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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 pass along something about meta tip, in other words a tip inside of a tip, but this is actually an anti-tip, meaning that I don't recommend your work this way. I have seen this tip offered a few times, it doesn't really work. So I am going to show you the tip. I am going to show you why it doesn't work, and I am going to show you the better way to work. If you are not interested in all that malarkey of course, by all means move onto the next exercise. Now I am working inside of the Camera RAW plug-in and I have gone ahead and opened up the image called Festive ornaments.dng that's found inside of the 05_For_Source folder. I am looking at the Detail panel, and I have gone ahead maxed out the Amount and Detail values.
I am going to take the Radius value up to its maximum as well, just for the sake of the demonstration here. I am going to take the Masking value down to it's minimum value, zero. So by maxing out Amount, Radius and Detail and minimizing Masking, we get the most dramatic sharpening effect. Now this is a completely over-the-top effect. It is very unlikely you are going to apply these settings to any of your own images, as I say, this is just for demonstrational purposes. Now you may recall that if I zoom out further than a 100%, right now I am looking at a 100% view size, if I zoom farther out, I lose my sharpening preview and I get this little warning here.
So here is the trick, as it goes. If I zoom back into 100%, great. Now I can see the sharpening effect again. The trick is you can downsample the image on the fly by clicking on this little hint down here. Notice right Now its telling me that this image measures 3872x2592 pixels, which adds up to a 10 megapixel image. If I click on this link to bring up the Workflow Options dialog box and I say, I want to downsample this image to say a 2.8 megapixel image, which would be very roughly a 28% zoom ratio.
So I'll go ahead and choose that option and click OK and notice that Camera RAW goes ahead and downsamples the image on the fly and sharpens it, so that I get a downsampled preview of my image at a reduced size, very much as if I had zoomed out inside of Photoshop. I keep my preview, it's a wonderful thing, right. Well, here is the problem. The downsampling is applied before the sharpening settings, so I am not actually downsampling the sharpened version of the image, I am downsampling the unsharpened original version of the image and then applying sharpening to it, so this is not indicative of a reduced version of the larger original image.
So here's what I suggest you do. First of all, click here on this link, make sure that the size value does not have a minus or a plus next to it, it should just be the standard native resolution of the image and then go ahead and click OK and stick with that native resolution and don't take advantage of any downsampling or upsampling here inside Camera RAW, leave that to when you actually open the image inside Photoshop. So I just pass that along, it just as an FYI just in case you come across that tip, just know that it really doesn't work the way it suppose to.
In the next exercise, we are going to began to take a look at how to sharpen this specific image. We are going to actually start things off with some adjustments to chromatic aberration. Stay tuned.
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