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Sharpening With Photoshop

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 30, 2014, 12:44 AM

In a discussion with one of my good friends on DA Anders Stangl.  A very talented Photographer.  Please do pay his gallery a visit.

We were discussing "sharpening"I mentioned that I had an alternative technique for  adjusting sharpness on using photoshop than the existing "sharpening" filters.  I thought I would share it with him and in doing so other friends on DA.

But first before going into the tutorial I thought I would give a little explanation of sharpness.

When we talk of sharpness it is often thought to be a solution to a poorly focused or blurred image.  But it is not, a poorly focused or blurred image will remain a poorly blurred Actually sharpness describes the clarity of detail in a photo, and can be a valuable creative tool for emphasizing texture.  Proper photographic and post-processing technique can go a long way towards improving sharpness, although sharpness is ultimately limited by your camera equipment, image magnification and viewing distance. Two fundamental factors contribute to the perceived sharpness of an image: resolution and acutance.

Acutance: Is how quickly image information transitions at an edge. High acutance results in sharp transitions and detail with clearly defined borders.
Resolution: The camera's ability to distinguish between closely spaced elements of detail

Now onto the tutorial .. (If you click the images of the turtorial .. They will open up into a hi-rez verion of the image)

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop.

Tut01 by InayatShah

Step 2

Zoom into an area of detail that is important or would benefit from sharpening.

Tut02 by InayatShah

Step 3

In The Layers panel, right click on the Image Icon, a menu will open up and select duplicate layer.

A new layer containing the image will be created.  In this case it is called "Background Copy"

Tut03 by InayatShah  Tut04 by InayatShah

Step 4

In the layers panel keeping the "Background Copy" layer selected, right click on it and a menu will pop-up.  Select "Covert to Smart layer"  and have the image converted to a smart layer.

Tut05 by InayatShah

Step 5

Keeping The "Background Copy" layer selected, click on filters - other - high pass

Tut06 by InayatShah

Step 6

The HighPass Filter will appear, Keep the "Preview" button selected and adjust the slider for radius.
The Highpass filter will turn the image grey and my personal suggestion is to adjust the slider to where on starts to see darker sharp outlines with a little lighter grey areas along side it.  But not too much as excessive adustment will lead to a "halo" effect.

Then Click the "OK" button

But dont worry too much now as this will be fine tuned later.

Tut07 by InayatShah

Step 7

Now go back to the "layers" panel and where it says normal .. Click on it and select " Overlay" and voila.  It will result in a sharpened image.

Tut08 by InayatShah

Tut09 by InayatShah

Side by side comparison of the original and sharpened image.

Tut02 copy by InayatShah

Step 8

Fine tuning

Now go back and examine the image closely all areas .. making sure you are satified with the level of sharpening.  If not there are a few ways you can adjust the sharpening.  To increase or decrease.

1.   Go back to the layers panel, keep the "Background Copy" layer selected, double click on the text that says "High Pass" and the "High Pass Filter" dialog will pop up again.   Now as you adjust the slider you will be able to see the sharpening effect change in real time.

Tut10 by InayatShah

Step 9

Other ways to adjust the sharpening effect

(a)  Select "Soft light" Instead of "Overlay"
(b)  Change the "Opacity" or "Fill" of the layer from the Layers Panel.

Step 10

To Be Done .. how to use the "Mask" capability of a layer to apply the sharpening to selective areas.


Inayat Ali Shah
Artist | Hobbyist | Photography
Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference”
― Robert Frank



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