Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
Illustration by Don Barnett

Sharpening an image for web or screen


Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Sharpening an image for web or screen

We are going to wrap things up by taking a look at how to sharpen an image for screen output, whether your image is ultimately bound for the web or a presentation or a kiosk or something along those lines. Generally, this just means making your image look good on your screen, you are just trying to compensate for the down sampling process but it is possible that you are going to a specific kind of screen. And I will tell you this. If you are working on an LCD monitor, flat panel LCD monitor, then you are seeing sharper images than you would if you were working on a deep CRT tube like the older style monitors.
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  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 37s
    2. Understanding the effects of sharpening
      5m 26s
    3. Understanding the mechanics of sharpening
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding sharpening and gradual transitions
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding sharpening and noise reduction
      4m 0s
    6. Understanding amount and radius
      7m 50s
    7. Measuring your screen resolution
      6m 19s
    8. Using reliable zoom ratios
      5m 30s
    9. Calculating the actual print size
      4m 55s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 28s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 7s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 3s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 40s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 43s
    6. Recognizing problems with the conventional workflow
      9m 38s
    7. Erasing sharpening with the history brush
      4m 30s
    8. Using alternative sharpening workflows
      2m 37s
    9. Sharpening a scanned photograph shot on film
      2m 45s
    10. Sharpening a digital photograph
      3m 6s
    11. Sharpening specific details
      3m 43s
    12. Finding broad workflow conclusions
      2m 48s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 30m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      7m 47s
    4. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      4m 54s
    5. Understanding the history of Unsharp Mask
      3m 51s
    6. Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur
      7m 35s
    7. Using the Smart Sharpen filter
      7m 35s
    8. Compensating for camera shake
      8m 50s
    9. Building your own Smart Sharpen with Lens Blur
      6m 59s
    10. Using directional sharpening with Emboss
      9m 13s
    11. Using Smart Sharpen extras
      8m 56s
    12. Using Convolution Kernels for more accuracy
      7m 8s
    13. Using the High Pass filter
      7m 32s
    14. Using Luminance Sharpening
      5m 5s
  4. 2h 14m
    1. Smoothing filters, smart objects, and masks
      1m 24s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 14s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 18s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 16s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 23s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 23s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 10s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 6s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 31s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      9m 0s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 37s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 15s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 12s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 51s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 29s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 31s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 40s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 35s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 41s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 14s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 12s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 26s
    2. Using low-frequency source sharpening
      5m 53s
    3. Using High Pass for portraits
      4m 19s
    4. Actioning a low-frequency edge mask
      7m 42s
    5. Modifying the source sharpening
      5m 21s
    6. Using high-frequency source sharpening
      5m 26s
    7. Using Smart Sharpen for cityscapes
      3m 1s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 5s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 5s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 25s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 17s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 12s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
    2. Focusing in on a person’s eyes
      4m 22s
    3. Blurring the area outside the eyes
      4m 22s
    4. Sharpening eyes and other details
      5m 38s
    5. Darkening the lashes and eyebrows
      7m 13s
    6. Sharpening dark-haired people
      5m 2s
    7. Edge mask and emphasize
      3m 38s
    8. Nesting a Smart Sharpen effect
      4m 48s
    9. Density mask sharpening
      5m 35s
    10. Adding depth of field
      4m 39s
    11. Sharpening a background
      4m 23s
    12. Masking background from foreground
      8m 51s
    13. Eliminating halos around a person
      5m 38s
    14. Deepening and warming a background
      3m 27s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 36s
    2. Understanding the use-neutral composition
      4m 15s
    3. Restoring much-needed antialiasing
      4m 2s
    4. Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
      7m 24s
    5. Making a third-level smart object
      3m 55s
    6. Preparing an image for print
      5m 19s
    7. Using ideal settings for commercial reproduction
      5m 37s
    8. Calculating very large-format settings
      5m 11s
    9. Using ideal settings for inkjet output
      4m 26s
    10. Sharpening for commercial reproduction
      5m 44s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 57s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 42s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 10s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 31s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 51s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 51s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
10h 33m Intermediate Feb 15, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the effects of sharpening
  • In-depth examinations of Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass
  • Smoothing an image with the Surface Blur, Despeckle, and Reduce Noise features
  • Working with smart objects and smart filters
  • Creating edge masks and non-edge masks
  • Sharpening for digital-image capture using Camera Raw
  • Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
  • Exploring creative applications of sharpening
  • Sharpening a multilayer composition
  • Sharpening eyes, hair, and out-of-focus backgrounds
  • Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
  • Determining ideal settings for commercial and inkjet output
  • Sharpening very large-format images
  • Sharpening an image for the web or screen output
Deke McClelland

Sharpening an image for web or screen

We are going to wrap things up by taking a look at how to sharpen an image for screen output, whether your image is ultimately bound for the web or a presentation or a kiosk or something along those lines. Generally, this just means making your image look good on your screen, you are just trying to compensate for the down sampling process but it is possible that you are going to a specific kind of screen. And I will tell you this. If you are working on an LCD monitor, flat panel LCD monitor, then you are seeing sharper images than you would if you were working on a deep CRT tube like the older style monitors.

