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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.
In this exercise, we are going to do a little bit of soft proofing. I am going to attempt to show you the contribution made by the various phases of sharpening when we are doing multi-pass sharpening inside of Photoshop. I am doing this sort of faux soft proofing thing for you. We're proofing the image at a 117 pixels per inch because I can't show you the way the images really print. If this were a book, I can show you printed output; this is a video, so we are going to do soft proofing on screen. So here's the idea, and of course by the way you can print the document yourself if you want to and that's going to give you the best sense of whats going on.
But before we do that, you may recall at the end of the previous exercise, I went ahead and flattened the entire image, in order to nail down that sharpening effect and this is sharpening for inkjet output, incidentally and then I use the Image Size commands to reduce the resolution to a 117 pixels per inch. Because I am pretending that I am working on that 17 inch MacBook Pro. Well I obviously want to undo those changes because if I were to save the image this way I am losing a lot of resolution, so I am throwing away a bunch of pixels. And of course I have flattened the image, so I lost my effects as well.
This was just for screen purposes only. I will go to the History palette. If you were to do what I did, youd go to the History palette and you'd backup two steps here. You get rid of Image Size, you get rid of Flatten Image, you click on whatever happened before Flatten Image, in order to regain your effects and regain the high resolution of your image. I will go ahead and zoom out here a little bit because we have got a larger image to work with. Of course, you would go up to the File menu and choose the Save command in order save the results of your labors.
Alright. I am not going to do because I'd overwrite one of the documents I am giving you. Instead what I am going to do is I am going to bring up this other document that's called Comparison (landscape).PSD and it is the screen res version of the image. So it is a soft proof version and notice what we have here, we have four different versions of the image to choose from. No sharpen or NR, meaning no sharpening or noise reduction applied to the image whatsoever. This is what the original image would like. The only change I made was to blue up the sky.
To make the sky bluer so that we are retaining that modification throughout all of our comparative photos here. That's all I did but otherwise I didn't sharpen for source, I didn't sharpen for detail and I didn't sharpen for output. This is what the image would like when we printed it, which is to say fairly soft, actually pretty darn soft and less distinct then we needed to be. Here's what would happen, if we didn't apply any output sharpening, but we go ahead and sharpen for the source and we sharpen for the details as well and then we print the document.
So basically this is the way the image looked like after we applied the noise reduction. By about the fourth exercise if we just gone ahead and flattened the image and printed it, this is what it would have ended up looking like. So its better than the original version of the image, but only slightly. Its actually pretty difficult to see the difference at this point, it's just slightly, ever so slightly sharper in some of the forward details here. You can see that a little bit at the 200% view size. So really, a lot of that work we did isn't translating to the final piece, but it is translating to the final application of sharpening.
Here is what would happen if we didn't do that. We didnt do any of the source sharpening, we didn't do any noise reduction, we didn't sharpen for detail, so we just opened up Nick Robert's original image and we applied output sharpening, which is what most people do by the way. They just apply output sharpening that's all they do, nothing more. Then we would definitely get a sharper image. This is the image as it looked originally, so fairly soft, and this is what it looks like with output sharpening. So it does look sharper. We are getting better detail out of it, but it gets even better if we combine all of the noise reduction and sharpening.
If we combining sharpening for source, sharpening for detail, and sharpening for output altogether, then we get this final effect, the multi-pass sharpen right there and notice how much better it gets. This is without the various phases of the sharpening, this is with the various phases of sharpening. So I am going to go ahead and zoom out here. Alright. So lets take it in at 100% zoom level. Lets go ahead and work through everyone on of these again. This is without any sharpening whatsoever, this is what happens when we apply all of the noise reduction and sharpening except of the output sharpening.
Here's the effect we get if we only apply output sharpening, which as I say is the way most people work, and here is the brilliant wonderful effect that we get if we apply all stages of sharpening. You can see that we get much better results in a distant object, if we go ahead and stick with the entire multi-pass sharpening process. That's fairly subtle actually. Although you would notice that even more in print, if you were to print every one of these at high resolution, then you would get a better sense of what is going on, but it's fairly subtle.
Once we start working with more elaborate images that have lots of different details going inside of them, including portrait details going on, low frequency portrait shots, you are going to see more dramatic, more pronounced effects and we will begin to get a sense of how those effects work in the next exercise.
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