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Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.
So here we are working inside that use neutral composition that I was telling you about in the previous exercise. By the way the name of this image, in case you want to open it up, is Field of greena.PSD. Its found inside of the 08_for_output folder, and you can see here that we've gotten these choppy details toward the top of the cabbage horizon right there. So the cabbages at the bottom of the image are in really great shape, but then they sort of deteriorate toward the top of the image frankly. What we're going to need to do is add a gradient to our existing filter mask in order to fade this mark sharpen effect away from these top cabbages, and I am going to do that using a Standard Gradient tool.
So go ahead and grab the Gradient tool here inside the tool box, and then I want you to make sure that your gradient is set to this one right here, which is to say Foreground to Transparent. So you can click on this down-pointing arrowhead and choose this gradient right there, Foreground to Transparent, make sure that your style gradient is Linear, this first guy, Mode is set to normal, Opacity is 100%, Reverse is turned off. These are all default settings, by the way. You should also make sure that your foreground color is set to black as it is for me. Now with all this stuff good to go here, I am going to go ahead and drag down like so. Notice that the horizon line is at an angle, because I would imagine that we're on something of a slope at this point here, because the trees are upright so I think the image is upright as well.
But I am going to drag basically perpendicularly to that angle right there like so. I am going to start a little bit above the horizon and then I am going to drag down like this to about this point in the cabbages and then I am going to release, and you can see that Photoshop goes ahead and ignores me. Oh! Look at me I am working on wrong layer, for shame! Alright, I will go ahead and then do that modification. I just got down and editing the sky filter layer. Lets go down here to the filter mask that's associated with Smart Filter there, and now I will replay that modification I just applied, and we end up softening the top cabbages.
I'll go ahead and zoom in there so you can see the difference. This is before with these very sharp, weird little tiny details there; and this is after with the better anti-alias tiny cabbages. They are not way better of course because they didn't resolve well. They are too tiny to resolve very well, but they are in much better shape than they were. Now the problem at this point is that we went ahead and got rid of the sharpening on top of the trees, and I actually want to reinstate some of the sharpening. So what I am going to do is I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac or I can go up in the Edit menu and choose the Fade Gradient command right there, and then I am going to go ahead and back off my gradients a little bit.
I am going to take it down to something along the lines of about- I think, you know what, maybe for this we might want to go as low as 50%. Lets see how that works out. And that looks pretty darn good. That leaves us with a little bit of trees and a little bit of the sharpen cabbages as well. If you want less of the effects, you take the value higher, obviously if you want to less sharpening going on up there. Well, I think actually I'll go ahead and set it for an opacity value at 65%, and this is of course a subjective modification because were sharpening through detail inside the image.
So that takes care of that problem. In the next exercise, a fairly straightforward modification- oh! I should mention if you watched my Photoshop CS3 Channel & Masks series, you know that when editing masks, especially when applying a gradient to an existing mask, I typically prefer to work with the knockout layer, because that gives me a lot of flexibility, I can change my mind well into the future. Here I am actually changing the pixels inside of the masks, so it boils down to a permanent modification. So I don't like to work this way but I don't have any choice where Smart Filters are concerned.
When you're working with Smart Filters you can't use things like knockout layers and other fancy tricks, you have to just go in there and edit that Filter Mask directly. So that takes care of that problem. In the next exercise we're going to address the noise inside of the sky.
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