They tend to be a little softer than LCD screens. So if you are working on an LCD and you know your image is going to be displayed on a CRT tube, then you want to give it a little extra oomph of sharpening. By the same token, if you are working on a CRT screen, and it is ultI'mately going to be displayed on an LCD screen, then you want to back off of the sharpening a little bit. Otherwise, you want to trust what you see on screen because that is all you got to work with. I will give you a little bit of advice here. Now I am working inside of this image called Destination unknown.PSD, that is the final version of our use neutral image that can go anywhere, as you well know.

Let us go ahead and flatten it and resample it. So go up to the Layer menu and choose the Flatten Image command and then we want to go ahead and resample the image. But first actually, we should save it, right, I should go up to the File menu. I should choose the Save As command, I should pick a format. I will probably just save this image as a TIFF image as opposed to worrying about layers and so on because when I am working with screen images, I tend to work a little more quickly and I tend to work with a flat image. But you can work anyway you want. At any rate, after saving the image in order to protect the original, I would go ahead and crop the image to its intended size.

So I am going to go ahead and grab the Crop tool and notice that I have already gone ahead and entered some measurements for my cropped image. That could be using the Image Size command, of course, if I wanted to keep all the pixels. But I want to crop some of the stuff out because I want to create a kind of banner. The designer gave me some measurements I have to stick to a width of 600 pixels and a height of 240. And I am going with the resolution of 72 pixels per inch, just in case, this is going out to some browser that's sensitI've to resolution, most are not. Notice, that I am working with a pretty large image size.

Most images that are bound for the web in any case have to be smaller than this but I just want to keep things generous so fits nicely inside the video. I am going to go ahead and Shift-Tab away my palette, so I have a little more room to work here. And then I am going to drag with the Crop tool and this is basically the portion of the image, I want to keep. I might sort of crop closer to her face a little bit here. But I want to be able to see part of her hand and her face at the same time. I sort of move things around depending on exactly what I want out of this image, what kind of effect I want.

But this looks good for now. Then I am going to press the Enter key or the Return key in order to go ahead and crop and resample the image. And by the way, Photoshop is automatically re-sampling. I will go up here to the Edit menu, choose Preferences and then choose General. You will find this command under the Photoshop menu on the Mac. And I am bringing this command up because I want to show you that image interpolation is set to Bi-cubic, best for smooth gradients, which is that setting that we want. You should make sure it is set to that as well before re-sampling the image with the Crop tool, because this function affects all re-sampling that occurs when you are using a Crop tool, when you are using Free Transform and other functions that fall outside of the Image Size command.

Any way, I am going to cancel out of there. Now let us go ahead and press Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac in order to zoom the image to the 100% zoom ratio. Now I am not sure would it crop that close to those top dots right there but this is good enough for now. Alright, now what I need to do is sharpen the image and when I am sharpening for screen work, I typically sharpen using High Pass once again because High Pass does the best job of avoiding clipping the highlights and shadows. You can use Smart Sharpen too, if you want. Anyway, I am going to go to the Filter menu, I am going to choose other and I am going to choose High Pass and I am going to enter the smallest value that produces a visible effect which is radius of 0.3 pixels.

You can go lower but you really start losing the definition at 0.2 pixels. So I am going to stick with 0.3 pixels. You could go higher too, if you want but I would not go any higher than about 0.5; and then click OK. And then once you have done that, go up to the Edit menu and choose Fade High Pass or you can press Ctrl-Shift-F or Command shift F on the Mac. And we are doing this because we are working with a flat image. That is why we have to use the Fade command. And I am going to change the mode to the most versatile mode where High Pass is concerned which is Linear Light.

So we are going to make this image pop as much as we possibly can and that ends up producing an overly sharp image. We can see quite the halo down here along the bottom of her chin. You now can use the Opacity value to get the exact effect you want. What I typically do is, I do a comparison to the original image. If you dial opacity all the way down to 0%, you can see what the image looked like before you sharpened it and then you can dial it back up to 100% to see what kind of contribution the High Pass filter is making and then you can choose whatever setting you want to work with.

For this image, I am going to set it to about 70% and that produces a nice sharp tactile image that will work well on the screen. It also translates to other kinds of screens. So it will work well on an LCD, which is what I am using here. It should work nicely on a CRT tube as well. And then I will click OK in order to accept my modification and that is it. I am done. And now produce a sharp image for screen, just so we can do a little bit of a before and after comparison. Let us go ahead and hide the Layers palette and bring up the History palette, I am going to click on Crop.

So we see the post-cropped version of the image after we got that interpolating it. But this is the unsharpened version as well. So this is the pre-sharpening version. This is the post-sharpening version. Provides a nice effect! So there it is folks, everything you ever wanted to know about noise reduction and sharpening. In just over a hundred movies, we have discovered how the sharpening tools work. We have seen how to sharpen for source, how to sharpen for detail, how to sharpen for effect and how to sharpen for output, here inside Photoshop.

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