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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 the previous movie, we began our workflow project, by working on the image by applying some raw input or foundational sharpening. Well now that we've finished up that stage, we're ready for the next stage. Which is to look at how we can use Photoshop and Photoshop Filters to improve this photograph. The client has requested that we resize the image to a 5x7 size photograph. And we've done that. They've also asked that we sharpen the photograph in a clean, natural way.
And make sure we have good detail in this dress area here that we have in the photograph. They want some of the texture to be brought out. So we'll do that by first copying the background layer. Click and drag Background Layer to the new layer icon. Then double click the layer name and let's call this one smart sharpen. Next, we'll navigate to our Filter pull-down menu, then choose Sharpen and good old Smart Sharpen. This is a filter that you'll be using quite a lot. I use it on almost every image that comes into Photoshop.
Again that's Filter, Sharpen, Smart Sharpen. In this Smart Sharpen dialogue, often what we'll do is we'll remove the values here for Shadows and Highlights. Make sure we're just setting these down. Sometimes it's nice to bring em all down to their default, or lowest settings there, and then just close this. We're going to pay attention to that a little bit later. First we want to choose the right settings above. When it comes to the type of sharpening that we we want to apply, or the type of softness we want to remove, we want to choose Lens Blur. This will ensure the better results out of those three options there.
Then next we need to bring the Radius up. Here I'll bring this Radius up to right about one. Then I'm going to bring my Noise Reduction down, and also the Amount down. As I mentioned before, I tend to like to have a lower Amount, which I bring up in 10 to 20% increments. And so I'm just bringing this up, paying attention to how this is affecting the overall photograph. If you have a higher-resolution file, you may find that you need a little bit of time for Photoshop to catch up and to render, and then show you a preview of that particular setting.
So just be patient here with those higher res files. In this case, I've gone too high, so I'm going to drop my Amount back down, try to find a little bit of a lower Amount there. I want to go for a clean, natural look, I'm getting close to that. Then next step I'm going to bring up my Noise Reduction slider. I want to make sure I'm not bringing out any unnecessary amount of noise. At this stage, I think we're going in a really good direction. I like the level of the sharpness. I like the detail that we have here on this part of the dress.
We click, we can see the before, and then the after. Yet one of the things that I don't like is the highlights that we have, kind of the shininess that we have here in the hair. If we zoom in on the picture, and here I'll zoom in past 100%, so you can really see what I'm talking about. Notice how I have these glowing edges. Well the reason this is here is because it's trying to work on the shadow side, and brighten up the highlight there along the shadow edge in order to create a sharpened effect.
If this is too strong, we can go into our sliders here and we can fade this away. Let's increase the Tonal Width, and then bring up the Fade Amount. Lemme exaggerate this so you can see what I'm talking about. Here's without, and here's with. You can see how we can scale that back. And we can control how far we go with it. These controls help us to improve that highlight edge. You won't need to zoom in to 400%. Here, you'll only need to zoom into 100, yet I find it's difficult to see in these demo movies, if we're zoomed out like this.
On my monitor, right here at 100%, the amount that we have is actually looking really nice. It's really clean. The rest of the hair looks good, and I'm appreciative for these controls, these extra controls which help me to specify how it's affecting different parts of the image. Now down here, with the dress detail, this is the highlight range. And if we were to fade this away, by increasing these values, what we would do is make this area look softer. Again, let me zoom in on that.
I don't want to do this, but I just want to show you how we can affect this part of the photograph. Take a look at how I can change the fade amount, and how the highlight area is now being affected as I change these amounts. Well the client wants some nice texture in that area, so in those areas of the picture right here I'm going to leave my fade amount down to these lower settings. I'll drop these all the way down to the lowest values there. All right. We got a little bit advanced there, as we worked with Smart Sharpen in order to target different areas of the photograph using our Shadows and Highlights controls.
We also applied some really professional level clean and effective sharpening. By experimenting with different Amount, Radius and Noise Reduction levels, and of course we chose the option to remove the Lens Blur effect, which in turn gives us nice effective and high quality sharpening. Once we've decided that we're going in a good direction, what we need to do is to click OK in order to apply those settings. Those settings will be rendered or applied to the top layer, which we had targeted.
The last step in our workflow? Well that is to take this Layer Blending mode all the way down to Luminosity. This will make sure that we aren't exaggerating or bringing out any unwanted or unnecessary color noise. Again the last step, click in the layer, click on the Blending Mode pull down menu and choose Luminosity. And then of course at this point if you feel like the sharpening is good when you look at your before and after, you want to save the file out. If you feel like it isn't good enough, you can always delete this layer and go through those steps again in order to change the amount and the level that you apply in order to make sure that you accomplish the best result.
Another thing that I like to do as well is just to drop my opacity down. I find that it's so easy, especially if you're new to sharpening, to overdo it. If you feel like that might be you, as you experiment with sharpening, just see how it looks if you take off 10 or 20% of the amount of this layer by dropping your opacity down. Often, at least with the students that I've worked with in the past, I found that by doing this, it, it creates a little bit more of a natural, clean and beautiful look. All right? Well, that wraps up our workflow look at how we can use all of these techniques to improve our photographs.
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