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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
In this movie, I want to highlight another great way that you can selectively sharpen And improve the details in your photographs, when you're interested in working on a larger area. We'll be working with this photograph here that I captured of this really interesting and fun tavern/restaurant which is located up in the mountains, just outside of the town where I live, Santa Barbara, California. And with this photograph, I was just walking by and I quickly composed the frame. And if we zoom into the image, into this area here, which we can do so by pressing Cmd+plus on a Mac or Ctrl+plus on Windows, and if we zoom in all the way to 100%, you can tell you're at 100% percent by looking at this view here.
What we'll see is that the image is a little bit, soft. It was a lower light scenario. I wasn't using a tripod. It needs a little bit of work. Well, rather than sharpening up everything, I just want to sharpen a large central area of the photograph. Let me zoom out to show you what that means, or what I'm talking about. Here, I'll press Command+Minus a few times, that's on a Mac, Ctrl+Minus a few times on Windows. Well, the area that I want to affect is this middle area of the image.
To have this fit in view, I'll double click the hand tool. That's an easy way to go to a zoom rate where you can see the whole image. I just want to sharpen up this part of the photograph. I also want to increase the color temperature. And then, perhaps add some contrast, and a few other adjustments as well. I really want to draw the viewer into this area here. Well, rather than using, say, the adjustment brush, and panting this in. It would be, too painstaking. What we can do, is use what's called the radial filter. This is a great tool.
You can select the tool by tapping the j key, or. Or by clicking on the radio filter icon. Like with some of our other tools, we have a number of different controls. Let's click on the plus icon for sharpness, to reset everything else to the default setting. Then, let's increase our sharpness. Let's also reduce a little bit of noise. Because we know that whenever we sharpen, we'll inadvertently and accidentally bring out some noise, so sometimes it's helpful to just drop that down a touch. Then, let's go back to the top.
What else do we want to do here? You know, when you focus in on details, obviously you'll, you'll have some idea," I want to sharpen that up." But, Why not make some other adjustments as well? Why not increase the color temperature? Let's do that by dragging this slider to the right. Why not brighten up the image a little bit? And here, let's drag this one over as well. Then we'll add a touch of contrast, dropping down the clarity and saturation. Let's add a little clarity. Let's add some saturation. Let's have some fun with improving this photograph.
Once we've made those selections for how we want to adjust and improve the image, the next step, is to go down to this area, where we have a few controls which allow us to affect the inside or the outside of our shape. It also allows us to control some of our edge detail with this feather amount. In order to really understand feather, what I'm going to do is exaggerate my exposure for a minute. I'm going to bring this way up. Now this is going to look a little bit horrible. But it will help us learn how these other controls work. We'll bring these back down in just a minute.
Here, if we position our cursor over the image, and then click and drag, what we'll see is that we have an effect, which is showing up inside of this shape. We can move the shape by simply clicking and dragging. So it's almost like I have a flash light, and I'm illuminating different parts of the photograph. And currently, the area that's affected is the area inside of our overlay graphic. If we want the opposite, we'll just click on this check box and you can see how it's effecting everything else except for the inner area. Now, another thing that's interesting about this, is how we can control the transition area.
Notice how it's a really soft transition from the brightness, to the original tonality that we have. Well if we want a harsher or a more defined edge, we can simply reduce the feather amount. If we bring this all the way down to 0, it will be an incredibly hard edge. You can see the edge, when you turn off the Overlay view. Take a look at that. It is exact. Yet, as we increase the feather, it looks more natural and realistic and soft. So sometimes you'll need to turn off that overlay, in order to be able to evaluate what you're doing.
Other times, you'll want the overlay there, because it gives you the ability to change the shape. Notice that as I get close to the edge, my cursor changes? And I can click and drag this out. Here I want to make this taller, as well. And then reposition which part of the photograph I'm effecting. What I want to do is draw people into this restaurant. Now, the exposure is too high, it's over exposed, so let's drop that down. Yet I'm hoping that, that exaggeration helped you really understand how the feather worked, and inside outside worked as well. Okay.
Well, I think right there is kind of fun. Now we're warming this part of the image up. We're bringing in a little bit of visual interest to the photograph. We want to see the before and after, so we can click on the preview check box. Here's the before Then here's the after. We also need to define how much sharpening we're going to apply, because remember, we just guessed at our sharpness and our noise reduction amounts. So let's zoom in. Press Cmd+ on a Mac, Ctrl+ on Windows. Zoom in all the way to 100%.
Once you're there, what we'll need to do, is to take a look at the detail, and the structure, of the file. When we look at the detail that we have here, we can use this slider to say, well, here was without any sharpness, or without any noise reduction. It's a little bit soft and lacking. Yet as I increase this, it's starting to add good detail and definition. Brings out a little bit too much noise, so I'm going to reduce that there, and also reduce the sharpness as well. So as you make these adjustments, you will need to zoom in and out to evaluate different things.
Once you've dialed in just the right amount for your sharpness and noise reduction, you can zoom back out by pressing Cmd+- on a Mac, or Ctrl+- on Windows. Or you can also double-click the Hand tool, which will take you to a Fit in View mode. Now when you select another tool, what you'll do is deactivate the radio filter. Notice that I've now selected the hand tool, and all the controls for the radio filter are hidden. If you need to go back there, just click on the icon for the tool.
And then select the adjustment in this case this one here. And then you can obviously make any needed adjustments to that area. And as with all things in camera raw, you can always go back and change your mind, or modify the way that you're adjusting the image. Here perhaps we'll make that a little bigger, and then a touch darker as well. I don't think we need to brighten that up quite so much. We maybe want to brighten up our shadows, though. That looks kind of fun. Alright, well, there it is. A look at how we can use the radio filter. Here is the before, and then now, the after.
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