Extreme Sharpen approach

wxwaxwxwax ImmoderatorRegistered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
edited September 15, 2009 in Finishing School
Got this from SportsShooter.com

An aggressive way to sharpen a photo, esp. one that's out of focus. To make the sharpening stronger, increase the value for the High Pass Radius. Also, you can tweak how aggressive it is by changing the Opacity of the clipping layer once you're finished. Here are the instructions.

PhotoShop old pros may be familiar with this technique, however, PhotoShop wizard Deke McCelland provided this awesome method (Secret Handshake) for enhancing a slightly out of focus image at the PhotoShop World Expo in San Francisco. Give it a try...it really works great.

1. Open your image

2. Duplicate the layer, i.e. Ctrl-J on a PC

3. Make sure the new layer is active and select FILTER --> OTHER --> HIGH PASS
When the HIGH PASS window pops up set the radius value to 2.0 for print output or between 0.2 and 0.5 for the Web.
You now have what appears to be a gray card with some image outlines.

4. With the "gray layer" still active select LAYER --> NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER --> LEVELS

5. IMPORTANT - When the New Layer naming window pops up make sure that you check the "Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask" box and click ok.

6. On the levels pop up window set the Input Levels to: [ 80 ] [ 1.00 ] [ 175 ]
Don't change the Output Level settings

7. Make the High Pass filter layer active (the gray layer) and change the blending mode to OVERLAY.

8. Make the Levels Adjustment layer active (the clipping mask) and change the blending mode to LUMINOSITY.
Sid.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au

Comments

  • hutchmanhutchman Major grins Registered Users Posts: 255 Major grins
    edited April 28, 2004
    Waxy,

    I took a picture of a friend's dog, Freddie, this weekend. I broke one of my first rules of digital photography, I only took 1 image. It was worse than soft, it was out of focus. It sucked.

    3797694-L.jpg


    I then tried your technique:

    3797693-L.jpg



    The results were great. While the picture will still never win any awards, it will make Freddie's "dad" happy.

    I have saved this technique as a new file under my "Cool Photoshop Tips" folder.

    Thanks!

    Hutch
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited April 28, 2004
    Wow, that's a rather dramatic change. I tried it on a shot of mine, and noticed that it brought out a lot of grain as well. If I wanted to get rid of the grain, I'd run it through Noise Ninja - which blurs things again!
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited April 28, 2004
    I also notice how it consistently brightens images, sometimes too much. Perhaps if the picture is prone to blown highlights, a good first step might be to reduce the levels a bit, and resave? ne_nau.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • hutchmanhutchman Major grins Registered Users Posts: 255 Major grins
    edited April 28, 2004
    I tried to reduce the blown out ares with levels in this one. The results were less than overwhelming so I just left it alone. I'll give it to Russ, Freddie's owner, the way it is and he'll be happy (I hope).

    Hutch
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2005
    A couple of tips, after using this a couple of times.

    On Step #3, you can go higher than the recommended values for Web use. They say between .3 and .5. but I've gone as high as 1.

    Because you're working on new layers, you can use the Opacity slider to control how much sharpening you ultimately want. And you can also mask out areas where the heavy duty sharpening makes things ugly.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • John MuellerJohn Mueller Long Shots Registered Users Posts: 2,555 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2005
    Instead of overlay,you can also use softlight or hardlight.With different results of course.mwink.gif
  • Steve CaviglianoSteve Cavigliano SmugFlash Super Moderators Posts: 3,599 moderator
    edited March 8, 2005
    wxwax wrote:
    Wow, that's a rather dramatic change. I tried it on a shot of mine, and noticed that it brought out a lot of grain as well. If I wanted to get rid of the grain, I'd run it through Noise Ninja - which blurs things again!
    Laughing.gif Sid,
    While I haven't tried the technique you so graciously posted, I hate using High Pass sharpening because of all the noise it brings out. If I use it, I will use it in a layer and then mask and erase all but the central subject's sharpening.

    I've got to try this technique on some of my many "soft" shots tonight.

    Thanks Sid thumb.gif

    Steve
    SmugMug Support Hero
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited March 9, 2005
    Do you think this will work on my problem Red Tailed Hawk. I am too tired to reshoot him today and the weather is not good for it, either.

    Maybe I can just run him through this. Everyone keeps telling me that he is OOF and there is no hope.

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Registered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited March 9, 2005
    Very nice!
    blogged...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited March 10, 2005
    I wonder if you could set that number higher than 1 for the web. I did a series of shots. One got very sharp, sharper than the others, but I messed up somehow and rather than start over, I did some more messing, and it came out fine.

