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Sharpening more effectively

From: Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6

Video: Sharpening more effectively

Here, I want to share with you a really simple tip that will help you get even more out of using your noise reduction in your sharpening controls. Well, the first thing that we need to do before we do anything is we need to get into 100%. Let's do so by way of a shortcut, press Command+Option+0 on a Mac, Ctrl+Alt+0 on Windows. Next, let's navigate to the Detail panel by way of a shortcut as well. This one is Command+Option+3 on a Mac, Ctrl+Alt+3 on Windows, or of course, we can simply click on the tab here, or to zoom into 100%, we can also just double-click on the Zoom tool. All right.

Sharpening more effectively

Here, I want to share with you a really simple tip that will help you get even more out of using your noise reduction in your sharpening controls. Well, the first thing that we need to do before we do anything is we need to get into 100%. Let's do so by way of a shortcut, press Command+Option+0 on a Mac, Ctrl+Alt+0 on Windows. Next, let's navigate to the Detail panel by way of a shortcut as well. This one is Command+Option+3 on a Mac, Ctrl+Alt+3 on Windows, or of course, we can simply click on the tab here, or to zoom into 100%, we can also just double-click on the Zoom tool. All right.

Well, here we can see as we zoom in on this photograph that there's a lot of noise in the background, and that this image is going to need a little bit of work. So, let's say we go ahead, and we've reduced some of the luminance noise here, and we maintain some details by bringing that Detail slider up there, nice amount of contrast, a little bit of color noise reduction. Now our noise reduction is set, yet we need to sharpen the image as well, because if we press the P key, here we can see our before, and then our after. The image is a little bit soft. Let me zoom in even further, so you can really see this. Here we have our before and then now our after.

You can zoom in and out on your photos by pressing Command on a Mac, Ctrl on Windows, and than Plus or Minus. I'll go ahead and zoom out by pressing Command+Minus or Ctrl+Minus. Well, now that we've seen that the image is indeed a little bit soft, how can we sharpen this file? Well, what you can do is you can actually hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on Windows, and then click and drag the various Sharpening sliders, and you'll get a different perspective of what's happening. Well, if we hold down Option or Alt and click and drag Amount, here we see a grayscale version of the image.

As I drag this to the right, this really helps us identify what's happening when we sharpen the image. Now let's exaggerate the sharpening for a moment, so we'll leave this really high here, and then make our way to Radius. Now, if we do the same thing, hold down Option or Alt, and then click and drag Radius, what we're going to see is that the sharpening is going to extend out from those edges. Now they're almost glowing. If we want to tighten this up, so the radius is really close to the edges, we can have a really small or low amount with regards to our radius. Okay, well, how then does detail work? Well, we already know a little bit about this.

If we hold down Option or Alt and click and drag, here we're going to see all the little teeny details are now sharp, and then if we drag to the left, those little details aren't sharp. Okay, but what about masking? Well, you may remember that what I said about masking is that as you increase this, it focuses in on the edges more and more, and if you've worked with Photoshop before, you know that a mask in Photoshop is either in black or in white. Black conceals and white reveals. We'll hold down Option or Alt, and then click and drag this slider, and here you can see that what's happening is it's going to limit the sharpening to a particular area.

As I click and drag this up, black is concealing the sharpening effect from the sky. Now, that's really helpful, because we typically don't want to sharpen skies. Skies are one of the most problematic areas in digital photography, just because of the color variation, the gradation. So therefore, we don't want to exaggerate that. For that matter, soft skies or soft clouds typically look best. So in this case, I'm now limiting the sharpening just to the areas where it's white. Now, if there's an area where it's gray, like on some portions of the motorcycle, then it's going to be a little bit less sharpening amount in those areas.

So again, we have this really nice mask, which is limiting the sharpening to particular areas. Now, my sharpening amount is way over- exaggerated, but by increasing my masking amount, it's now limiting that sharpening just to the cyclist here, and it's not that bad. Well, of course, we need to bring our Amount back down, but this just kind of illustrates really the power of this last slider. It's incredibly strong! All right. I'll go ahead and bring my Amount down a touch, and then my Detail, I'm also going to bring down as well.

I don't want to go too far with that one. Now, let's press the P key. When we do so, we can see the before and then now the after, really adding a lot of snap back to that cyclist there. Now, if ever we've gone too far or if we feel like our radius is too high, well, we can lower that of course, and we can lower our amount until we find just the right sweet spot, just the right mixture or combination of these different controls. I think right here it looks incredibly good! Why I can say that is because I'm really looking at my edges, I don't want any glowing edges.

