This chapter is all about sharpening. That is, editing an image to make its details appear more sharply defined. It's important to note that we're not talking about focus. Photoshop can not reach back into your camera and adjust the optical focus of your lens element. Nor can it invent detail that does not exist. In other words. If an image was shot blurry, it will remain blurry. What Photoshop can do is take a well focused image, and make every detail appear crystal clear.
Either on screen or in print. Photoshop pulls off this effect using a kind of parlor trick. It finds the edges in your image. Which are areas where neighboring pixels transition rapidly from light to dark. For example, in this photo the edges are the outline of the butterflies body, and the patterns inside the wings. Then photoshop traces razor thin halos around the edges. The halos appear bright on the light side of the edge.
And dark on the dark side. This renders the edges in high contrast, which our eyes read as more sharply defined. We'll be focusing most of our attention on Photoshop's pre-eminent sharpening filter, Smart Sharpen. And then we'll take a look at a couple of less conventional sharpening filters Emboss and high pass, as well as the sharpen tool which lets you hand paint sharpness. I'll start by showing you how to sharpen an image dynamically using a smart object.
Here's how it works.
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