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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 this movie, we will continue to work with this portrait of my daughter Anika, that we first resize so that we could create a 4 by 6 print. And then next, we took a look at how we can use the Unsharp mask filter in order to sharpen this photograph. Well here in this movie, we're going to shift our attention to another filter which I think is superior. And it's a filter which is called Smart sharpen. In order to keep things simple, let's click into this layer, the Unsharp mask layer, and drag that to the trash can icon just to delete that layer.
And then let's duplicate the background layer. Click and drag this to the new layer icon. Double-click the layer name, and let's name this layer SS for Smart Sharpen. Next, we'll navigate to our Filter pull down menu, and here we'll choose Sharpen, and then we'll select Smart Sharpen. Again, that's Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. This will open up the Smart Sharpen dialog. Now your dialog may appear differently than mine. You may have a smaller preview window.
Well, if you're using the most recent version of Photoshop, you can position your cursor over the edge. When you notice the cursor changes, just click and drag to extend that. That will open up a larger preview area. If you're using an older version of Photoshop, you can still just view your image in that smaller preview window. Alright well, let's dig into our controls. I mentioned briefly that I think that out of the two options that Smart Sharpen is better. Well, why is that? Well, it's better because it gives us better results and also gives us some more controls, so that we can fine tune the sharpening amounts.
Here if we go to our top of our sliders, we have Amount and Radius as we've seen before. We've seen how Amount kind of increases the overall intensity. But we've talked about how amount and radius are closely connected. As we increase the radius, we see that it intensifies the edges and the glow of all of those edges. At this point, this doesn't look very good, but I want to show you this amount and radius to talk about the next slider. We have a new control here. This one is called Reduce Noise.
If we drag this to the left to remove the noise reduction, what we'll start to see is we have a lot of noise in the background and in the shadows and on the face. It doesn't look very good. Yet, as we drag this slider to the right in a similar way to threshold, this kind of saves the day. And it reduces or gets rid of all of the noise that we had. Or, not all of it, a lot of the noise that we had in the picture. Again, I'm hoping that you're able to see that this is without noise reduction, and then this is with an exaggerated amount of noise reduction.
So, really, it's about using these three sliders together in order to begin to accomplish good results. Well, before we get to making good amounts of sharpening, or to apply a good amount of sharpening, let's talk about the pull-down menu that we have here. This Remove pull-down menu gives us three options. You want to use Motion Blur when you have panning motion blur in an image. We'll talk more about that one later. And then if you want to apply standard or typical sharpening, you're going to reach for Lens Blur. This is the option that works the best.
If you want the sharpening to look like the unsharp mask filter, choose Gaussian Blur. If we select Gaussian Blur here, what you'll see is there's a subtle difference. Notice the edges, they're glowing a little bit more. They're a little bit too big. When we go to Lens Blur, you'll notice it sort of just cleans everything up and gives you a better result. So again, most of the time you want to choose Lens Blur. All right, well, what about our amount and radius? As far as a default spot to start with your radius, you may want to try one pixel, and then I like to drop the amount somewhere below 100%.
And then just nudge this up 10 or 20% at a time, and bring this up until the photograph looks good. If you need to see a preview before and after, click and hold on the image, that will show you before. Let go, you'll see the after. Now once you get this to a good spot, you want to look around the photograph. In doing that I see, man, I have a lot of noise here in the background, and also on the skin tone. So let's bring up the noise reduction amount. And here we'll increase that value in order to get rid of some of the noise, which we inadvertently exaggerated or brought out as we sharpened the photograph.
Okay, with this image, at least on my monitor, I think these amounts look good. We have an amount of about 188, radius 1.1, noise reduction of 19%. What you want to do when it comes to sharpening an image is be careful that you aren't going too far. If you overdo it, the sharpening effect will almost draw too much attention to itself. Yet the great thing about that is that, because we're applying this sharpening to a separate layer, if we do go too far, we can always scale it back a little bit later.
So you don't need to worry too much about it, but do keep in mind as you're dialing in the settings here. Just be cognizant and aware that what you're looking for is you're looking to make the image look good, but not overdone. Alright well, enough on that, let's go ahead and apply all of these settings. To do so, click on the OK button. That will then render, or apply those filter settings to the layer which we had selected, the smart sharpen layer which is right here. We can click on the eye icon to see the before, and then click again to view the after.
We can also decrease the intensity of the effect if we need to by dropping down the layer opacity. This will reduce or remove the intensity of our sharpening effect. Last but not least, if you realize that the sharpening amount just isn't any good at all, you can always delete this layer, and then go through the overall process again by creating a new layer and applying the sharpening at a better level the next time. Alright, well, that wraps up our look at how we can use smart sharpen to improve our photographs.
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