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Understanding selective sharpening

From: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

Video: Understanding selective sharpening

All righty, in the last movie you saw me sharpen this image, and you saw me do it by duplicating my Background layer and sharpening that duplicate. The idea with this is if I now print the image and decide that it's over-sharpened, or not sharpened enough, then all I have to do is delete this layer, and I'm back to my original image. I can now reduplicate this layer and sharpen it again with different settings. I'm going to Undo that because I don't want to delete my sharpening layer. This is the power of having sharpening in its own layer.

Understanding selective sharpening

All righty, in the last movie you saw me sharpen this image, and you saw me do it by duplicating my Background layer and sharpening that duplicate. The idea with this is if I now print the image and decide that it's over-sharpened, or not sharpened enough, then all I have to do is delete this layer, and I'm back to my original image. I can now reduplicate this layer and sharpen it again with different settings. I'm going to Undo that because I don't want to delete my sharpening layer. This is the power of having sharpening in its own layer.

There is another advantage though, take a look at what happens if I turn off the Sharpening layer, this should make sense to you. This is my original image, this is my sharpened image. Hopefully, on your screen you can see the differences that are happening, say, right in here, keep an eye on this area right here, as I turn off my Sharpening layer and turn it back on. Her eye is getting a lot more detail, her eyebrow is getting a lot more detail, but this tiny amount of skin texture right here is also getting more detail.

Watch her nose here as I turn Sharpening on. I'm just picking up more skin texture and while, in some cases, it might even be more accurate, because as I sharpen, I start to see tiny little downy hairs on her nose, that's all actually there, and that might be more accurate, but I don't think it's necessarily that flattering in the portrait. So what I would like to do is sharpen really only her eyes and maybe her eyebrows and maybe some of this hair over here. Well, I have that already. I've got her eyes sharpened, I just have everything else sharpened also.

So what I'd like to do is constrain this layer, so that it only shows certain things, and I can easily do that with a mask. With my Sharpened layer selected, if I go up to the layer menu and choose Layer Mask > Hide All, I get this. Now over here in my layers palette, I now see a layer mask attached to my layer, and it's filled completely with black. This works just like the mask in an Adjustment layer. This mask is effectively a stencil where it's black, the attached layer is not showing through, where it's white, it will show through, where it's a shade of gray, I'll get some semi-opaque compositing.

So what I'm going to do is grab a paintbrush and some white paint--and that's a paintbrush that's way too big--and I'm just going to make sure that my layer Mask is selected, and I'm going to paint over her eyes, and wherever I paint, I see things get sharper. Just get that roughed in there, and I'll hit her eyebrow here, and those areas are sharpening up. And if you look in my mask here, you see two holes punched in the mask, right where her eyes are. So those white areas indicate that the sharpened image is being shown in those areas, whereas, the black areas reveal that the lower image is being shown.

In other words, I've layered just the sharp eyes on top of my other layer, which has no sharpening at all. So I've managed to sharpen her eyes without sharpening anything else. Let's go down here and hit her teeth. Teeth can often look nice with a little bit of extra sharpness in them. I might do her lips a little bit, but I think that's going to bring out a little too much texture on her lips, that looks okay. Another thing I might want to do just because they're at the same plane as her eyes is get some of these hairs over here sharpened up a little bit.

Viewer's attention is going to be on her eyes, so we might as well make some of the surrounding hair a little bit sharper. So there we have it. I've got her eyes sharpened without messing up any of her skin texture, here's a before and after. Again, I don't know if this shows up on your reduced window size, but I'm getting a nice pop in her eyes without muddying her skin texture at all. So sometimes you'll want to do just a selective sharpening pass, sometimes you might find that you need to do both a global sharpening pass and a selective sharpening pass.

