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Sharpening and smoothing


Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Sharpening and smoothing

In this exercise we are going to talk about how to use an edge mask, in order to limit the portions of the image that we want to sharpen. So use an edge mask with sharpening and then as well see in another exercise, you use a non-edge mask to identify the non-edges of course inside the image and you use that to smooth the image, in order to reduce the noise and we will be performing both of these feeds on that Unguarded moment.jpeg file that's found inside 04_Support_Stuff folder, that comes to us from photographer Pascal Genest of
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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 and smoothing

In this exercise we are going to talk about how to use an edge mask, in order to limit the portions of the image that we want to sharpen. So use an edge mask with sharpening and then as well see in another exercise, you use a non-edge mask to identify the non-edges of course inside the image and you use that to smooth the image, in order to reduce the noise and we will be performing both of these feeds on that Unguarded moment.jpeg file that's found inside 04_Support_Stuff folder, that comes to us from photographer Pascal Genest of

Now you may recall that we have already been through this image, we use the Reduce Noise command combined along with the Smart Sharpen filter, in order to create a fairly smooth version of the image. But it does have some noise, right now I am looking at her neck, so this region right here and I am looking at it magnified and you maybe able to make out, especially if I zoom in some more that I have brought out some noise in this image. Even though I went ahead and downplayed the noise using Reduce Noise then when I turned around and applied Smart Sharpen, I brought the noise back out and I compared this with the original version of the image right here, this is that same area of the neck, it is definitely lower noise before we go and sharpen it.

So that worked out pretty well I thought. This time around we are going to make it work out better. So basically, edge mask and non-edge mask, they are your tools when just combining things like smoothing and sharpening together just doesn't cut it for you. It's not good enough. But they do involve some extra work, I will warn you about that. Alright. So I am going to go and switch to the full screen mode for this Unguarded Moment image and I am going to go ahead and press Shift+Tab to bring back my palette here and lets go ahead and convert her to a Smart Object because that's going to be the best way to work where this image is concerned. Then we are going use the edge mask to mask of course the sharpening effect.

So I am going to go over to the Layers palette and I am going to click at the Layers palette menu icon and choose Convert to Smart Object and lets go ahead and call her once again Model and now I am going to apply Smart Sharpen. I am going to up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen and then choose Smart Sharpen and I am going to enter some pretty high values this time around. Actually lets just max it out so we can really see what's going on because the edge mask is going to serve to greatly limit this effect. So we'll start with an Amount value of 500%, I frequently do that just in order to gauge what kind of Radius value I want to use and in order to make sure that I am seeing the effect as I am making the edge mask, because we can always come back and change it later. That's the idea.

Alright. So Radius value of 4.0 pixels, Remove is set to Lens Blur, More Accurate is turned off, go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect. And then you probably going to want to turn around and go ahead and double click on little blending icon right there. And lets change the Blend Mode of course to Luminosity because we just want to focus in on the luminance information inside the image, we don't want to be sharpening the color stuff. Looks like we are looking at her lips right now. This is before and this is after I switch to Luminosity. So right here we are seeing the color artifacts inside of her lips, you can see a little bit of some purples around the bottom of her lip and some greens on the top lip and so on and they will disappear as soon as I release.

So it's a good thing. I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. I am going to go ahead and get rid of this mask by dragging it to the trash can right there because its easier to create the mask by invoking your selection outline and then just converting it to a mask as opposed to doing anything else. So it's just easier to start the mask over again. It's basically what I am saying. Before I go to the Channels palette, I want to turn off the Smart Filters effect. So we are looking at the original version of the image. Alright. Now I am going over to the Channels palette and the reason I am going to Channels palette is I need to select a channel from which to derive an edge mask and I am going to ahead and zoom in on her just a little bit here.

Lets check out the channels that are available to us. Ctrl+1 would take us to the red channel, that'd be Command+1 on the Mac. Command or Ctrl+2 is going to take us to the green channel and Command or Ctrl+3 is going to take us to the blue channel. Now the blue channel is in absolute mess. We have got all kinds of harsh choppy transitions going on inside the blue channel and also we have some lightning occurring inside the shadows. This is the kind of stuff that frequently happens with the blue channels and it's because our eyes react less to blue light than red or green light.

So bad information can hang out. It can hide out in the blue channel and also the blue filter in digital cameras is sufficiently dark that it leaves very little wiggle room in terms of generating image data. So your blue channel is typically going to be your least satisfactory channel inside of an image and it's quite bad inside of this photograph. This is the green channel, it's in much better shape but it still has some roughness and also it doesn't really have enough contrast. It's a low contrast channel. I want a higher contrast channel and for portrait shots, that's going to be your red channel.

You are going to want to start from your red channel most of the time when you are working with portrait shots. So lets go ahead and grab that red channel and we are going to load it as a selection outline by Ctrl or Command-clicking on its thumbnail. So Ctrl-click on the thumbnail on the PC, Command-click on the thumbnail on the Mac, then I am going to switch back to the RGB image and notice that we have loaded the light areas as the selection outline. So we selected light areas of that channel, we have deselected the dark areas essentially and this marching ant selection indicates that we have either selected or deselected areas, it actually just represents the 50% Threshold.

It is a very gradual selection outline. I am now going to move over to the Layers palette. Lets turn the Smart Filters item back on, recall that you need to click outside of the underline right there, in order to turn it on. Then I am going to right click on Smart Filter and choose Add Filter Mask and that's just going to go ahead and convert the selection outline back to a channel essentially. And this is what it looks like. I'll Alt-click or Option-click on this layer mask right here and we can see this mask and its exactly it is identical to the red channel we were just looking at a moment ago.

So converting from a channel to a selection outline and back to a mask is a non-destructive conversion every single time. So all that pixel data is still intact which is really great. Now we need to take this information right here, this mask in progress, which is just a red channel so far, we need to take it and convert it into an edge mask and we are going to do that in the next exercise.

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