How To SHARPEN Images In Photoshop – Sharpening FULLY EXPLAINED


Welcome back to another very exciting tutorial
here at the PhotoshopTrainingChannel.com. My name is Jesus Ramirez and you can find
me in Instagram @JRfromPTC. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how
to sharpen images in Photoshop. If this is your first time at the Photoshop
Training Channel, don’t forget to click on that Subscribe button. Generally speaking, there are three types
of sharpening: Capture Sharpening, Creative Sharpening and Output Sharpening. Capture Sharpening is the sharpening that
you apply to an image to bring back the detail lost through the lens, the process of capturing
the image to a sensor, and converting it to a digital format; the demosaicing process. To offset this loss of detail when you open
up a raw file in Camera Raw or Lightroom, you’ll see that the Sharpening Amount is set
to 25 by default. If you open up a jpeg, instead, the Amount
will be set to zero because your camera or the device that created the image adds the
Sharpening by default. In this tutorial, we will focus on working
with a JPEG to further enhance the Capture Sharpening. If you’re working with a raw file, you can
follow the steps on the Camera Raw example to sharpen any raw images that you may have. The other two types of sharpening are Creative
Sharpening and Output Sharpening. Creative Sharpening is applied selectively
based on artistic intent or an aesthetic look that you’re going for. Creative Sharpening is usually not realistic
or subtle. Output Sharpening is the last step that you
apply to an image. It is done when you reduce the size of the
photo and export it as a JPEG or if you’re going to print the image. Both printing and downsizing an image may
soften it and it may need a bit of sharpening. In this video, we will work on sharpening
this photo. It is important to note that we will not be
bringing back any detail. We can only create the illusion of sharpness
in Photoshop. This is done by increasing the contrast of
edge pixels which makes it seem as if there is more detail. This process can create edge halos or increase
noise, so it’s always a good idea to make subtle adjustments. Also, when applying sharpness, always view
the image at 100% so that you can really see what is happening. Any other view will be inaccurate and misleading. There are no rules for settings that you should
always use. The amount of sharpening that looks good depends
on the contrast of the texture of the image. The only thing that seems to hold true for
most cases is that you should apply subtle adjustments. Okay, let’s get started. The first sharpening method that we’re going
to use is one that you probably have seen before. It’s not one of my favorites but it’s a very
popular one and I want to show it just so you can see what it does, how it works, and
why I prefer using other methods. So I have this image here. It’s simply a background layer. I’m going to duplicate it by pressing Ctrl
J, Command J on the Mac, then I’m going to go into Filter, Other, High Pass. And it’s going to create this effect here;
1.6 pixels will be okay, then press OK. Now there is a little bit of color on this
image, so I’m going to zoom in so that you could see it. I’m going to desaturate it by pressing Ctrl
Shift U to desaturate; that’s Command Shift U on the Mac, or you can also go into Image,
Adjustments, Desaturate. Then, you can use either Overlay, Soft Light
or Linear Light, to sharpen the image. I’ll start with Soft Light, which is the most
subtle effect; that’s before and after. Then Overlay, which is a little bit stronger,
and finally, Linear Light, which is the strongest of the three. In this example, I’m going to use Overlay
and I’m going to double click on the Zoom Tool so we can zoom in to 100%. And as you can see, this method sharpens the
image. It does a really good job. However, it applies a Sharpen to the entire
image. If I zoom in and disable the layer, you can
see that the sharpening effect has been applied to the entire image. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That may be good for the image that you’re
working with, but in some cases, that is not what you want to do. Now, I understand that you could use something
like the Lasso Tool and maybe create a mask around the sky where you don’t want the image
to be sharpened and create a layer mask. If I hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click,
you’ll create a layer mask that is black with the selection that’s active. If I hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click
on the layer mask thumbnail, you will see the layer mask. And I know it’s not a perfect layer mask,
but it’s just for an example. So that will be one way of making this sharpening
technique target a specific area. You could also double click to the side of
the layer and use the Blend If options to adjust the sharpening. Now, as I said, this method works okay. A lot of people prefer it, but it’s not one
of my favorites, so I’m going to disable this layer for now and I’m going to show you another
