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Working with Smart Sharpen

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Working with Smart Sharpen

I love the process of sharpening a picture because typically it means that you're at the end of your overall workflow. You want to sharpen your image just before you're ready to send that to the client or to the printer or to post it online. So here in this chapter, we are going to focus in on how we can create tack sharp images. We are going to start off with this picture which I captured just a few blocks away from Adobe's headquarters in San Jose, California. Let's go ahead and double-click on the Zoom tool in order to zoom in to 100% on this image, so that we can see the color and tone and texture that we have in this image.

Working with Smart Sharpen

I love the process of sharpening a picture because typically it means that you're at the end of your overall workflow. You want to sharpen your image just before you're ready to send that to the client or to the printer or to post it online. So here in this chapter, we are going to focus in on how we can create tack sharp images. We are going to start off with this picture which I captured just a few blocks away from Adobe's headquarters in San Jose, California. Let's go ahead and double-click on the Zoom tool in order to zoom in to 100% on this image, so that we can see the color and tone and texture that we have in this image.

Well, the photograph looks pretty good, but I want to make it look better, and I want to do so using what's called Smart Sharpen. So in our Layers panel, let's duplicate the layer, because typically, you want to do the sharpening on a new layer so that you can modify or customize it if needed. Let's do that by pressing Command+J on a Mac, or Ctrl+J on Windows and let's name this layer Smart Sharpen. The next step is to navigate to the Filter pulldown menu, and here we are going to go to Sharpen, and the two options you'll use most frequently will either be Smart Sharpen or Unsharp Mask because they have controls; the other just apply the amount without many controls or controls at all, in other words, those filters are blind.

Therefore, we want to choose one of these two options so that we can specify the amount of sharpening which is appropriate for our image. Well, here let's click on Smart Sharpen. This will open up this dialog, and what I want to do first is just kind of deconstruct what we're seeing here. Well, we have an Amount slider. As you click-and-drag this up, it increases the sharpening, and then we have Radius. Well, as we drag Radius to the right, you're going to see that the edges will start to glow. Let me exaggerate this so that we have bad sharpening.

Notice the glowing artifacts there. If we click, you can see that before and after; how it kind of looks almost HDR or just kind of strange. Well, the Radius is how far out from the edges that Sharpening effect is being applied. Now, if we exaggerate this perhaps even more and then zoom in a little bit, we can take a look at a few other options that we have here when it comes to Sharpening. With Smart Sharpen, we can either remove Lens Blur, or on the other hand, Gaussian Blur. Gaussian Blur is a lot like working with Unsharp Mask.

Notice the glow around the edge, it's more diffused, it's more prominent. When we choose Lens Blur, it's a much tighter edge, in other words, it applies better sharpening. So typically, you'll want to use Lens Blur. Next, we have an option which is called Motion Blur. This option is great if you have photographs that you created when you were panning with a slow shutter speed. Yet, here we need to dial in the angle. You'll notice that the Sharpening is applied in this case to the top and bottom or on the left and right, depending on the overall angle.

Well, this image obviously doesn't have Motion Blur, so we will choose Lens Blur. Next, we have this option for More Accurate. As I turn this on, you are going to see all the texture is going to show up there. So More Accurate is going to focus in on these little teeny details in your photograph. Again, this works well when you want a lot of texture, or when you have really small details you want to draw out when you're sharpening. For this photograph, I am going to turn this off and then go ahead and bring these Amounts and Radius back to something which is a bit more reasonable.

Let's also zoom back to 100% so we can see an appropriate view of this image. Well, now that we have that, now that we understand these controls a little bit, how can we use this dialog? Well, the first thing you want to do is choose an Amount. Typically, your Amount is going to hover around 100. Then your Radius will really be dependent upon your file resolution; the higher the resolution, the higher the Radius, the lower the resolution, the lower the Radius. Well here, what we want to do is increase the Radius until we see that Glow Effect.

