Way back in March of 2008 I wrote a journal entry on how to use the Smart Sharpen Tool. thaumadzo.deviantart.com/journ…
I had not realized that it was that long ago, and also that so much has changed, not only in the tools, but also in my knowledge of the program.
Sharpening, like most things is Photoshop is kind of an art and requires a level of finesse. Too much, and the image is ruined, too little and things just don't seem sharp. The beauty of photoshop is that it provides a number of tools for sharpening that work in many different situations. Photoshop also provides the ability to fine tune effects, if they are added on a separate layer.
So for the next few weeks, my journal will speak about these various sharpening tools. As I have already spoken about the Smart Sharpen Tool, I will not present it again, rather I will look at the following methods:
High Pass filter
As I present these various methods, you will notice that the sharpening methods sometimes fit one within the other. For instance LAB sharpening uses the Smart Sharpen tool, and emboss sharpening is very much like the HIGH PASS filter.
Emboss sharpening is a great tool for images that are slightly out of focus. Emphasis here must be on the word "slightly". Nothing can really fix an image that is greatly out of focus. Mostly Emboss sharpening is a method that can be used with images that are recoded as JPEGS. If an image was recorded as a RAW file, emboss sharpening may not be as effective or even necessary because sharping may have already been carried out in the raw conversion process.
Another thing to consider, especially with JPEG files, is "in camera" sharpening. Many cameras have the capacity to sharpen files as they are recorded. Usually, but not always, sharpening is applied only to JPEF files, but some cameras apply sharpening to all images even RAW. Check you camera documentation to find out what is being applied to the image in the camera.
The issue of course, is over sharpening. One wants an image to appear sharp, but not to induce noise and halo's that are common with over sharpening. The one advantage of digital work however, is that if you proceed with care, you can try just about any technique and not ruin the original digital negative. This gives you the ability to try various techniques to see which one will work for you in the situation.
To use emboss sharpening, create a new layer above your base layer. (This will ensure that your base file is not changed, and it will allow you the possibility of actually seeing what you have done by turning it off and on.) Emboss Sharpening can be used in Photoshop as well as Photoshop Elements so it is a useful tool.
Then go to the Filter menu, scroll down and click Stylize, and then click Emboss in the next window that opens.
A new window will open with a grey tone image of your picture. Where ever the "angle" opens is fine. Mine was at 45º but any angle will work as well as any other.
You should keep the pixel height quite low. 2-4 should be sufficient. More will potentially over sharpen the image and actually increase the blurring. (Try this yourself on a new layer, the effect was quite noticeable on my tests at the 10 pixel level).
The percentage slider must also be kept at a low level. Increasing it too much will induce coloured edges in the picture. Once again this is something that you can try yourself. I found that levels of 100% created very noticeable coloured lines along straight edges. For my purposes, I find that setting the percentage slider to 10-15% is the most effective.
After you have made the adjustments click OK. You now have an image that looks grey overtop of your base image. To correct this change the blend mode of the layer from "normal" to one of the "Hard Light Family of Options". These options include:
In terms of strength, the settings work from the least to the strongest in the following order:
My tendency is to over sharpen sharpen a bit and to adjust using the layer opacity so the final result is slightly under sharpened.
Now in order to see the effect, you can turn the layer off an on. You will notice that the image will "shift" in the direction of the angle that you set. As it shifts, the focus changes. Turing the layer on and off will allow you to evaluate the effect.
So what do you do, if the Soft Light setting is not quite enough, but the Overlay setting is too much? Well the answer is simple, change the opacity of the layer. Set the layer to the higher level, in this case Overlay, then reduce the opacity of the layer to fine tune the effect. This ability means that you just have to be "close" when you make the initial settings in the emboss dialogue, because you can fine tune the effects afterwards by changing the "strength" of the layer.
One of the advantages to this method is that colours are removed. Sharpening on a B&W layer is apparently more effective that trying to sharpen colours individually. So the emboss tool, allows you to sharpen on a grey layer.THE CHOSEN THREE
And thats my bit for this week.
Have a good weekend y'all