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Using low-frequency source sharpening

From: Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

Video: Using low-frequency source sharpening

Lets start things up by taking a look at how to sharpen a low frequency image. By low frequency, I mean gradual transitions between luminance levels, between highlights and mid-tones and shadows inside of the image. Now you typically want to treat any portrait shot as a low frequency image, even if it has a busy background with a lot of rapid transitions. Lot of rapid luminance transitions in it or if the person is wearing busy clothing with a lot of tight fabric patterns and so on. Even So you want to go ahead and treat it as a low frequency image because that is the most forgiving kind of sharpening that you can apply and after all we do want to be forgiving even with beautiful people like this one, right here.

Using low-frequency source sharpening

Lets start things up by taking a look at how to sharpen a low frequency image. By low frequency, I mean gradual transitions between luminance levels, between highlights and mid-tones and shadows inside of the image. Now you typically want to treat any portrait shot as a low frequency image, even if it has a busy background with a lot of rapid transitions. Lot of rapid luminance transitions in it or if the person is wearing busy clothing with a lot of tight fabric patterns and so on. Even So you want to go ahead and treat it as a low frequency image because that is the most forgiving kind of sharpening that you can apply and after all we do want to be forgiving even with beautiful people like this one, right here.

Now I should tell you that we are going to start things up from the very beginning. So we are going to sharpen for the source. Bring the image in the Photoshop as a Smart Object and then we are going to sharpen for detail inside of Photoshop and sort of mix and match our source sharpening and our detail sharpening. You will see, it's a fairly elaborate process when done properly. Now I have the Bridge showing down the 06_for_detail folder, that's inside the exercise files folder and I have gone ahead and selected this image right here, that's called Coffee to go.jpg.

Don't fret about the fact we are only seeing couple of thumbnails on screen right now. You are going to see more thumbnails inside of your folder because I am building the images up still as I am talking to you. Anyway, this image, this wonderful image here comes to us from photographer Quavondo Nguyen. I just love that first name, Quavondo, of iStockphoto.com once again and lets go ahead and start by sharpening the image for the source, as I was saying. So I am going to bring the image in Camera RAW. It's my favorite way to work, not necessarily the only way to work but I think its the best and most effective way to work and so I go up to the File menu and choose Open in Camera RAW, and I do want to mention something to you at the outset here.

I have noticed in this particular version of the bridge just may it be fixed by time you are working inside the bridge but every so often this command will appear inexplicably dimmed as if you can't apply it to JPEG images or TIFF images which you can. You should be able to do that on a regular basis, no matter what and the only kinds of files you really cant effect are layered files like, made of PSD documents. You cant open that inside Camera RAW but JPEGs and TIFFs, are just fine. If the Open in Camera RAW Command appears dimmed, here is a little trick.

You go to the Tools menu. This is mostly works 95% of the time. I have had it failed couple of times but it mostly works. Go up to the Tools menu choose Cache and choose Purge Cache or Folder, blah, blah, blah. Essentially purge the thumbnails, that's what you are doing for this particular folder, and that should take care of your problem. Then you should be able to click on this file and all should be well. If not you may need to sort of click between folders and just fool around a little bit. It's weird. I don't know why the bridge does this. But anyway, probably a bug. I am going to go up to the File menu choose Open in Camera RAW, Ctrl+R or Command+R in Mac in order to Open the Camera RAW dialog box.

Lets go ahead and zoom in on her eyes here and I am going to make sure that I am seeing the image at the 100% zoom ratio. Right now it's a 117 or whatever, that's what I am saying. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+minus or Command+minus on the Mac in order to zoom out a little bit. Now lets switch over to the Detail panel right here. Now I should warn you just because we are seeing the Amount value of zero for sharpening doesn't mean that some sharpening hasn't been applied before to this image. It's very possible that the original photographer sharpened this image to some extent.

Either when they originally opened the image in Camera RAW and saved it out as a JPEG or during the editing cycle. It's very possible this image is already been sharpened in advance. It doesn't look like it to me, that's why I am going ahead and treating it as a completely unsharpened image. Alright. So I am going to go ahead and take this amount value up to 150% just so that I can gauge the proper values. Obviously this is way too much and then I might take the Radius value up to 1.5 since this is a low frequency image. We saw on the previous chapter that when you are working with a low frequency inside of Camera RAW, you want a low amount which we don't have so far but we will.

A low amount, a high radius, a low detail value and a high masking value. So lets leave the detail value where it is, at 25 and then I am going to Alt or Option-drag the masking value over here to about 17, looks pretty good to me. That's going to protect most of the skin and reveal the real edges around the eyes and the mouth and the nose and the ears and so on. Now that we have done that, lets go ahead and backup the Amount value, and I am going to take it down to lets say something along lines of 50%, maybe a little higher just so that we can see the effects of our sharpening very easily on screen.

Lets go and take it a 60% here. So just so that you can see the difference. This is before and this is after and just in case that isnt reading super well on the video, lets go ahead and zoom in and click here to the 200% view size. This is the before view and this is the after view. So a fair amount of sharpening that we are applying. Next what I want you do, I want you to press and hold the Shift key, then I want you to click on this button down here, that says, Open Object. Go ahead and click, while the Shift key is down, then you can release Shift. So you just want to Shift+click on that button.

In order to open the image in Photoshop as we have done and of course, we have also gone ahead and opened the image as the Smart Object, as you can see over here, inside the Layers palette, we gave little Smart Object icon down in lower right hand corner of the thumbnail. Alright, so this is good. We have now sharpened for source and we have taken the detail into account. In the next exercise, we are going to apply a second pass of sharpening. Sounds a little dangerous but it works beautifully actually. We are going to apply a second pass of sharpening in order to take into account just the detail not the source.

Just the detail inside this image.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images
Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images

115 video lessons · 17012 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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

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