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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Now that we've discussed these different types of sharpening, unsharpened mask, smart sharpen, and high-pass, it raises the question what type of sharpening is best? Well, this is really based upon personal preference. In my own workflow the sharpening that I use most is Smart Sharpen and whenever I use any of these sharpening techniques, typically I do this selectively. So let's take a look at how we can do that with this image. Now if we zoom in a little bit on the picture, you can see that she is sharp and in focus and the background is out of focus.
Therefore I don't want to sharpen everything; rather I just want to sharpen that which is in focus. I want to selectively sharpen a particular area of the image. Well, in order to do that I'll go ahead and copy this Background layer, press Command+J on the Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows. I'm going to name this new layer Smart Sharpen. Next I'm going to select the Quick Select tool by pressing the W key or by clicking on the tool in the tools panel. Here I'm going to make a selection over the area of the image which is sharp, and you know you can do this either by making a selection now or by creating a mask and then modifying that mask and painting the sharpening in later.
Here I've selected a little bit too much. So I'll hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on Windows and that arm there is out of focus. So I don't want that. I also I don't want any of these background elements here. To select it, so if you hold down Option you can pan away that selection, and then I'll just click-and-drag around here a little bit, making sure I have a nice selection. Now once you have a good selection you want to click on the Add layer Mask icon for this layer. What that will do is essentially just give us the content in this case which is sharp. You notice that the edges are a little bit harsh.
You want to soften that. So double-click your Mask layer and then crank up the feather amount a little bit. And by doing that it will just create that subtle transition from the sharpening effect to the non-sharpened area and it will do so rather than having a really hard or defined edge. It'll slowly taper it off. Well, now that we've done all that let's go ahead and turn on the visibility of the Background layer and then click in the layer that you want to sharpen. You should see the brackets now show up around the icon for that layer. Next, I'll go to my Filter pulldown menu and here I'll chose Sharpen and then Smart Sharpen.
This is a lower resolution file so what I want to do is just zoom into 100% here so I can see some of the details in this picture, and then I'll move this around just so I can kind of see that next to each other. I'd like to try to align these two windows up. And in regards to the amount what you'll typically want to do is start off with the pretty low radius and just try to get your amount somewhere around 100, and then suddenly bring up that radius. Here with this image because it is such a low-res file, gosh, it's going to be pretty low. It's looks like about .3 is going to work well and maybe even right around 100.
I think that looks pretty nice at least on my monitor. I want to make sure More Accurate is turned off and then go ahead and click OK to apply that. The great thing about this is that we're just sharpening this content here yet that content is sitting on top of the Background layer. So this just subtly kind of helps make the image snap, brings out some nice detail, and in this way you can see that we can selectively sharpen a particular area of our photograph. And here with this image we looked at how he could use a selection and then create a mask.
In other situations what you want to do is sharpen the layer and then hand-paint in the sharpening into particular areas of the photograph. In order to really understand selective sharpening let's take a look at how we can do that in the next movie.
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