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Tutorial: Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

By December 21, 2013Photography

Learn 3 image sharpening techniques in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will see 3 different ways to sharpen images in Adobe Photoshop. The sharpening tools that we will cover include high pass filter, unsharp mask and smart Sharpening. Image sharpening transform images and can draw the viewer’s eye. Whenever you want to create stunning portraits or landscapes, image sharpening is a must.

Method 1 > High Pass Filter

With high pass filter you can sharpen any image and take control of overall sharpness by playing with layers opacity or adding a layer mask. To sharpen you image in Photoshop first duplicate the layer you want to sharp Layer > Duplicate Layer then go to Filter > Other > High Pass. In the new tab set the radius not very high and press OK. Don’t panic with the grey effect and change your layer blending mode to Soft Light or Hard Light for more sharpening. Lower the opacity to achieve the desired sharpening amount. To remove sharpening from specific objects add a layer mask to your layer and draw with black soft brush.

 

1) Duplicate the layer

high pass sharpening (1)

 

2) Go to Filter > Other > High Pass

high pass sharpening (2)

 

3) Set the High Pass Radius

high pass sharpening (3)

 

4) Change the blending mode to Soft Light

high pass sharpening (4)

 

5) Finally Refine your sharpness

high pass sharpening (5)

Method 2 > Unsharp Mask

With Unsharp Mask you sharpen the image but you have more control over the radius and amount of sharpening. To sharpen your image go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.

 

Unsharp mask tutorial

 

Set the amount and radius and press OK

unsharp-mask-1

Method 3 > Smart Sharpen

Similar to unsharp mask but with a lot more options to refine your sharpness. To use this method go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. The advanced mode gives you the ability to control the highlight and shadow sharpness.

 

Photoshop smart sharpen step 1

 

Change from basic to advanced mode for more options

Smart sharpen tool step 2

Conclusion

The small dog is now bigger, stronger and happier with his new home. He don’t like to learn any sharpening techniques so it’s your time to learn Photoshop. For landscape photography you can combine all three methods. For portraits Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen is recommended.

 

happy dog

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