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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
While there are a number of different techniques that we can use to sharpen an image, one effective way to sharpen images is with the filter called Smart Sharpen. What I want to do here is just begin to deconstruct how Smart Sharpen actually works. Here you can see I have a screen grab of the Smart Sharpen dialog. And a couple of things that I want to highlight here is that we have Basic or Advanced modes. When we select Advanced mode we have a couple of other controls. We have an Amount and a Radius and then we have three different types of sharpening we can do. Gaussian which is very similar to Unsharpen Mask.
Lens Blur, which typically works best and then Motion, which is a little bit difficult, because you have to pick up the angle. And really know the angle of how a camera was panning and creating some kind of a Motion Blur. All right. Well then the last option down here is More Accurate. This doesn't necessarily mean better sharpening, rather what it means is sharpening on a lot of the little teeny details. All right. Well, now that we've been introduced to this dialog, let's take a look at how this works on a demo file. All right! Well, for example, here we can see that I have this demo file.
And on my second layer, I have this layer titled gray. Let's turn that on and target that layer. Now you've heard me say before that if you want to learn how something works in Photoshop, you can create a gradient or a grayscale and then apply some effect to that gradient and really deconstruct how Photoshop works. Well, that's what we are going to do here. In order to access Smart Sharpen, we are going to navigate up to the Filter pulldown menu and then select Sharpen, and then choose good old Smart Sharpen.
Well here what I am going to do is simply arrange these two windows so that our previews line up here. Let's go ahead and take a look at how we can view how this works. Now we have already talked a little bit about Advanced. When we click on that option again we have a few more tabs down below. All right. Well, what about Amount and Radius? Well as I increase my Amount what we are going to see here is that it's going to increase the overall intensity of the sharpening. Here it's at 500% and then now in here it's at 1%. So again you can think of Amount as intensity.
Well what about Radius? Well, the easiest way to see how Radius works is to crank this all the way up. You can see here that it's extending far out from that edge. If we click and drag this to the left it's going to bring that edge much more tighter. All right. Well we have three different kinds of sharpening here as I mention. We've seen Lens Blur right now. What about Gaussian Blur? When we do that, we are going to see that that halo grows a little bit. It's not quite as tight especially around the corners here. You can go back to Lens Blur. You can see there it's much more uniform.
It's a much tighter and more effective way to sharpen. The last option is Motion Blur. Now Motion Blur is really interesting. Here you can see it sharpening really the left and right-hand sides. But if I change the angle a little bit, you can see that it's going to emphasize the sharpening in a different area. For example, in this case top to bottom. So again you really have to know how a camera was panned, in order to be able to use this type of sharpening. All right. Well let's go back to Lens Blur because that's the one we will use most often. And let's deconstruct this a little bit.
Well, one of the things that we see that's happening is that this gray right here in the middle is very close to the background. So there's not a lot of edge contrast buildup. Yet on the other hand, as I move further away from that background color I use this becomes more white. You can see that there is a stronger white edge. You can also see that there is a stronger and bigger black edge. What's happening here? Well what Smart Sharpen is doing is it's trying to find edge area and contrast, and then it's kind of build that up by building up the dark edge on one side and the lighter edge on other.
And just trying to find that difference and exaggerate that. Well happens is is this allows us to have really good sharpening. Yet one of the pitfalls can be that we can easily over sharpen, or that we can create what are called halos, which we have here, this halo effect, because this image is over sharpened. Well what's interesting is in the Advanced mode, you can click into these different tabs. For example, the Shadow Tab. And here what I can do is I can fade the overall shadow of this, and you can see that as I'm reaching into further area of that, and I can control the Radius of this, so much so that I can remove the shadow side of the sharpening altogether.
Well I can go to that Highlight as well and here you can see how it's affecting those Highlights. So at this point I've removed the sharpening completely. Now typically you are not going to want to do that. But you are maybe going to want to modify these sliders a little bit. If you find there's a little bit of a halo on the darker edge or on the lighter edge, then in this case you can go into these Advanced controls and kind of make a few tweaks in order to make your sharpening even better. All right well, now that we have been introduced to Smart Sharpen, let's go ahead and take a look at how this actually works on a photograph.
And we'll do that in the next movie.
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