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How to sharpen a layered document

From: Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

Video: How to sharpen a layered document

One of the advantages of working with Photoshop is that we can work with layers.

How to sharpen a layered document

One of the advantages of working with Photoshop is that we can work with layers. Layers give us so much flexibility. And really allow us to be creative in some amazing ways. Yet, one of the tricks with working with layers, is when it comes to sharpening, if you have a really complicated layer document, you may be wondering well, do you go back and sharpen all of those layers or how does it work? Well the easiest way to sharpen a layered document, is to merge all of the underlying layers to the top, and to do so by way of a shortcut, and to apply some sharpening there.

Let's take a look at how we can do that with this photograph. This is an image that I created for one of my other courses which was about changing the background in a picture. If we go to the layer where we have the surfer here, and hold down the Shift key and click on the mask, you can see the original photograph. And then hold down the Shift key and click on the mask again, and you can see that we changed the sky. We brought in some clouds. The cloud layer is down here, and then I also had a little bit of a cleanup layer as well. And then at the top we have some subtle cleanup here too.

So what I need to do is to merge all of this work to one place, to one layer, so that we can then apply some sharpening. And this particular technique works with whatever type of layers you have. What you do is you click in that topmost layer, then you press a really complicated and long keyboard shortcut. This is one that you just have to learn, you want to write this down it's really useful. Here it goes. On a Mac press Shift+Option+Cmd+E. On Windows press Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E.

Let me say those one more time. On a Mack, Shift+Option+Cmd+E. On Windows, Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. What that will do is it merge or flatten all of the underlying layers to the layer above the one that you selected. That's why we clicked into that top most layer. Well now that we've merged all of our work together, we will double click that layer name. Lets go ahead and name that one Sharpen. Then we can go to any of our sharpening filters or techniques.

Here to keep things simple lets go to Smart Sharpen. I'll choose Filter, then Sharpen, then we'll select Smart Sharpen. This will open up our smart sharpen dialog, and here with this photo, I'm going to look to apply a little bit lower amount here. Nice low radius with this one. And I just want to add a little snap across the whole image. For my Noise reduction, that's pretty good actually, pretty close to where I want it. I'm going to click to hold. There's before, let go, that allows me to see the after.

Again I just want a general sort of clean up or snap to the overall project. This looks great. To apply those settings, click Ok. We'll then Render or Apply those settings to the top most layer. Now the only thing you have to keep in mind, is that if you decide you want to go back and make some changes to the project, to some of the underlying layers, what you may have to do is to delete or get rid of this layer and then do some work down here on your layers and then repeat what we just did, Merge to Top again and then apply the sharpening.

Because, essentially, what the Merge to Top did, is it took all of our work, all of this, and put it in one place up here. So again, just keep that in mind that that's what we're doing when we're working with this technique. And, also, I recommend that you write that shortcut down, put it next to your computer, it's one which is incredibly helpful when it comes to working with layered documents and it's especially helpful when we have layered documents and when we need to sharpen the image.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening
Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

67 video lessons · 4629 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 5m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Raw sharpening in Lightroom or Camera Raw?
      3m 56s
    3. Using the exercise files
      40s
  2. 44m 15s
    1. Lighroom sharpening workflow first steps
      5m 35s
    2. Understanding how the Lightroom Detail controls work
      5m 36s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      5m 47s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      9m 13s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      7m 12s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 49s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      7m 3s
  3. 53m 3s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      10m 19s
    2. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      4m 15s
    3. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      7m 36s
    4. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      6m 44s
    5. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      6m 50s
    6. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      7m 35s
    7. Creating custom presets
      6m 2s
    8. Sharing and installing presets
      3m 42s
  4. 40m 40s
    1. Camera Raw sharpening workflow: First steps
      3m 28s
    2. Understanding how the Camera Raw Detail controls work
      5m 46s
    3. Reducing luminance and color noise
      4m 40s
    4. Improving details in a portrait
      7m 28s
    5. Improving details in an outdoor photograph
      6m 6s
    6. Sharpening in order to emphasize small textures
      3m 48s
    7. Improving sky details and edge sharpening
      9m 24s
  5. 53m 40s
    1. Selective sharpening with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 16s
    2. Working with the Auto Mask option in the Adjustment Brush
      5m 6s
    3. Learning Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      8m 30s
    4. Reviewing Adjustment Brush techniques and shortcuts
      5m 45s
    5. Sharpening eyes in a portrait
      5m 15s
    6. Sharpening large areas with the Radial filter
      7m 4s
    7. Improving details with the Graduated filter
      4m 34s
    8. Further refinements with the Graduated filter
      4m 30s
    9. Creating custom presets
      5m 40s
  6. 49m 5s
    1. Resizing before you sharpen
      4m 37s
    2. Using Unsharp Mask
      8m 21s
    3. Using Smart Sharpen
      6m 5s
    4. Demonstrating how Smart Sharpen works
      4m 23s
    5. Fine-tuning Smart Sharpen with advanced controls
      5m 39s
    6. Applying blending modes to avoid color problems
      5m 9s
    7. Putting it all together: Workflow part one
      5m 57s
    8. Putting it all together: Workflow part two
      6m 42s
    9. A conversation about sharpening controls
      2m 12s
  7. 49m 34s
    1. Applying Camera Raw sharpening as a filter
      4m 41s
    2. Using smart filtering for increased flexibility
      5m 50s
    3. Smart filtering and masking
      4m 54s
    4. Selective sharpening with a hand-painted mask
      6m 0s
    5. Selective sharpening: Advanced shortcut tips
      6m 31s
    6. Using Quick Select and masking to sharpen selectively
      8m 20s
    7. How to sharpen a layered document
      3m 41s
    8. Fixing a blurry photograph with Shake Reduction
      4m 40s
    9. Shake Reduction: Advanced controls
      4m 57s
  8. 32m 47s
    1. High-pass sharpening essentials
      5m 55s
    2. Smart filter high-pass sharpening
      4m 2s
    3. Smart filter high-pass sharpening continued
      5m 50s
    4. Edge sharpening: Building an alpha channel
      4m 52s
    5. Edge sharpening: Creating the mask
      5m 3s
    6. Using Smart Sharpen in an unlikely way for midtone contrast
      7m 5s
  9. 10m 59s
    1. Recording a sharpening action
      6m 11s
    2. Playing the action for a single file
      2m 18s
    3. Batch sharpening multiple files
      2m 30s
  10. 28m 48s
    1. Sharpening and saving from Camera Raw
      6m 51s
    2. Sharpening and exporting from Camera Raw
      3m 44s
    3. Output sharpening from Lightroom
      5m 26s
    4. Final output sharpening from Photoshop for print
      7m 17s
    5. Photoshop sharpening for web, mobile, and displays
      5m 30s
  11. 31s
    1. Next steps
      31s

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