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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.
Now let's see how we might use the Smart Sharpen command in order to sharpen a high-resolution image. This is a very large image, as it turns out, from photographer Kateryna Govorushchenko. A beautiful image. She goes by the handle incidentally, of iconogenic at iStockphoto.com. iconogenic is also the name of her website. And if you care learn more about any of these wonderfully generous photographers, you can always go to the File Info command under the File menu.
And this image is indeed a high-resolution image. Notice the dock value of 12.7 MB, so at 267 PPI, this image is more than 12 inches tall. So it's something of a real world image, if you will and we are going to get a real world effect out of it using the Smart Sharpen filter. I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to enter the Full Screen with Menu Bar mode which allows me to scroll the image off screen like this. So that I can keep an eye on it while the massive Smart Sharpen dialog box is up on screen.
You will know under the Filter menu that the Smart Sharpen command was last filter I chose, therefore I'll press Control+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac in order to bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog box. I should tell you, if you didn't notice, that I'm viewing the image inside the image window, that is to say, at the 25% zoom ratio. So it's a good zoom ratio and I can get a real sense of how all my sharpening's going to affect that image. Meanwhile I'm seeing the image magnified to 100% here inside the dialog box. I'm seeing a portion of her cheek though, so I'll click on her eye in order to re-center that preview.
And this is the opposite way of the way I was telling you I usually work where I go and zoom out on the in dialog box preview and zoom into the one outside. But in my case, I have about the same amount of room inside the dialog box and outside the dialog box. So I figure either ways just fine. Your screen's going to be of course much more generous to you, I think. Anyway let's go ahead and switch the Remove setting to Lens Blur. No real sense and even looking at Gaussian Blur. We've already seen what Gaussian Blur does because we spent a long time in the Unsharp Mask dialog box and Unsharp Mask only removes Gaussian Blur.
So let's switch to the more powerful, more capable Lens Blur filter, at least more capable where digital photographs like this one are concerned. And currently I have the Radius value quite elevated as you may recall. Now sometimes an elevated Radius value's actually useful on a day-to-day basis. For sample if I were to take the Amount value down to about 50% let's say and then I'll elevate the Radius value to 50 pixels. So a low Amount combined with a high Radius ends up producing a high contrast effect, an elevated contrast effect notice that.
So this is before. And this is after, inside the dialog box, and if you'll keep an eye outside the dialog box now, I'll show you before and an after there. So a low Amount combined with a high Radius, great for elevating the contrast. That's not what I want to do however in this case, so I'm going to go and take the Radius value way down. To 0.5 pixels and I'll take the Amount value up to its maximum 500%. And notice now that we get an extremely subtle effect. It's almost not any good because not only is the Smart Sharpen filter tracing the real edges inside of the image.
But it's also tracing the artificial edges, whether they come from JPEG compression artifacts, which actually isn't really the problem inside of this image. This is a JPEG image. but it's compression is very, very light. What we're actually seeing is the demosaic pattern that is a function of bringing an image in from a digital camera and if you want to learn more about demosaicing, you can check out my Photoshop Mastering Camera RAW series in which I go into a good deal of detail about that.
Anyway now at this point, let's start raising that Radius value. Since it's not really doing us any good this low, let's take it up. Add about one pixel when you're working with the Smart Sharpen function. One pixel of Radius is that super, snappy sharp Radius that we were seeing at a lower Raduis value inside the Smart Sharpen dialog box. So if you're doing screen work, I recommend something around one pixel. In fact, I would suggest about one pixel of Radius for every 100 pixels of resolution. So that means that we're looking at something along the lines of 100 PPI image on screen so we're settling for about one pixel of Radius here. I'm going to continue to take this value up actually. I'll go Shift+Up arrow, Shift+Up arrow Shift+Up arrow and about at four pixels- even though I'll be printing this image at 267 to 300 PPI, something in that range- I like a Radius of four pixels where this image is concerned. So that one pixel of Radius for every 100 pixels a resolution, that's just a ballpark figure, and I expect you to vary from it at will, but it's just an FYI in case you want it.
Anyway, I think this image looks really super sharp in the background here at the 25% view size, which represents more less how it's going to print, and it also looks nice and sharp without looking too gooey here at the 100% view size. Now I'll go and take the Amount value down. It's way too darn high so let's go ahead and actually instead of pressing Shift+Down arrow, let's Shift+scrub on the Amount value here to go up and down in 10% increments and add about 250%. I think it starts looking good.
Note when you're doing then Shift+scrubbing, you've got to release the mouse button in order to update the preview properly. Alright, so it's not a live update, which is too bad. I wish it was but anyway we'll take it to 250%. I think that'll look awfully darn good. 250% combined with a Radius of four pixels looks awesome for this image. And notice that I'm leaving More Accurate turned off. Why am I leaving it turned off? Well, I'm going to tell you that whole story in the next exercise.
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