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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 we will continue our conversation about selectively sharpening our photographs by creating a duplicate layer, and then by adding a layer mask and hand painting onto that mask. Yet, in this movie what I want to do is show you what we've already seen but build upon that by adding in just a few advanced shortcut techniques, which you might want to consider using in your workflow to help you speed up the way that you selectively sharpen your photographs. The reason why I want to include these is because these are techniques that I use on almost every image that I work on in Photoshop.
Well, here it goes. Often, like with a photograph like this, I'll decide on an area that I want to sharpen. In this image, it's all about sharpening the eye and maybe a little bit of the lips as well, and some of the hair. You know, there's a shallow depth of field here. I'm not interested in sharpening the background. So I want to quickly and easily sharpen these areas. Also, as a side note, we'll talk about working on another type of image in the next movie. But for now we'll work with this shallow depth of field, one that we have here. Right, well where to begin.
Well, what I do is copy the background layer by way of a shortcut. The best shortcut to use, I think, is Command J on a Mac, or Control J on Windows. Think J for jump. It duplicates, or jumps the contents from one layer to another. Then double-click that layer name and go ahead and rename it, this case I'll rename it sharpen. Well now, I know that I'm going to need to apply a filter. So what we can do is we can go to that Filter pull-down menu again. And here we can go to Sharpen and then select Smart Sharpen.
Yet out of all of the filters that I use, this is one that I use really commonly. It's almost the one that I think I use most frequently compared to all of these. And as a result, often this filter, or whatever filter you used last, is listed here up top. Notice how there's a shortcut associated with the filter. It's Cmd+F on a Mac or Ctrl+F on Windows. If you were to press that shortcut, what it would do is it would run or apply the filter with the same settings which you previously used.
Now that won't be that helpful because you're on a different photograph and you'll need a different settings. Yet, if you press the shortcut key combination, which here I'll do. Let me just click off of that menu. Which is Option+Cmd+F on a Mac or Alt+Ctrl+F on Windows. What that will do is it will open up the last filter which you applied, but it will open it up with those settings, and it will include the dialogue so you can then change the settings. So I recommend you write this one down, it is more advanced, but it's worth it to know these, and here it is.
It's Option+Cmd+F on Mac, Alt+Ctrl+F on Windows. Alright, so now we have the dialogue open. This is showing me that my radius needs to drop down and also the overall amount, it's just too intense for this file. This file is probably going to favor a little bit lighter or lower amount there. I think that's actually decent. The skin tine doesn't look good but I think the eye's looking okay, the hair's looking good. So let's apply these settings. Here we'll click OK. Now we've sharpened this layer.
Next we need to create a mask. There are lots of ways to create masks, again, to have a more advanced technique, here's what I do. Rather than just clicking on the mask icon, if you hold down the Option key or the Alt key, think, I want a different option, I want an alternate way to create this mask. If you hold down that key and click on the add layer mask icon it creates a mask filled with black, and the beauty of that is that you're already one step ahead, because selective sharpening requires that you mask out a lot of the image, and then paint it in where you want.
So again, press Option or Alt, Option on Mac, Alt on Windows. Click on that add layer mask icon and there you have it. Then next, of course, we need to zoom in on our photograph and grab the brush tool. The shortcut key for the brush tool is the B key. Now, once you have the brush tool you may want to change your brush characteristics. There are lots of ways to do this. One technique which I would suggest is to right-click or Ctrl-click on the image. This will open up the menu which is right here. It will just open up where you are, rather than having to go up top.
You just have this dialog here, you can change your brush size, maybe we'll decrease our brush size a little bit, and also remove some of the hardness of the brush. To hide this menu, just click off, and that will disappear. So again, whenever you have the brush tool, you can right-click to get access to that contextual menu. Alright, well next, what about our opacity setting? Well you can change that by tapping a number on your keyboard. Tap zero, it goes to 100. Tap three it drops down to 30%. You can also press two numbers, five five goes to 55%.
So in this way, you can quickly change your opacity, which will be helpful initially when you start to work, and then perhaps as you progress. So let's start with 20%. With 20% opacity, I'm just going to paint over the eye. I'm going to try to bring in some sharpness there and also along the hair and maybe on the lips. 20% is too low. So I'll tap the four key to go to 40%. Now I'll bring in a little bit more into that area. I'm also going to sharpen up the shoulder a touch here as well. As I paint over these areas, can just go ahead and quickly mask this in.
And you know what, I think at this point, I'm done. That's all we need to do. We were able to selectively sharpen the eye, a bit of the hair, the lips, and also a little bit here on the shoulder. And we were able to do so really quickly using these advanced shortcut techniques. I'm aware that whenever there are shortcuts, they can be tricky to learn them all at once. What I recommend you do is go back and watch this movie again, and then pick out one or two shortcuts that you might integrate into your workflow.
Or maybe write them all out and have them on a sticky note, and stick them next to your computer so that you can slowly bring them into your workflow. Yet what I find is that certain shortcuts are really worth learning, and when it comes to masking and to making selective adjustments like we've done here, I think these shortcuts can help you out when it comes to saving you time and then also when it comes to creating better results.
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