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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.
In this exercise I am going to demonstrate how to use the Masking value here inside the Detail panel of the Camera RAW dialog box. I am still working inside of that Ornaments defringed.dng file. The only changes I've made to it are to reduce the Radius value to 0.6 and to increase the Detail value to 80. Now you might look at the sharpened result and say "Deke, this is way too far. We're making these edges super-crunchy here, really crispy and we're applying too much sharpening especially given that we're just sharpening for the source.
We're not trying to sharpen for output; we don't want the image to look in anyway shape or form over-sharpened because that will harm our ability to edit the image in the future. So we just want to sure up the details inside the image, not over-emphasize them." Well, bear in mind that we've got this Amount value through the roof right Now set way too high, I have it set to its maximum value so we can gauge the other values. Once were done in just a moment in fact, well reduce this Amount value. We can also constrain the effects of our sharpening by raising the Masking value.
Now the Masking value applies an Edge Mask on the fly so that you don't have to build an Edge Mask yourself, it makes one for you. Its a really great function, it doesn't- you know, building your own Edge Mask is actually more versatile because you are in control of how the edges shake down. But, this is definitely much more convenient. It does help in the case of this particular slider bar. I think it helps a lot to go ahead and Alt-drag or Option-drag that slider triangle so that you can see the Edge Mask generated live before you on the fly. You can see if we take that Masking value higher, were masking away more of the details inside the image.
So bear I mind, black is going to conceal and white is going to reveal. So in other words, any place that were seen black inside of the mask right now that's an area that were not going to sharpen inside the image. We're only going to sharpen the white edges. So we want to bring out more edges than that I think, but we don't want to just leave all the edges open for interpretation here. We do want to protect some areas of the image to avoid bringing out noise inside of the photograph. So I am going to take this Masking value up to something like 40; actually I think it works very well for this image.
You can check out other regions of the image if you want to, I'll go ahead and drag over to this area that shows me because its an area of very high-contrast layer, me as a reflection of course, and very tiny inside this silver ball. If I alter option drag on the masking slider triangle, you can see how there is a wide edge on this neon as they're tracing around me like I am this little stick figure there, and that's exactly what we want. So as soon as I release, you can see that its protecting what were the formerly those black regions inside the mask and its revealing the white edges, it's doing a very nice job indeed.
Then it helps to keep the noise from being drawn out inside of the non-edge detail of course. Alright, so as I was saying, this is a medium-frequency shot, I mean its high Amount, low Radius, high Detail and low Masking, relatively low Masking. So were staying on the south side of 50% right there. Now we've taken Amount too high, just because we want to go high with Amount, it doesn't mean we want to go this high with the Amount value. Now when I would recommend for the shot, its something in the 70-80% region.
So this is 70% just to give you sense of what that's going to look like and its going to look much more subtle. Notice a lot of those edges drop out and we get a much more subtle effect than what we had before. Or 80, if you wanted to go on high side, you could take the Amount value up to 80%. that's a little subtle for our screen purposes here though because I want to demonstrate what's going on. So I am going to take the value up to 100% for this shot. Then as for the sake of comparison here, were going to switch over to Photoshop. I would like to be able to just turn on and off the Preview checkbox.
But, because I am working inside of the Ornaments defringed.dng file; if I turn off Preview, then were going to see the image as it appeared when I had the Amount value set to 150% and Radius default, and Masking set to their defaults of 1.025 and 0 respectively. That doesn't do us much good. So lets go and turn Preview back on. I'll just go ahead and show you what the image would look like, were we to open them inside Photoshop. So I'll go ahead and switch over to Photoshop here. This is the original festive ornaments.dng file over here on the left-hand side, and this is the sharpened version.
According to our settings of 100%, 0.6 Radius, 80 for Detail and 40 for Masking over here on the right-hand side. If you like, you can go and zoom-in. I'll go ahead and zoom-in on the shot on the right so that we can see the details here at 200%. So you can get a very good sense of the comparison between the two. But, I think even more telling, if you are doing this on screen with me is to compare them at 50%. So I am going to go ahead and zoom-out for the 50% zoom ratio for both shots, both on the left and right-hand sides.
You should be able to see the difference here if you look closely. This is the unsharpened version over on the left-hand side. This is the sharpened version over here on the right-hand side. Its a little too sharp as I say because I said I crank the Amount value up to a 100%, I recommend something like 70-80 for this specific shot. But it will now hold up well. We have compensated for the photographic process, we have sharpened for this source very successfully indeed and this image will hold up to future edits, including sharpening for detail, sharpening for effect and sharpening for output as well examine in future chapters.
In the next exercise, we'll see how to sharpen a portrait shot inside Camera RAW.
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