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When not to sharpen

From: Optimal Output with Photoshop CS6

Video: When not to sharpen

Sharpening is a critical component of your workflow for preparing images for output. And so you might assume that you need to apply sharpening to every single image in order to improve the appearance of all of those photos. But that's not the case, in certain situations you may not want to apply sharpening at all. And I think this image is a good case in point. There are very smooth textures in the photo. And very gradual transitions of tonal values. The boat in the fog has not a tremendous amount of detail to it. Most of the details that would have been there are shrouded in fog.

When not to sharpen

Sharpening is a critical component of your workflow for preparing images for output. And so you might assume that you need to apply sharpening to every single image in order to improve the appearance of all of those photos. But that's not the case, in certain situations you may not want to apply sharpening at all. And I think this image is a good case in point. There are very smooth textures in the photo. And very gradual transitions of tonal values. The boat in the fog has not a tremendous amount of detail to it. Most of the details that would have been there are shrouded in fog.

If I go to the Smart Sharpen Dialogue, for example. I'll choose Filter, and then Sharpen, followed by Smart Sharpen. And zoom in on a portion of the boat. You'll see that even with a modest increase in sharpening, we're really causing more problems than we're solving. I'll click on the preview to show the image before sharpening and then release and the effect is subtle but you can see a little bit more noise and texture in the image. An not texture in a good way. We're not enhancing any of the details. We're simply accentuating noise and other problems in the photo. And so in situations like this, when you don't have a lot of detail in the photo you may not need to sharpen the image at all.

For some images, subtlety of detail is really a big part of the photo, and so we don't want to enhance detail that isn't really there. So we'll go ahead and click Cancel in this case, and we'll assume that this image is ready to go with no sharpening applied at all. So I encourage you to keep in mind that sometimes for certain photos sharpening is not necessary and in fact, sharpening can be problematic. Usually sharpening helps to improve a photo but that's not always the case.

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Optimal Output with Photoshop CS6

30 video lessons · 1659 viewers

Tim Grey
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