    Looking at it, though, it is a very dramatic difference, so I wonder how far one could go with those numbers. (If I knew how I messed up and what I did, I would repeat it, but I don't)

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited March 11, 2005
    While I haven't tried the technique you so graciously posted, I hate using High Pass sharpening because of all the noise it brings out. If I use it, I will use it in a layer and then mask and erase all but the central subject's sharpening.

    With limited testing on some racing shots, which are often a bit soft due to panning with moving objects, I have to say I'm really impressed. I understand the noise issue, but if the image you start with is relatively noise-free, is there any other down-side to using this?

    I'll be using it on images that are already pretty noise-free, and pretty well-behaved in terms of the histogram and highlights.

    Before:
    17287045-M.jpg
    After:
    17287132-M.jpg
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited March 11, 2005
    Of all the images I did after I read this, I only had problems with one. It was cropped to about 1/3 of the original photo. I was very surprise when I saw the noise as none of my other shots had become noisy with the same treatment. But none of my other shots had been cropped, and I think they might have been shot at a lower ISO.

    I put it thru Noise Ninja, it was better than the original,at least. Nice and smooth, a little bit sharper.

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 11, 2005
    Whoo, the difference is remarkable, Merc. Nice job! thumb.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Registered Users Posts: 4,550 Major grins
    edited March 11, 2005
    wxwax wrote:
    Whoo, the difference is remarkable, Merc. Nice job! thumb.gif

    Thanks to however it was who first posted this trick! I'm also glad it runs pretty fast, as I can batch it over a large number of images rather quickly. I'm finding this make fine details better, such as stitching in uniforms, or the lettering and edges in the decals and helmets.

    I'm going to draw a conclusion. I think this is working well on this type of image because 1) the method was originally used for soft focused images, and panning shots are always a bit soft, 2) my histograms are pretty well behaved, and 3) the noise level isn't that high to begin with. I have almost convinced myself that, while I wouldn't use it for high-shutter shots or posed/still shots, I think it works very well for motion shots.
    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • blackwaterstudioblackwaterstudio Major grins Registered Users Posts: 779 Major grins
    edited March 17, 2005
    Maybe its me, but it makes my images very dark. I must be doing something wrong.
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 18, 2005
    Maybe its me, but it makes my images very dark. I must be doing something wrong.
    headscratch.gif That's odd.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • sean2donsean2don Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited September 9, 2009
    help required - ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS3
    Hello Wxwax

    Thank you for your tip in sharpening the images.
    I am using ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS3

    I tried till Step 6 and in step 7 it states that change the blending mode to OVERLAY. which i did by clicking layer style and change it to Overlay

    again at the same place i changed it to Luminosity but i am still getting the greyed picture.

    I tried various options but couldn't succeed.

    I would appreciate if anyone can correct me.

    Thanks for your help in advance
    sean
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,005 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2009
    Laughing.gif Sid,
    While I haven't tried the technique you so graciously posted, I hate using High Pass sharpening because of all the noise it brings out.

    If you do this over a mask to protect dark areas, smooth areas etc, a mask built from the image itself, you'll avoid a lot of these issues. Any global sharpening technique will sharpen stuff you want and a lot of stuff you don't. Using the image itself to generate a Grayscale mask solves nearly all such problems.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • CoryUTCoryUT Major grins Registered Users Posts: 367 Major grins
    edited September 9, 2009
    Thanks for posting this great technique! I just tried it on a photo that I had been disappointed with due to the softness. I used a mask to only sharpen Bizarre (the boxer) and now he stands out much more nicely IMO.

    Before
    642553009_wUdPW-L.jpg

    After
    644634800_rAdmV-L.jpg
    Daily Shot
    My Photographic Adventures

    Nikon D7000 | 10-20 | 50 | 55-200
  • Zeus1Zeus1 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 70 Big grins
    edited September 15, 2009
    @arodney
    If you do this over a mask to protect dark areas, smooth areas etc, a mask built from the image itself, you'll avoid a lot of these issues. Any global sharpening technique will sharpen stuff you want and a lot of stuff you don't. Using the image itself to generate a Grayscale mask solves nearly all such problems.
    OK, I'm a beginning PS user....so, could You please detail the steps necessary, please?
  • Zeus1Zeus1 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 70 Big grins
    edited September 15, 2009
    6. On the levels pop up window set the Input Levels to: [ 80 ] [ 1.00 ] [ 175 ]
    Don't change the Output Level settings
    This workflow looks like a technique I read of somewhere else:
    - invoke high pass filter, set slider to 1-3 (to the point the important lines appear through the grey mist)
    - hit the OK button
    - use command-L to invoke levels settings
    - slide the left and right sliders symmetrically to just the beginning/ending of the curve
    - change the blend mode to overlay or soft light or hard light (whatever seems appropriate).

    My question: just what happens when You change the sliders in the Levels command. Why do You do this????
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