I want to have nice detail across the image. I want to have the sky nice and smooth in the background. So, in this case, I might even go ahead and just lower a little bit of that detail there, in this case, to bring just a little bit more noise reduction in the background. A lot of times, you'll bounce back and forth between these controls. I'll bring up my Luminance Noise Reduction a touch more there. Okay, I think that looks good. Let's press the P key. Here we have it before, and then now after. I'll zoom in a touch further, so you can see that. Here we have our before, and then after, really natural-looking sharpening, great noise reduction, and along the way, we learned a valuable tip about using the Option key while clicking and dragging these sliders.

Now, the last thing that I have to point out here is that sometimes we may work on our noise reduction or sharpening, not at 100% or higher. So, let's say that we decide to zoom out. I'll go ahead and click on the Minus icon to zoom out, or I'll hold down Option or Alt while I have the Zoom tool selected. Then I'll click to zoom out as well. Now, as I do this, you can see here I'm at 50% zoom rate. Well, let's say that here I decide I want to apply some sharpening. So, hold down Option or Alt, then I click and drag my Detail slider.

Well, at this juncture, I can't really see these details very well. The further that I zoom out from this, and the further that I try to evaluate the details, it really becomes quite irrelevant. Now, on the other side of the equation, sometimes what happens is we really get into our images. Let's say we zoom way into our files, and we keep clicking and clicking and clicking, and we're here at 300%. Then we try to dial in the right detail amount. Well, it's near impossible. It's as if we're looking at our images under a magnifying glass.

So, one of the things that you're going to have to do is try to find the sweet spot. Now sometimes, that's 100%, but sometimes with higher megapixel cameras, 100% is even too much. So again, you're going to have to do a little bit of a give-and-take, zooming in and out right around 100. Typically, what I do is I look at the image at 50%, at 100%, at 150%, and I go back and forth between the zoom rates, just to take a look at how the detail looks at those different rates, and I also think about the final intent of the photograph, because what we're doing here is input sharpening and noise reduction.

And I need to think about, okay, how am I going to print this image, where is it going to be displayed, what type of paper will it be printed on, what type of magazine will it be printed in? And I think of all those different factors, and then that helps me dial in the most appropriate amount of sharpening and noise reduction.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6
Photoshop CS5 for Photographers: Camera Raw 6

