Thursday, May 14, 2009

Better Sharpening with High Pass Filter

What's Everybody Looking For?

A better way to sharpen up those images, that's what!

While just about everyone is familiar with using the UNSHARP MASK to sharpen up their photos, there is another less well known and often more effective method.


There are two main reasons why HIGH PASS can be better.

1. UNSHARP mask operates on all of the pixels in your photo. It works by making changes to those pixels...therefore it can be categorized as a destructive process, much like the dodge and burn tool.

2. UNSHARP mask takes the broad approach to sharpening, sharpening everything. Unlike HIGH PASS which limits its process to the edges where the most obvious benefits can be seen from sharpening.

Try this HIGH PASS FILTER method the next time you need a little sharpening done:

Step 1: Open you image and duplicate the background (Ctrl-J)
Step 2: Add a (blank) layer to the top of your stack
Step 3: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E, this fills your top layer with a flattened version of your background
Step 4: Set Blend Mode on this layer to OVERLAY
You'll get a pop-up box with a slider (for Radius) which will have a preview of your image. Slide that slider left until you can only see gray values (no colors) in your preview.
The "sweet spot" will be around the point where you just make the colors go away to see only an outtline of your image and gray. (Usually this radius is way under 10, more likely between 1.5 and 3.5)

That's it! You're done!

To check your results, toggle on/off the high pass layer. You can also bring the opacity slider for this level down to zero and back up to check. Even set the opacity for your own taste.

And there you have it! An alternative, non-destructive option for sharpening up those photos.

Here's a bonus! You can also spot tune your sharpening for more or less effect in certain places by using a 50% gray brush to increase/decrease the effect in particular areas as you desire.

Go ahead and monkey around with it now so you don't forget!

And so you'll have this tip on hand next time you need it, be sure to get signed up for my Photoshop Tips Card Group...its FREE! Plus, new members will receive a very helpful set of Photoshop Tip Cards free when they sign up. These helpful index cards include all the tips you need to crank out great photos every time. Best of all they sit right beside your computer so you don't have to waste time searching online for the tips you need.

Also, be sure to enter the MEMBERS ONLY PHOTO CONTEST going on now.
You'll get full details in your email when you sign up.

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