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Sharpening Images (photoshop tutorial)

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 Macboy
This tutorial is in reply to Nix’s request in the Request Tutorial section. Hope you’ll like it.

There are several ways that one can sharpen images in Photoshop. I’ll just brief you through the different steps but it depends on each image which method suits it best.

Method 1: (not good)
Using the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen filter or Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen more filter. These two are very inefficient in what they do. Give very grainy output. Not recommended at all. Also included is the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen Edges filter.

Method 2:
Use the Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask filter. Try different settings to get your output.
There is also a known two step method:
1. Unsharp Mask: Amount=150%, Radius=0.5
2. Unsharp Mask: Amount=150 to 400%, Radius=0.5
Method 3:
Using the Colour Lab Technique.
1. Change the mode to lab colour by going to Image > Mode > Lab Colour.
2. Making sure that your channels palette is open (Window > Channels), select the lightness channel.
3. Use the Unsharp Mask Filter (see above)
4. Change back to RGB colour mode.
This method is better than the Unsharp mask.

Method 4:
Layers technique:
1. Duplicate the layer (Ctrl+J)
2. Use the Unsharp Mask Filter (Amount = 400-500%, Radius = 1.0)
3. Change the Blend mode to Darken and then adjust the opacity to get the right effect on the dark areas.
4. Duplicate the sharpened layer.
5. Change the blend mode in the layers palette to lighten. Again, adjust the opacity to get the desired effect in the light areas.
6. Finalize by going to Layers > Flatten Image.

Method 5:
High Pass Filter Technique (Artistic)
1. Make a duplicate of the Layer (Ctrl+J)
2. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and adjust the radius till you get clear highlights. Make sure it doesn’t go blurry. You have to practice to get an idea of how it works.
3. Set the blend mode of the new layer to Overlay.

I also recommend using the image editor that comes with the camera. The Nikon editor is exceptionally good at sharpening images, contrast and other effects. I don’t know about other cameras, but it works wonderfully well with me.


Senior Member

hey dude, i tried all the methods, the one which worked best for me was method no.3 on the first try. still have to experiment with the settings in method no.4 and 5 tho.
i have a sony digicam but didnt get an image editor with that. but thanks for the tut.
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