So as I increase this, I can then click on the image and I start to see that I have these glowing edges. It's a little bit too high. And then I am going to bring my Amount and also my Radius down a bit. In other words, you kind of want to go to that point where you've over-sharpened your image. You want to find that edge, and then kind of scale things back a little bit. You can click on the image to see that before and after, you can also click on this Preview button to see the before and after in the window behind this as well.

In doing that, what I'm noticing is that with this image, I need to bring my Radius and Amount down just a little bit more. You want to have sharpening which doesn't look overdone. I think this looks good for this image. So here, we will click OK. Now, having done that, we can then turn the visibility of this layer on and off. What we should see is that subtle kind of snap of our photograph, so it kind of pops just a bit. You want to look for any telltale sign of over-sharpening because that will then detract or pull the viewer away from the content of the image.

In this case, I think this looks really nice. Now, the last step that I recommend that you apply whether you're using Unsharpen Mask or Smart Sharpen is to change this layer's Blending mode to Luminosity. You may recall in the chapter on Blending modes, we talked about how this Blending mode allows you to blend the content in without creating any kind of exaggerated noise which sometimes happens when you sharpen your photographs. So by applying this, it will ensure that our photograph looks tack sharp, that it looks great, and that we're not bringing out any color noise or any artifacting.

And that's especially important if you use that More Accurate button inside of that dialog. Well, either way, now we have wrapped up our whole process of sharpening this image, we've applied Smart Sharpen, and then at the end, we applied this Blending mode of Luminosity, and here we can see our overall before and then after. And while that may be a little bit difficult to see in this compressed movie, my hope is that this movie has helped you learn how you can work with Smart Sharpen in order to sharpen your photographs.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 27723 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
  2. 11m 49s
    1. Ideas for how to learn Photoshop more effectively
      4m 25s
    2. Isolating what you've learned and taking quality notes
      3m 53s
    3. Getting creative and being ready to be surprised
      3m 31s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Customizing the Bridge workspace
      4m 46s
    2. Reviewing and evaluating your photos
      4m 22s
    3. Rating, ranking, and filtering photographs
      5m 42s
    4. Organizing photos with stacks
      3m 55s
    5. Grouping pictures together with collections
      3m 56s
    6. Adding metadata and keywords
      4m 47s
    7. Renaming images
      1m 45s
    8. Accessing the Photoshop tools from within Bridge
      2m 28s
    9. Working with Bridge and Photoshop
      2m 40s
    10. Working with Mini Bridge
      4m 36s
  4. 45m 29s
    1. Setting up your color settings
      3m 31s
    2. Choosing preferences for the HUD color picker
      3m 50s
    3. Setting image interpolation preferences
      3m 3s
    4. Modifying zoom preferences
      4m 20s
    5. Changing HUD brush options
      3m 41s
    6. Customizing interface preferences
      3m 30s
    7. Opening up documents in tabs
      4m 11s
    8. Reviewing file-handling preferences
      5m 4s
    9. Setting performance preferences
      4m 23s
    10. Choosing cursor preferences
      5m 14s
    11. Reviewing guides and type preview preferences
      4m 42s
  5. 21m 4s
    1. Exploring two simple steps for more accurate color
      2m 57s
    2. Introducing color profiles
      5m 17s
    3. Opening and saving files with embedded profiles
      7m 33s
    4. Setting up your studio
      1m 59s
    5. A demonstration of monitor calibration
      1m 46s
    6. Finding color management resources
      1m 32s
  6. 28m 34s
    1. Introducing the Tools panel
      4m 53s
    2. Changing the view mode and working with panels
      5m 33s
    3. Opening and arranging multiple documents
      6m 31s
    4. Combining, saving, and closing multiple documents
