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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.
So let's take a tour through the conventional sharpening workflow. I am working with something of an unconventional image as it turns out, which is begging for an unconventional approach, but I have to tell you something, I would argue that any image out there, any composition, is an unconventional composition. They all require different approaches, which is why I think the one-size-fit-all approach, the conventional approach, really doesn't work all that well. But anyway, let's try it out here. I am working with this holiday card and it's called Holiday Card 2007.PSD found inside the 02_when_to_sharpen folder.
This is holiday card that I sent out, I made up and I sent out to celebrate my children and how they might one day become presidents, don't you know. So here it is. It's a series of layers that are going on inside of the Layers palette. So let's say I decide I want to print it at 4x7, which is what I want to do, and I am going to print it 2-up and I am going to take it to an inkjet printer. So I am not going to run a CMYK conversion on it but I am going to do all of that other conventional stuff. Let's see how it works. Well, the first thing, after I've gone about compiling all my layers and everything else, I would make sure that I've saved all of my changes.
Now let's say, I haven't saved this image once for some reason because I want to show you that Maximize Compatibility thing. I'll go up to the File menu; I'll choose the Save As command in order to demonstrate sort of a first save here. I am in the 02_when_to_sharpen folder. You won't see this file that I am about to create. So I'll just call it 'First time save' or something along those lines, .PSD. I definitely want to save my Alpha Channels but of course, make sure those checkboxes are on and also make sure, by the way, that you don't see a little yellow warning.
That tells you that something is turned off. So make sure you have all of the checkboxes that you need turned on. You don't want As a Copy turned on, but you do want Alpha Channels, Layers, Annotations, and Spot Colors if you got them. Your ICC Profile, definitely. You probably want to work with the Lower Case Extension. Then you click Save. Make sure that you are saving to the native PSD format right there. Click Save and then depending on your Preference settings, but most likely, you'll get this Photoshop Format Options warning right there.
If you worked through some of my other series inside the lynda.com Online Training Library and you don't get this warning, don't worry about it. It just means that I've told you to turn it off in the past because this Maximize Compatibility checkbox, I don't like it at all. I want you to turn it off. It just blows up the size of the file and again, unless you are going to be exporting this file for use in another application, for example InDesign. Or Photoshop Lightroom cannot see layers, so if you're using Lightroom you need to have it turned on. But if you're not using Lightroom or InDesign or Premiere or one of those other programs, there's no reason to have it turned on. If you are just using the layered composition inside Photoshop, and the Bridge- the Bridge can see layers- save yourself some hardrive space and expense, of course, because if you are gobbling up hard drives, you'll need to buy more.
Then click OK in order to save that image to disk. So now we've saved the changes. Now let's go about flattening the file. Now I could try to print the file as it is, with all of its layers intact and at it's present size and the whole thing, but I would be wasting a lot of time. I would make Photoshop have to flatten image on the fly. I would make the printer have to deal with too many pixels essentially as it's downsampling and you might as well do it manually and save all of your hardware a lot of work.
And normally you have your hardware do work but in this case, let's go ahead and save some time and some complexity by going up to the Layer menu and choosing the Flatten Image command. Now the thing is this will flatten the image. I will go ahead and choose the command and you see that it does flatten away all of the layers. Now be very careful! Don't be going up to the File menu and choosing the Save command because you'll ruin all of those layers. You are not going to get rid of any channels or paths that you have. So if you go to the Channels palette, you'll still see that in the case of this image, I've got some alpha channels set up and alpha channels, you have to delete one at a time in order to get rid of them, which is why I came up with this other thing here, I'll go ahead and undo that modification there.
So even if you don't want to watch the series, you can just go over there if you are a premium member and you can download the files and you can install all of the scripts according to my instructions. This one, if you choose Megaflatten, it not only flattens out the layers- notice that it tells you what it's going to do- it's going to create a duplicate image with no layers, Layer Comps, channels, paths or guides. So there is a lot of advantages here; it get rids of all of the stuff that you don't need but it also creates a duplicate image which is great. Click Yes. There is no reason to click No. It's not going to hurt you at all. You create a duplicate image so now there is no way that you can accidentally save over the original, which I have to say, is a brilliant thing. Thank you very much.
So it should do you some good if you are going to work this way. Then go up to the File menu, choose Save As- very important step here to save your image of course. Choose Save As and now we are going to go and save this image to the TIFF file format because that's the closest thing to a lossless format that we have for flat images. So go ahead and choose TIFF and I might as well call this something like, I'll change the name to Holiday 2007.TIFF. As a Copy should be off. These guys should be on.
Click Save. You'll get this dialog box right here. Make sure Image Compression is set to LZW. That's actually a really good thing. It applies lossless compression so it doesn't hurt the image. And then leave the Pixel Order alone, it should be Interleaved and then Byte Order is totally up to you. It does not matter. If you are working on a PC and you set it to Macintosh, or you working on a Mac and you set it to PC, 99% of programs out there are going to support the file no matter what. Then go ahead and click OK and you've now gone ahead and saved a flat version of that file.
So the next step is to resample the image to define the dimensions and resolution at which you want to print this photograph here. Because that's a little intricate and it involves the downsample versus upsample thing that I was telling you about, I am going to show you how to perform this step in the next exercise.
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