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Old Jun 22, 2004, 8:44 PM   #11
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Another good sharpening method (which is easily automatable) is to do what is called "lab sharpening." First off, I'll point out its bad side. It doesn't seem to work well with layers. Note, these instructions are for PS CS (menus might differ in other PS version.)

Under "image" choose "mode" then "lab color".

In the channels pallet you'll see 4 channels. "lab", "lightness", "a", "b". Selectthe lightness channel and sharpen with USM (I some times use 225%, 0.5, 0 or 85%, 1, 4). Your done.

Under "image" choose "mode" then "RGB color"

It can (but not always) do a very good job sharpening and it produces very few halos. I've automated this into 1 button press with an action.

I've heard mixed things about high-pass sharpening. Like the method I described, I've heard from some people that it can work great on some pictures, while other ways work better on others. If the image is worth it, try both and see which is better! (What bugs me is I've yet to find someone who can give me hints on what picture attributes lend them selves to which type of sharpening. But I've seen these people's work and they know how to edit up a picture.)

Eric
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Old Jun 22, 2004, 8:57 PM   #12
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OK here's the 1st trial, USM only (2 layer), follow me and by all means, try it too. This way you'll see exactly what's going on.

Please note, for the example below, those screenie of PS and the workflow ; highly compressed image, and sharpened too, discard the fact that you might not see a real difference screenie by screenie, again try it at the same time, you'll see what will happen.

I'll start the original post, here's the original image :



Now the workflow :



Now make a duplicate layer :



Now you'll on the bottom right section of layer : background copy

Now time to apply USM :



Adjust the settings :



Note, we made an USM of the background copy, not the original - rule of thumb in PS, never ever make change to an original, always a layer.

Now look on the right, background copy is highlighted (its blue), DUPLICATE LAYER again - that means, we're making another layer of that one, so its a layer of the one we already applied USM.

So at this point, we have 2 layer (background copy, background copy 2)

Time to change the blending mode of each layer :



Note, I'm starting with the 1st layer, its at normal, now it will be DARKEN :



Now highlight the 2nd layer and do the same, choose LIGHTEN :



Time to set the opacity for each layer (darken and lighten) for a 1024 x XXX image, I choose normally around 30-35% darken, 10-12% lighten. For this example , I did the image in 800 x XXX, so I pushed the opacity more, so you can see a difference between the before and after image.

So lets set the opacity of each layer :



And now 2nd layer :



To show you the difference between darken and lighten, toggle the 'eye' ON/OFF of each layer, you'll see what's going on :



AFTER image :



That sums up pretty much my 1st post, note that if you leave it like this, the background is also USM in both darken and lighten. But this could be perfect for scenery shots for example.

Think that was quite straight forward, now give it a try.


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Old Jun 22, 2004, 9:56 PM   #13
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USM with ADD MASK - HIDE ALL

Let's work with a cow now :?

original image :



Now same as the example above -> DUPLICATE LAYER then do Unsharp Mask, leave as is for now.



Compare the image above, compare the one below, what do you see ? USM applied for the entire image, we don't want that !



So lets use another trick called LAYER MASK, click on LAYER then ADD LAYER MASK -> HIDE ALL ; this will hide the entire layer that had USM applied to it. Look on the right of PS see what's going on.

Now choose the brush tool, choose lets say 20% opacity, 30-40 px and brush the object you wish to KEEP USM, the rest will be as the original :



As you can see on the right, the black box shows the filled contour of the cow in white, this is what is REVEALED, therefore USM.

You can always check your progress by clicking on the original background 'eye' ON/OFF, this way you can see what has been revealed so far :



Now like the 1st example of USM, make a duplicate of the BACKGROUND COPY, the fun point here is ; we copied the masked image, choose DARKEN for the 1st layer :



And Lighten for the 2nd layer :



Adjust opacity of each layer (darken, lighten) to your taste, MERGE VISIBLE and Voila !

The cow is sharpened, but not the rest



Simple, uhh ?

Cheers !
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Old Jun 22, 2004, 9:58 PM   #14
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eric s wrote:
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Another good sharpening method (which is easily automatable) is to do what is called "lab sharpening." First off, I'll point out its bad side. It doesn't seem to work well with layers. Note, these instructions are for PS CS (menus might differ in other PS version.)

Under "image" choose "mode" then "lab color".

In the channels pallet you'll see 4 channels. "lab", "lightness", "a", "b". Selectthe lightness channel and sharpen with USM (I some times use 225%, 0.5, 0 or 85%, 1, 4). Your done.

Under "image" choose "mode" then "RGB color"

It can (but not always) do a very good job sharpening and it produces very few halos. I've automated this into 1 button press with an action.

I've heard mixed things about high-pass sharpening. Like the method I described, I've heard from some people that it can work great on some pictures, while other ways work better on others. If the image is worth it, try both and see which is better! (What bugs me is I've yet to find someone who can give me hints on what picture attributes lend them selves to which type of sharpening. But I've seen these people's work and they know how to edit up a picture.)

