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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to demonstrate the other Remove settings inside of the Smart Sharpen dialog box, which include Lens Blur and Motion Blur. Both of which deliver markedly different results as you'll see. We're going to continue to see the effects of this filter as applied to this diagram, to image right here. It's called Big brushstrokes.psd, found inside of the 14_sharpen folder. I am going to move my image window over, again, to the left hand side of the screen, because I'm going to have to put the Smart Sharpen dialog box over here in the right hand side of the screen, and I'm going to press Shift+Tab to bring back my Layers palette, Click on Lens Blur.
Now, we can't see that Lens Blur layer right there. I want to show you the way I've got this illustration setup. I've gone ahead and scaled by floating independent window here. So then I can just press the End key on my keyboard in order to scroll down to the end of the image, and then I can press the Home key to scroll back up to the top of the image, and I've scaled the window so that all of my diagrams are exactly aligned with each other, so that we can do some speedy comparison work here. All right. So here is our Gaussian Blur sharpening effects. One that was applied using the Unsharp Mask filter, and the other that was applied using the Smart Sharpen Filter. They are pixel for pixel identical. However, our next effects won't be.
So let's go ahead and scroll down by pressing the End key in my case, you can scroll down manually if you want to, and the Lens Blur layer is selected. That's very important. The last command that I applied, from the Filter menu anyway, was Smart Sharpen. So to once again display the Smart Sharpen dialog box, I could just press Control+Alt+F, Command+Option+ F on the Mac, and I'll move my Smart Sharpen dialog box over to the right hand side. Now, one of the things about Smart Sharpen is that it has a gargantuan preview that takes up a lot of room, and then it also does preview in the background. I wish its preview wasn't this big. I don't actually care for the magnitude of this In dialog box preview. I'm perfectly happy with the smaller one. Since we can preview in the background, what's the point? Anyway, Amount is 200%, Radius is 20 pixels. I'm going to leave that as is and I'm going to change the Remove setting from Gaussian Blur to Lens Blur, and you're going to notice immediately a big difference here. This is a much more distinct effect that we're applying. It brings those halos and calculates the halos much differently than the Gaussian version of the filter does.
Theoretically, here is how it looks, you get a sense of what's going on, but that doesn't really help you understand what you're supposed to do with these options. Here is what you're supposed to do with these options. Gaussian Blur is a great setting if you're trying to compensate for the fact that you downsampled an image, or you're trying to compensate for glass distortion that's associated with the scanned image. So if there is a little bit of blurring that was introduced by the scanner as you scanned an image, then you can offset that blurring, you can sharpen it using the Gaussian Blur setting right here. Lens Blur is specifically designed for accommodating images that are captured with digital cameras, that never went through a secondary interpolation process, whether downsampling or whether scanning the image. So it's direct to digital, you use Lens Blur instead, and you're going to get much sharper effects, more pinpointed effects, as you will see.
Leave More Accurate turned off for now, and we'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply those exact same settings. So exact same numbers, 200%, Amount, 20 pixel Radius, just like we did before, but because of the different remove settings, here is the difference; I'll press the Home key so we can see the Gaussian Blur version of the Smart Sharpening effect, and by pressing the End key, here is the Lens Blur version of that Smart Sharpen effect. All right. So now let's switch over to Mo Blur right there, which is short for Motion Blur, and it's this guy right there is our final version of the image.
Let's do the old Shift+Tab away the palettes once again, and drag the old image window over to the old right hand side of the old screen, and then, oops, I'll just press Ctrl+Alt+F, Command+Option+F to bring up the good old Smart Sharpen dialog box. Move this guy over so that we can see the entire width, more than the entire width. It doesn't need to be this big of this image right here. Then I'm going to choose Motion Blur. Now, Motion Blur is going to apply completely different sharpening effects. This time what we're doing, notice, is we're creating a directional sharpening effect. So it's almost like we have drop shadows, we have dark drop shadows on the interior of the dark portion of the line, and we have light drop shadows inside of the circles and out here inside of the background as well.
You can change the Angle if you want to. So right now I have a 0 degree Angle, which means it's scrubbing back and forth horizontally, and that's the Angle of our shadows and our glows. If I wanted a 45-degree angle, I could enter that and notice that changes the angles like so. Now, why in the world would you want an angled sharpening effect, angled halos here? Well, if you're trying to compensate for some sort of motion inside of your image; whether somebody is moving slightly inside the image or whether you have, what's called camera shake, where you shot the photo and it's your fault; you shook a little bit, you moved a little bit when you shot the image, it had a high exposure, the shutter was open for a moment and therefore you've got motion that shouldn't be there. Then you would apply this Motion Blur variation of the Smart Sharpen effect.
I'll go ahead and click OK, in order to apply this particular variation. Now, just so you can see the difference here, I'm going to, once again, press the Home key. So this is the big old blobby Gaussian Blur version of the Smart Sharpen effect, and of course, Unsharp Mask, which always uses Gaussian Blur. Then if I press the End key, here is Lens Blur over here in the left and here is Motion Blur over here in the right. Now, at this point you may think, well, that's all good in theory and stuff, it's nice to see you diagram those filter so beautifully, Deke, but how in the world do these settings behave in the real world? I'm going to tell you that, starting in the next exercise.
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