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Since the beginning of the photographic art form, photographers have been searching for clearer and sharper images. Now, you don't have to settle for what was captured in camera; you can perfect your photos in post-production. In this course, Chris Orwig tackles sharpening in three programs: Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop. They all have their strengths, so he shows you how to get the best results from specific sharpening challenges with each one. Chris shows you how to reduce noise and sharpen with sliders and make selective adjustments to certain areas of raw images. In Photoshop, he uses powerful filters like Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen to sharpen larger areas of pictures, and masking to paint in sharpening. Last, he shares two advanced techniques, one using high pass sharpening and another that limits sharpening to the edges of your images.
In the previous movie, we talked a little bit about the importance of going through some basic work flow steps before we get to the detail panel. Well, since we've finished those, and we worked in the basic panel, next what I want to do is take a look at how we can use these controls and sliders in order to sharpen or reduce the noise in the photograph. And here I want to highlight some tips and tricks and shortcuts which you can use, which are especially helpful. In order to deconstruct how these sliders work, let's exaggerate for a moment.
And let's start off with sharpening. The first slider we have is Amount. This one is pretty straightforward. Drag this to the right, and this will increase the amount or the intensity of the sharpening effect. You'll notice that the indicator up here gets a little bit red, so here I'm redlining this. And the reason that's red is just to warn you that it's a little bit iffy to go that high, to sharpen an image that much. And as you can see here, the photograph actually doesn't look very good when I overdo it and apply that high of a sharpening amount.
Now of course, though, you have to keep in mind that depends upon the photograph that you're working on. I've had plenty of images where I've needed to bring this all the way up to this level, but just be aware that you are bringing out more noise, and more of the little teeny details when you bring that amount up to that area. All right, well, how then can you evaluate how far to bring your amount slider? Well, there's a great shortcut key modifier, which you want to write down, you want to memorize and use it all the time. Here it is. On a Mac, you press and hold Option. On Windows, you press and hold Alt.
Then when you drag any of these sliders, it gives you an alternate view so that you can focus in on what that slider actually does. Here you can see how it changes the intensity of the sharpness. Well, let's go down to Radius. If we just drag Radius without holding on the modifier key, you can see that what it's doing is somehow affecting the image, but it's sort of hard to deconstruct. Yet, when you press Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, take a look at it now. Do you notice how it looks like the edges are glowing? And then with a low radius amount, the edges are much tighter or cleaner.
Well, that's exactly what Radius does. It changes that edge in how far the sharpening is applied to those edge areas. You also may have noticed that Radius goes from 0.5 all the way up to 3. Now why is that? Why, why doesn't the Radius slider go up to 200 or up to 10, or some number like that? Well, their reason is, is because typically you're going to want to have a really low radius amount, maybe somewhere around 1 or so. I also should point out that the higher the resolution the file, typically the higher the radius amount.
This file is a relatively low-res JPEG, so we'll probably need to go beneath 1 for this image, in order to have an appropriate amount for our radius value there. Alright, well next we have the Detail slider. I love this slider because this can make all the difference in the world, especially with a portrait like this. If we drag the Detail slider to the right, what it will do is it will sharpen all of the little teeny details which doesn't look very good. If we drag this down to 0, well, it will limit the sharpening so it isn't sharpening the little teeny details.
You know when you're working with portraits, you want to have a detail amount of zero almost every time, and that's a bit of an over exaggeration. But in most situations, you'll want a low detail amount with people because you don't want to sharpen all of the pores and little details of their skin. In other situations though, you may want to bring that up just to bring out some of that texture or small little details that you have. Alright? Try holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then click on the Detail slider, and here you can see the difference on your photographs.
Next we have Masking. Now with Masking, this is the one where our shortcut gives us the best insight. Press and hold Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then click on the Masking slider and drag that over the the right. Here you'll see that it changes dynamically or it builds dynamically a mask. If you're familiar with masking in Photoshop, you may know the, the saying which is black conceals and white reveals. What that means is, is that on a mask, if there's an area that's black, that won't be affected.
If there's area, an area that's white, it will be affected. So for this panel, what that means is the sharpening will only be applied to these little edges here in certain areas. And when you have that view, you can really bring this to just the right value. So it isn't sharpening the background, it's just working on those edges in the photograph. Now currently, my amount is still too high. So let me drop that down to something a little bit more reasonable. You know, when you sharpen a photograph, you do want to be careful that you don't over do it.
What you're looking for is a really clean look. You're almost looking to just improve the visual, overall visual impact of the image and not to sharpen it so that you're drawing attention to the sharpening. And that's especially important when it comes to input sharpening, which we're focusing in on in this chapter. Alright, well, there you have it, there's a bit of a deconstruction of our sharpening controls. Next, let's take a look at our noise reduction sliders, so go ahead and leave this file open as we'll continue to work on it in the next movie.
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