method that I think works better, and then I’ll show you a third method which I prefer. So I’m going to duplicate the layer, Ctrl
J, Command J on the Mac. So now we have a background copy. Then, we’re going to use Filter, Sharpen,
Smart Sharpen. But before I show you Smart Sharpen, I’m going
to click on Unsharp Mask, which is the old sharpening filter in Photoshop. I know a lot of people still prefer it, but
mainly because it’s been in Photoshop for a really long time and it’s very easy to use. It only has three sliders. Now, this is, again, not one of my favorites
simply because there is a newer, better filter. Now I recommend zooming in to 100% when you’re
working on sharpening. So I zoomed in but I’m way pass 100%, so it’s
really easy to just type in 100% here and hit Enter or double click on the Zoom Tool
to zoom in to 100%. Then, go into Filter, Sharpen, Smart Sharpen,
and you’re going to get very similar sliders to the ones that you saw in the Unsharp Mask,
but you get a little more control and the algorithm is a little bit different with the
Smart Sharpen. The first slider, the Amount slider sets the
amount of sharpening that you can apply to the image. A higher value increases the contrast between
the edge pixels, giving the appearance of greater sharpness. So if I click and drag this all the way to
the right, and I know this is an extreme, you will see what I was talking about and
I can zoom in in this Preview window. There’s a lot more contrast between the edge
pixels, which gives that illusion of sharpness. You usually don’t want to drag these sliders
all the way to the right. You want to create subtle effects and you
want to avoid edge halos. Now, for this tutorial, I’m actually going
to maybe increase it further than I would normally do in a real project because I want
you to see the effects are being applied to the image. With the recording and the compression of
the video, that may not be so obvious if I use subtle amounts of sharpening. So keep that in mind I’m probably going overboard
in most of the examples I’m going to show you in this video. So that’s what the Amount does. Then we have the Radius. The Radius determines the number of pixels
surrounding the edge pixels affected by the sharpening. In this case, we’re telling Photoshop to use
1 pixel from the edge to apply the sharpening. Reduce Noise reduces some of the noise found
in the image. So we may have noise in the sky and other
areas that shouldn’t have any sharpening applied, so we can increase the Reduce Noise to reduce
some of that. Then we have the different types of algorithms
that Photoshop will use to sharpen the image. Lens Blur is default. In most cases, you may want to use Gaussian
or Motion Blur. For this tutorial, we’re just going to work
with Lens Blur. So this is the sharpening that we’ve done
so far. I’m actually going to reduce the amount just
a little bit. You can still see it there. You can click on the Preview checkbox to disable
it and enable it. Notice that most of the filtering is happening
here in the foreground, a little bit in the trees back here, and not much in the sky,
which is what I want. If I scroll up, you’ll see that not a lot
of noise is being applied to the background here in the sky and these mountains, so that’s
what I want. Another reason why I prefer the Smart Sharpen
is that you have the ability to control the sharpening in the shadows and highlights. If you click on this right-pointing arrow,
it expands the menu. And now you can control the Fade Amount, Tonal
Width and Radius on both the Shadows and Highlights. Fade Amount allows you to reduce the sharpening
applied to the image and the shadows, so, in other words, these settings that you applied
on top will be reduced by this slider on the Shadows and this slider on the Highlights. You could also think about it as an Opacity
slider for the Sharpening and the Shadows. Tonal Width controls the range of tones and
the shadows or highlights that are modified. In other words, it controls how dark the shadows
are that are going to be affected. A lower tonal width will only affect the deep
shadows and a larger tonal width will affect the deep shadows and dark grays. And in the Highlights, the Tonal Width, of
course, controls the whites and light grays, and the Radius controls the size of an area
around each pixel that is used to determine whether the pixel is in the shadows or highlights. Moving the slider to the left specifies a
smaller area and moving it to the right specifies a larger area. So, as you can see, there’s a whole lot more
control in sharpening with these sliders. I’m actually going to go into the Presets
dropdown and set it to default; so that’s before and after, and I’m going to press OK. Now, even though you have much more control
with this than you do with the High Pass Filter method, this is not the way that I prefer
doing my sharpening. What I prefer using is the Camera Raw Filter,
so I’m going to click on the background, press Ctrl J, Command J to duplicate, and I’m going
