Skip to main content
Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will see three 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 transforms 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 a high pass filter, you can sharpen an image and take control of the overall sharpness by playing with the opacity of the layer or adding a layer mask. To sharpen your 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 a low radius 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 a black soft brush.

 

Duplicate the layer

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Go to Filter > Other > High Pass

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Set the High Pass Radius

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Change the blending mode to Soft Light

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Finally, Refine your sharpness

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

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.

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Set the amount and radius and press OK

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

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.

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

 

Change from basic to advanced mode for more options

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

Conclusion

The small dog is now bigger, stronger and happier to his new home. He doesn’t like to learn any sharpening techniques so it’s up to you to learn Photoshop.
For landscape photography, you can combine all the mentioned methods. For portraits, Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen are great.

Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop