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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
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Understanding the effects of sharpening


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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Understanding the effects of sharpening

Before I show how sharpening works, I want to give you a sense of what it is. So for those of you in the unlikely event that you've never witnessed sharpening inside Photoshop before, you will now witness sharpening. For those of you who have seen sharpening, which I assume is the vast majority of you, you'll get a sense of why sharpening is there, why we need it, even with a sharply-focused image like this one. This image by the way, is called stunning 12x8.jpeg, its found inside of the 01howitworks folder which itself is found inside the exercise files folder that's available to those of you who are premium members.
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  1. 50m 30s
    1. Why every image needs sharpening
      2m 38s
    2. Understanding the effects of sharpening
      5m 26s
    3. Understanding the mechanics of sharpening
      4m 19s
    4. Understanding sharpening and gradual transitions
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding sharpening and noise reduction
      4m 0s
    6. Understanding amount and radius
      7m 50s
    7. Measuring your screen resolution
      6m 19s
    8. Using reliable zoom ratios
      5m 30s
    9. Calculating the actual print size
      4m 54s
    10. Gauging the ideal sharpening settings
      6m 13s
  2. 59m 31s
    1. Everyone knows you sharpen last (and everyone is wrong)
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the conventional sharpening workflow
      5m 4s
    3. Flattening and saving to TIFF
      6m 39s
    4. Downsampling (and why you shouldn't upsample)
      6m 8s
    5. Understanding last-step sharpening
      6m 44s
    6. Recognizing problems with the conventional workflow
      9m 38s
    7. Erasing sharpening with the history brush
      4m 30s
    8. Using alternative sharpening workflows
      2m 37s
    9. Sharpening a scanned photograph shot on film
      2m 45s
    10. Sharpening a digital photograph
      3m 6s
    11. Sharpening specific details
      3m 43s
    12. Finding broad workflow conclusions
      2m 49s
    13. Learning that technique trumps timing
      4m 40s
  3. 1h 27m
    1. Comparing and contrasting neighboring pixels
      1m 6s
    2. Using the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 25s
    3. Using Gaussian luminance distribution
      4m 47s
    4. Using the Unsharp Mask filter
      4m 54s
    5. Understanding the history of Unsharp Mask
      3m 51s
    6. Building your own USM with Gaussian Blur
      7m 35s
    7. Using the Smart Sharpen filter
      7m 35s
    8. Compensating for camera shake
      8m 50s
    9. Building your own Smart Sharpen with Lens Blur
      6m 59s
    10. Using directional sharpening with Emboss
      9m 13s
    11. Using Smart Sharpen extras
      8m 56s
    12. Using Convolution Kernels for more accuracy
      7m 8s
    13. Using the High Pass filter
      7m 32s
    14. Using Luminance Sharpening
      5m 5s
  4. 2h 14m
    1. Smoothing filters, smart objects, and masks
      1m 25s
    2. Using the Median filter and Dust and Scratches
      7m 7s
    3. Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Despeckle filter
      8m 17s
    5. Softening flesh tones selectively
      10m 15s
    6. Using the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 27s
    7. Combining smoothing and sharpening
      8m 24s
    8. Making an image into a smart object
      9m 24s
    9. Applying editable smart filters
      6m 8s
    10. Combining two smart filters
      8m 5s
    11. Assigning a filter mask
      5m 59s
    12. Nesting one smart object inside another
      10m 32s
    13. Employing a static High Pass layer
      8m 59s
    14. Matching static pixel-level edits
      4m 37s
    15. Avoiding clipping with luminance blending
      9m 7s
    16. Sharpening and smoothing
      6m 36s
    17. Making an edge mask
      8m 14s
    18. Making a non-edge mask
      7m 17s
  5. 1h 33m
    1. Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw (4.1 or later)
      8m 13s
    3. Understanding why to sharpen for source
      5m 14s
    4. Using Camera Raw’s sharpening control
      5m 52s
    5. Previewing limitations and tricks
      6m 45s
    6. Why downsampling doesn’t work
      3m 12s
    7. Reducing chromatic aberration
      7m 30s
    8. Using the Defringe option
      3m 32s
    9. Understanding high frequency, low radius
      5m 21s
    10. Raising the Detail value
      3m 6s
    11. Using on-the-fly edge masking
      5m 41s
    12. Sharpening a low-frequency portrait
      6m 36s
    13. Eliminating color noise
      4m 47s
    14. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 42s
    15. Correcting “false sharpening”
      7m 15s
    16. Reducing shadow noise
      5m 22s
    17. Approximating ACR sharpening in Photoshop
      8m 35s
  6. 59m 8s
    1. Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
      1m 27s
    2. Using low-frequency source sharpening
      5m 53s
    3. Using High Pass for portraits
      4m 19s
    4. Actioning a low-frequency edge mask
      7m 42s
    5. Modifying the source sharpening
      5m 21s
    6. Using high-frequency source sharpening
      5m 26s
    7. Using Smart Sharpen for cityscapes
      3m 2s
    8. Actioning a high-frequency edge mask
      5m 4s
    9. Downplaying color artifacts and clipping
      4m 4s
    10. Sharpening a medium-frequency image
      5m 24s
    11. Sharpening a layered composition
      7m 16s
    12. Sharpening for multiple frequencies
      4m 10s
  7. 1h 8m
    1. Who needs dull when you have sharp?
      56s
    2. Focusing in on a person’s eyes
      4m 22s
    3. Blurring the area outside the eyes
      4m 22s
    4. Sharpening eyes and other details
      5m 38s
    5. Darkening the lashes and eyebrows
      7m 13s
    6. Sharpening dark-haired people
      5m 2s
    7. Edge mask and emphasize
      3m 39s
    8. Nesting a Smart Sharpen effect
      4m 48s
    9. Density mask sharpening
      5m 35s
    10. Adding depth of field
      4m 39s
    11. Sharpening a background
      4m 23s
    12. Masking background from foreground
      8m 51s
    13. Eliminating halos around a person
      5m 38s
    14. Deepening and warming a background
      3m 28s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Reverting back to convention
      1m 37s
    2. Understanding the use-neutral composition
      4m 15s
    3. Restoring much-needed antialiasing
      4m 2s
    4. Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
      7m 24s
    5. Making a third-level smart object
      3m 55s
    6. Preparing an image for print
      5m 18s
    7. Using ideal settings for commercial reproduction
      5m 37s
    8. Calculating very large-format settings
      5m 11s
    9. Using ideal settings for inkjet output
      4m 26s
    10. Sharpening for commercial reproduction
      5m 45s
    11. Sharpening for inkjet output
      4m 58s
    12. Revealing high-frequency multipass sharpening
      5m 21s
    13. Using Gaussian Blur to sharpen hair
      5m 41s
    14. Flatten, Save As, Resample, and Sharpen
      5m 9s
    15. Revealing low-frequency multipass sharpening
      3m 30s
    16. Sharpening an image for web or screen
      6m 22s
  9. 1m 50s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 50s

