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Making an edge mask

From: Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

Video: Making an edge mask

In this exercise we are going to the mask that I have assigned to the Smart Sharpen, Smart Filter and we are going to convert it into an edge mask. It just traces along the edges inside of the image and protects the non-edges so that we don't sharpen a bunch of noise. I am working inside of a catch-up document, those of you who may just be joining me called Sharpened moment.PSD and it's found inside of the 04_Support_Stuff folder. I am going to Alt-click or Option-click on this Filter Mask icon right there in front of the words Smart Filters in order to view the mask by itself.

Making an edge mask

In this exercise we are going to the mask that I have assigned to the Smart Sharpen, Smart Filter and we are going to convert it into an edge mask. It just traces along the edges inside of the image and protects the non-edges so that we don't sharpen a bunch of noise. I am working inside of a catch-up document, those of you who may just be joining me called Sharpened moment.PSD and it's found inside of the 04_Support_Stuff folder. I am going to Alt-click or Option-click on this Filter Mask icon right there in front of the words Smart Filters in order to view the mask by itself.

Now currently it's just a copy of the red channel nothing more and the sharpening effect is going to show through the white and light areas of the mask and its going to be hidden by the dark and black areas of the Mmask and then we are going to have sort of soft transitions provided by the gray areas. Alright. So lets make an edge mask. Lets convert this guy to an edge mask. Now if you have watched my Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks Series, you know how to create an edge mask for sharpening archival photographs. This edge mask is going to be slightly different.

Its basically the same idea, just a little different spin here. So the first thing that I am going to do is I am going to apply the Median filter because I want to get rid of as much noise inside this image as possible right upfront. I am going to go onto the Filter menu and I am going to go to Noise and then I will chose Median and I am going to apply a pretty high value Radius of 10 pixels. Now this recipe that I am about to share with you is going to work for just about any image as long as you follow the steps. So the steps will always remain the same. You will choose Median and then you will choose another filter and another filter and so on. However, the exact Radius values you enter is kind of up to you.

Basically you need to enter a high enough Radius value. It's totally OK to go over the top here a little bit. A high enough Radius value that you get rid of the noise inside the image is as much as possible. If you ruin a little bit of image detail, if you are gumming up a little bit that's OK. But high resolution images you might want to go even higher, although this is a big image. Alright. So Radius value of 10 pixels is what I am going to apply and I will click OK and you can see that we have a pretty gummy image going on here. Now I am going to go up to the Filter menu. This is the key step to creating an edge mask.

You go to Stylize and you choose this command right there, Find Edges, and it locates the edges inside the image, which is a terrific thing. Without Find Edges we wouldn't be able to create an edge mask and you get this effect here. Now I want the edges to show up this white and the non-edges to show up as black; so I need to reverse this mask, and I am going to do that by pressing Ctrl+I or Command+I on the Mac to invert it. Next, I want to increase the brightness of this mask, because right now we wouldn't be able to see much at all in the way of sharpening going on inside of this image and if you want to check it out you can just Alt-click or Option-click on that mask icon and you will see now we have pretty much obliterated the sharpening effect.

Alright. So I am going to Alt-click or Option-click on the filter mask once again and I am going to press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac in order to bring up the Levels dialog box and you can see we just have a little bit of a Histogram here. I am going to increase the brightness by dragging this white slider triangle right there over until I get a value of about 40; so notice that its starting to cut into the slope of that Histogram, and we are bringing out a lot of whites, a pretty cool effect, that we are seeing right here.

Even though we are just using as amask, it looks pretty darn cool actually. So I went ahead and applied the white point value 40. So that I am saying anything with a brightness value of 40 or lighter is going to become white. So that's an awful lot of luminance levels. Then I will click OK in order to accept that modification. Alright. Now lets take a look at what we have brought so far. I am going to Alt-click or Option-click on the filter mask once again or I can just click on the layer thumbnail right there in order to switch back to the full color image and you can see that this has limited the sharpening filter to a great extent here actually.

I am going to bring up the History palette so that we can compare this last step that we just applied to the original filter mask. So I will go ahead and choose Add Filter Mask right there and you can see that we have a lot more sharpening going on before we converted this right channel right here to an edge mask. So its a much more subtle sharpening effect, though by no means subtle because I still have this very high Amount value assigned to Smart Sharpen. Alright. So this is pretty good, I would just like to expand the edges a little bit. They're still a little thin for my taste.

So I am going to go ahead and click on the filter mask icon and from this point on we are going to work on the filter mask but we are going to preview the effects in the full color image. So here's how we make the edges thicker inside the Mask. The first step is to go up to the Filter menu and choose Other and choose Maximum. Maximum increases the maximum brightness value, which is white. So it expands the white areas of the mask and I am going to go ahead and expand those edges by a radius of 4 pixels. Now again this is going to vary exactly which values you apply are up to you so you might want to experIiment with this a little bit.

But I will go ahead and click on the eye here so we can see that eye; this is before. And bear in mind, we are looking at the mask here inside the preview inside the Maximum dialog box. This is the before view of those edges and this is the after view. So that greatly expands those edges so that we are sharpening a wider swath of edge there. And then I will go ahead and click OK to accept that modification. Now the one thing before we click OK I want you to notice that Maximum ends up blowing up pixels, it ends up expanding pixel so you get these big squares, you may notice here.

