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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.
The final stage of the conventional sharpening workflow is to actually apply sharpening to the image and then convert it to CMYK if necessary. I am working with the re-sampled version of that flattened holiday.TIFF file that I opened in the previous exercise and then took down to four inches wide, by seven inches tall, by 360 pixels per inch. In order to gauge the perfect sharpening settings, we are going to resample the image down to our screen resolution, which my screen resolution is 117 pixels per inch, that's what I am pretending, based on the information that I gave you in the previous Chapter.
So here's what we are going to do. I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+I, or Command+Option+I on the Mac, to bring up the Image Size dialog box and you can see how this image is currently sized to 4x7x360 per my instructions in the previous exercise. I have Resample Image turned on, I have Constrain Proportions turned on. I am going to change that Resolution value to 117 to fit the resolution of a 17 inch MacBook Pro, which is the kind of computer that I actually have sitting next to me. That's why I am using that even though I am working with, of course, Windows Vista here.
Then I'll click OK in order to make that modification. I'll go ahead and zoom the image into the 100% view size right here. Actually, I'll take it up to 200% so that we can see it in video quite nicely. Shift-Tab away my palette so I have a little more width to work with on screen. Now I am going to go up to the Filter menu and by the way, it's not necessary that every time you sharpen an image that you try to gauge it for your screen resolution. It's just good to know that you have that option available to you. As you work more and more with sharpening, as you become more and more familiar with it, you'll be able to come up with settings that work for you on a regular basis.
But for now as we are learning how this tools work, it's a good habit to get into it and again, if you know your screen's resolution, you know it to be 102 pixels per inch, for example, then go ahead and enter that into the Image Size dialog box. Now I am going to go up to the Filter menu, I am going to choose Sharpen and I am going to choose Smart Sharpen since we have experience with that command, and I am going to come up with some settings that I think work really well for this image. Where the screen is concerned, I would say something along the lines of the value of 90% work pretty nicely for this image and maybe a radius of 0.6 and that ends up giving us something that looks nice and sharp on screen.
So this is before, keep your eye out here on Sammy on the far left side of the screen. This is the before version of Sammy, the unsharpened version. This is the after version of Sammy. So it's just a little bit sharper, he is not over-sharpened; it's something of a subtle effect. I'll go ahead and zoom, I'm inside the dialog box. Let's move it, zoom it on Max inside the dialog box. This is the before version of Max, when I click and hold, this is the after version of Max. Now I was telling you that when you are sharpening for print, you want to go about 50% higher than the Amount value that looks good to you.
So I would take this Amount value up to 140% for example. And that is just a general rule of thumb. If you want to take it higher or lower than that by 10 or 20% that's fine. So let's say, I want to go with 140% and 0.6. That looks good at the screen resolution. So I'll go ahead and write down those settings; 140 and 0.6. Obviously, I am going to have to run the multiplier on the Radius value. Let's go ahead and cancel out because we don't really want to do anything with this version of the image; it's just the test. I'll go ahead and undo the effects of the Image Size command by choosing from the Edit menu, Undo Image Size or I can press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to restore the 360 pixel per inch version of the image.
Now let's go ahead and run our multiplier. Now I am going to have to do a little bit of a calculation here. I'll get my calculator and I want to take 360, which is the actual resolution of this image, and I want to divide by 117, which is the monitor resolution, and I come up with 3.0769, blah, blah, blah. And then I will multiply that times the Radius value. So times .6, and that ends up giving us a radius of 1.8.
I am going to bring back my palettes actually and switch over to the full screen mode for a second here so that I have a little more latitude where moving this image as concerned. Then I'll go up to the Filter menu, and again to Sharpen and Smart Sharpen. This time I'll go ahead and enter the settings that I know that work well for this particular image. So let's go ahead and move Sammy on screen here. I'll enter an Amount value of 140% and then I'll tab down to Radius and raise it to 1.8 per my multiplier. For Now I am going to leave Remove set to Gaussian Blur; we'll worry about that stuff later when we take a look at the tools.
Just to give you a sense, this is the before version of Sammy right there, this is the after version. If I zoom in a little bit so that we can really see this inside of the video; this is the before version, this is the after version. You can see that he looks a little bit over-sharpened actually, but again, bear in mind that we are sharpening for the printer. So we need to go little bit farther than we normally would and we have to have a higher Radius value because our haloes are going to get shrunken. So now go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and now Shift-Tab away my palettes once again move the image over little bit, I might even go ahead and zoom in and we want to take this all the way to... I gather this is the 100% view size, yes it is.
This is the before version of the image and this is the after version right here. So hopefully you can see that on screen OK and it'll probably look nicely sharpened in the downsampled video that you are viewing right now. So I've managed to sharpen the image at this point, if I want it to convert it to CMYK because I am sending it off to a prepress device, that's when I would go up to the Image menu, I would choose Mode and I would choose CMYK Color in order to break up the image into cyan, magenta, yellow and black channels.
In my case though, I am going to be printing this to a local inkjet device. I do not want to convert the image to CMYK, do not do that. Any local inkjet device, any local laser printer relies on a printer driver that's provided to you by your printer's vendor, and that printer driver expects to find the images in RGB, to convert the image from RGB. If you convert the image to CMYK before you print it, you'll mess things up and you'll get a bad print. So there it is, we have worked through the conventional printing process. It's pretty good, there is nothing terribly wrong with it because we are trying to sharpen the image for the printer which is a good thing.
But it's not the best way to work; this is what I am going to tell you. We'll examine some of the problems that are inherent with the conventional system starting in the next exercise.
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