Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to Sharpen Images like a Pro

In no way I am to be considered a professional photographer, but this method of sharpening images comes straight from them. It's an easy tip, that might come in handy, when you need to bring that extra something to your image. Oversharpened images can be awful to watch, so please be careful, not to overdo it.

Here is an example of an image, sharpened this way:


click on the screenshots to get a bigger view

Step 1
Open your image


Step 2
Add the filter
Select Filers > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask...


Step 3
Apply the filter 
Now this is the part where this filter differs from a usual sharpening filter. You have 3 sliders that you can adjust. The Radius and Threshold should be kept low; 0.5 - 1 works just fine. The Amount slider can be adjusted to your liking. For example for this image a 100 worked. For some that turned out sharper in camera a 80 will suffice, where sometimes, images that come out soft need a 120.
Amount. The Amount slider is used to control the amount of contrast between differing pixels, which affects edge contrast. Higher values equal more contrast and lower values equal less contrast. 
Radius. The Radius slider is used to determine the number of pixels that are changed when the filter sees tonal variation. Higher values increase the size of the halos, causing the sharpening to be obvious. Be careful because of this, since high values can cause oversharpening. Keep in mind that this value is going to vary depending on the subject matter. A lower value works best with photos rich in edge detail, while a higher value can be used for photos that don’t have as much detail in them. 
Threshold. The Threshold slider is used to determine how different in tone the surrounding pixels need to be before they’re considered edge pixels, causing them to be sharpened. For example, a value of 5 affects only neighboring pixels that have a tonal difference of 5 units or more (on a scale of 0 to 255). The default value of 0 causes all pixels in the photo to be sharpened.

This is a quick filter that can help you out when you have that image that is a bit on the soft side. It's also a filter that can be used for internet publishing, because when you scale down your images for web presentation they can come out softer. Apply this tutorial, and you're good to go.

29 comments:

  1. Thank you for your tips Mersad.

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  2. BEAUTIFUL in big size.......i love the light and colors.

    greetings, joop

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  3. i have used this sharp slider many times but did not fully understand the function of each slider. now i do... i always just played until i liked it, but this makes it easier to know which one does what. beautiful image.

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    1. Glad I could explain a little. Thanks!

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  4. Mersad,I would very much like to learn how to do this but the labels on my iphoto for the filter are not the same as the labels you use which confuses me. Guess I'll just have to play around with it. I got photoshop elements 11 as a gift but still haven't downloaded it. Wonder if that would help?

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    Replies
    1. Yes It would, since the filter is specific to Photoshop (Regular version or Elements).

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  5. Beautifully done and the tutorial is very helpful.

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  6. Great post/tutorial, Mersad!! Thank you so much for sharing the information. I need all the help I can get!! Hope your week is going well!!

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    1. You're welcome. All the best!

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  7. Very helpful tips, Mersad. I use Unsharp Mask quite a bit. I hate it when I over-do it though.

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    Replies
    1. I know. It can be too much too quickly. One must be careful with it. :)

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  8. The image is beautiful, Mersad. I feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to using Photoshop, but this tutorial might help me get started. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. This is more of a quick tip, I never want to overwhelm anybody. I think it's important to start slow and get yourself familiar with it.

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  9. Thanks for the tip - I'll have to give it a try.

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  10. Beautiful photo and your tutorial is very well presented and informative, Mersad. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I have a very, very OLD version of PS. I was surprised at how similar everything was. Looks like I can follow this one. Thanks for sharing your TuTorial this Tuesday!

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    1. It should be available in older versions of Photoshop.

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  12. Merad, I too have always used un-sharp mask.
    I sharpen the compressed image.
    I always view at 100%
    Sometimes it is worth duplicating the image sharpening the top layer then adding a mask and painting out the areas you don't want sharpening.
    Have fun and watch for halos.

    This is an interesting post.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry Mersad I missed the 'S' out of your name.

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    2. Yes, this is a good idea with the two layers. I do it sometimes too.

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  13. Bela t├ęcnica...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

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  14. beautiful photo, and a very useful tutorial!

    ReplyDelete

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