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Photoshop CS4 New Features: Sharpening Images explores the changes to CS4's image-sharpening tools. As a companion to Deke McClelland's Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images, this short course teaches the new features for sharpening in CS4, focusing on the OpenGL support. OpenGL allows the user to preview an image at the size it will print, rather than waiting on output. For more information on sharpening after this course, continue with Photoshop CS3 Sharpening Images. Exercise files accompany this course.
Now, I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Sharper image.jpg. This is the image that I just sharpened a moment ago, using the Smart Sharpen filter. And we set the Amount value to 150% and the Radius value to 1.6. Now we are viewing the image at print size. So I've gone up to the View menu and chosen the Print Size command. And I'm telling you that what we're seeing is a view we can trust. Now it's still not quite as accurate as the 100% view. It's just ever so slightly softer as it just so happens.
So what we're going to do is we're going to compare it to the 100% view size. Add a resolution of 117 pixels per inch. So here's how we're going to proceed: Go to the Image menu and choose the Duplicate command. Then I'm going to go ahead and call this image 'Actual print size' because we're going to create an image that adheres to the actual print size, because that's what we're going to do. We're going to create an image that adheres to the actual print size that appears at print size at 100% view size. Click OK.
Just going to get a duplicate of the image we already had open. It's a 25% view size for me. I don't really care at this point. I'm going to go up to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command, or press Ctrl+Alt+I, Command+Option+I on the Mac. I want you to make sure Resample Image is turned on. Constrain Proportions should be turned on as well. Scale Styles doesn't matter, but I recommend you leave it on when in doubt. But in the case of this image, this is a flat image, so it doesn't have any layer styles. Then make sure that the Interpolation method, right here, is set to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients).
That's very important for accurately gauging our settings. That is also, by the way, the default setting. So if you haven't changed it, it should be fine. Then I want you to change the Resolution value to whatever your Screen Resolution is. I'm changing mine to 117 pixels per inch, because that's what I specified for my screen resolution. Then I'll click OK. Now what I want you to do is zoom this image to 100% by pressing Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on the Mac. Then I'm going to return to my Sharper image.jpg photograph, and it may not be registered properly with the other one.
So you might have to press Ctrl+Minus or Command+Minus a few times in order to center it inside the image window so that it's zoomed out and centered. Then go to the View menu and choose the Print Size command, and you will see the two images registered together. So I'm going to press now Ctrl+Tab here on the PC. That would be Command+Tilde on the Mac to switch to the other image. Look very carefully. Did you notice that it grew slightly sharper in the actual print size version? So this version that we're seeing right now, actual print size, that is the most accurate view of the sharpness of our image.
So this is the most accurate soft proof, but it's a lot of work to go through to have to scale every image to the screen resolution and then make sure you don't save over it, undo, come back to your big resolution image. That's what you'd have to do and that's what I advise you do, back in Photoshop CS3, if you were to watch that series. That's what you have to do for the image in order to gauge its print size. And it's just a lot of extra legwork. And if you can get away with not doing it, you want to get away with not doing it. And, if I Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde back to Sharper image.jpg, watch that eye.
It grows ever so slightly softer. That's okay. So, if anything, you're going to be tempted to add a little too much sharpening to your image. That might be what you're thinking. "Well, gosh, if I print this image, it's going to grow slightly sharper than I thought, and I'm going to accidentally over-sharpen." No, I assure you, this extra 10% sharpening, which is about what we're getting here, that we're seeing on screen, is going to resolve itself when you print the image. What we're getting is more Amount out of this. And Amount you don't have to worry about nearly as much as Radius.
We're still seeing the same Radius value. Our sharpening halos are barely visible, so we're in good shape. I just want you to see that, for all intensive purposes, this view right here, which is just ever so slightly softer, is as accurate as we need it to be. So there you have it, the mechanics of sharpening revealed before you. This is all the nuts and bolts of sharpening now, folks. What we're going to learn in subsequent chapters is how we go about sharpening our images, starting with the next chapter in which I answer the question: When do you sharpen? Is it a capture? Is it an output? Is it someplace in between? And as it just so happens, the answer to all of those questions is 'yes.'
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