to convert this to a Smart Object so that we can work non-destructively. We didn’t do it in the earlier example with
the Smart Sharpen, but I also recommend using a smart object if you’re going to apply the
Smart Sharpen. So, go into Filter and select Camera Raw Filter. This is going to open up the Camera Raw Filter,
of course, and under the Detail tab–this one here–you either have Sharpening and Noise
Reduction sliders. Now, these sliders are somewhat similar to
the ones that we just saw in the Smart Sharpening. But the reason that I like using this slider
is that we have visual aids that help us make the sharpening. So, first, I’m going to set this to 100% so
I’m just going to click on the dropdown menu and click on 100% so that we can see what
is really going on in the image. Then, you can adjust the Amount and most of
these are very self-explanatory. They work very similar to the Smart Sharpen
sliders amount on how much sharpening do we want. If we go all the way to the right, you’ll
see that we sharpen the image dramatically, but it doesn’t look very good. Now, I said that these sliders give us visual
cues, and what I mean by that is that if you hold Alt on all these sliders, except for
the Color ones, you’ll get a visual representation of what’s going on. So I’m holding Alt, Option on the Mac, I’m
going to click and drag, and notice how the image is now black and white. It removes the color so that we can better
see the sharpening that we’re applying to the image. So, in this case, I’ll probably go up to maybe
60. Then the Radius, once again, hold Alt, Option
on the Mac, click and drag. So you can clearly see what’s going on. We can see the shape of the outline. This is a sharpening that is going on. So, you can adjust it and, obviously, this
is way too much, so the radius will probably be good at 1, maybe even less. So that you can see what’s going on, we will
leave it at 1. Then the detail, once again, I’m going to
hold Alt, Option on the Mac, click and drag, and you can see the detail that we’re affecting. If we go to 100%, you can see in the sky,
we’re getting a lot of noise, so that’s not very good, so we’re going to move that to
the left and maybe leave it at about 35 or maybe even lower, maybe 30. Then, the masking, if I hold Alt, Option on
the Mac, and click, the image will be completely white; this works just like a regular layer
mask in the Layers panel. White reveals, black conceals. Right now, the entire image is white, so the
sharpening is being applied to the entire image. If I start dragging to the right, you’re going
to see some gray, and eventually some black areas. Just like with the layer mask, black is going
to hide this sharpening, so if I release now, the sharpening is not being applied to any
of the areas that were black, so, you can adjust the slider accordingly to hide the
sharpening effect in areas that don’t require it. Then, you have the Noise Reduction. I’m going to zoom in a little bit more just
so that you could see. If I hold Alt, Option on the Mac, click and
drag on the Luminance slider, you’ll see how I’m removing a lot of the detail. You don’t want to do that and the reason it
turns black and white is so that you could see what’s going on without color affecting
your judgment. I don’t want to go too far, maybe a value
of 5 or lower. In this case, we’ll leave it at 5. And once again, I’m going to go back to 100%
and you could see the Details slider and how that works and the Luminance Contrast slider. Now I said that the Color sliders don’t give
you any preview; if you hold Alt or Option on the Mac, and for this image, we don’t need
these sliders. These sliders are intended to be used with
Noise that have color. The noise that we have here does not have
any color so it doesn’t change much. We’re going to leave the Color slider at 0
(zero) for now and it will disable the other two sliders. I’m going to press OK. The Camera Raw Filter will apply the Sharpening. If I disable this eye icon, you will see the
before and the after. And just like you can with the High Pass Filter,
you can apply a layer mask to a Smart Filter and it’s already there–it’s here. That’s what this white square is, so you can
always paint with black in areas that you really don’t want to affect and you could
also go to the side of the layer and even do some of the Blend If sliders if you need
to. And, of course, you could always double click
on the Camera Raw Filter label to bring up the Camera Raw Filter once again and make
adjustments to the Sharpening and Noise Reduction. This is the method I prefer just because it
gives me a whole lot more control. And that’s it for this tutorial. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you learned
something new. If you enjoyed this tutorial, don’t forget
to click on that Like button and share it with a friend. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the Photoshop
Training Channel. Thank you for watching and I’ll talk to you
again soon.

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