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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
In this movie, I want to go through a bit of a workflow, and highlight a few techniques you may want to consider when you're applying output sharpening to those photographs, which you want to have shown on displays. Whether that's a mobile device or a computer screen. I will work with an image which has a bit of a tricky situation, yet keep in mind that the techniques I'll show here will work on whatever type of image you have to work with. This is a photograph I captured right as the sun was setting. It's a really low light scenario, I was shooting with a really shallow depth of field, so there isn't a lot of detail to work with.
So I need to first resize the image, and then apply some sharpening. Well, let's go to the resize dialog by navigating to Image, and then choose Image Size. When we go to Image Size, we can see the image at 100%, and again, you can see here that it isn't that sharp. Yet that isn't that big of a deal, because currently, it's showing me this image is a 6 by 10. That image is much too big to show on a mobile device or computer screen, or maybe you're going to upload it to a social media site.
If we want to resize the image for device, often it's a good idea to change the view to pixels. And when it comes to pixels, you may have a certain size in mind. For example, for my blog, the size that I tend to use is 800 pixels wide, so I'll go ahead and choose that here. At this point, this is now the time to begin to evaluate the details that we have in the photograph. Again here, we're focusing in on the finish line, the final output, and how we want to display the photograph. And so as we make that resize decision, we're starting to get familiar with the details that we have in the photograph.
Next, we have an option for resolution. What's interesting about resolution is a lot of people will think well, we should change this to 72 pixels per inch, or maybe if this is going to be shown on a current iPhone, we need to change this to 326 pixels per inch, or whatever it is. While the resolution changes on different devices or screens, what we have to keep in mind is what's most important are these values up here, the actual pixels that we have.
The screen resolution will shift depending upon the device. And we can't control that. We can only control the resolution when it comes to printing. So this step here, as unintuitive as it seems, doesn't really matter that much. Although if you feel better about changing the resolution, feel free to go ahead and do so. Yet, most important, focus in on these two values up top. Alright, well next, click OK to apply those settings. Then double-click the zoom tool so you can see the image at 100%. Now we need to sharpen.
And here's where we'll focus in on a technique which is specific to output sharpening for devices or computer screens. We'll copy the layer as we've done before, drag that to the new layer icon, then double-click the layer name and rename this layer Sharpen. Then we'll navigate to our Filter pull-down menu and choose one of our sharpening methods, the one which I tend to use most is Smart Sharpen. That's Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. And in this dialog, let's bring our values down for a moment and talk about what we might do.
When it comes to working with low resolution files, like this file here, we need to keep in mind that this is a really delicate file. There isn't a lot of data in this file, we don't have a lot to work with. Therefore, we're going to have a lower radius. And when it comes to saving files like this or sharpening files like this, typically it's 0.1 or 0.2 or maybe 0.3. It rarely goes much higher. Again, that's because we have less stuff to work with, fewer pixels here. So let's start off with a lower radius and then bring up the amount.
The reason why we need a lower radius is we need to make sure that we aren't making all of the edges sort of glow too intensely. And then the image will just fall apart. So, I think my radius is even too high here, I'm going to bring it down to 0.2. My amount is too high, and then I'll smooth it out a little bit by reducing the noise. We're looking for a really clean look on the photograph, just a clean snap there. And it does take a little bit of a delicate process. Click on the photograph, look at your before and then after.
With this image at this size, it does make it look better. I think the food looks better in this area, some of the subjects. I also am keeping in mind that this image has a shallow depth of field. I didn't have a lot to work with from the get go, so in that case I'm being really, really careful with these sliders. If your image just looks amazing, and it's sharp from the foreground to the background, and it just looks phenomenal, maybe your values will be a little bit higher. Either way though, what I have noticed, at least in my own workflow with my photographs, is that my radius tends to hover around these lower values, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3.
And that gives it a really nice, even, crisp, and beautiful look, so that particular tip perhaps is the most important one of this movie. Low radius for lower res files. Alright, after you've dialed in your settings, click OK, in order to render those and apply those to the layer. Then last but not least, change your layer blending mode to Luminosity, to make sure that you aren't sharpening or bringing out any unwanted color noise. When you change that layer blending mode to Luminosity, that will make sure that won't happen, and in turn your photograph will look its best.
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