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There is one final way to sharpen inside of Photo Shop that doesn't involve any kind of filter what so ever. Instead you paint with a tool, and it works best for this kind of high detail stuff like fur. And it's also perfect when you just want to sharpen part of an image, and you don't want to sharpen anything else. For example, there's no point in sharpening this area that's totally out of the depth of field here. Whereas, sharpening these creatures' faces makes an awful lot of sense. It also, by the way, gives you no radius control, so it's really just designed for spot sharpening and screen sharpening.
And you'll find it down here, click and hold on the blur tool or the smudge tool, or, whatever's showing up here, and select the sharpen tool. Make sure that you're working on a pixel based image layer, like I am in this case, this is a flat version of that scroll file. And then what you want to do, is create a new layer, so that you're not applying a destructive modification. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac, to bring up the new layer dialog box, and I'll just call this layer sharpening, like so. And then I'll click OK And now we've got this blank layer, and if you just start in painting on the blank layer, nothing's going to happen, because there's nothing on the layer to sharpen.
Which is why you want to go up here and turn on Sample All Layers. You also very much want to make sure Protect Detail is turned on. The only reason this check box exists is to kind of demonstrate how the tool got enhanced. In the old days prior to CSfive actually, when you painted with this tool, you ended up getting this kind of number here. So you just basically started harming the image immediately. It doesn't look sharp at all. It just looks terrible. So I'll press Ctrl+Alt+Z a couple of times, Cmd+Opt+Z on a Mac, to undo those changes.
So as I say, protect detail needs to be turned on, it's on by default. And then you just need to start brushing in sharpness inside the image. And so for example, I'm most interested in brushing in sharpness in these creatures' heads, maybe around the eye as well. You want to take it easy, you do have a strength control that you can modify if you want to. If your edits end up being too much too fast. And so I'm just going to brush around this creature's face. You can see that we're getting pretty great results out of the tool, where this specific image is concerned.
And so that's all I want, is just to sharpen their faces and nothing more. Again, don't scrub over the same region too many times, or you're going to start damaging the image. So I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that change. And then when you're done, just press the M key to switch back to the rectangular marquee tool and change the mode for this layer from normal to luminosity. And you'll eliminate any chance for having aberrant colors inside the image. So just to give you a sense of what I've done, I'll turn off the sharpening layer. This is the squirrels as they existed before I sharpened them.
This is the squirrels as they exist now thanks to the Enhance Sharpening brush here inside Photoshop.
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