Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video The single-shot sharpeners, part of Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
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In this exercise I am going to demonstrate the threes single shot sharpeners. That is to say; sharpen, sharpen edges, and sharpen more. Very easy filters to use. All you do is choose the command, let it rip, it does its thing no questions asked. However, not terribly satisfying filters either. They can be useful for web work, but that's about it. I am working inside of this image called Finely hewn.psd. It's found inside the 15_sharpen folder. Once again it's that detail from the $1 bill and I have gone ahead and repeated that detail five times on five separate layers that are stacked directly on top of each other so that we can compare the performance of each one of the filters.
I am going to go ahead and zoom in to 200% here so that we can really see the effect of these filters. Otherwise, it's very difficult to see the two initial filters in particular; Sharpen and Sharpen Edges. Now I am going to click on the sharpen layer, turn it on and I will go up o the Filter menu choose Sharpen and choose this very first command Sharpen. Keep a careful eye on your screen, because it's easy to miss this one. That applies a little bit of edge contrast as you can see there. So if I turn this layer off we can see the original version of the dollar bill, the original scan that is and then if I turn it back on, that's the version subject to the Sharpen commands.
So not much difference at all. Between you and me, I never ever use this command. I haven't used it in maybe 20 years now. In its defense, it's been shipping along with Photoshop since 1.0 and back in the old days it was more likely you might be working with low resolution images, it can make a difference for a screen image, an image that you might put up on the web for example. However, not really enough to make it worthwhile. All right, let's go ahead and turn that guy off and I will turn on Sharpen Edges right there, which is an even more subtle effect by the way.
I will go ahead and click on that layer, go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen and this time choose Sharpen Edges and the difference here is you are applying basically the same amount of sharpening, however, you are ruling out some non-edges inside the image that is some dust and some noise and that kind of thing. So as soon as I choose this command again keep a very careful eye on the screen here. That's the effect you get. So just a little bit of sharpening this time around, less than we saw before. I will go ahead and turn off this layer so we can see this is the original version.
Watch around his eyes you can see it just a little bit there, and this is the after version after applying Sharpen Edges. I will also go ahead and compare this to sharpen here. I will turn this layer on. So this is Sharpen Edges we are seeing right there. If I turn it off, there is the Sharpen command. So Sharpen actually produces bigger effects than Sharpen Edges which rules out some of the pixels inside the image. Next, I am going to turn on sharpen more here, the sharpen more layer. Click on it in order to select it and once again we are looking at the original image, because I haven't done anything to it yet.
I will go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen, and this time you are going to see the effect here at 200%. I will choose Sharpen More and that applies quite a bit more sharpening than we have seen so far. So if I turn off this layer we will see the sharpen layer underneath. So this is Sharpen More compared with Sharpen right there. So quite a bit more sharpening going on. I will go ahead and turn that layer back on and I will zoom out to 100% so that we can see the screen version of the image. Notice this time if I turn off sharpen more, I have got sharpen and Backgrounds sitting here.
So Background represents the original image, sharpen is the image subject to the Sharpen command. If I turn off sharpen, we are seeing now the original version of the image. Now we are seeing the Sharpen version of the image, not much difference there at 100%. A little bit of difference, you maybe you able to perceive it in the video, you may not be able to. However, compared with sharpen more that really stands out in the video. However, here is the problem, I will go back over to Macro butterfly.jpg and I am viewing this image at 50%. Now I will go up to the Filter menu and notice right here at the top of the Filter menu, I see sharpen more.
You always see your last applied filter up here at the top of the Filter menu and you can reapply that command just by pressing Ctrl+F or Command+F. So Ctrl+F or Command+F gets you to the last applied filter complete with any settings you may have applied if it usually brings up a dialog. I will choose sharpen more. Just a slight difference; in fact, what I am really bringing out is these pollen particles in the animals fur or whatever it is. Anyway, I will press Ctrl+Z in order to see the original version, that's Command+Z on a Mac.
So very small difference. Then I will go ahead and reapply the filter. Very slight difference when you start zooming out from the image. That gives you a sense that this filter is not going to survive printing. So in other words, you can't really use anything that we've seen so far for output purposes, because you will just lose the effect, because it's too tiny. I am going to switch back to Finely hewn. psd just for the sake of demonstration. This is little over the top here. I will switch over to the real sharp layer, I will turn it on, so that's the original version of the bill.
Then I will go up to the Filter menu I will choose Sharpen and I will choose Smart Sharpen and I will go ahead and apply those last applied settings, the settings that I showed you in a previous exercise that is this over-the-top Amount value of 500%, Radius of 1.0 and so on. Click OK, and this is a big difference. So this is the difference between real sharp, I will go ahead and turn it off, and sharpen more right there compared eventually with sharpen down here. Then of course the original image at the bottom.
But real sharp when I turn it on, it's almost offensively sharp. It hurts your eyes practically. But my point here is not that this is a better effect, my point is that using Smart Sharpen or its partner Unsharp Mask you can control the degree of sharpening which is much more useful when you are sharpening images inside of Photoshop. So both of those commands once again Smart Sharpen and Unsharp mask, they required that you learn how the filters work, but they also give you more control. In the next exercise, I will introduce you to the first of those two commands Unsharp Mask.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
- Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
- Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
- Creating and editing type in Photoshop
- Using blur effectively
- Using adjustment layers to add color
- Combining layers into a clipping mask
- Working with Camera Raw