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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.
Now that we know the ideal sharpening settings for both commercial reproduction and local inkjet or dye sublimation outlook, let's go ahead and apply those settings to this landscape image from photographer Nick Roberts. I have sized this image in advance, as you may recall. The name of the image by the way is Output Photograph.PSD found inside the 08_for_output folder. I go to the Image menu and choose Image Size, in order to display the Image Size dialog box and you can see that I have scaled this image to measure 4 inches wide, 6 inches tall, a resolution of 300 pixels/inch.
As long as I can get within a foot of this image, I don't care how big it is. All I care about is the Resolution value. So its 300 pixel/ per inch. that's all I need to know; I am going to go ahead and cancel out of here. But first I should say, just a little bit of an insight, but a very important one. If you plan on the importing this image into InDesign or Quark Express, i'ts very tempting, a lot of designers work this way. They just go ahead and leave the image set to any old resolution and they let the page designer scale the artwork to whatever size it needs to be.
That's a dangerous way to work. Now I know there are times where you have no control over what the page designer is going to do with your image. I have been in that situation many, many times; I am still in that situation with my magazine articles, but it's a dangerous way to work because it means that if the image gets scaled down, then the resolution increases, the size of your halos reduce and there goes through sharpening effect. It goes away. If your image gets scaled up then your resolution goes down, your halos get thicker and now all of a sudden, you are seeing halos all over your image. So it ruins the effect.
So it's better to know in advance, if you can know in advance, know in advance and scale your image accordingly. I know that this is going to be 300 pixel/inch image; so I cancel out. Now I want to go ahead and prepare this image either for commercial reproduction or for inkjet output. So I am going to give myself both filters to work with and I can turn them on or off depending on which one I need. that's going to require a nondestructive application of the filters. So we need a Smart Object. So I am going to select this Background layer, go up to the Layer palette menu, choose Convert to Smart Object.
Lets go ahead and assume that our first intention is to commercially reproduce this image. Let me go ahead and go ahead and rename this layer Output, or something along those lines. So my first order of business is do apply the High Pass filter. As you may recall, I will go back to my chart here. that's available to you, Recommended settings.PSD, and we will go ahead and switch over to the half tone settings right there and this is a 300 pixel/inch image, so I want to apply High Pass with a radius of two pixels and then we will go ahead and change the blend mode to Linear Light and the Opacity to 40%.
Although we could use Overlay at this resolution as well. Show you what I mean. Alright, lets go back to this image and we have already got the Smart Object. Lets go up to the Filter menu, choose Other and choose High Pass and there is my Radius value already to go, 2.0 pixels, that's the proper Radius value for 300 pixel/inch output. I will click OK, in order to accept that modification. There is something I don't need, I don't need the filter mask, throw it away. Now why don't I need to filter mask? Because we want to sharpen the entire image uniformly, every pixel by this same amount.
And you may say, well then we are going to sharpen the noise and the edges and all of the different stuff. By Now we have compensated for that. By now you already saw that this was use-neutral version of the image. We had already sharpened it for capture. We had already sharpened the image for source. We applied a little bit of sharpening inside the Camera RAW dialog box in order to compensate to demosaicing process. We had gotten rid of the noise to the best of our ability inside of this image using both luminance and color noise reduction inside Camera RAW, as well as an application of the Reduce Noise filter inside of Photoshop, and we had sharpened the image for detail using the Smart Sharpen Command in that big layered composition of ours.
We didn't apply any effect sharpening, but we could have. S, we've done all of our basic detail adjustment in advance and so should you. So when you apply output sharpening, you are applying it to the entire image across the board. So you don't need a filter mask. Now lets go over to the blending icon, go ahead and double click on it in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box. We are going to change the Mode- now because this is a 300 pixel/inch image, we could change it to Overlay. Set an opacity of 100%, click OK, and we are good to go.
But just in case we are not really sure that we are going to 300 pixel/inch, or we work with different resolutions on a regular basis, and we just want to get in to some good habits here, then you are going to change the Mode option to Linear Light and because this is the 300 pixel/inch image, we are going to change the Opacity value to 40%, which produces not an identical effect to Overlay set to a 100%, but an equivalent effect and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them once the image is printed. A very slight difference in fact on screen.
Alright, I am going to go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and that is the properly sharpened version of the image for commercial output. Now it's going to look like we've got some pretty bad details up here near the horizon. Our cabbage is getting too brittle here, but in fact because we are going to be printing the image at a high resolution that stuff is going to resolve down and it's going to look really great. And all we are trying to accomplish with output sharpening is we are just try to make the image look as good in print as it looked on screen. So we are just compensating for the anti-aliasing and interpolation that happens during the process.
This is good for commercial reproduction. Now lets apply a pass of sharpening that's good for inkjet and we will do that in the very next exercise.
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