      5m 17s
    5. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      5m 11s
    6. Working with a Wacom tablet
      1m 9s
  7. 18m 24s
    1. The foundation of digital imaging: pixels and bit depth
      6m 12s
    2. Introducing image resizing
      3m 42s
    3. Resizing images effectively
      3m 48s
    4. Resizing and straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 28s
    5. Creative tip: sizing images correctly
      2m 14s
  8. 41m 56s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      2m 47s
    2. Accessing the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 16s
    3. Improving your images with the basic controls
      7m 0s
    4. Correcting color and white balance
      4m 44s
    5. Processing multiple images at once
      5m 56s
    6. Utilizing the Crop tool to recompose your pictures
      5m 28s
    7. Creating dramatic black-and-white conversions
      5m 34s
    8. Reducing noise and making tack-sharp photos
      7m 11s
  9. 32m 55s
    1. Introducing layers
      2m 22s
    2. Understanding layers and layer transparency
      1m 29s
    3. Working with layer opacity
      3m 29s
    4. Aligning layers
      1m 32s
    5. Creating new layers
      4m 53s
    6. Organizing layers
      2m 31s
    7. Filtering and finding layers
      2m 8s
    8. Adding layer style effects
      5m 28s
    9. Creating a clipping mask
      6m 50s
    10. Targeting and moving layers
      2m 13s
  10. 33m 22s
    1. Making selections with the marquee tools
      4m 50s
    2. Using the three lasso tools
      4m 56s
    3. Selecting with the Magic Wand tool
      5m 43s
    4. Working with the Quick Select tool
      7m 21s
    5. Selecting based on color with the Color Range controls
      7m 13s
    6. Correcting skin tones with Color Range
      3m 19s
  11. 23m 2s
    1. Introducing masking
      1m 14s
    2. Painting away the contents of a layer with a mask
      3m 59s
    3. Using a selection to build a mask
      3m 3s
    4. Removing a subject from the background with a mask
      6m 37s
    5. Using a mask to selectively sharpen an image
      3m 58s
    6. Making selections with Quick Mask
      4m 11s
  12. 13m 42s
    1. Creating a custom border using selections and masks
      5m 4s
    2. Painting custom border effects
      3m 34s
    3. Using prebuilt borders
      4m 13s
    4. Exploring the PhotoFrame plug-in
      51s
  13. 11m 49s
    1. Adding brightness and contrast
      3m 3s
    2. Using hue and saturation and the Target Adjustment tool
      5m 34s
    3. Working with vibrancy and saturation
      3m 12s
  14. 14m 36s
    1. Working with auto levels
      3m 36s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      4m 12s
    3. Painting in adjustments with levels and masking
      4m 10s
    4. Creative tip: checking in
      2m 38s
  15. 29m 50s
    1. Introducing the Curves dialog box
      3m 12s
    2. Using auto curves and adjustments to enhance an image
      4m 17s
    3. Changing brightness with curves and masks
      3m 59s
    4. Using curves and masks to improve tone and color
      4m 56s
    5. Making advanced selections and masks
      3m 53s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks
      5m 53s
    7. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      3m 40s
  16. 20m 12s
    1. Introducing the magic of blend modes
      6m 33s
    2. Blending multiple images together
      3m 50s
    3. Using blending modes to remove white or black
      2m 8s
    4. Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending
      5m 37s
    5. Using blending shortcuts
      2m 4s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Working with color correction in Camera Raw
      1m 21s
    2. Correcting color with the eyedroppers
      3m 11s
    3. Correcting color and tone with the eyedroppers
      5m 54s
  18. 36m 1s
    1. Using a Replace Color adjustment
      4m 14s
    2. Using Replace Color, Hue/Saturation, and masks
      5m 32s
    3. Replacing color with advanced masking
      7m 14s
    4. Selecting and modifying color with the Hue/Saturation eyedroppers
      2m 30s
    5. Using Color Balance to create vivid color
      4m 3s
    6. Modifying color with Selective Color
      5m 3s
    7. Changing color with Photo Filter
      4m 4s
