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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's take a look at how we can use Smart Sharpen with this image here. As a quick side-note my grandfather was a painter and he also had a sign painting business back when signs were all hand-painted. So when I saw this sign, I could not resist but take a picture. I love just the idea of a hand- painted sign on an old wooden wall. Let's go ahead and take a look at how we can sharpen this image. First, let's zoom in just a little bit more so we can really focus in on the sharpening. Next, what I want to do is copy my Background layer. In order to do that, I'll press Command+ J on a Mac, or Ctrl+J on a PC, and I am going to name this layer Sharpen.
The next thing that I want to do is navigate to my Filter pulldown menu and then select Sharpen and here I am going to choose Smart Sharpen. This will bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog so that we can see how our sharpening actually looks. Again, I am just going to align my preview with my background image. Next step, well let's click on Advanced so we have access to these tabs if needed, and then let's go onto our sharpening settings. All right, well I am going to crank up my Amount and Radius here just to illustrate something. Well, one of the things that we can see here is we're sharpening a lot of little teeny details, and I'll make this even higher so we can see how this works.
You can notice that the background, the red planks there are really sharp and everything is exaggeratedly sharp. What happens if we turn off more accurate? What we are going to see here is that all the little details aren't quite as sharp, and so what More Accurate is doing as it's picking up the small little teeny details, texture. So when you have sharpening where texture is really important, you may want to try More Accurate or for that matter if you have a product shot with some small typography, you may want to try More Accurate. It might help boost that a little bit.
Well, in this case, I don't need More Accurate. I am going to go ahead and turn that off. Then I am going to dial in an appropriate Amount and Radius. Now, if you need a real general starting point for your Amount, try around 100%. Next, with your Radius, this is really going to depend on the resolution of the file. This file is a relatively low-res file. So my Radius is going to be pretty low. So I am going to go ahead and start to bring that up and what I'm looking for here is to bring this up until I see the halo. Once I see the halo effect, I am going to then drop down.
Now, I'm really starting to see the halo here and I am going to go a little bit further so you can see what I mean and zoom in. You can see the white halo around the edges. If I click, there is my before and then after. So with this radius I am just looking to start to see where that halo comes in, and as I mentioned then drop it underneath that, so we have a little bit less sharpening. Now at this point I'm viewing the image at 300%. So I can't really see an accurate perspective of the sharpening. So in order to do that, let's zoom back to 100 and then click on the image to look at the before and after.
What we're doing here is we're clicking and dragging in order to pane around the image and to view how the sharpening looks and for the most part it's looking pretty good, except let's say I want to work on my highlight edge a bit. Here I can go into the Highlights and I can start to fade a bit of that so it's not quite so strong in regards to how it's creating that halo effect. I am just going to bring up these sliders here and I am going to work one way and another in order to get that in a good spot. I can of course also go into my shadows and modify this as well.
Again, these are just simply visual tools to help us create more effective sharpening. Now, because this is a demo movie and because it gets compressed to a smaller size, I am going to go back and increase my sharpening even more so that you can actually see it. Well let's say right about there looks good and we will click OK. Well, now that we've done that, we of course want to look at our before and after. We can do so by clicking on the eye icon here. Here's before and then after. Again, on my monitor, this amount of sharpening is looking pretty good.
If I zoom in to illustrate, here we can see before and after. There indeed is a lot of sharpening. Well one of the things that happens when sharpening an image is it actually brings out a certain amount of noise. If we zoom in on this area of the image here, you can see that there's some color noise on this black area. Well, if we look at the before and after, we're seeing that we're exaggerating or bringing more of that color out, and this happens in all different types of areas in our photographs but especially in skies and shadows. As a result, whenever we're sharpening, here is what we need to do.
We need to change our blending mode. Let me illustrate what I mean. I am going to go ahead and click and create a new layer just for a moment and I am going to choose a nice let's say bright blue and with my Brush tool I am going to paint some blue there. I'm also going to go ahead and choose another color here. Let's go for green and I'll paint some green and then finally of course I am going to paint some red. Red, green, and blue. Well, that's what happens when we add some color to an image and again when we sharpen this, we're going to exaggerate those colors. Well, what we want to do at their sharpening is we want to take this to a Blend mode of Luminosity.
We will just then see the luminance values of those colors. So in this case it's just Brightness value. In other words, what we can do is with this Sharpen layer, take this to a blend mode of Luminosity and therefore we won't exaggerate the noise that already exists in our photograph by sharpening our image. Now to go to the Luminosity blend mode, we can either select it from the pulldown menu here, or we can use a shortcut. Here is how it works. What you need to do is to select the Move tool.
You can do so by clicking on it or by pressing the V key. Next, on a Mac, you can press Shift+ Option+Y and on a PC, that's Shift+Alt+Y. That will then take this to a blend mode of Luminosity, and now we have successfully sharpened this image.
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