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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
In the next couple of exercises, we are going to use Smart Filters to sharpen a high-frequency image, that is, an image that has rapid luminance transitions inside of it, and then we are going to turn around and quell the noise that rises up when we apply a sharpening filter. I am working inside of an image that I shot last year called Avignon cathedral.jpg, and if you zoom in on this image, you are going to see that we do have a fair amount of noise going on, in these windows for example, it's most evident.
We have a fair amount of luminance noise that is variations between neighboring pixels where the luminosity is concerned, and then we also have an awful lot of color noise going on, random variations and colors between neighboring pixels. Now normally, I should say, if this were a static adjustment that we are about to apply, we would have to get rid of the noise before we apply the sharpening filter, because otherwise, you'll get rid of your sharpening, if you follow up sharpening with noise reduction.
So you want to start with noise reduction when you're working static. When you're working with Smart Filters, you have a lot more flexibility. You can go ahead and apply the degree of sharpening you want to apply, and then turn around and retroactively get rid of your noise, and change the order of your filters. So you can swap the order of filters when you're working with Smart Filters anytime you like. All right, for starters here, let's convert this background item into a Smart Object. By going up to the flyout menu and choosing Convert to Smart Object or pressing Ctrl+Comma, Command+Comma on the Mac; if you loaded dekeKeys.
I am going to rename this layer cathedral, and then let's turn around and sharpen it. Now because it's a high-frequency image, because it's a landscape, because it's an outdoor shot, that kind of thing, anything but a portrait essentially, we are best off using the Smart Sharpen Filter. So I'll go up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Sharpen and I'll choose Smart Sharpen, or you can press Shift+F6, once again a dekeKeys shortcut, and these are my print defaults, as applied to the image. Now it looks like, it's going to make an absolute mess, that is an Amount value of 250%, Radius of 3.5, Remove set to Lens Blur.
We do not want More Accurate turned On, because that's just going to make things even messier than ever, as you can see right there. Anyway, I am going to turn that check box Off, but notice if I zoom the image out to something like, let's say 33% in the background, and I am going to go ahead and scroll my image over so that we can see it, we are achieving a much better effect. So I'll turn the Preview check box Off for a moment, this is the before version of the cathedral, and this is the after version, thanks to our application of Smart Sharpen.
So I am going to be applying a fairly aggressive amount of smart sharpening here, but I don't think it's over the top, and I don't think it's by any means an over-sharpening effect especially when we go to print the image. And recall, you need to zoom out from the image in order to get a sense of how it's going to print, something like 25% or 33% or even 50% for low resolution output is going to give you a better sense of what your image will look like. Anyway, I am going to click OK in order to accept these Print defaults. So I didn't make any changes from the last time I used the Filter, click OK, and then of course, I end up with Smart Sharpen listed among my Smart Filters.
Now because I am working with Smart Sharpen, just as if I were working with Unsharp Mask, I need to follow up the application of the Filter with the Luminosity Blend mode. So I will go over here to the sliders icon, double-click on it to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, and everything is going to happen a little slower inside this image, because this image has more pixels in it. It's a higher resolution photograph. Mostly because this is pretty much the photograph as I captured it, I didn't down-sample at this time-around, I'll change mode from Normal to Luminosity, and that will go ahead and get rid of any color variations that we are specifically applying using Smart Sharpen, but it won't get rid of the original color noise, that's going to remain in there.
So I will click OK in order to accept the effect. If you want it to, you can reduce the Opacity value, but I want the noise to really be obvious here. So I am going to leave the sharpness cranked up. I'll click OK and you know what else I want to do, if I zoom in here to this top edge, that is the edge between the cathedral and the sky, I am going to see that I have got too much in the way of haloing. So if you want to mitigate that haloing in any spot, then you can go ahead and paint inside of your Filter Mask, so I will click the Filter Mask to make it active and then I am going to grab my Paintbrush right there, by clicking on it or pressing the B key, and this time around I've got a fairly small brush, 80 pixels, a Hardness of 0% once again, because I am painting directly inside the mask.
I am painting with black because black is my foreground color, that's what I want, because I want to paint away the effect, and I will click right there at the top, and from this point on, I am going to Shift+Click to create brushstrokes in straight line. So I will Shift+Click there, Shift+Click. So I've got the Shift key down the entire time I am clicking and I am just clicking along this ledge right there in order to completely get rid of that over-the-top halo there. As you can see, however, I am also making kind of a mess of the sharpening effect.
So we end up with this certain amount of gumminess going on. Now I don't want to Shift+Click around each one of these tiles. So I am just going to go up to the top here and Shift+Click, so I am creating a straight line across all the tiles, make quick work of that one. Shift+Click, Shift+Click, Shift+Click right about there may be Shift+Click there, so now I am going to zoom out. We've also got a little bit of chromatic aberration left inside of this image. I try to get rid of it in advance actually, but I wasn't entirely successful, just as you won't be inside of all your images, I might click along here as well.
Anyway that's enough. Now it's too much of course, because it's a fairly rapid transition between no sharpening whatsoever, and super-sharpening down below. So with this Filter Mask selected, I am going to bring up my Masks panel and I am going to go ahead and reduce the Density to let's say something like 50%, see what it looks like, that's pretty good. That might be taking it down too far, so you could raise it to 60%, something along those lines is going to end up working pretty well. All right, so we'll click OK and you may recall the whole idea behind Density is that you're reducing the Opacity of the mask so that you're seeing more through the mask to the original effect, and that's going to provide us with better transitions.
All right, so I will go ahead and hide that panel. Problem is now of course, if we take a look at let's say that window, we are going to see more noise than ever it worked here, and I will go ahead and zoom in to 200%, so we can really see that noise. So this is what things look like before I apply the Filter. I will go ahead and click the eyeball in front of Smart Filters. This is what things look like. So it was pretty noisy but mostly at this point we are seeing the color noise as opposed to the luminance noise, and if I were to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, that's going to turn the Smart Filters back On, which is oftentimes quicker to undo the turning Off of a Smart Filter as opposed to clicking the eyeball to turn it back On, because the latter sometimes requires Photoshop to re-create the effect on the fly.
Now we are seeing the color noise to be sure but -- or even more aware of the luminance noise, because we set Smart Sharpen to affect just the luminance of the image and not the color. So we didn't really draw forth much more color noise. The color noise we are seeing is the color noise we saw on the first place, but we are drawing all kinds of luminance noise out of here. So what do we do about that? Well we apply Reduce Noise as an independent Smart Filter and then we swap the order of the filters as we'll see in the next exercise.
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