Eric

Interesting Eric, I'll give this a try, sounds promissing. Unless there's no way to do any layer with that technique, then it would be a bummer

Cheers
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Old Jun 22, 2004, 11:57 PM   #15
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This thread is unbelievably useful, Eric! Thank you for taking the time to put down in words and pictures the steps necessary for the techniques you use.

I have PSE2 and your instructions for isolating portions of pictures using the ADD LAYER MASK - HIDE ALL command does not seem to compute for me using PSE2. Is there an equivalent command for PSE2 or has it been crippled relative to PS such that I can't do this type of manipulation?
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 8:41 AM   #16
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Thanks for the great photoshop instruction!

You should write a book. Your step-by-step instruction is very easy to follow:-)
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 11:11 AM   #17
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Eric CAN, I also wanted to thank you for this info. Some I knew, but in PS there is always another way to do it (and another combination of what you already knew.) This is good stuff, and your screenshots always make it easier to understand.

There is something I wanted to make sure I got. With the cow picture you talked about using the brush tool to mark what you wanted to be effected by USM. Could you say this again (maybe in a slightly different way.)

I've done similar things with two layers and the eraser. I put the "normal" exposure image on the bottom and the lighter layer on top and then erase the places on the lighter later which are over exposed (thereby allowing the lower layer to show through.) A very simple way to blend exposures and therefor not blow hilights (I used it on that heron picture I recently posted.) But in that case it makes perfect "sense" to me. You're erasing what you don't want (the blown hilight.)

I can see the result of what you're doing with the brush (you're marking what you do want) but how? Are you painting on the sharpening? Are you just marking the layer saying "this is what I want"?

I guess what I'm saying is... "How does the brush interact with the layer (or layers)to produce the desired result?" To me a "brush" is not something that should produce the result it's producing.

Eric
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 2:40 PM   #18
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eric s wrote:
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Eric CAN, I also wanted to thank you for this info. Some I knew, but in PS there is always another way to do it (and another combination of what you already knew.) This is good stuff, and your screenshots always make it easier to understand.

There is something I wanted to make sure I got. With the cow picture you talked about using the brush tool to mark what you wanted to be effected by USM. Could you say this again (maybe in a slightly different way.)

I've done similar things with two layers and the eraser. I put the "normal" exposure image on the bottom and the lighter layer on top and then erase the places on the lighter later which are over exposed (thereby allowing the lower layer to show through.) A very simple way to blend exposures and therefor not blow hilights (I used it on that heron picture I recently posted.) But in that case it makes perfect "sense" to me. You're erasing what you don't want (the blown hilight.)

I can see the result of what you're doing with the brush (you're marking what you do want) but how? Are you painting on the sharpening? Are you just marking the layer saying "this is what I want"?

I guess what I'm saying is... "How does the brush interact with the layer (or layers)to produce the desired result?" To me a "brush" is not something that should produce the result it's producing.

Eric

Eric, the mask using hide all is the contrary of the eraser. So since we masked the layer using hide all, what happen is ; that layer is now hidden, meaning that since we just USM that layer, beforewe didthe mask thingie, that layer is empty.

So the brush tool acts to reveal parts of the image we want to show USM. USM is always present, but since its mask - hidden, it doesn't show. So the brush will now work in reverse of the eraser has you describe. The more we brush, the more it reveals USM locally. This is very handy and much faster than using the eraser tool - where you need to erase everything but the subject.

It's just a faster method really. Its also more powerfull, I'll give an example :

Since we brush at lets say 20% opacity, you can actually reveal more USM at certain spot on a subject, for example you don't want to USM too much glowy parts like a beak, or eye. And lets say you focused to the wrong area ; why not brushing more the area slightly OOF, and brush less the area more in focus, therefore sharper to start with. You see the possibly are vast, it opens a totally new way of doing USM.

This is called by the gurus "local USM" and the level of USM is depending on you.

Cheers
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 2:41 PM   #19
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jazcan wrote:
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Thanks for the great photoshop instruction!

You should write a book. Your step-by-step instruction is very easy to follow:-)

Thank you Jaz, I'm not inventing anything here though, LOL. I just apply and explain differently what I've learnt so far

Cheers
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 2:49 PM   #20
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geoffs wrote:
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This thread is unbelievably useful, Eric! Thank you for taking the time to put down in words and pictures the steps necessary for the techniques you use.

I have PSE2 and your instructions for isolating portions of pictures using the ADD LAYER MASK - HIDE ALL command does not seem to compute for me using PSE2. Is there an equivalent command for PSE2 or has it been crippled relative to PS such that I can't do this type of manipulation?

Geoff, with PSE2 there's I think a way to do it ; using the mask tool. But I don't know how. Think there's plugins or actions you could get.

But there's the other way around, use the eraser tool instead. So what you do is duplicate a layer, apply anything you wish (blur, USM, highpass, etc) to that layer then erase anything you don't wish that filter to be effective. So you erase lets say anything but a bird, so the bird has USM applied, the rest not.

This is my initial method I used, all my bird shots uses this method, its just now I discovered the trick of mask - hidden all.

Give it a try
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