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  #1  
Old 08-23-2003, 10:46 AM
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Darren Darren is offline
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Default Selective Sharpening

I just came across a method for selectively sharpening a photo which I quite like, so i thought I might pass it alone. I do this as my final step after resizing. Basically, I make a duplicate layer of the photo, then run UnSharp Mask on it. When sharpening this duplicate layer, I oversharpen by quite a fair amount. After this, I go to Layer->Add Layer Mask->Hide All. Now, the new layer I have created is invisible. Then, I make sure my foreground is set to white, and I choose the brush tool. On the brush tool, I set the opacity quite low (around 25%), and I also reduce the flow slightly, although I am not sure this is necessary. Then, as you brush on the hidden layer, it slowly becomes visible. In this way, you can sharpen only the areas you want sharp (often faces and hands for me), and you can sharpen gradually. With the low opacity brush, every stroke only makes a little bit visible, so your oversharpened layer will not appear oversharpened until you have brushed many times. Also, this is great, in that if you want an area of your photo very sharp, you can do that, while an other area can be only sharpened slightly. Of course, by not sharpening some areas, such as the background, you avoid adding noise into the photo in areas you don't need resolution(they go hand in hand). My favorite part of this, is that I can now variably sharpen different areas in a photo in one step, as opposed to selecting different areas, and sharpening them individually.
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:46 AM
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Default Continued

I have not tried it too much yet, but I am also quite certain that this method could be used to selectively take advantage of the benefits of NeatImage (less noise, smoother look), while avoiding the negatives of NI(loss of detail). If you were to use a NeatImaged version of the photo as your second layer, you could paint in only the areas where you want Neat Image to have its effect. I haven't tried this much, but it seems to work. Hope this makes sense to everyone, if you have questions, please let me know.
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Old 08-25-2003, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: Selective Sharpening

Darren, this is incredibly useful information. Thank you.
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Old 08-25-2003, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Selective Sharpening

It sounds like a really useful tool. BUT, can anyone translate Darren's method into Photoshop Elements (if it is possible to do in PE)? I get as far as creating a duplicate layer and sharpening it.

Piotr
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  #5  
Old 10-05-2003, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Selective Sharpening

I have just found a very useful addition to Darren's technique here. I got the idea from the Luminous Landscape web site, it's a tutorial by John Brownlow. The idea is that you use the find edges filter to create the layer mask (you will need to convert the result of find edges to mono). In this way, you can apply more sharpening to the edges in the picture (which are usually the bits you want sharpened) and less to surface areas. By adjusting the brightness/contrast of the layer mask you have created, you can adjust both the amount of sharpening and the ratio of sharpening of edges/surfaces. Very useful!


BTW, for all you Photoshop Elements users like me, you can download a layer mask tool for free from Hidden Elements . Happy photoshopping!
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Selective Sharpening

Hi Piotr. I know you have found an alternative method, but I thought I might give my thoughts on a different possible way. Part of this is guesswork, because I don't know PE, but I think it should work. You could make the second, sharpened layer, then use the eraser tool to erase away areas you don't want sharpened from that layer. If you use a low opacity brush for the tool (maybe about 20%, or even less), you should be able to lessen the effect of the sharpening in controlled steps. In this way, you could still sharpen only the areas you want sharpened, or give those areas more sharpening relative to other areas. I actually do this on a number of my shots rather than the method I described above, simply because I can be a little quicker about it. Also, varying the opacity and fill of the sharpened layer will be able to tone the whole shot down if have applied too much sharpening. Hope this makes sense and can be of help.
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  #7  
Old 10-08-2003, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Selective Sharpening

Hi Darren

Yes this method works, I tried it earlier using your suggestion! Thanks again.

I was going to get Photoshop CS at one stage, but I am quite enjoying the challenge of Elements. Just got Hidden Elements, which enables curves, channel mixing and a few other function. It's like learning post-processing from first principles.

Thanks again for your tips.

Piotr
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