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Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
10h 33m Intermediate Feb 15, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Real focus happens inside the camera's lens element. The sharpening features in Photoshop CS3 exaggerate the contrast along edges in a photograph to transform a well-focused image into an outstanding image. In Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, Deke McClelland teaches a host of sharpening and noise reduction techniques, including using filters such as Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, High Pass, and Reduce Noise. The training teaches the essentials of sharpening, including what it does, why it's important, and how the filters function. Plus, the training covers Deke's recommended best practices, including the four distinct varieties of sharpening, which can be used independently or in combination with each other. Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images is about how to transform images from looking good to looking their absolute best. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the effects of sharpening
  • In-depth examinations of Unsharp Mask, Smart Sharpen, Emboss, and High Pass
  • Smoothing an image with the Surface Blur, Despeckle, and Reduce Noise features
  • Working with smart objects and smart filters
  • Creating edge masks and non-edge masks
  • Sharpening for digital-image capture using Camera Raw
  • Gauging and exploiting luminance frequency
  • Exploring creative applications of sharpening
  • Sharpening a multilayer composition
  • Sharpening eyes, hair, and out-of-focus backgrounds
  • Reducing noise in a high-frequency image
  • Determining ideal settings for commercial and inkjet output
  • Sharpening very large-format images
  • Sharpening an image for the web or screen output
Subjects:
Photography Sharpening
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Understanding the effects of sharpening

Before I show how sharpening works, I want to give you a sense of what it is. So for those of you in the unlikely event that you've never witnessed sharpening inside Photoshop before, you will now witness sharpening. For those of you who have seen sharpening, which I assume is the vast majority of you, you'll get a sense of why sharpening is there, why we need it, even with a sharply-focused image like this one. This image by the way, is called stunning 12x8.jpeg, its found inside of the 01howitworks folder which itself is found inside the exercise files folder that's available to those of you who are premium members.

