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As Ansel Adams once said, "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." Now, with Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Desktop Printing Techniques, creating breathtaking prints is within reach. In this course, photographer and instructor Chris Orwig teaches techniques and workflows for crafting powerful and enduring images that bring the photographer's vision to life. From producing a business card to visiting a working press, Chris covers everything photographers need to know to achieve unique, compelling results from the printing process. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now that we have worked on the overall tone and color of this photograph we are ready to sharpen it. The way that we are going to sharpen this image is we are going to navigate over the background layer. We will right-click or Ctrl-click the background layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. This way we can use a Smart Filter while sharpening this image. Next let's double-click the Zoom tool to take the image to 100% so we can see nice details there, then we will navigate to our Filter pulldown menu and choose Sharpen and good old Smart Sharpen. Now, the Smart Sharpen dialog open, what I like to do is to try to align this so I can see some of my image in the background there. I can also see the preview in this preview window, so I have the best of both worlds. I'm getting a little bit of larger preview and align it with the background image if I can.
Now typically what you want to do with Smart Sharpening is you want to have your Radius is going to be pretty low and our Amount, we are going to go to about 100, we are on Advanced Lens Blur. We are going to start with a low Radius here, we are going to bring our Amount up and I'm going to bring my Amount up somewhere in the 130s or so, and then I'm going to slowly incrementally bring up this Radius. Now, as I bring up this Radius what I'm looking to do is to try to define where I start to see halos. If I click on the image and let go, I can see my before and after. I'm going to start to see haloing around edges like along the chin, the necklaces, any areas of high contrast and I'm going to try to find this sweet spot for the sharpening here and I like to find that sweet spot either within an Amount somewhere in the 100s or perhaps even the high 100s and again it will just start to show me where the haloing shows up and then once I see where that haloing shows up I'll drop my Amount to perhaps somewhere down 100%.
Now, there are quite a bit of techniques that you can use for sharpening but most importantly you just want to make sure that you are not over sharpening the image in addition you want to keep in mind that what we are doing here is called Output Sharpening. Where sharpening based on how we want to output this image it's going to be a 5x5 photograph, so it's going to be a relatively small right. And I have decided I want to print this on Matte Paper let's say. So again my Sharpening Amount is going to be a little bit higher, than it would be say on a Glossy paper. Because on Glossy paper the ink isn't going to absorb into the papers much so I don't need to sharpen it quite as much. Here my ink is going to absorb a little bit into it, it's going to soften the image just a touch so I have a little bit higher sharpening amount.
All right, well I'll go ahead and click OK to apply that and the nice thing about this is I can click on this icon here to see my before and after. Again really paying attention to the different details that I'm seeing. I can also click into the mask, press the B key to grab the Brush tool, change my Brush Size by pressing the left bracket key and then D takes me to my default colors black and white, X flips those colors. What I'm going to do is paint with black along this edge of the face there and also along the edge of the chin, just to paint away any areas where I'm seeing a little bit of haloing effect and I'm doing that at a low Opacity of 40% accidentally, I want this opacity to be up to 100% because I want to mask this off completely, paint this out complete black there because I don't want those edges to be over sharpened. There already is a little bit of a halo there.
I don't need to overdo that. And so I'm just going to paint around the image and just make sure I cannot remove any other areas. I am just paying special close attention to the face because I don't want any halos around the face and what a halo is where that edge becomes a little bit too strong, a little bit too strong and little bit too harsh. I do want some nice sharpness in the hair and the eyes and the teeth and again I'm just going to make my way through this document and remove any halos that I see. I'm going to remove a little bit of sharpening on those teeth there because I definitely don't want the image to look over sharp.
All right, well now that I have done that we can turn this on and off and look at our before and then after. If I zoom in even further we are going to see even closer look at the sharpening. It's subtle, here is my before and there is my after and if I zoom in even closer so you can see that, here is my before and after. Now what percentage rate should you actually be at when evaluating your sharpening? Well 100%. Double click to your Zoom tool and there you can see the actual detail that you will get when you are printing. All right, well, this image is now sharp. We are ready to go through the rest of our printing process.
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