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Learning how to selectively sharpen your photographs is an essential skill. Because of that, in the next few movies we'll be looking at some techniques which we can use in order to selectively sharpen our images. In particular, we'll work with these portraits of this same person in different environments. Beginning with the image on the right. And here, we'll keep things simple. Then in the next movie, I'll include a few alternative or advance short cuts which might help you out as well. Alright. Well, I'll select this photograph then press this F key to go to full screen mode.
When we view this image, we can see that it was captured with a shallow depth of field. And here we have the face primarily in focus. Then the hair and the background. And the shirt is out of focus. You know, in photographs, we're often drawn in to areas of sharpness or focus, and sometimes we can use photoshop to help out to sharpen specific areas of our pictures. Let's double click the Zoom tool to take a look at this image up close. When we double click the Zoom tool and get close, we'll see that this is the area of focus yet it isn't quite tack sharp.
So I want to help this image out and add a little bit of sharpness to a few areas. In particular the eyes, the lips, and maybe a little bit of the face as well. Well, typically the way I do this, most frequently, is to simply copy the background layer, and then to apply some sharpening and a mask to that new layer. So, here let's copy the background layer by dragging this to the new layer icon. Then double-click the layer name and let's name this one sharpen. Next step is to navigate to our Smart Sharpen filter which we can find underneath Filter > Sharpen, and then Smart Sharpen.
Go ahead and click on that and it will launch the Smart Sharpen dialogue. Alright, well, here we are. What we need to do is to dial in a good amount here. So I'm going to bring my radius up a little bit. This is a lower resolution file. So, I am going to have a lower radius. If you had a higher res file, it might be somewhere about one and a half or maybe even two. But with lower res files, we start a little bit lower here. And then I'll bring up my amount. And I'm just going to bring this up to make sure I'm adding a little bit of sparkle or snap.
I'm going to reduce some of the noise. That will help to minimize the texture that we have in the image. If you're looking at. the sharpening, and if you notice that you're sharpening the image in some ways that aren't very flattering. For example, the skin tone right here and underneath the eye doesn't look that good. Don't worry about it. We'll mask that out in just a moment. Sometimes too, it's helpful to go a little bit higher than you might normally go, because we can also mask this in by subtly painting it in with a lower opacity with our brush.
Again, you'll see that in a second. Well, let's apply this amount and then click OK. Now we have two layers, one which sharp. Another one, the original Which isn't it. On the top layer, we will add a layer mask. To do so, just click on the add layer mask icon at the base of the layers panel. Currently, the mask is white, which is revealing all of the sharpening. We want that mask to be black to hide it so we can then hand paint it back in and selectively sharpen this image.
One easy way to do that is to go to the edit pull down menu, then here we can choose fill. This will open up our fill dialogue and then we can select from the pull down menu to fill this. In with black. Go ahead and click okay in order to do that. Currently we have hidden all of our wonderful sharpening. So we need to bring it back. So grab the brush tool. Press the B key or just click on that icon. Then we need to choose white. Want to make sure we're painting with white here.
White will allow us to reveal or bring this back. What about our brush characteristics? Well if yo go up to the options bar, you want to choose a smaller brush. So you can get into the area that you want to work on. You also want to remove the hardness there. So you have nice soft edges. Doesn't have to be all the way down to zero but you want it somewhere down in this lower range. Alright, well what about opacity? Well, I recommend you take this somewhere below 50%. I'll go to 35. Because what you can then do is you paint once to bring in a little bit of sharpness.
And then you can paint again, multiple times, to build this up. And here that's all I'm going to do. I'm going to paint on the eyes, a little bit on the eyebrows, a touch on the hair over here. Bring in some sharpness into the lips. The more we paint over these areas, the more that this effect will be brought into the image. We can also increase our brush size. So here we'll go back, choose a larger brush, and just suddenly paint over some of the other areas. Maybe we need to sharpen a touch of the skin here. We'll stay away from those areas where it didn't look that good, but we will bring in a little detail in a couple of these other spots.
You know, if we were to turn off the visibility of our background layer, it would give us kind of a strange but insightful view of our photograph. Can you see what I'm seeing here? It's difficult to see, but we have some of the eyes right here, and the lips, and some little background elements. Now if I paint more over these areas, you can see how I can bring in more of this layer, more of the sharpening effect is now coming through, so with a lower opacity, you can paint this in little by little. And what this is doing is sitting on top of the original image, so that just those areas are receiving the sharpening amounts.
Now, with this image, its working well because we have a shallow depth of field. But it also works when you have a different type of depth of field as well, the whole technique revolves around selecting what you want to sharpen. And then copying the layer applying sharpening to the new layer, and then working with a layer mask and painting on that mask in order to paint the sharpening into specific areas.
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