Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
There are lots of different ways to sharpen in Photoshop and there are some things to be mindful of as far as best practices are concerned. So I want to show you what to do, what not to do, and my favorite filter for sharpening. So here in Photoshop the first thing I should mention is anytime we're talking about sharpening we want to look at things at 100% at least and the easiest way to do that is to just double-click on our Zoom tool and we're going to crash right into 100%. Now the best way to find the area of the image that we want is this little shortcut where I hit the H key and I click my mouse and I'll be given what's called a bird's eye view here, and I can sort of choose the area that I want to look at.
I zoom in here and sure enough that's the area that's in focus, that's the area that I want to sharpen. So the next thing is choosing which sharpening filter we want. And so we've got a few to choose from here. Sharpen, doesn't have any sort of interface, it's just a low-level sharpening routine. Sharpen Edges is focusing more on the edges of the image. Sharpen More is just applying sharpen more than once, it's pretty old technology, they are pretty low level, there's not a lot of control, there's no interface and they do create artifacts if you use them excessively.
Unsharp Mask is probably one of the most popular ways of sharpening. It's kind of an unusual name, it's been in Photoshop a long time, it does give you a lot of control and it can yield some great results, but it isn't the most powerful way to sharpen. The most powerful way to sharpen is Smart Sharpen and there's an interesting thing that happens when you call a feature Smart or Magic or Quick and it seems like people believe that they are smarter or more magical or faster, and they sort of stray away from those.
They don't use them because of their terminology and in some cases it absolutely makes sense. Magic Wand, a lot of people call that the Tragic Wand and don't want to use that. But when it comes to Smart Sharpen, it really is the most powerful way to do this, and I want to show you why. So the first thing that we see here is we've got this nice big dialog and we got a double Preview, so I've got my image in the background at 100%, and what that allows me to do is change my zoom here, and this might seem like sort of a laughable amount of sharpening, but if I were to back up to our original full screen view something like 13%, it actually looks pretty good.
This is the sort of thing that people see from a distance and they sharpen based upon that, and if this were output to the Web, that might be acceptable, but if I were to print it, you would see something like what we saw up close, which is really pretty offensive, lots of ghosts and lots of artifacts. So for the sake of using this I'm actually going to come in to least 200% and I get the best of both worlds here, and couple things I want to set here. If I first came into this filter for the very first time, it would look something like this.
I would have it applied about one pixel, be somewhere around 50% or 100%, it would be on Gaussian Blur and More Accurate would be unchecked, and this is for a reason, those settings mimic Unsharp Mask. People coming from Unsharp Mask would have the exact same experience with these settings, but the best way to use this is to change it to Lens Blur, Gaussian Blur was designed for a world where we were opening images from scans, and here in Photoshop today, most images are coming off of digital cameras, and so Lens Blur is tuned for those.
And then with More Accurate what happens there is we're actually doing multiple passes on your image to get you the best possible result. So this is the most tuned way to get a nice sharpened image, and for the sake of seeing this on the screen, I'm going to bump things really aggressively, so you can see what we're doing. And you can see they were picking up halos and if I click on the image with the Hand tool there, I'll see Before, if I let go, I'll see After and if I wanted to see the same thing behind on the full image, I just deselect Preview and click that again.
Now what I want to do is get rid some of this ghosting and that's something I can do uniquely in Smart Sharpen. I can come into the Shadow area and I can Fade the shadow sharpening, there it is completely out, there it is completely present and somewhere in between little more glaring is the Highlight, that ghosting that I see, and I can completely remove that ghosting by Fading the Highlight Sharpening. And I see the other thing that is really great here is when I get a look that I like, I can save that right here and I can use it the next time I open a similar image or give myself a starting point for the next image.
So, it's a fast filter, its easy-to-use, it's very intuitive, you just need to know a few things about it. And in the next video, we'll talk about repurposing your sharpening based upon where the image is going.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
180 Video lessons · 69387 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 91630 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 60021 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 28666 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.