It's available for download at the lynda.com Online Training Library. You also have access to this folder if you have the DVD. This image comes to us from photographer Alexandra Alexis of iStockphoto.com, one of my favorites, and we'll see, if I go ahead and zoom this image in a little bit, you'll see that it is impeccably focused and bear in mind, that the purpose of the sharpening filters is to provide the illusion of focus. So why in the world will we apply sharpening filters to an image that's already in great focus. And by great focus, I mean that the portions of the image that are supposed to be in focus are in focus, and those portions that aren't supposed to be in focus aren't in focus.

Notice for example in the case of this model, that her left eye- it's on out right-hand side, but her left eye- is in sharp focus whereas her right eye on left-hand side here is slightly out of focus because its beyond the depth of field and of course the background is very out of focus. Meanwhile, elements like her nostrils and her lips are in sharp focus as well. Now I should mention that there is really nothing we can do about any of this, I can't change the depth of field for example, I can stimulate soft focus in Photoshop, but I cant take something that's out of focus like this background back here for example, and somehow make it miraculously in focus because Photoshop is incapable of generating detail where there is no detail inside the image.

Now I can fix soft focus slightly out of focus items, just a little bit of softness that's either a function of the camera lens or its a function of the scanning element, that kind of thing, but just like focus problems I can fix. Really however, the purpose of the sharpening filters is to preserve the natI've focus of the image by anticipating and reversing even the softening effects of capturing the image, re-sampling it, for example, changing the number of pixels inside the image using the Image Size Command or printing the image.

So lets say for example, in our case we're going to print this image and in printing the image, it's going to get slightly out of focus, it's going to change in terms of its physical size, it's going to get smaller on the page because we're going to print it at a high resolution, and during that translation, either to halftoned dots or to little inkjet marks, we're going to end up with a softer image. So we're going to anticipate that by sharpening it, and I am going to sharpen this image just to keep things simple, I am going to go up to the Filter menu, I am going to choose Sharpen and I am going to choose this guy, Sharpen More.

Normally, I would work with something more sophisticated like Smart Sharpen or Unsharp Mask, but well see those tools later. Right now I am just going to apply the Sharpen More command, and you might be able to see how the image got slightly sharper there. Now our movies get re-sampled down a little bit so you might not see a difference. Lets go ahead and zoom in to the 200% zoom size so you can really see the difference here. I am looking at the sharply-focused eye. This is the before version of the eye and this is the after version of the eye, and you can see that the eye has become tactile almost.

You sometimes hear this kind of over-sharpening effect called brittle or crunchy, and this is definitely a very crunchy image by this point, and it might appear over-sharpened but its actually well-sharpened for output. And Photoshop is able to create the sharpening effect by increasing the contrast of the edges, and well see how that works in the next exercise, but just bear then in mind that's whats going on, its totally an I'llusion, its not actually doing any real sharpening, but it will bring out information that you might not have noticed before.

For example, this is the before version of the nose, this is the after version of the nose which calls attention to all these tiny fine little hairs and the hairs inside the nose as well. So not always good details inside the image. We're also bringing out the wrinkles in the lips, this is the before version of the lips, this is the after version right here, and we have some hairs along the bottom of the lip that we're seeing, we're also calling attention to the hairs along the side of her face, but, you'll notice that the out-of-focus area such as this background here, and to a certain extent this eye are changed dramatically.

So this is the before version of the eye in the background, this is the after version, and the only thing that we are bringing out in the background at this point, I'll go ahead and zoom in here a little bit. The only thing that we're bringing out in the background is the noise, and noise. By noise I mean random variations in pixels, information that wasnt really part of the scene. So this is before, the before version of the background, this is the after version, you can see how the after version is more noisy. So that's something that sharpening brings out as well.

Alright, so there you have it, that's what sharpening looks like, just to give you a sense of what's up, right off the bat here I am going to show you how sharpening works starting in the next exercise.

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