Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Illustration by John Hersey

Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

with Deke McClelland

Video: Gauging the best settings

In this exercise I am going to show you how to figure out the perfect Unsharp Mask settings for a specific image. I have gone ahead and zoomed to the snake down to the 50% view signs here and I have filled the screen with the snake by Shift+Tabbing way my palette so we can focus in just on this creature hair. And I am going to the Filter menu and I am going to choose Sharpen and I am going to choose the Unsharp Mask Command as I have done so many times now. Brings up the Unsharp Mask dialog box but of course and I am going to click on the creature's head in order to scroll to the head inside of the, in-dialog box preview.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1h 15m
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
      2m 5s
    2. Selecting glass and water
      5m 23s
    3. Establishing a base layer
      3m 59s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 18s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 24s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 3s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 54s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 20s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 25s
    16. Blurring the layer mask
      5m 51s
    17. And that's just the beginning...
      1m 15s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Edge-enhancement parlor tricks
      1m 29s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 46s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 16s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 13s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 24s
    8. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      6m 23s
    10. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 4s
    11. Leave More Accurate off!
      2m 29s
    12. Turn More Accurate on
      2m 58s
    13. The Advanced options
      5m 17s
    14. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 18s
    15. Accounting for camera shake
      5m 59s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Why the heck would you blur?
      1m 20s
    2. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      7m 16s
    3. The Linear Box Blur
      2m 58s
    4. Median and its badly named progeny
      6m 3s
    5. Surface Blur and the rest
      5m 36s
    6. The Motion Blur filter
      3m 2s
    7. The Radial Blur variations: Spin and Zoom
      5m 55s
    8. The Captain Kirk-in-love effect
      6m 49s
    9. Averaging skin tones
      6m 2s
    10. Addressing the stubborn patches
      6m 0s
    11. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      4m 8s
    12. Blurring surface details
      7m 2s
    13. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      7m 52s
    14. Reducing digital noise
      8m 22s
    15. Smoothing out JPEG artifacts
      6m 0s
  4. 45m 24s
    1. Behold, the layered composition
      1m 13s
    2. The Layers palette
      5m 8s
    3. Enlarging the hand
      4m 40s
    4. Erasing with a layer mask
      6m 27s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 2s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 41s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 1s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 23s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 7s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 45s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 23s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 16s
    8. Introducing layer comps
      5m 52s
    9. Saving your own layer comps
      6m 40s
    10. Final footnotes
      5m 9s
  6. 1h 23m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 3s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 44s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 35s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      5m 37s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 51s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 52s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 12s
    12. The comparative modes
      7m 25s
    13. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 2s
    14. The brush-only modes
      8m 11s
    15. Blending groups
      7m 10s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. At this point, there is a great shift...
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 38s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 41s
    6. Replaying the last transformation
      3m 50s
    7. Second hand and shadows
      5m 0s
    8. Series duplication
      3m 23s
    9. Skews and perspective-style distortions
      6m 43s
    10. The envelope-style Warp function
      7m 31s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 1s
    13. Viewing layers and the mesh
      4m 18s
    14. Incrementally undoing undesirable effects
      4m 5s
    15. Twirl, pucker, and bloat
      2m 2s
    16. Push, mirror, and turbulence
      4m 37s
    17. Protecting regions with a mask
      3m 40s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 30s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 6s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 29s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 53s
    5. Exporting the gridlines to a layer
      4m 45s
    6. Cloning an image from one plane to another
      7m 58s
    7. Blending the image into its new home
      6m 31s
    8. Healing away the sockets
      7m 47s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 26s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 49s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 34s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 14s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 37s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 36s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 14s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 12s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 12s

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
10h 47m Intermediate Apr 16, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.

Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.

Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Understanding what Photoshop CS3 is and what it can do.
  • Zooming, scrolling, and getting around an image.
  • Making the most of the new-and-improved CS3 interface.
  • Using Adobe Bridge to organize and manage images.
  • Saving workspaces for maximum comfort and efficiency.
  • Correcting colors using the Variations and Hue/Saturation commands.
  • Taking on the professional-grade luminance editors, Levels and Curves.
  • Resampling an image and selecting an interpolation setting.
  • Cropping and straightening a photograph.
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Gauging the best settings

In this exercise I am going to show you how to figure out the perfect Unsharp Mask settings for a specific image. I have gone ahead and zoomed to the snake down to the 50% view signs here and I have filled the screen with the snake by Shift+Tabbing way my palette so we can focus in just on this creature hair. And I am going to the Filter menu and I am going to choose Sharpen and I am going to choose the Unsharp Mask Command as I have done so many times now. Brings up the Unsharp Mask dialog box but of course and I am going to click on the creature's head in order to scroll to the head inside of the, in-dialog box preview.

