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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.
In this next project we are going to apply an special kind of sharpening effect that I called Density Mask Sharpening. Now I originally came up with this technique for my Photoshop Channels & Mask Series, it's available here lynda.com Online Training Library. If you have seen it before, if you saw me demonstrating in that series, this is going to be a different take on the effect. So its a different approach, which I think you will find quite illuminating. Density mask sharpening is especially useful when you are sharpening a dark haired model and it doesn't matter if it is man or woman.
So anytime you have portrait shot of a dark haired person, this is going come in very handy. Light haired persons it doesn't work so well for, but anyway here's what we got. We will start with this image right here and we will change it to look it this. So we are really punching up the darkest details inside of the image. And lets go ahead and zoom on in a little bit, so that we can the eyes and these hairs above the eye a little more closely so this is originally version of the image and this is the modified version. Now you can see how those eyelashes are propping, they are getting very crunchy at the 100% zoom level.
We also have some very sharp eyebrows, some sharp hair details, as well as some nice highlight showing up inside of the hair. So this is before the sort of black luster highlights and this is after. These very nice punchy highlights, as if we can see each and every hair on this womans head. Meanwhile, we are doing almost nothing to the skin tones. This is before nice, smooth skin tones and this is after and we are now bringing up the fine little hairs on her face, we won't want to do that, but we are bringing out the bigger hairs and some of that fuzz along the side of her cheek. That's acceptable as well I think.
Anyway lets get a sense how this works. I am going to restore the original version of the image and incidentally this image is called Eyes and hair.jpeg. Notice its the JPEG file, a flat JPEG file found inside the 07_For_Effect folder and this image once again comes to us from Quavondo Nguyen of istockphoto.com. Now I went ahead and just opened this JPEG file, as opposed to taking it through Camera RAW, I just opened it inside the Photoshop. The reason being, it appears to me as if the image is already been corrected for the de-mosaicing process and there isn't any color noise inside of the image, and I didnt really need to modify the temperature or tint so why bring it through Camera RAW? Why not just set in compensating for the detail on the side of this image? This is a low-density portrait shot, so we are going to sharpen here inside Photoshop using High Pass filter.
Alright. I am going go ahead Shift + Tab to bring my Layers palette backup on screen here, minus, well drag her over just a little bit. Now we are working with a flat imaging that means we would apply a flat adjustment to it, which is no good. I want to apply a nondestructive Smart Filter to this image. So I am going to convert the image to a Smart Object by going over to the Layers palette menu and choosing Covert to Smart Object like so and then I am going to double click on the words Layer 0 right there and I am going to change the name of this layer to Yowo for Young Woman, you can enter any other abbreviation you like or any other layer name for that matter.
Now I am going switch over to the Channels palette. This is just standard stuff that we learnt in the previous chapters. We are just doing standard steps that are required to compensate for low frequency detail inside of an image and by that I mean that we need to go ahead and load a selection that is going to serve as a base filter mask for our Smart Filter and that means of course, loading the green channels, the selection outline so I am going Ctrl + click on the, green channel thumbnail or Command + click on the thumbnail on the Mac, then I will switch back over to the Layers palette.
We now have a selection outline ready to go here. I will go to the Filter menu I will choose Other command and I will choose High Pass. Now I am going to go ahead and apply a relatively high Radius value of 3.5 pixels. I say this as relatively high because this is only a 4 mega pixel image. The original image, as it was shot, as it was captured with an 8 mega pixel image and I usually go ahead and downsample these images I should tell you that. I usually go ahead and downsample or crop them because I don't want to give the way the farm here. I am giving you these images and I want the photographer to still be able to put bread on their tables, so that's why I reduce the image to 4 mega pixels.
If I was working with the original image, I bump up that radium to about 6 pixels here inside the High Pass filter. If this was a 10 mega pixel image, it will be going up to 8 pixels for the Radius value and so on. So you do want to vary your Radius value depending on the resolution of the image, but a radius of the 3.5 pixels should suite this image just fine, and then I will click OK in order to accept that modification. Now at this point of course, we have got to go ahead and get rid of the grays and High Pass layers, so I am going double click on the blending icon, in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box and I am going to change the mode from Normal to Overlay and then I am going click OK in order to accept that change.
Now the next step is to go ahead and convert this filter mask from a standard luminance mask, which is what we have now to an edge mask and we are going to do that in the next exercise.
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