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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.
In this final exercise of the chapter I am going to show you how to sharpen for multiple frequencies in a single operation here inside Photoshop. Now you may recall on the previous exercise we went ahead and opened this image its called Album cover.PSD. Its found inside the 06 for detail folder, and I selected the bottom three layers in the stack, combined them into a single Smart Object that I renamed "frequencies". Now the image on the left is already been sharpened inside of Camera RAW as a low-frequency image, and the image on right has been sharpened inside of Camera RAW as a high-frequency image.
We're now going to sharpen both of these images inside of a single Smart Object with a single Smart Filter, and that Smart Filter is going to be High-Pass. Here is the reason. I am not going to apply Smart Sharpen. I am definitely not going to apply the More Accurate checkbox. Why? Because we have a portrait shot here. Anytime you have a face shot you do not want to use the More Accurate checkbox. You better bet is to use high-frequency. So regardless of the fact that a low-frequency image plus a high-frequency image really gives you medium-frequency, because we have a head shot in here because we have a portrait, we are going to stick with High Pass.
But before I apply any filter, I am going to go ahead and load a channel as a selection outline so that we have a base filter mask. I am going to go over to the Channels palette and I am going to go ahead and load green actually, but before I do that - whoops! One thing I need to get rid of is the text. Because notice that all of the channels show up is composite. If I switch over to green channel it is a composite of all of the layers mixed together. So what I need to do is show only those layers I want to see. So I am going to turn off the vector objects for the meantime here, that vector objects groups so that were not seeing the text or the bar through the center of the album cover.
Then I am going to go over to the Channels palette and I am going to Control+click or Command+click on that green channel in order to load it as a selection outline. Now lets go back to Layers, make sure that frequencies object is selected, go up to the Filter menu, choose Other and choose High-Pass. This time around I am going to go ahead and take the Radius value down to 3 pixels because we are trying to sharpen not only portrait shot but also these high-frequency rocks here. I need something of a medium, sort of a middle-ground Radius value, 3, will suit my needs quite nicely.
Now I'll go ahead and click OK. I will of course at this point go ahead and double-click on the Blending option right there and I'll change the Mode from Normal to Overlay, in order to get this effect right there. Alright, now I am going to click OK in order accept that modification. Now go to the filter mask, you might as well go ahead and Alt+click or Option+click on that filter mask in order to view the filter mask independently of the rest of the image. I am going to bring up my Actions palette; you may have recorded a few actions in advance according to my instructions in the previous exercises.
If you have your low-frequency edge mask action ready and waiting there then go ahead and select it and click on the play button. Now you might well wonder, why are we using the low-frequency edge mask instead of the high-frequency edge mask? Once again because we have the portrait. We're going to favor the low-frequency portrait. I always tend to favor the portrait over the high-frequency details if there is a portrait in the shot. Alright, now I'll go ahead and close the Actions palette, lets go ahead and alt+click or option+click on that filter mask in order to restore the full color version of the image.
Lets go ahead and zoom-in actually to the 100% of the zoom ratio. This is what the image looks like without the High Pass filter, and this is what it looks like with the High Pass filter. So it does make a difference, it is going in there and sharpening both the low frequency and high-frequency details inside of this album cover art. I am going to go ahead and zoom-out in order to take in the entire image, so lets go ahead and turn back on the vector objects group. Here is the final album cover, the final sharpened album cover. Thanks to the combination of sharpening the images, the independent images inside of Camera RAW, combining the layers into a single Smart Object and then sharpening those Smart Objects together using the High-Pass filter.
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