I might, for example, duplicate a layer and sharpen the whole thing a little bit, not super-aggressively, then make another duplicate of my original layer and sharpen just the eyes and mask all that together. So sometimes I'll combine different amounts of sharpening by using multiple sharpened layers with different masks. For the most part, you'll probably find particularly in portraits that all you need to do is sharpen only certain areas, and you can do that with a single layer with a layer Mask.

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This video is part of

Image for Inkjet Printing for Photographers
Inkjet Printing for Photographers

68 video lessons · 13560 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring why we print
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding what you need for this course
      3m 25s
  2. 13m 29s
    1. Why inkjet printing?
      4m 36s
    2. Understanding ink types: Dye vs. pigment
      4m 26s
    3. Discussing considerations for black and white
      1m 48s
    4. Reviewing the features
      2m 39s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Printing and your workflow
      3m 3s
    2. Printing black-and-white photos
      6m 49s
    3. Understanding the histogram
      7m 37s
    4. Understanding what localized adjustments are used for
      2m 38s
    5. Explaining the histogram with a practical example
      6m 51s
    6. Making a localized adjustment in a practical example
      5m 30s
    7. Evaluating a localized adjustment in a practical example
      2m 29s
    8. Refining a localized adjustment for effect
      13m 36s
    9. Making a gradient adjustment
      6m 47s
    10. Paying attention to viewing conditions
      4m 49s
    11. Summing up
      1m 50s
  4. 54m 36s
    1. Understanding pixels, printer dots, and resolution
      2m 44s
    2. Understanding resolution
      2m 33s
    3. Defining resampling and interpolation
      3m 41s
    4. Understanding where resizing fits into your workflow
      2m 12s
    5. Defining native printer resolution
      2m 39s
    6. Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size
      2m 1s
    7. Reducing image size in Photoshop
      9m 11s
    8. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using Canvas Size
      4m 34s
    9. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using the Crop tool
      5m 15s
    10. Enlarging an image in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    11. Creating a triptych
      3m 55s
    12. Creating a triptych using Automator on a Mac
      4m 5s
    13. Exploring the aesthetics of print size
      4m 39s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding how sharpening works
      3m 18s
    2. Sharpening in JPEG mode
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring sharpening workflows
      3m 47s
    4. Sharpening in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    5. Looking at noise reduction
      1m 46s
    6. Sharpening output with Smart Sharpen
      11m 52s
    7. Understanding selective sharpening
      4m 25s
    8. Sharpening through an edge mask
      7m 17s
    9. Reviewing high-pass sharpening
      4m 30s
    10. Applying aggressive sharpening
      8m 53s
    11. Exploring advanced sharpening techniques
      9m 7s
    12. Exploring the Print dialog
      11m 35s
    13. Proofing at smaller sizes
      3m 3s
  6. 53m 9s
    1. Exploring how color works
      2m 5s
    2. Reviewing color models
      2m 56s
    3. Defining gamut and color space
      9m 55s
    4. Reviewing when colors go out of gamut
      4m 54s
    5. Configuring Photoshop's color settings
      5m 47s
    6. Changing color space in Camera Raw
      4m 7s
    7. Working in an advanced color space
      6m 13s
    8. Assigning a color space in Photoshop
      2m 20s
    9. Correcting a color image
      9m 17s
    10. Printing a color image
      3m 30s
    11. Evaluating the print
      2m 5s
  7. 34m 46s
    1. What is color management?
      4m 16s
    2. Profiling a monitor
      8m 45s
    3. Evaluating a monitor profile
      4m 37s
    4. Exploring paper profiles
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding soft proofing
      11m 51s
  8. 24m 33s
    1. Understanding how paper quality affects the appearance of black in prints
      3m 26s
    2. Looking at third-party papers
      3m 46s
    3. Looking at paper finish
      3m 44s
    4. Understanding paper traits
      6m 31s
    5. Discussing paper choice and presentation
      7m 6s
  9. 23m 18s
    1. Printing a black-and-white image
      11m 45s
    2. Printing a color image
      11m 33s
  10. 1m 16s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 16s

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