121 video lessons · 19984 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 57s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. Should I use Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop?
      3m 22s
    3. What is Camera Raw?
      3m 45s
    4. Using the exercise files
      56s
  2. 21m 7s
    1. Bridge overview and preferences
      4m 9s
    2. Camera Raw preferences
      3m 17s
    3. Raw vs. JPG or TIFF files
      3m 5s
    4. Choosing a native raw file or a digital negative (DNG)
      6m 13s
    5. Converting or saving to the DNG format
      4m 23s
  3. 28m 44s
    1. Project overview: Cover photo shoot
      2m 6s
    2. Auto-toning and correcting white balance
      3m 3s
    3. Cropping and composing
      2m 35s
    4. Enhancing color and tone
      2m 39s
    5. Removing distractions
      2m 46s
    6. Sharpening and noise reduction
      2m 29s
    7. Converting to black and white
      2m 24s
    8. Adding a vignette
      2m 10s
    9. Making a localized correction
      1m 45s
    10. Creating snapshots of memorable looks
      3m 11s
    11. Re-editing Camera Raw settings
      57s
    12. Working with multiple adjustments
      2m 39s
  4. 16m 13s
    1. Navigating the interface and the toolbar
      5m 5s
    2. Image adjustment tabs and panels
      5m 8s
    3. Using the histogram
      2m 4s
    4. Previewing before and after different adjustments
      2m 4s
    5. Working with multiple files
      1m 52s
  5. 23m 17s
    1. Opening raw files in Bridge
      6m 3s
    2. Opening JPGs and TIFFs in Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Accessing Camera Raw from Mini Bridge
      2m 57s
    4. Resizing in Camera Raw with workflow options
      3m 35s
    5. Saving from Camera Raw
      3m 5s
    6. Opening an image as a Smart Object
      1m 41s
    7. Creating a duplicate file
      2m 28s
  6. 13m 56s
    1. Using the Crop and Straighten tools
      2m 23s
    2. Working with the Crop tool
      3m 39s
    3. Cropping with an aspect ratio
      2m 26s
    4. Composing with the Crop tool
      2m 33s
    5. Creative cropping
      2m 55s
  7. 10m 29s
    1. Improving color balance
      2m 23s
    2. Using the White Balance tool and controls
      1m 35s
    3. Color correcting with white balance cards
      2m 31s
    4. White balance vision and creativity
      2m 22s
    5. Color balance resources
      1m 38s
  8. 30m 17s
    1. Deconstructing the basic adjustments
      3m 59s
    2. Recovering highlights
      2m 29s
    3. Making basic exposure enhancements
      1m 59s
    4. Making basic adjustments more quickly
      2m 18s
    5. The relationship between tone and color
      2m 40s
    6. Enhancing color and tone
      1m 9s
    7. Demystifying clarity
      3m 36s
    8. Increasing clarity
      3m 48s
    9. Understanding Vibrance and Saturation
      2m 28s
    10. Improving color with Vibrance
      2m 4s
    11. Using Vibrance and Saturation together
      1m 38s
    12. Color creativity
      2m 9s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Learning about the parametric and point tone curves
      4m 53s
    2. Using the parametric curve
      2m 7s
    3. Using the point curve
      1m 55s
  10. 15m 29s
    1. Removing blemishes on a face
      4m 36s
    2. Cloning away small background distractions
      3m 37s
    3. Removing distracting background elements
      1m 55s
    4. Cleaning up a studio background
      1m 31s
    5. Removing dust on the lens or the camera sensor
      2m 25s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 25s
  11. 46m 13s
    1. Demystifying the Adjustment Brush
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting exposure by brightening shadows
      2m 23s
    3. Painting an effect into a photograph
      4m 41s
    4. Increasing visual interest by brightening shadows
      4m 3s
    5. Increasing visual interest by heightening saturation
      5m 0s
    6. Whitening teeth
      3m 33s
    7. Adding color to makeup
      5m 58s
    8. Changing color
      4m 12s
    9. Selective sharpening
      6m 8s
    10. Eye sharpening and skin smoothing workflow
      4m 28s
    11. Creating custom Adjustment Brush presets
      2m 10s
  12. 11m 33s
    1. Enhancing the foreground and background of an image with the Graduated Filter
      4m 55s
    2. Reducing exposure with the Graduated Filter
      3m 15s
    3. Creative effects with the Graduated Filter
      3m 23s
  13. 33m 26s
    1. Noise reduction
      6m 33s
    2. Reducing noise and sharpening
      6m 36s
    3. Sharpening more effectively
      7m 18s
    4. Edge sharpening in an architectural photograph
      3m 1s
    5. Sharpening a portrait
      2m 3s
    6. Using the Detail panel to soften skin
      7m 55s
  14. 16m 18s
    1. Introducing HSL
      3m 38s
    2. Modifying color and tone
      3m 52s
    3. Enhancing a fashion photograph
      3m 5s
    4. Enhancing color and tone with HSL
      3m 16s
    5. Getting creative with color
      2m 27s
  15. 13m 59s
    1. The black-and-white controls
      2m 43s
    2. A simple black-and-white conversion
      2m 5s
    3. Using multiple panels to create a black-and-white image
      3m 52s
    4. Creating a dramatic black-and-white landscape
      5m 19s
  16. 6m 40s
    1. Traditional black-and-white toning
      3m 26s
    2. Toning a color photo creatively
      3m 14s
  17. 11m 17s
    1. Deconstructing the Lens Correction controls
      3m 48s
    2. Correcting lens vignette
      1m 59s
    3. Correcting lens vignette more quickly
      1m 21s
    4. Correcting chromatic aberration and defringing
      4m 9s
  18. 16m 30s
    1. Understanding the Effects controls
      5m 54s
    2. Using the Post Crop Vignette for creative effects
      3m 23s
    3. Adding film grain to a black-and-white image
      2m 18s
    4. Adding film grain with Camera Raw and Photoshop
      4m 55s
  19. 14m 4s
    1. Introducing the Camera Calibration panel
      3m 39s
    2. Comparing color options with Snapshot
      2m 47s
    3. Creative color with the Camera Calibration controls
      4m 48s
    4. Camera Calibration resources
      2m 50s
  20. 9m 41s
    1. Introducing presets
      2m 27s
    2. Applying presets to multiple images
      3m 9s
    3. Preset resources
      4m 5s
  21. 10m 0s
    1. Quick raw processing of multiple files
      4m 38s
    2. Recording an action
      3m 15s
    3. Batch processing multiple images
      2m 7s
  22. 13m 52s
    1. Creative vivid color
      3m 30s
    2. Working with split toning
      2m 14s
    3. Applying soft and warm colors
      1m 25s
    4. Adding warm, muted colors
      2m 28s
    5. Adding and reducing false color
      4m 15s
  23. 7m 58s
    1. Additional resources
      3m 11s
    2. Camera Raw and Lightroom
      4m 19s
    3. Goodbye
      28s

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