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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 we are going to follow up Reduce Noise with a pass of the sharpening filter. Specifically we are going to imply the High Pass Filter. I am still working inside the Sam with plaster.jpg image and I applied a pass and a half of Reduce Noise with the exact same settings, right, because I applied it and then I reapplied and then I backed it off to 50% with the Fade command. All right, now what we are going to do is we are going to go up to the Filter menu, choose Other and because this is a portrait shot, we are going to filter it with High Pass, and of course, you can get to High Pass by pressing Shift+F10 if you loaded Deke Keys. Go ahead and click on the eyeball there and this is going to be fine, Radius value of 3 pixels is going to work nicely for this image because extensively we are going to print this at a high resolution something like 300 pixels per inch, let's say. That's not what it's set to right now but that's what I would eventually set it to I think, and then I'll go ahead and click OK.
Although you can always make those determinations later, you just have to bare in mind that if you change the Resolution value later after you get done sharpening that is going to impact your final sharpening effect and I'll show what that means in just a moment. So I applied High Pass, obviously I want to fade it so I I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Fade High Pass, and I'll just go ahead and change the blend mode to Overlay this time around, and I think this looks absolutely exceptional, I could compare it to the original version of the image as we saw it when we first began this exercise. This is the unsharpened and reduced noise version of the photograph, and this is the sharpened version of the photograph.
So you can see it's not nearly doing anything absurd like that Sharpen slider inside the Reduce Noise dialog box, it's doing a very nice job of sharpening big details inside this image not the wormy little noisy details. So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect or if I felt like bolstering it, I could switch to Linear Light, this is the other way to go if Overlay is not giving you everything you need, you switch up to Linear Light typically and notice that gives me a much more pronounced sharpening effect and something like 50% is pretty analogous to what we were seeing with 100% in Overlay, it's not exactly the same effect but it's similar. And then you could up it from there if you want more sharpening. For example, I could go up to 65% if I wanted to really be risky with this image.
All right, that's good I'll click OK in order to accept that much sharpness. Now I'm going to explain what I was talking about where if you change the resolution of an image after you get done sharpening it, that's just something you need to be aware of. So I'm going to go up to my View menu and I'm going to choose Print Size and it will be accurate because that Screen Resolution value stays intact after you apply it, quit the program, re-launch it and so on. So I'll go ahead and choose Print Size and this gives me a sense of what the image is going to look like. If I print it at a resolution of I believe 240 ppi this is what I have it set to. Let's go make sure. I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Image Size or press Ctrl+ Alt+I, Command+Option+I on a Mac. Sure enough, 240. Let's say I just want to change the resolution, I don't want to re-sample this image, so I'll leave Resample turned off and I'll set the Resolution value to 300 pixels per inch, or let's take it just down to 8 inches wide, let's say by how many inches tall, and that's going to give us a resolution of 316.5 pixels per inch, that's entirely fine. That's not going to create any problems.
So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modified resolution and now let's check it and make sure the image still looks sharp. I'll go up to the View menu and choose Print Size and sure enough it looks very sharp indeed and I can compare it to the original image, if I wanted to. Let's do a couple of things here. I'll bring up the History palette, if I click on this guy right there, Fade Reduce Noise that will show me how the image looked at the outset of this exercise, so it is indeed nicely sharpened now, fairly subtle effect, it's not over- sharpened. I think it looks good, given how much noise we have and everything that's going on here, and then if you wanted to compare it to the original version of the image, you'd press the F12 key to revert the image and this is the original noisy image, so let's just go ahead and zoom in on it so that we can see all of that noise and all of its splendor, this is the noisy version of the image and then if I press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to reinstate the Reduce Noise and Sharpen version of the image, this is the more uniform image without so much of that digital noise. Definitely smoother contour is going on and we have some sharp details as well.
So it's a nice compromise between smooth and sharp which is a compromise that we often have to seek here inside Photoshop.
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