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Let's start things off by opening the image called OrangeOnBlue.jpeg it's found inside the 11Sharpen folder and this image once again comes to us from photographer Andrea Gingrich. Wonderful thing that these photographers are willing to share their work with us helps us all out tremendously I think. Alright I am going to go ahead and press the F key in order to switch to the Maximize mode here so that we get rid of that weird little blue title bar here under Windows Vista and let's go ahead and check out this snake. I am going to zoom in on it so that we are viewing the animal at the 100% zoom level and notice that there is a certain softness to the focus of this image, it is by no means blurry because were the image blurry, there is just about nothing we could do in order to save it.
Photoshop as we learned earlier when we took a look at Up Sampling using the image size command a few chapters back Photoshop is not capable of generating detail where no detail exists. Real focus is a function of the lens element of your camera so you have to lock that focus on in order to get sharpness. What Photoshop can do is exaggerate edge differences inside of the image to create the appearance of additional sharpness.
So this image for example is ideally suited to sharpening inside of Photoshop and here's what I am going to do just to demonstrate how Sharpening works. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this snake's eye like so, so I am Ctrl Spacebar dragging that would be Command Spacebar dragging on the Mac in order to zoom into the image. Let me just take it out a notch. I am looking at this eye at the 1200% zoom ratio now. And take a look at what's going on with the eye. We have sort of a darkish sliver on the outside edge of the eye.
Then on one side we have got light blue background going on and on the other side of this dark sliver we have lighter red colors going on in the interior of the eye. Alright, let's see what Sharpening inside Photoshop will do. I will just go ahead and apply a Sharpening function here and we will learn what the Sharpening features are in the next exercise but for now I am just going to apply it magically and notice the difference. Photoshop just made that sliver darker and it made the eye slightly lighter and it made the background slightly lighter as well so this is before and this is after.
So it's exaggerating the degree of differences between neighboring pixels and that means in addition to calling out real details inside of the image it also calls out digital noise. Notice the blue background here. Here's what it looked like before much smoother, here's what it looks like after much rougher. So the sharpen functions are also going to call out not only the good detail inside your image but the bad detail as well, the random detail like noise and film grain and so on.
So now we know how Sharpening works. It's all about exaggerating differences between neighboring pixels. In the next exercise I will show you where the Sharpen functions are located and how you go about applying them to an image.
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