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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.
Alright gang, in this exercise, I am going to show you the Despeckle filter and it is here under the Filter menu. You go to Noise submenu and it is this guy right there, Despeckle. And notice that it does not have a dot, dot, dot afterward. So it's not going to bring up a dialog box, it's not going to ask you to adjust any settings, it is just going to do its thing and move on. It is what I call a single shot filter. And the thing that it does is it looks for and locates single pixel variations inside of an image and it effectively eradicates them, it averages those single pixel variations away.
Now back in old days, you would see people demonstrate Despeckle as being useful for getting rid of say razor stubble, but that was back in the days when an average image measured 640x480. So something like razor stubble would actually only take up a single pixel inside an image. These days something as tiny as razor stubble will take up multiple pixels and so Despeckle is no good for it. What Despeckle is good for is removing digital noise, once again. And that's because digital noise comprises random single pixel variations.
So lets check it out, here I am working still inside the Sammy shake.jpg file, found inside you may recall the 03_Sharpen_ Filters folder even though we are in Chapter 4. And I am going to zoom way in on one of the details inside of this image. Lets take in the iris and with any luck you are going to be able to make out here inside the video, in addition to what looked like these sort of Japanese characters, these really cool, sort of hieroglyphics in his eyes here, which are made up of these motion trails basically, these highlight motion trails. You can hopefully see in the video barring severe compression artifacts, you should be able to make out that we have a lot of pixel roughness going on inside of the iris.
If we go up to the Filter menu and choose Noise and choose Despeckle, you are going to see a lot of those pixel variations go away and get averaged away. But notice right here, we are still ending up with some pretty jarring transitions right along the edge because these details, which are sensibly part of the eyelashes and so on, these details are made up of multiple pixels. So anytime you have got two or more pixels combining to make up the detail inside the image, Despeckle will bypass those variations. So let us just to get rid of single pixel variations. This is before, and you can see how a lot of these teeny-tiny ends of these hieroglyphic characters in his eyes how they are made up of single pixels. This is after they get blurred away.
Now what you typically want to do, if you are trying to get rid of digital noise in the file and usually I only whip out Despeckle if I have got some severe noise going, then you probably want to run the Despeckle filter more than once. You might want to run it twice, three times, even four times. What we are going to do inside of this image is we are going to run it four times in a row. So I already ran it one time, we can repeat the filter, you may know this, by pressing Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac for Filter, three times in a row. One, two, three and each time we are blurring away more and more of the single pixel variations and things are getting very blurry indeed wherever we had groups of pixels clustered together to make up the detail, then the Despeckle filter gave it the slip and allowed that detail to stand.
So lets go ahead and zoom out. That means the sharpest details, the most focused details inside the image remain intact and as we zoom out you are not going to see too much difference between the original Sammy and despeckled Sammy. For example, I am going to go up to the History palette here and this is the way - I'll go ahead and click on the Open state so we can see the original version of the image. It looks slightly sharper on-screen. Let me go and zoom the image into the 100% zoom size. So this is the original image, this is the four times, the 4X despeckled image.
So slightly different but not nearly as different as it would be if we were to apply the Median command with say a Radius value of 2. So its a very slight modifier, the Despeckle command is. Alright, so here is what I am going to do. I am going to go ahead and lets say we want to sharpen this image and I want to do a comparative sharpening. So I am going to show you something. Since we are working with the flat file here, this is a little trick I can do, I am going to press Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C in order to select the entire image and then copy it to the clipboard. That's Command+A, Command+C on the Mac and then I am going to go back to the original state of the image, the Open state, so that I have the despeckled state copied to the clipboard.
Notice that History did not keep track of the Copy command. It kept track at the fact that I did a Ctrl+A or Command+A to select the entire canvas but it did not keep track of copy. That means when I go back into the original Open state, I did not undo the copy, the copy is still sitting in the clipboard. So Photoshop behaves differently than other applications. If I were to pull that undo trick inside of a different program, it would undo the copying to the clipboard but Photoshop doesn't. So that's a cool thing actually because watch. I am going to go ahead for the sake of comparison, I want to show you the sharpened version and the original image compared to a sharpened version of the despeckled image.
So I am going to go up the Filter menu, choose Sharpen, this is the original image we are looking at, and choose Smart Sharpen and we'll just go with the same settings we have been applying. An Amount value of 200%, a Radius value of 4 pixels, and Lens Blur, Remove set to Lens Blur. Notice that More Accurate is turned off. I want you to know because I am going to turn it on in just a moment. So click OK. So that's a sharpened version of the original. Now then I am going to press Ctrl+V or Command+V on the Mac to paste the despeckled version on an independent layer. Notice that if I go to the Layers palette, there he is on an independent layer. Lets call him despeckled because that's what he is and he is not wearing spectacles either- so he is also despectacled.
Now I will go ahead and hide the Layers palette. Moving right along, of course, I will hide the Layers palette, press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F in order to bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog box. I like the settings with one exception. Because I did so much despeckling, he is just coated in this protective layer, think of it that way, that will survive the application of More Accurate. So when I am sharpening on top of Despeckle, especially this many Despeckle's in a row, I will sometimes go ahead and apply More Accurate.
Even though I told you don't do that with portrait shots, well this is an exception. So I am going to go ahead and turn on More Accurate and notice now I am going to go ahead and click and hold- this is before and this is after. If I zoom in, click on it- this is before and this is after- notice we have these little tiny bumps. It's almost like those little bumps on a basketball. That's kind of what we have woven in to the fabric of the image right now and I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. Now I just want to show you the difference between a sharpened version of the original, which is this right here, this is the sharpened original.
Lets go and zoom in a little bit, so that we can see, actually the nose is one of my favorite parts of this image. Notice how painterly it looks. Once again, when we sharpen the original image and this is what it looks like when we have sharpened the despeckled version of the image. So we have little more rounding going on, a little more smoothing, also these interesting bumps that are being created by the interaction of Despeckle along with More Accurate and it gets even better, I am going to show you. Watch what happens if you press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to reapply Smart Sharpen with More Accurate turned on.
We are going to get this kind of halftone effect right here. Pretty nifty. If you are going for a special effect of course. This would not be just standard photographic print, but if you wanted to have this little bit pointilization actually then you could go with this effect right here and it's different. There is a Pointilize filter inside of Photoshop but this is a different effect that we are seeing right now. So anyway pretty interesting stuff I think. Now we have seen a lot of interesting ways to work with this image. I am going to just go ahead and undo that pointilization effect, so that we back to a more reasonable sharpening effect, where this image is concerned.
We've seen a lot of different ways to approach this image to get rid of some of the noise inside of the image. In the next exercise, I am going to show you how I would really approach this image. We have done so many different things to it. I will show you the best way to fix the focus problems that are associated with this image. Coming right up.
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