Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur


From:

Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

with Deke McClelland

Video: Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur

OK, so as you may recall the Median filter averages pixels inside of an image in order to create a heightened smoothing effect essentially and it is little bit of overkill, but you can mitigate that as you will see. Then the Dust & Scratches filter will go ahead and average the high contrast areas while leaving the low contrast areas alone. So it leaves the film grain and the digital noise, it leaves that stuff alone, while it gets rid of the details inside the image. We need something that is the opposite of Dust & Scratches where sharpening is concerned. If we are preparing the image for sharpening, we need to get rid of the low contract stuff, smooth it away, and leave the high contrast stuff intact.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
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

Using Smart Blur and Surface Blur

OK, so as you may recall the Median filter averages pixels inside of an image in order to create a heightened smoothing effect essentially and it is little bit of overkill, but you can mitigate that as you will see. Then the Dust & Scratches filter will go ahead and average the high contrast areas while leaving the low contrast areas alone. So it leaves the film grain and the digital noise, it leaves that stuff alone, while it gets rid of the details inside the image. We need something that is the opposite of Dust & Scratches where sharpening is concerned. If we are preparing the image for sharpening, we need to get rid of the low contract stuff, smooth it away, and leave the high contrast stuff intact.

And there are examples of filters like that, it is just not obvious. I am going to go ahead and cancel out of Dust & Scratches here. I am still working inside the Sammy shake.jpeg image. That is found inside the 03 Sharpen Filters Folder, because it is an image that we worked with in the last chapter as well. I am going to go up to the Filter menu and I am going to choose Blur and I am going to choose one of my least favorite commands in Photoshop, which is Smart Blur. The reason I do not like it- Now it does do what I just told you, OK. It smoothes away the low contrast details such as film grain and such as digital noise and it leaves the high contrast details, the really good details inside the image alone.

So that is good. The way it works is just nuts. So I am going to go ahead and choose the command. First of all, you can not preview the effect in a larger image window, which basically reduces its utility by a factor of twenty. I swear, because it is just not very helpful. You have to look at this tiny preview, this reduced size preview inside the dialog box. So I am going to drag it over a little bit. So that we can see Sammy's eye right there and you can see what it is doing. With a Radius value of 12 and a Threshold of 12, it is going through and averaging the information inside of the image and it is leaving- basically what it is doing, with this Threshold value, it is saying that any 2 pixels that are 12 luminance levels or less different from each other, go ahead and smooth those away and any 2 neighboring pixels that are 12 luminance levels or more different from each other, leave those differences intact.

So that is what we want and this is an averaging filter, by the way, even though it is located under the Blur menu, it is an averaging filter. So it really belongs under the Noise menu. Now you can fool around with those if you want to, but for this image, I am going to go ahead and use 12 and 12, which are the last settings that I applied. They are not the default settings. You can switch this mode to these other bizarre settings here; like Edge Only will do that and then you have Overlay Edge which mixes the two together. I will go ahead and set this back to Normal. Now High Quality, which is not the default setting, Low Quality is the default setting, my tests show that High Quality actually delivers the least desirable results and it takes the most time to pull off.

Low Quality is faster and gives you smoother results. So I am going to stick with Low Quality and then I am going to click OK. So now you can get good results out of that filter; it is not that the filter is inherently bad. What it does is not necessarily bad, just the way it is implemented is crazy. But notice it did a good thing to our image. It went ahead smoothed away all of the noise inside of the image and it left behind the good details. So if I were to follow this up with a Smart Sharpen by going up to the Filter menu and choosing Sharpen and choosing Smart Sharpen right here, we would actually get potentially a half way decent result.

Now right now I have the Amount value cranked way too high. So I am going to go ahead and take that value down to lets say 200%, things are going to look better and then I will click OK in order to accept that modification and then I might follow it up once again. I will press Ctrl+Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac to bring up the Fade command. I will change the mode to Luminosity in order to get rid of any of the weird color stuff that I was bringing out and I probably reduce the Opacity value as well to something like 50% and then click OK. So given that I really have not done anything selective to this image, I just went ahead and accepted the results of the Smart Blur Filter, which is not really so smart as we just saw.

Then I accepted the result of the Smart Sharpen Filter, this is not a bad effect. It's not great, but it is not bad. Alright so let us go back, let me show you a better command I think for this purpose. I am going to go back to History and click on Open to restore the original version of this image and then I am going to go to the Filter menu, I am going to choose Blur and I am going to choose Surface Blur. Now the reason I am showing you this filter second, because it is the better of the two. It previews the image in the background, it does all the stuff we would expect from it, but it is a blurring function, it is not an averaging function.

So it is actually based on Gaussian Blur once again. Instead of averaging neighboring pixels, it is blurring them. So I will go ahead and choose Surface Blur and once again, it is saying, go ahead and apply Gaussian Blur with this Radius value here, ten pixels in my case because that is what I have entered, to any transitions that are in this case 8 luminance levels or less different from each other. If they are 8 luminance levels or more different from each other then do not blur. So once again it is the opposite of Dust & Scratches, except it is applying Gaussian Blur instead of Median.

If you still feel like it is doing too much damage, you might take that Threshold value down a couple of clicks and I am going to take it down to about 5 luminance levels here. So a Radius value of 10, Threshold of 5; that is still some pretty major blurring for this image, but I think it is going to work out pretty well. I can preview the effect in the background and it is a simple filter and it has got a bigger preview. It is a much better function in general. I will go ahead and click OK and then I might as well go ahead and follow it up with some Smart Sharpen. Go to the Sharpen Menu, choose the Smart Sharpen command and I will apply those exact same settings as we saw before.

So an Amount value of 200, Radius value of 4, Remove Lens Blur. Lets go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and this, of all the effects I have shown you so far, I think this is the most successful. So just for the sake of comparison, I will go ahead and press the F12 key, which reverts the image to its original appearance on disk. So this is the unsharpened version of Sammy, with all of its noise and blurry details intact and this, if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, this is the sharpened version, thanks to a combination of Surface Blur and Smart Sharpen here inside Photoshop.

There are currently no FAQs about Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked