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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
We now move from a topic of Unsharp Mask to the topic of Smart Sharpen, the more powerful, more capable, and more complicated as it turns out Smart Sharpen filter. It does almost everything that Unsharp Mask does plus a whole lot more. So I am going to demonstrate how it functions by comparison to the Unsharp Mask filter and I am also going to show you the three primary settings in how they compare to each other using this illustration right here, which is called bigbrushstrokes.bsd it's included inside of the 11 Sharpen folder of course and it features four versions, just four identical versions of this brushstroke what I am calling a big brushstroke here, it's really this big thick sort of dark area with some light circles inside of it.
And this big dark area here helps to see very distinct edges inside of the image as well as little edges represented by the texture. So, that will help us to get a sense of what's going on with this new filter here that was introduced by the way inside Photoshop CS2. I am going to go ahead and reduce my pallets to icons over here. So this is the Layers pallet, I am going to go ahead and click on it to bring it up and I just want you to see that each one of these identical images is relegated to its own layer.
So we have got Unsharp Mask in the upper left corner, Gaussian Blur as we will see that's one of the Smart Sharpen settings over here in the upper right corner. Then we got Lens Blur another Smart Sharpen setting down in the lower left corner and Mo-Blur, yet, another Smart Sharpen setting down in the lower right corner, just so you have a sense of what's going on here. So make sure wherever your Layers pallet is, make sure that USM shot for Unsharp Mask of course is highlighted, so that we are working on the upper left image, then I want you to go the Filter menu and you will see that Unsharp Mask is right there at the top.
So what I recommended you do at this point is go ahead and click and hold on that mouse button, so the menu doesn't go away. Then press and hold on the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then release the mouse button and up will spring the Unsharp Mask dialog box. Here's the settings I want you to apply, go ahead and change the amount value to 200% and then change the radius value to 20 pixels, a big heaping helping of Unsharp Mask here, it might as well drag the preview into the dialog box, so we can see what's going on. Finally, leave the threshold set to zero levels, because there is nothing analogous to the threshold option inside the Smart Sharpen dialog box.
So if we end up messing with it, it will ruin our comparison, so leave it set to zero. If it's set to something else, set it to zero by all means and then click on the OK button in order to apply that filter. Alright, now let's go over to the Layers pallet once again and click on Gaussian Blur this time around and then I am going to hide the Layers pallet by pressing the F7 key again. Now, the upper right hand image here is highlighted and just in case you are thinking like you only have two of these brushstrokes on screen, what's the deal, the other ones are down here; they are there, alright anyway.
So the upper right layer is now active, I am going to go up to the Filter menu, I am going to choose Sharpen and I am going to choose Smart Sharpen, you can also press Shift+F6 if you loaded D keys. I went ahead and gave you that keyboard shortcut because this is a sensational command that you are going to want to use on a regular basis and it's fairly hard to get to because of the submenu system here. And also the fact that there are still different submenus that start with an "S" that always throws me off, I don't know, maybe I am challenged, but anyway I am going to go ahead and choose the Smart Sharpen function.
Now, you will immediately notice among other things that it's more gargantuan or maybe you won't, you know on a regular screen, it doesn't look this massive, but I am recording a 1024x768 and therefore this dialog box takes up almost my entire screen. So we are just going to have the focus on the in-dialog box preview here, which works just like it does, it's just more massive, but it work just like it does inside the Unsharp Mask dialog box. Alright, let's replicate those same settings that we saw before. First of all make sure that basic is turned on, don't worry about the default settings, you should see the default settings by the way, but don't worry about what the settings option is set to.
We do need to go ahead and enter an amount value of 200% and a radius value of 20 pixels, so that we are matching the last settings, we applied inside Unsharp Mask. Also make sure that Remove is set to Gaussian Blur meaning that Photoshop is going to try to remove Gaussian Blur from the image and it does that actually by applying Gaussian Blur. I know that it just doesn't make any sense sometimes, but it's masking just in the same way the Unsharp Mask Command works, it's masking a Gaussian Blur haloes, with dark halo on one side and light halo on the other side.
And More Accurate is turned off, make sure that one is off alright, so 200%, 20 Gaussian Blur that's it, then go ahead and click OK. And you might be struck by the amazing similarity between these two images. Now, I told you did I not, that Smart Sharpen it's very more complicated and it's very more powerful than the Unsharp Mask command and it's true I did not lie, I wouldn't do that to you. It's all true, the reason we are seeing very similar images and actually they are not very similar, they are pixel for pixel identical, it's because first of all we enter the same settings and secondly, we set the Remove function to Gaussian Blur that means that that is exactly what the Unsharp Mask command does.
So basically, what I am trying to show you is Smart Sharpen does everything that Unsharp Mask done, plus much more. Now, that one thing it doesn't do, it doesn't have anything that's analogous to that Threshold option and that's actually more or less a good thing as we will find out, because the Threshold setting is an on-off proposition, it's not really all that terribly useful. What Smart Sharpen is more useful and more intelligent once we start investigating the other settings, as we will do in the very next exercise.
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