Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharpening pt: 2: Using Smart Sharpen, part of Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Desktop Printing Techniques.
All right, well in the previous movie we converted this layer for a Smart Filter. Opened up the Smart Sharpen dialog, and we are using this as a Smart Filter, which basically means we have extra flexibility. We now need to dial-in the appropriate amount of sharpening. Well, how do we do that? Well, one of the things that I like to do is I like to think of the radius in regards to sandpaper. Now, let me explain. This is a bit of a stretch, but this is going to helps me understand how the Radius slider works. Pretend that you are working on a woodworking project. Now, if you have really coarse wood, I mean, it's really rough wood. Well, what you want to do is increase the radius, increase the grit of the sandpaper. On the other hand, if you have a real fine finished piece of wood, you are going to use a low, real fine grain sandpaper in order to finish it off.
So, we can think about that in regards to our Radius amount. The higher the res of the file, the larger the Radius. For that matter, if it's a web file or a small file that we have here, we are going to use a real low radius. Now our Amount will vary as well, but it won't vary as significantly as the Radius. So in this case, we are going to go ahead and bring our Radius up a little bit. Click on the image to look at our before and after. We really want to focus in on the different areas of the image. I want to try to get this eye in focus as well, or to bring some sharpness to that eye. I'm noticing that as I'm increasing the Amount here, that I'm bringing a little bit of a haloing effect, although the image is looking good in certain areas.
So now this particular amount of sharpening is too high. There is too much sharpening here. Yet I'm okay with that. Even though I absolutely despise over sharpened image, and I'm okay with that, because we are going to then paint in the sharpening to specific areas. Okay, well now that we have our Amount and Radius in, and again my Radius is a little bit high, my Amounts is a little bit too high than I'm comfortable with, I'll click OK to apply that. Next I'll move over, so I can focus in on the image, and look at my before and after. Here is before and here is after. Now, if I zoom way in on one of the eyes, and look at my before and after, the problem that I'm having is with these highlights. With the halos, the edges, that doesn't look good.
So we need to click in the mask. And on a Mac, what I want to do is fill this mask with black. So black is in my background color. So on a Mac that's Command+Delete; on a PC that would be Ctrl+Delete. Now if black was in my foreground, that would be Option+ Delete on a Mac, Alt+Delete on a PC. Okay, well now that that's black, i.e. no sharpening at all. I'm going to then grab my brush. I'm going to move over to the eye; it's a little bit more out of focus. Make my brush a little bit smaller by pressing the Left Bracket Key. I'll press the Zero Key to take my Opacity 100% and with a nice small brush, by painting with white, not with black, I'm going to bring in full amount of sharpening on this eye. Because this is the area of the image that needs the most amount of sharpening. Let's look at our before and after. Before and then after. That eye is looking much better.
Now do I always zoom in this file, when I'm sharpening? No, I'm just doing that in order to illustrate how to sharpen these eyes. Typically, you want to view your image at 100%. Okay, well I'll click back in the mask. I have my Brush tool. Now here, let me go down to about 80%, because I don't need to sharpen this eye as much as the other one. This one has a little bit more of it already in focus. I'll zoom out a touch just so I can start to zero in on the eyes. So here is my before and after. Okay, the eyes are looking much better. Now, as I did that I realize that this eye needs a little bit more. So I'll click in the mask, I'm going to increase this up, and then bring in some more sharpening over here. Again, just looking to try to get both eyes pretty similar place. Okay, great.
Now, I'm going to make my brush nice and big. I'm going to go down to about 50% Opacity, and I want to bring in some of the details on the nose there, the lips. I'm going to bring in the eyebrows, little bit of the hair up here. My brush nice and big. And again, I'm just looking to bring in some of the sharpness to some of the other areas around the eyes there. Next, I'll press the X Key, and make my brush a little bit smaller. And I'm going to bring my Opacity up, this will mask out some of the sharpening I just did. I want to do that especially on these highlight areas. I don't want those highlight areas to look too crispy, where the light is really reflecting on her nose, and on her cheeks there.
I also want to remove a little bit down here on the skin. I don't want to over-sharpen the skin. So again, I'm just dialing in the exact amount of sharpening that I want. I'll zoom in a little bit, so you can see what's happening here. Now, here is our before and then after. Now one problem is I sharpened this nose a bit too much. So I'll click at my mask. Make my brush nice and small. Paint with 100%. Press the Zero Key. That takes the Opacity at 100. Now I'm going to mask off the sharpening of that edge there, I don't want that halo to be showing up too much, and then we'll zoom out a bit.
Double-click the Zoom tool to go to 100%. That's the zoom rate we want. And then click on the Eye icon to look at our before and then after. Now, we just applied a pretty good amount of sharpening, and this amount of sharpening will work really well if you are printing this image on glossy paper. Now, why do I say that? Well, I say that because the sharpening isn't over the top, and glossy paper will really show you a lot of the details. I mean it's able to show you so much color and sharpness. Now, let's say that I all of a sudden decide, I want to print this on water color paper, or on velvet paper, or on matte paper. Well, there is a higher Dot Gain with those types of papers. And what that means is that ink bleeds in the paper a little bit. The image will look a little bit more soft. So in that case, I need to double-click to Smart Sharpen icon there. And I'm going to increase my Amount and Radius a little bit more. I'll click OK to apply that.
Now, the sharpening may feel like its a little bit over-sharpened on screen. Although with that paper, it's going to naturally soften the image, and dial back the sharpening amount. Now, I imagine that in these movies it's kind of hard to tell how much I'm actually sharpening the image, because these movies get kind of small. Yet, my hope is that through walking through this process, you have now learned how you can evaluate this on your own monitors, a nd get the appropriate amount of sharpening. All right, well we have now successfully sharpened this file and as a quick side-note I just got to tell you, I just love these colors and the patterns and the background there. I think that's so beautiful, such an amazing, little background effect there. I hadn't noticed that before, but just zooming on the image, that's a really nice little touch.
And in conclusion, we have successfully sharpened this image, and learned how to apply, what we know about Smart Sharpen to a practical test.
- Implementing a color-managed workflow
- Creating color-correct prints
- Advanced image sharpening techniques
- Using typography with promo materials
- Working with print layouts and montages
- Considering paper and printer choices
- Soft-proofing to ensure stunning results
- Optimizing the print workflow
- Converting to CMYK and going to press