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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
One of more common adjustments you will want to make to an image, especially before you print it, either in Inkjet printer or to one of the photo printing services that you might send your photos to or even offset printing, is to sharpen your image. You want your details to really pop. Here is a great image where we want these raindrops to really pop off that leaf, and really look a lot crisper and sharper than they currently do. Almost every image, especially if you are shooting raw, will tend to be a little bit soft, and you'll want to bring out those details. Now there are lots of different ways to sharpen images. You can use any of the Sharpening Filters that are available to you in the Filter menu, and you can even use Camera Raw.
But in this video, what I want to do is teach you one of my favorite ways to sharpen an image and reinforce one of the Blend modes, Overlay, and why it's so useful and cool. So, rather than learning you know all the bells and whistles in Smart Sharpen, you know if I go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen, you will see there is one, two, three, there is a More Accurate check box here, four. This is under Basic. If I go to Advanced, there is Shadow, so 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
You know 13, 14 different knobs and whistles to actually play with to get a sharp image. I am going to teach you a different way - so I can just hit Cancel there - where you such just have one value to use when sharpening a particular image. We will begin by duplicating this Background layer. We will do Command+J, Ctrl+J to duplicate it. Go ahead and change the name to Sharpen. And what we are going to do is we are going to run one of the Filters. Now if you are a designer watching this particular course, what I love about designers is they'll often learn a product, something like Photoshop, by going to every single menu command and just choosing it to see what it does.
So, maybe on some Saturday you spent all afternoon trying every single filter. You started out in your Artistic menu and chose Colored Pencil undid. You went to Cutout undid, went to Dry Brush and so on. And you know, six hours later, you got to the bottom of the menu, and you got to the Other menu, you know, kind of known as this Miscellaneous Category, and you chose High Pass. So, Filter > Other > High Pass and you saw this, and the default value I think is 2, so let's change it back to 2. And you are thinking, "Great, my image got gray," We will hit Cancel, and then you never came back.
You were like, "Why would I ever use that Filter? I don't want my image to look gray." Let's go back there. Let's to Filter > Other > High Pass, and we will change the value back to 2. Here is what I mean by only being a single slider you have to deal with when sharpening an image. It's the Radius slider. Now I'll give you a clue. The radius you will use for most images will be somewhere between 2 and 3. I am going to split the difference and just make it 2.5. That's the value I typically start out with. And then I can always lower that or increase it, depending on the image that I am trying to sharpen. Now it turns out the High Pass Filter is so useful because it's an Edge Detection Filter.
Now you remember, when you sharpen an image you're finding light pixels next to dark pixels. That's what Photoshop thinks an edge is, where there is areas of contrast next of each other. So, when you sharpen an image, the dark pixels are getting darker, and the light pixels are getting lighter along those edges. So, you are increasing contrast of edge pixels. What High Pass is doing is saying, "Hey! "Everything that's not an edge, just become gray. "I am just going to ignore you. "Where there are edges, I am making the dark half darker and the light half lighter for you." That's what Photoshop is doing here.
I am going to go ahead and click OK, and you can see there is a nice edge enhancement here, where the dark part of the edge got darker and the light half of the edge got lighter. But I don't want this gray stuff. How do I make those gray pixels disappear or which blend mode ignores gray? That's right. You may remember, it's the Contrast group. So, if I choose Overlay, Overlay makes the gray go away, and there is your final result. Here is before, here is after. You can see that image looks a lot sharper, a lot crisper, just by simply duplicating the layer, running the High Pass Filter and then setting that Blend mode of that duplicate layer to Overlay to make the gray pixels disappear.
In conclusion, one additional value of using this particular technique is you don't actually have to worry about over sharpening the image with this particular filter. Because it is on a separate layer, the Opacity is set to 100%. If you think it's too sharp, you can just lower the Opacity of that Sharpen layer. So, I have the Move tool selected. I have got V on my keyboard if it's not. And then I can just press a number on the keyboard. So, if I say 7 for 70%. Here is the difference between 70% Opaque and 100% Opaque, and that may be too subtle to show over the video here.
So, let me make it a little more extreme. Let's make it a 30%. And you can see it's a little bit softer now, and then we will press 0 again to take it back to 100%. And hopefully, via the video compression here, you can see the differences between 30% and 100%. The point being you have the flexibility of lowering the amount of sharpening with this technique, simply by changing the Opacity of that particular layer that you used to sharpen the image. So, there you have it, a combination of Duplicate layer, High Pass Filter, and the Overlay Blend mode with the added kicker of lowering the Opacity to get a really fun and engaging way to sharpen your images, without having to remember a lot of dials and whistles and knobs.
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