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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.
There will always be situations like in the previous movie where you want to apply an equal amount of sharpening across the entirety of the photograph. Then there will be those other conditions like with this photograph here, where maybe you have a shallow depth of field or perhaps something kind of interesting in the image, where you only want to selectively sharpen one particular aspect of the photograph. Well that's definitely the case with this image, because we have the shallow depth of field, athlete in the foreground, bike in the background which is out of focus, we don't want to sharpen that. We just want to focus in on the athlete.
Let's go ahead and zoom in to 100%, so we actually create some accurate sharpening. We can do so by double- clicking on the zoom tool. Next let's press the Spacebar key and click and drag and reposition this so we can really focus in on what's most significant. From here, what we want to do is copy our Background layer. We can do so by pressing Command+J on a Mac or Ctrl+J on a PC, then let's go ahead and double-click the layer name, and call this one Sharpen. Next step is going to be to go to our Filter pulldown menu her. We're going to select Sharpen and then Smart Sharpen.
When Smart Sharpen opens up I am going to go ahead and reposition this window here just a little bit, so I can align this up and have a nice view of this in the Preview window as well as in the image. Well that's close enough. Next thing that I want to do is click on Advanced so I have the Advanced tabs if needed. The sharpening that I want to apply is going to be Lens Blur. What we want to do here is typically start with a relatively high amount then slowly bring in our Radius. One of the things that's interesting in regards to sharpening is that what we're really doing is output sharpening.
In other words we're thinking of the final output, how is this going to be printed, or how is it going to be displayed and what type of paper, how big is this going to be? We're keeping that in mind as we're dialing in these settings. The other thing that's kind of interesting is a lot of times it's nice to over-sharpen just a little bit. Now, I hate to say that, because images that are over-sharpened just look horrible. Yet sometimes it's nice to have a little bit more sharpening than needed, so that later you can lower that layer opacity and find just the right spot for the sharpening.
Well with this image at least on my monitor I think this is looking pretty good here, except there are a couple of little areas that are problematic. We'll fix those up later. We can of course go into our Shadow Edge or our Highlight Edge and we can dial in this in order to scale that halo back just a bit, and you want to do that just to your own preference, basically to what you're seeing on your monitor. Well, now that we've brought in some sharpening here, I am going to crank this up even more just because it's a demo file, so that you guys can see that a little bit better, and then let's click OK.
Well, now that we have the sharpening, we can click on the eye icon. Here's our before and then after. If I zoom in even closer, you'll be able to see what we've done here. Here again is our before and then our after. Well let's go back to that 100% view. Next step is going to be to take this layer to the blending mode of Luminosity. So here's how we can do that. Press the V key. That will then select the Move tool. Next step is going to be to press the shortcut to select the Luminosity blend mode, and you can do that on a Mac by pressing Shift+Option+Y. On a PC that's Shift+Alt+Y or of course you can simply select Luminosity right here down at the bottom.
Well now that we've done that, we need to create a mask so that we're just sharpening the athlete and not the background. Well we can do that a couple of different ways. Let's zoom out. One easy way would be to press the W key to select the Quick Select tool and then to go ahead and just simply paint across the image. We're going to go ahead and paint cross the jacket, on the face, and make sure we have all of the athlete here so that we can sharpen him, his ears, top of his head a little bit. Now I went too far right there. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC and then paint, and you can fix up that edge just a little bit.
I also don't want this area in focus or sharp. So I will hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and I will click and paint there to subtract that from my selection. Well so far so good. All we have to do now is to simply click on the Add Layer Mask icon. Now, what that did for us is it created a layer where we just have the athlete. Now, one of the problems with this particular adjustment is that it isn't perfect and the edges aren't quite perfect. So in order to fix those up, we can go to our Masks panel and in our Masks panel we can go to Mask Edge.
With Mask Edge, we have the ability to smooth things out a little bit which might be nice here just to create a nicer transition from something that's sharp to not sharp. We can also add a little bit of Feather if we need to. Again, that's fine to have that trail- off with this image, this case, because this edge out here doesn't need to be sharp. It's really the more foreground up here the face needs to be really sharp, part of the jacket as well. So we can dial in these settings in order to find the sweet spot for these edges on this mask. Let's click OK.
Then I notice that there is an area that I didn't select on the sleeve. That was a mistake. So I will grab my Brush tool and I'll go ahead and choose white here and then I'm just simply going to paint with white in order to bring that into this area. Now, if we zoom in a little bit on this image, one of the things that we may notice is that there are a couple of problem areas. Let's turn on the Background layer, so we can see this. Clicking on the top layer, my Sharpening layer, here I have my before and then my after. It's pretty subtle sharpening, but nonetheless it looks pretty good at least on my monitor.
Well, one of the problem areas that I notice is around the nose right here, that highlight, also along the jaw line, and then down here on the t-shirt it's a little bit too much of a halo. Let me exaggerate the sharpening for moment so you can see what I mean. I am going to go back to my Sharpening layer, navigate to Filter, Sharpen, and then choose Smart Sharpen. So here what's going to happen is when I apply more sharpening to a higher radius, you can see that halo is starting to really come out there along those edges. So I am always looking for that halo spot because I don't want those halos to be there.
They are kind of a dead giveaway of over-sharpening. So I am going to mask those areas out. Here is how I am going to do it. I will click on my mask and then I'll go ahead and press the B key, select my Brush tool, I'll paint with black, really small little brush here, and I am just going to paint along that halo edge, just so that particular halo edge isn't quite so prominent or dominant, because I don't want the eye going to that area. Because we know in photography that the eye goes to areas of brightness and also areas of contrast.
It likes those areas. It gets hung up on that. So here I am simply just masking away the sharpness in a few areas of the image, so that that halo isn't quite so strong. Work on the nose there a little bit. I should also say that a lot of this type of sharpening or masking of the sharpening we should do at 100%. So let's double-click the Zoom tool to zoom out so we can evaluate if we're going in a good direction. Clicking on our layer icon. Here is before end after. Now, I imagine that it's going to be pretty tricky to see the sharpening in this particular movie.
So you're going to have to take my word for it and then of course, you're going to have to experiment with your own images. But most importantly, it's this concept of how we can selectively sharpen a particular area of our image with a mask, and then even more than that, how we can start to clean up the mask, as you can see I've done here, masking out little areas where those highlights were distracting. Now if this masking isn't good enough for you, let's say these brush strokes aren't very good, you can always soften them up with a little bit of feather, right? And that then will defuse those into that area, and there are times you may not need to do so much.
But either way, what we're starting to see is that we can selectively sharpen different areas of the photograph. Now this area of the jacket is kind of out of focus because it's a little bit further back than the face. So in that case, I am going to now grab my brush, make my brush nice and big, press 3 on the keyboard to go to 30% opacity, and I am just going to start to paint this away. We can see here as a paint with black, I'm just minimizing this area of the jacket. I don't need that to be very sharp there, and that looks good. Now, what we need to do is to turn on our underlying layer, evaluate our overall before and after, here we have it before, and then after.
Again, I imagine, the visual before and after is going to be tricky to see, but more important than the visual is the concept of how you can selectively sharpen areas of your image and also keep in mind that how the sharpening looks on your monitor at 100% is critical because that view will really give you insight and ideas into how the image will actually look in its final destination.
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