Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharpening with Smart Filters, part of Photoshop CS6: Optimal Output.
Generally speaking, I think of sharpening as part of my output workflow process, and I don't typically think about needing to come back and refine that sharpening later. But in some cases you might want to retain the ability to modify your sharpening later, by applying that sharpening as a smart filter, rather then directly altering pixel values. Let's take a look at how it's done. I'm going to start off by converting my background image layer, to a smart object. Now this is an image that I've otherwise prepared for printing. I've created a duplicate which I flattened.
I resized that image and now I'm ready to sharpen it. But instead of just sharpening the pixels directly, I'll use a smart filter. So, I'll start off by choosing Filter > Convert for Smart Filters, from the menu Photoshop will ask for confirmation. I'll click OK. And you can see that my background image layer, has now been converted to a smart object. Now if I apply any filters, they will be applied as a smart filter. I'll go ahead and choose Filter, and then Sharpen, followed by Smart Sharpen. And in this case, I'm going to over-exaggerate the sharpening, just so we can see a very obvious difference between the first version of sharpening, and the second version. So, this is obviously far too much sharpening.
I'll go ahead and click OK to apply that sharpening. But now you'll see that instead of altering my pixel values, I've applied this filter as a smart filter. So, now at any time I can modify the effect. I'll simply double-click on the Smart Sharpen Filter layer. And that will bring up the Smart Sharpen Dialog, where I can refine the sharpening effect. I'll reduce my radius and reduce the amount a little bit. That looks to be a much better effect for this image. I'll Click OK and now we have a much reduced sharpening effect.
I can save this image as either a Photoshop PSD File. Or a TIF file, so that I can always come back to this particular image, re-sized and ready to print. But I do retain the ability to adjust the sharpening as needed. So, if I print the image and decide that there wasn't enough sharpening. Or perhaps there was too much sharpening. I can return to this file, adjust the sharpening, and print again. So, as you can see, just by using smart filters, you retain considerable flexibility, in terms of the sharpening, you're applying to your photo.
- Getting started with color management
- Early-workflow sharpening
- Output preparation
- When not to sharpen
- Advanced sharpening techniques
- Printing a photo