So I will click OK. We need to round up those squares and the ticket where rounding squares is concerned is the Median filter. Once again, the Median filter will go ahead and round off corners inside of an image. So I am going to go to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose Median. It's a part of the averaging process as it turns out. I am going to enter a Radius value that matches the radius inside the Maximum dialog box, which was 4. Alright. So whatever you enter in Maximum, enter the same value here into Radius and that will round off those edges as you can see there.

So this is before with all the little squares; this is after with all the little circles essentially. Now I will go and click OK. Then finally we want to go ahead and blur the edges a bit and I am going to apply a Blur value of twice the Maximum and the Median values. So I am going to go to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur the best blur for our purposes because we need a nice Gaussian distribution and I am going to go with the Radius value of 8 pixels. Just as I have here, lets look at the eye again. So this is it before, this is it after. It looks very blurry, doesn't look as cool as it looked before the mask. Doesn't looks nearly as cool as it did before, but it's going to serve our purposes much better.

Now I will click OK in order to accept that modification. You can see that we now have a pretty subtle sharpening effect considering how high the Amount value is and we have managed to avoid sharpening much in the way of the noise inside the image. So if I turned off, I will go ahead and turn off the Smart Filter here. This is a before view of this noisy area in the image and this is the after view and if you are not seeing much happened inside the video that's no surprise, not much is happening. There is not much difference.

We have successfully avoided that noise. We are doing a little bit of sharpening, but mostly we are avoiding it, thanks to this edge mask. So an edge mask is ideal for sharpening. Now one more thing I am going to do here is change my Smart Sharpen settings because I don't really want to work with an amount of value of 500%. I'm going to go ahead and double click on the word Smart Sharpen right there and I am going to take the value down to lets say about 250% or it may go higher. Why don't we take it up to about 300%? And then click OK to accept that modification. The dialog box preview here does not take the mask into account, so you are going to see the amount applied across the entire image.

When you click OK though, you are going to see the effect applied inside of the mask region. So this is perfect. In the next exercise I am going to show you how to use a non-rdge mask in order to smooth away the noisy portions of the image.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

115 video lessons · 16997 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the effects of sharpening
      5m 26s
    3. Understanding the mechanics of sharpening
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding sharpening and gradual transitions
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding sharpening and noise reduction
      4m 0s
    6. Understanding amount and radius
      7m 50s
    7. Measuring your screen resolution
      6m 19s
    8. Using reliable zoom ratios
      5m 30s
    9. Calculating the actual print size
      4m 54s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 31s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 4s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 39s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 44s
    6. Recognizing problems with the conventional workflow
      9m 38s
    7. Erasing sharpening with the history brush
      4m 30s
    8. Using alternative sharpening workflows
      2m 37s
    9. Sharpening a scanned photograph shot on film
      2m 45s
    10. Sharpening a digital photograph
      3m 6s
    11. Sharpening specific details
      3m 43s
    12. Finding broad workflow conclusions
      2m 49s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 27m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      4m 47s
    4. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      4m 54s
    5. Understanding the history of Unsharp Mask
      3m 51s
    6. Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur
      7m 35s
    7. Using the Smart Sharpen filter
      7m 35s
    8. Compensating for camera shake
      8m 50s
    9. Building your own Smart Sharpen with Lens Blur
      6m 59s
    10. Using directional sharpening with Emboss
      9m 13s
    11. Using Smart Sharpen extras
      8m 56s
    12. Using Convolution Kernels for more accuracy
      7m 8s
    13. Using the High Pass filter
      7m 32s
    14. Using Luminance Sharpening
      5m 5s
  4. 2h 14m
    1. Smoothing filters, smart objects, and masks
      1m 25s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 7s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 17s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 15s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 24s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 24s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 8s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 5s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 32s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      8m 59s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 36s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 14s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 13s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 52s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 30s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 32s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 41s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 36s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 42s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 15s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 8s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 27s
    2. Using low-frequency source sharpening
      5m 53s
    3. Using High Pass for portraits
      4m 19s
    4. Actioning a low-frequency edge mask
      7m 42s
    5. Modifying the source sharpening
      5m 21s
    6. Using high-frequency source sharpening
      5m 26s
    7. Using Smart Sharpen for cityscapes
      3m 2s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 4s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 4s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 24s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 16s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 10s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
      56s
    2. Focusing in on a person’s eyes
      4m 22s
    3. Blurring the area outside the eyes
      4m 22s
    4. Sharpening eyes and other details
      5m 38s
    5. Darkening the lashes and eyebrows
      7m 13s
    6. Sharpening dark-haired people
      5m 2s
    7. Edge mask and emphasize
      3m 39s
    8. Nesting a Smart Sharpen effect
      4m 48s
    9. Density mask sharpening
      5m 35s
    10. Adding depth of field
      4m 39s
    11. Sharpening a background
      4m 23s
    12. Masking background from foreground
      8m 51s
    13. Eliminating halos around a person
      5m 38s
    14. Deepening and warming a background
      3m 28s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 37s
    2. Understanding the use-neutral composition
      4m 15s
    3. Restoring much-needed antialiasing
      4m 2s
    4. Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
      7m 24s
    5. Making a third-level smart object
      3m 55s
    6. Preparing an image for print
      5m 18s
    7. Using ideal settings for commercial reproduction
      5m 37s
    8. Calculating very large-format settings
      5m 11s
    9. Using ideal settings for inkjet output
      4m 26s
    10. Sharpening for commercial reproduction
      5m 45s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 58s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 41s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 9s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 30s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 50s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 50s

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