    8. Making creative color changes with Color Lookup
      1m 44s
    9. Creative tip: shoot more
      1m 37s
  19. 35m 13s
    1. The modern equivalent of a traditional technique
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing two burn and dodge techniques
      7m 22s
    3. Burning and dodging with the Brush and Gradient tools
      4m 18s
    4. Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait
      6m 0s
    5. Using selections, masks, and curves to change tonality
      7m 21s
    6. Improving a black-and-white landscape
      8m 32s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. The power of black and white
      4m 14s
    2. Converting a portrait to black and white
      4m 6s
    3. Converting a landscape to black and white
      4m 23s
    4. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      3m 26s
  21. 31m 57s
    1. Introducing Smart Filters
      3m 36s
    2. Applying Smart Filters
      6m 20s
    3. Creating a soft contrast effect
      6m 38s
    4. Changing focus with the Blur Gallery
      3m 40s
    5. Working with Tilt-Shift Blur
      3m 52s
    6. Creating a realistic lens flare
      2m 45s
    7. Adding light with the Lighting Effects filter
      5m 6s
  22. 12m 33s
    1. Using the Noise Reduction filter
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring advanced noise reduction using channels
      2m 49s
    3. Masking in noise reduction to a specific area
      2m 1s
    4. Reducing noise with Surface Blur
      3m 57s
  23. 48m 30s
    1. Cleaning before you enhance
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the healing and cloning tools
      7m 22s
    3. Cleaning up the background of an image
      6m 21s
    4. Basic portrait retouching
      3m 15s
    5. Brightening shadows under the eyes
      4m 53s
    6. Brightening the eyes
      2m 30s
    7. Retouching selected areas
      5m 27s
    8. Using Content-Aware Fill to remove distractions
      5m 34s
    9. Moving a subject with the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 54s
    10. Changing shape and dimension with Liquify
      4m 12s
  24. 24m 2s
    1. Using the Lens Correction filter
      6m 52s
    2. Reducing exaggerated distortion
      5m 16s
    3. Applying Free Transform to correct perspective
      3m 49s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Perspective Crop tool
      3m 45s
    5. Using Puppet Warp to correct perspective
      4m 20s
  25. 26m 48s
    1. Combining two photos with movement
      4m 12s
    2. Using two frames for a group photo
      4m 57s
    3. Creating a panoramic photo from multiple frames
      3m 37s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle correction
      7m 34s
    5. Cropping, filling in the gaps, and making final panographic adjustments
      6m 28s
  26. 27m 24s
    1. Working with Smart Sharpen
      6m 17s
    2. Using Unsharpen Mask
      4m 49s
    3. High Pass sharpening an image
      4m 47s
    4. Selectively sharpening the in-focus areas of an image
      3m 35s
    5. Selective sharpening with hand-drawn masks
      7m 56s
  27. 22m 44s
    1. Preparing images for the web and email
      4m 38s
    2. Sharpening for the web
      3m 5s
    3. Using Save for Web to create an optimized JPEG
      4m 26s
    4. Exporting images to Facebook or Flickr
      4m 46s
    5. Creating a web gallery
      5m 49s
  28. 26m 6s
    1. Desktop printing recommendations
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a PDF layout and contact sheets
      5m 56s
    3. Using a soft proof to visualize the print
      8m 0s
    4. Adjusting printer settings
      3m 43s
    5. Customizing the Print dialog box options
      5m 41s
  29. 32m 4s
    1. Opening up a video file in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    2. Editing a video clip and adding text
      5m 15s
    3. Using adjustment layers and adding an audio track
      4m 47s
    4. Creating a project with multiple clips
      4m 55s
    5. Adding a cross-dissolve fade and creating custom shortcuts
      4m 43s
    6. Customizing the workspace to review your project
      3m 2s
    7. Exporting a project
      2m 15s
  30. 3m 4s
    1. Exploring additional resources and ways to keep in touch
      2m 29s
    2. Goodbye
      35s

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