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Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.
Alright. So the first step in adding depth of field to an image is to select the background. Presumably, the image was shot properly and it's the background tha'ts out of focus. So you want to select the background and sharpen the background using in our case Unsharp Mask. Now I am using Unsharp Mask just because its the simpler approach; you could use Smart Sharpen set to Lens Blur, but in my experience it really doesn't make much difference. Alright. So here's what I want to do. We are working inside the Man with columns.PSD document that's found inside at the 07_For_Effect folder and I am going to go to the Channels palette and I am going to load- notice that I have gone ahead and created a mask in advance. That maska the foreground away from the background.
Now I am going to tell you two things about this mask. First of all, I will show you how to make it in the next exercise, if you are interested, but if you really want to know how to make professional quality masks inside Photoshop then checkout my Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks series, which tells you in more detail then you would ever imagine how to go about making very accurate masks inside the Photoshop. Alright. Lets return to the RGB image and we will load the mask for now by pressing the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and clicking on the Mask channel in order to load it as a selection outline.
Now I'll go to the Layers palette and what I want to do is go up to the Filter menu and choose Sharpen and then choose Unsharp Mask and these are the settings that I want you to apply. Once again, they seem like completely over the top settings, but we are going to go ahead and dial them back later. For now we want to keep them at their maximum values so that we have the opportunity to dial them back. So enter an Amount value of 500%, a Radius value of 4.0 pixels for this specific image. Once again this is a resolution dependent value. If you have a high resolution image, you want to use a higher Radius value.
In my case, I am working with about 4 to 5 mega pixel image if you are working with a 10 mega pixel image, an original digital photograph from a modern camera, then you do the math. It would be more like a Radius value of 8 pixels and then Threshold definitely leave it set to 0 and click OK in order to accept that modification. Now that's obviously over the top; we need to mix this effect with the underlying original and we are going to do that by adjusting the blend settings right here. So double click on the Blending icon to the right of the words Unsharp Mask and I want you to change the mode as always to Luminosity and I want you to reduce the Opacity value to 33%.
Now I am using 33%, not because its a wildly magical number. First of all it's very easy to enter. You just hit 33 in a row, but also it's about a 3rd of the original effect and you have the option of bumping it up, if you decide you need more sharpening or taking it down if you need less, but roughly a third of that original sharpening pass works out pretty nicely for a lot of images actually. I wont go so far as to say most, but a lot of images. And you will want to modify that to taste of course. Click OK in order to accept that modification and there we go.
Now there is a problem at this point, I am going to go ahead and zoom on into this image. The problem that I have, lets zoom even further, is that we have a obvious halo around this gentleman's shoulder and around his head as well. Anything basically. Notice at the top of his head over here in the upper right portion of the image. We have got quite the halo around his ear, around his other shoulder and we don't want that halo. I don't want this big terrific halo around the guy because the whole idea here at this point, is that I am trying to merge him with his background a little more, so that the background and foreground look a little more uniform.
This halo that's circling him makes him look more distant from the background. So I need to get rid of that halo. So here's how this is going to work. In the next exercise, I am going to show you how I made this mask in the first place, the mask that we just loaded a moment ago. In the exercise after that I am going to show you how to get rid of this halo around the gentleman here. If you care about how I created this original mask then stay tuned for the next exercise. If you don't and you just want to get through this project, then skip ahead an exercise. Either way I will see you shortly.
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