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Splitting edges when sharpening

From: Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

Video: Splitting edges when sharpening

So here's an image that I want to sharpen. I'm going to go ahead and zoom up to Actual Pixels, Command+1. It's a good idea to always sharpen at the Actual Pixels view. And what we want to do is we want to sharpen the image but limit or hopefully eliminate the haloing that can occur when you sharpen an image. By haloing you get these little pockets of white, these little highlights that look unnatural. So remember when you sharpen an image you are actually increasing the contrast of edge pixels. An edge is defined as a light pixel next to a dark pixel. When you sharpen it, the dark half is getting darker and the light half is getting lighter.

Splitting edges when sharpening

So here's an image that I want to sharpen. I'm going to go ahead and zoom up to Actual Pixels, Command+1. It's a good idea to always sharpen at the Actual Pixels view. And what we want to do is we want to sharpen the image but limit or hopefully eliminate the haloing that can occur when you sharpen an image. By haloing you get these little pockets of white, these little highlights that look unnatural. So remember when you sharpen an image you are actually increasing the contrast of edge pixels. An edge is defined as a light pixel next to a dark pixel. When you sharpen it, the dark half is getting darker and the light half is getting lighter.

Let's go ahead and begin by duplicating our layer. We typically sharpen on a duplicate. Command+Option+J or Ctrl+ Alt+J to give it a name. We'll call it Sharpen. We'll use one of our sharpen filters. We can go to Filter > Sharpen and then typically we use Smart Sharpen or Unsharp Mask. This time I'll use Smart Sharpen. If you are going to use Smart Sharpen, you want to change it from Gaussian Blur, the default, to Lens Blur. This gives you a better sharpening effect to compensate for softening caused by the lens. If you change it to Gaussian Blur, you are actually using the exact same math that Unsharp Mask is using. So let's change to Lens Blur.

And I'm going to use some values here that kind of exaggerate the haloing effect. That's okay. I just want to prove my point here and show you a way to manage this. I might use lower numbers in real life but for now I go to 150, Radius of 1.2. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. And the image does look sharper, if I turn that layer off, there is before and there is after turning on. But you can these really aggressive halos. Now there is another technique that requires you to use two different layers to control or split the edges of a sharpening effect. Here we have one layer.

We'll change it to Darken and that gives us just the dark edge of the sharpening effect. If I duplicate this layer, Command+J or Ctrl+J, and change it to Lighten, now I have the light half of that edge sharpening effect. And I can control each one separately by lowering their Opacity. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and delete this Lighten layer because I can now do this with one layer. I'm going to change the blend mode back to Normal. The Darken and Lighten technique using multiple layers is fine, it's great, but when you graduate up and you understand the Advanced Blending options, you realize you can do this with one single layer. Instead of using a blend mode, we are going to double click on the thumbnail here and we are going to use the Advanced Blending options.

You will see here I have got a black slider and a white slider. This is the black half of the edge, the dark half of the edge, this is the light half of the edge. The sliders effectively let you split the edges of a sharpening effect. Watch what happens when I move the white slider to the left. You will see I'm able to fine-tune and control just how much halo is actually introduced as a result of the sharpening. So I can just take it down to right about there where I want some highlight enhancement, just not as severe. Then hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows and drag to the left to create a little slight transition zone, just splitting the sliders.

If you want to downplay the black slider a little bit, you can as well to deemphasize some of the black edge enhancement, hold down the Alt key or Option key to split the edges there as well. And you have independent control over each half of the edge enhancement when you do a sharpen effect. Pretty darn cool, single layer, just using your friend the Advanced Blending sliders.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Blend Mode Magic
Photoshop Blend Mode Magic

46 video lessons · 25901 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 2m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 13m 9s
    1. The three kinds of blending in Photoshop
      1m 49s
    2. Blend modes, blend modes, everywhere!
      1m 38s
    3. Cycling through the blending modes
      2m 1s
    4. Three blending modes you must know
      5m 8s
    5. Blending mode keyboard shortcuts
      2m 33s
  3. 3m 13s
    1. Roughening or pointilizing edges with Dissolve
      3m 13s
  4. 34m 40s
    1. Removing halos with Darken
      2m 26s
    2. Bringing down hot highlights with Multiply
      3m 50s
    3. Tonal correction with Screen and Multiply
      3m 35s
    4. Combining adjustment layers with blending modes
      3m 58s
    5. Creating a composite from a single Camera Raw file
      5m 56s
    6. Creating a cast shadow with Multiply
      4m 50s
    7. Creating artistic edges with Multiply and Screen
      3m 39s
    8. From iPhone to Photoshop: Colorizing line art with Multiply
      6m 26s
  5. 14m 47s
    1. Removing dust spots with Lighten
      1m 36s
    2. Adding lightning to a sky with Screen
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 27s
    4. Reducing halos when sharpening with Lighten
      3m 55s
    5. Creating a faint soft-edged line drawing with Linear Dodge
      3m 29s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Using Dodge and Burn with Overlay
      4m 34s
    2. Reducing wrinkles with Overlay
      6m 37s
    3. Using graduated neutral density filters with Overlay
      5m 32s
    4. Custom vignettes with Overlay
      3m 30s
    5. High-Pass sharpening with Overlay
      4m 16s
    6. Smoothing skin with High-Pass sharpening and Overlay
      5m 29s
    7. Textured patterns with Overlay
      6m 21s
    8. Textured type with Overlay
      2m 55s
    9. Creating a dramatic diffused glow with Overlay
      2m 49s
    10. Creating a subtle glow with Soft Light
      2m 57s
    11. Creating a medium glow with Soft Light
      4m 25s
    12. Simulating film grain with Add Noise and Soft Light
      3m 54s
    13. Recovering detail in over-saturated areas with Pin Light
      8m 30s
    14. Creating 80's pop art with Hard Mix and Multiply
      3m 15s
  7. 5m 7s
    1. Aligning layers with Difference
      5m 7s
  8. 12m 51s
    1. Reducing color noise with Color
      2m 13s
    2. Avoiding false saturation with Luminosity
      5m 33s
    3. Recovering detail in blown-out highlights with Luminosity
      5m 5s
  9. 26m 27s
    1. Getting better sepia tones
      5m 15s
    2. Using antique color effects
      5m 5s
    3. Combining multiple exposures
      4m 34s
    4. Replacing the sky in an image
      3m 44s
    5. Splitting edges when sharpening
      3m 15s
    6. Displacing type around contours
      4m 34s
  10. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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