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Improving sky details and edge sharpening

From: Photoshop CC for Photographers: Sharpening

Video: Improving sky details and edge sharpening

In this movie, we will focus in on improving sky

Improving sky details and edge sharpening

In this movie, we will focus in on improving sky detail and edge sharpening when working with the detail panel controls. We'll be working with two different images, starting off with this photograph, and then we'll wrap up our conversation with this image here. And while these images appear differently, we'll apply similar settings in order to accomplish great results. Let's start off with this photograph. It's a picture of a tree that I captured way up in the Eastern Sierra Mountains in California in the winter time.

And if we click on the image in order to zoom in on it, one of the things that we'll start to notice is that the edges in this photograph are a little bit soft. What I want to do is add some definition or strength, or I want to sharpen and define those edges. I also notice that there's a lot of luminance noise in the sky, and this is a typical problem with digital capture. If noise is going to show up, it often shows up in the sky area of a picture. Let me zoom in on that so you can see it better. Here I'll go to the navigator panel and go to an 8:1 view.

Now in an 8:1 view, I'm hoping you can see all the luminance noise. You want to pay attention to the sky and zoom in close. You don't need, need to zoom in this close, but at least zoom in to 100% on the sky in your photographs, and then reduce the luminance noise. Be careful with your detail amount. You don't necessarily need a very high detail amount. You want to drop that a little bit lower. Contrast as well. You won't need as much contrast when you're really trying to improve the sky. Color noise, bring that up. And just to look to really smooth the sky area out.

As you start to do that, if you see that the noise is still lingering, like it hasn't completely gone away, go to your sharpening control and reduce the Detail slider all the way down to 0. Just to make sure that this sky looks its best. Again, you'll want to do this at a 100% view. I went and paste that just so you could actually see those little details. But when you work on photographs which have sky, make sure you really pay attention to that and don't neglect that.

Of course, sometimes what will happen is you'll need to clean up the sky, but then you also may need a little bit of details other places as well. So, it will be some back and forth and give and take here, but nonetheless, that will give you some insight into how you can work on that part of the photograph. Alright, well, next let's work on the edges that we have in this image. To improve those, I'll crank up my sharpening and I'll go pretty high with the sharpening amount. Next I'll bring up the radius. You know, typically the radius stays right where it is, but not with edge sharpening.

With edge sharpening, we want to bring that up. If you hold down the Option key on a Mac, and Alt on Windows, you can see how a higher radius can help us to strengthen the edges in the photograph. So here I'll bring that up of a nice high radius amount, and then also a high amount of sharpening. Now this is sharpening some of the background areas as well. We'll take care of that by working with the Masking slider. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and bring up the Masking slider so that the sharpening which is being applied here is primarily on our edges.

If we click on the toggle switch, what you should see is in our before and after, a photograph which has much stronger edge definition. This is probably a little bit over the top, so I'll bring up my masking more, and I'll reduce the radius and the amount. Yet for demo purposes, what I'm hoping is that you can see how those edges pop now, and how we've created really strong, defined edges. Again, it's a little bit too high, so I'm just going to scale these back and bring the masking up a little bit more.

The further you bring your masking over to the right, the narrower the edges, so that can help you to really clean up those edges, and right now with these amounts, I think this looks awesome. Alright that's image 1, let's look at image 2. In image 2, we have a similar scenario. Let me zoom out for a moment so we can see it. This is a longer exposure. We have sky details, so we need to focus in on the sky. We also have this image which is really all about the edges. I mean, the edges in this image are glowing, and I want to exaggerate that.

So again, we'll zoom in on the picture. Let's zoom in on an area where we can see the building and also the sky. I know I need to get rid of some of the noise, so I'll work on my luminance noise amount. Drop the detail back down and bring up a little bit of contrast. I'm going to drop the Detail slider all the way down. Bring my luminance amount even higher. The photograph, on my monitor at least, looks a lot better. Let me zoom in. Let's try 4:1. See if you can see a difference here.

Here's before and after, and how we're starting to work on cleaning up detail there, and do so with the Luminance sliders. Next, for the color noise, we need a little bit more color noise because this is a longer exposure. Whenever you have a longer exposure, it increases the chances of color noise corrupting or messing up the file, so let's bring that value up a little bit. Then, for edge sharpening, we know how to do this, right? Our amount goes way up, our radius goes way up, detail, we'll drop that back down, and then masking, that's going to come up as well.

Again, these are almost identical to the type of settings which we applied on the previous image. We could, of course, use the shortcuts, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, to find just the right spot for the masking. We could also do the same thing with our radius. Hold down Option or Alt and look at just the right amount of that intensity of the edge sharpening, and then you can slide your amount around until it looks good. But if I click on the toggle switch here, what you can see is that while the photograph looks sharper, it doesn't look unnatural, even with this unnaturally high amount of my radius.

Even if I bring this up past this, you can see that this now gives it a really nice look where we have these defined edges. You want to pan around the photograph and make sure it's improving other parts of your image. So just go to another area, click on and off the toggle switch to make sure that's improving the sharpness, the edge detail, and the noise reduction. And with this photograph, I think it looks great. So I'll zoom on out of the image so we can evaluate the whole photograph. And again, here with this movie, my intent was to highlight two different things.

One was the importance of paying attention to the sky and reducing any noise you see there, working with our luminance and color controls. And then second, we looked at a technique where we can break the rules so to speak, and really increase our overall radius when looking to intensify the edges or to sharpen those edges, to add some more definition or visual interest to certain types of photographs.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

67 video lessons · 4403 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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