And I am actually going to zoom out a couple of clicks inside the preview to see it at the 50% zoom ratio as well. Now here is how I suggest you use the controls inside the Unsharp Mask dialog box. First take the amount value up really high. Now I typically start with something in the 200% to 400% range, you can go all the way to 500 if you want to, which tends to be a little bit of overkill. And you are not going to stick with this value because this would be straight on over-sharpening of the image, you are going to ruin your image if you apply this much sharpening.

You are going to make it very difficult to edit in the future because you are going to have so much contrast between neighboring pixels, you are going to have brought out so much noise inside the image and so on. But a high value is useful for gauging the effect of the other values. So as I say, I am going to raise it to 400 in the case of this image, subtlety be darned and then I am going to tab down to the threshold value and I am going to take that value up to 8 luminance levels because we have already determined in advance that 8 luminance levels work well for this specific image.

And now finally let's go back to the radius value. Now if were sending this image to screen, I am actually going to zoom in to a 100% inside the larger Image windows so that we can take in the snake at the 100% zoom ratio. If I were getting this image ready for screen display then I would want to keep the radius value very low. I might take it down to 0.5 pixels or even lower. You can go down to about 0.3 pixels before the effect starts dropping away.

So something like 0.5 combined with a very high amount value will give you an effect that pops on screen. The problem is it's not going to show up very well in print and in order to demonstrate that I am going to zoom out even farther here inside the in-dialog box preview. Notice that I am now looking at the image at the 25% zoom ratio which more or less something like 25 or 50 is going to give you a rough sense of what the image is going to look like when it finally prints.

So I will go ahead and click and hold on the image which takes away the preview, right and it shows me the before view and then I will release to see the after view. There is no difference going on. So it's a safe bet that this affect will drop away the sharpening affect that I have applied will drop away when I print the image. Now it's not necessary going to go completely away but you are not going to see it nearly as strongly as you see it on screen here. So compare that to the 100% preview out in the larger image window, this is before and this is after, it's a pretty easy affect to see.

So what I am going to suggest, you do if you are going to print you need to take this radius value up to a higher level. And instead of going with 0.5 you are going to want to send this value to something along the lines of 4 times that much which would be about 2 pixels. Now that's just a rough approximation, you are going to want to modify your radius value to taste but something in the neighborhood of 2 might end up working up pretty well. Now check out the larger 100% image window preview and it looks like we have applied way too much sharpening, this is before and this is after.

And certainly our amount value is way too high, we are going to have to tamper that. But it also looks like we have fairly thick GUI edges that don't really look all that sharp. Compare that to the in-dialog box, 25% preview if I click and hold there is the before view, if I release there is the after view. Now that looks pretty tactile, it's looks pretty sharp, it looks over sharpened. I am applying too much amount as I have mentioned before but it does look like a tactile pop-off the page effect. Something else I have to tell you about gauging your sharpness on screen only certain zoom levels are going to work for you.

A 100% works great and anything larger than a 100% is useful as well because you are blowing up the pixels. But once you start dropping away pixels it's not such a good story. If I zoom out to the 66.7% zoom ratio that's a terrible zoom ratio. I am dropping pixels out, it's a nearest neighbor interpolation, remember nearest neighbor from our discussion of the Image Size command that means that some pixels are just getting dropped away. Photoshop is not taking the time to average neighboring pixels, alright so we get a very choppy screen display that is not indicative of how the image is actually going to look when you print it or export it or whatever you decide to do with the image, whereas if you zoom at another click here by pressing Ctrl minus to zoom it out to 50% that's a good zoom ratio.

This is a Bicubic Interpolation, so Photoshop is going around and averaging neighboring pixels in order to figure out how it should show you the image on screen. 33% is once again bad, 25% is good, 16.7% is bad, 12.5% is good-bad, good-bad, good, well you can't even see at it this point, but you get the idea. So every other click is bad. Basically you are good ones, alright our 12.5% that's good you are probably not going to be zoomed out farther than that on a regular basis.

25% is good, 50% is good and a 100% and larger is good as well. Alright so that's why I have got 25% inside the dialog box and a 100% outside the dialog box. Let's now take this amount value down to something more reasonable and I am going to scale it down to 200% just as sort of a starting level. And now if you don't feel like that's high enough based on the previews that you are seeing on screen, you can press Shift up arrow in order to raise that value in 10% increments.

If you feel like it's too high then you can press Shift down arrow to lower the value in 10% increments. Now you can also just press the Up and Down arrow keys without the Shift key in order to raise and lower the value in 1% increments, but 1% increments aren't really going to do with that much. So that's why I tend to work in 10% increments where amount is concerned. So I work with the Shift key with amount and I work with and without the Shift key for radius and I work totally without Shift key for our threshold, in case you are curious. Alright anyway I am going to take this value down to about a 160%, I think a radius of 2 pixels and a threshold of 8 works well for this image, I am going to go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect.

So this is the image before I apply the sharpening, this is the image after I applied the sharpening. We can customize the amount of sharpening we apply using Unsharp Mask.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.