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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 chapter we'll begin to focus in on some more advanced Camera Raw sharpening techniques. In this first movie, we'll begin to look at how we can use the adjustment brush in order to paint in or selectively sharpen at different areas of our photographs. We'll begin by working with this portrait of one of my daughter Sophia's good friend, and here she is holding this beautiful painting which she had just made. And you'll notice in this photograph that there's a really shallow depth of field. So rather than sharpening the entire photograph, what I want to do is I want to selectively sharpen the face and also the area of the painting.
To do that, we'll reach for the adjustment brush. Yet before we start to work adjustment brush lets make a few basic adjustments as well. I noticed that the painting's a little bit too bright here in the white area. So I'll drop my highlights down and in doing that that just darkens up those owls and some of the brighter tones. I'm also going to increase the touch of the contrast. I'm a big fan of using contrast. I like how it adds some snap or a little bit of edge to your photograph. Now I think the rest of the photo looks pretty good. There isn't a lot that needs to be done here in the basic panel.
So next lets reach for the adjustment brush. You can find this tool right up here at the top in the tools panel. You can select it by tapping the K key or by clicking on the Brush Tool icon. When you do so, you'll notice that the panels on the right-hand side change and we have a number of different sliders: Temperature, Tint, Exposure controls, and then also some down here which allow us to sharpen and to reduce noise into those areas that we paint. One of the things that you may want to do with your settings is, you may notice sometimes as you work in this, or work with this tool, is that all of your settings will be all over the place.
Well how can you reset a slider? To do that, simply double-click on the slider icon there, the little triangle icon, and that will reset it to the default settings. Or, an even quicker way to reset all of your sliders at once, except for the one that you select, is to click on the + or the - icon for one. For example, let's say we want to Sharpen. Here we'll just click on + for that. That will add the amount of sharpness here in the plus direction, and reset everything else to zero.
Now, let's crank this up a little bit more here, we'll bring this to about 70. Then let's also reduce a little bit noise into the area that we're painting as well. Alright, we'll, scroll down further to see the controls that we have for our brush. Here we have size, feather, flow. These are the three most important controls. That last one, density, controls the overall intensity of the effect. And so typically you'll leave that one up at 100. In regards to the brush size, if we drag this to the right, that will give us the ability to have a larger brush.
Drag to the left and the brush will appear smaller. You'll want to have a brush size that is appropriate to the area that you're working on. In this case you're going to work on the face. So this brush size looks good at this zoom rate. Yet, if you zoom in press command plus on a MAC or control plus on windows and then reposition the photograph to view the face. You can see that now our brush appears even smaller and of course it isn't that the brush changed, rather that it's that our zoom rate changed. So, you want to zoom into the level that you're going to work at, say this level here and then select the appropriate brush size. Next step, define the brush feather.
This is how hard or soft the edge of the brush is. If you have a zero amount for feather, it's a really hard brush, it won't look very natural. So often we increase this to soften the edges of the area that we're painting on. Now what about flow? Well, if you have a lower flow amount, let's say an amount of ten. One theory, kind of how this works, is that as you brush over an area, you paint in about 10% with each brush stroke. And then after multiple brush strokes, you build that up more and more and more. Yet, if you have a flow amount of 100, will you paint this in at full intensity with one single brush stroke.
So when it comes to sharpening. Sometimes we'll want to have a lower amount to paint it in in different areas. Other times we may crank it up. And we'll look at both examples here in this movie. Alright, well, when it comes to starting to use this tool to paint in our sharpness and our noise reduction, we simply position the cursor over that area and start to click and paint over the photograph. As I do that, it's kind of difficult to see which part of the image I'm actually affecting. There is a pin showing me this adjustment, which we can show or hide by clicking on this icon.
Or we can also turn on this indicator, Show Mask. This will show me the area where I've painted in this effect. And if I paint in more in certain areas, we'll see that this mask will appear to have more density to it. If the white color doesn't work for you, you can click on the Color Chip and you can choose any color. Sometimes it's helpful to have a color which is really sort of over the top, and maybe even a little bit distracting. But, while that looks strange, it can help you define the area that you need to work on.
So let's zoom in on this area. Here, when I zoom into the photograph in this area, I can see I've sharpened the face, which is good, but I also went too far in this part of the picture. How can we erase from this area? Just click on the erase check box and then go back here and I'm just going to erase from that part of the image. We can also define our erase brush settings. Currently it has no feather. I'm going to increase the feather there. When I do that it will make for softer erasing. Again you can see how I'm now erasing the sharpening effect from certain areas.
I know it looks crazy with the face being green, but we can always turn that indicator off. And the reason why this indicator is helpful is because it really helps us to see the areas we want to sharpen, or that we need to affect or need to correct I should say. In this case, I need to add a little bit more into this area. Then I went too far over there, so now I need to erase and go back and forth and just clean this up so I make sure I'm just sharpening the face itself. Now let's turn off the mask and then let's zoom in on the face area.
To do so, I'll press Cmd+ a few times. What we need to do is to zoom in really close, all the way up to 100%, to evaluate the sharpness that we have in this part of the photograph. When I click on the preview check box we can see that here's the before, a little bit soft and then here's after, it has a nice edge to it, it's sharper. It's a little bit too much noise, so I'm going to drop my noise down and also drop the level of the sharpness down as well. What I like to do is paint in the sharpening as we did zoomed out just so we cover the larger area we want to work on and then zoom in in order to get close to evaluate the actual amount or the setting of the adjustment.
And that's one of the great things about using this tool. Is you can always change the amount or intensity after the fact by simply modifying the sliders, as we did here. Alright, well that was Step one, which was to sharpen the face. I want to take another step with this photograph which is to work on the painting and I want to look at also how we can use Auto Mask in that area of the photograph. So leave this image open because I want to continue with it in our next movie.
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