to click on the palette menu icon and I am going to choose Convert to Smart Object in order to make it a Smart Object. And let us just go ahead and name this Facebook or whatever.
And Now I am going to go on to the Filter menu. I am going to choose the Other command and I am going to choose High Pass. And by Now it should be pretty familiar what we are going to do, especially since we are sticking with the same resolution. I am going to choose High Pass. I am going to set it to a radius of two pixels. I am going to click OK. So even though this is a low frequency versus a high frequency image, I am still sticking with my exact same values. This is going to be an image that I see close up. So the values are accurate. I do not need a filter mask. So let's go ahead and throw it away. Drag it down to the trash can icon because we want to sharpen all of the image uniformly for output.
I will double-click on the blending icon right there and I will change the mode to Linear Light or I am going to change the Opacity value to 40% and I am going to click OK, and that would be our commercial reproduction version of the image. Now to prepare if for inkjet, I will go ahead and turn off High Pass. I will leave the Smart Filters intact of course. I will go up to the Filter menu. I will choose the Sharpen command and then Smart Sharpen. These are the desired settings: an Amount value of 100%, a radius of 3 pixels, Remove set to Lens Blur, More accurate turned off.
Then I click OK in order to accept that modification. And of course, one last change; I will double click on the blending icon to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, change Mode to Luminosity, leave the Opacity set to a 100%, click OK. We are now done. This specific version of the image is ready for inkjet reproduction. Now it looks very tactile at this point, it looks way, way too sharp, that's it. It looks crunchy, whatever adjective you want to use.
They all mean the same thing. It looks bad. But the fact is this is going to print very, very nicely. It is going to result in some very compelling output. And to just preview that for you, obviously the first thing I would do before I start flattening the image and down ampling it and just to see what it is going to look like on screen, I would go up to the File menu and I would choose the Save command in order to update that image sets called Downsample Face.PSD that is available for you now inside the 084 output folder. Then just to preview what is going on, I go up to the Layer menu, I choose the Flatten Image command, that is going to nail down those sharpening settings.
Then, I am going to go to the Image menu, I am going to choose Image Size. I will make sure that Resample Image and Constrain Proportions, both of those check boxes are turned on. We do not care about Scale Styles. And I would change the Resolution value to a 117 pixels per inch because that is my imagined monitor resolution. And then I will click OK, in order to accept that modification. Look how great she looks! She looks awesome. So this just goes to show you how something that looks very, very crunchy on screen can look totally great for output.
In the next exercise, we are going to soft proof the contributions made by each phase of the sharpening process. Stay tuned.
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