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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth

 

Sharpen Images 
Photoshop Elements

 

This is a Photoshop Elements Tutorial - Click Here!

Sharpen Images
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor
Skill Level - Beginners Plus

Image Reduced With No Sharpening Filter Application
Auto Sharpen Filter Applied
Unsharp Mask Filter
Adjust Sharpeness Filter Applied

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This tutorial demonstrates how to Sharpen Images. To work along, you are welcome to download the Swans Photograph HereUnzip the file and open the image onto Elements’ workspace.

Duplicate Your Image
To preserve your original image, remember to Duplicate it. To Duplicate an image, from the top menu, choose File then choose Duplicate: now, close the original image and work on the Duplicated Image.

Resize Images
Understand Resolution
Understand Colour Models
Optimise And Save Images

Sharpening Note
Applying a Sharpening Filter instantly breaths life and adds clarity to any photograph, and for this reason the Sharpening Filters are arguably Photoshop Elements’ most useful Filters. Generally speaking, it’s considered good practise to complete any photographic manipulation - (or
Resizing Conversion) by applying a Sharpening Filter to it afterwards.

Which Sharpen Filter?
Individual photographs will always have unique out of focus problems; therefore, for personal results, experiment with different Sharpening options and discover a technique that works best for your image.

Tip
Photoshop Elements’ Filters usually work well when mixed with each other; that is to say, when more than one Filter is applied to a photograph: however, when road-testing the Sharpening Filters, you’ll produce much better Sharpening conversions if you Undo a previous (or a current) Sharpening Filter before applying a different one. 

Open your Start Image onto Elements’ workspace. (Ctrl then O).


 
Undo Note
You can step backwards at any time by clicking the top menu’s Undo Tool.



Tip
Centralise your image by snapping it to the horizontal red line.



Photoshop Elements has three Sharpening Filters and one Sharpening Tool. To apply a Sharpening Filter to an open photograph, from the top menu, choose Enhance, then from the subsequent drop-down list, select a Sharpening filter that suits your photograph’s
needs.



The Auto Sharpen Filter
The Auto Sharpen Filter
is a one-step fix, and therefore doesn’t have settings to tweak.



The Unsharp Mask
The Unsharp Mask is named after a technique found in photography where a blurred and in-focus image (of the same subject) are combined to create a sharper image. 
When you blur an image, Photoshop Elements looks at all of the images pixels - takes their values, and then compares them to the values of the pixel. It then works out an average to create the new pixel value. The Unsharp Mask does the reverse, it looks at the value of the pixels around it and works out how it can subtract - so that it stands out more. Experiment with the Unsharp Mask Command and discover settings that work best for you.



Unsharp Mask’s Default Settings Example



The Adjust Sharpness Filter

Amount
Sets the amount of sharpening. Type a number in the box or drag the slider to increase or decrease the contrast between edge pixels, giving the appearance of greater sharpness.

Radius
Determines the number of pixels surrounding the edge pixels affected by the sharpening. Type a number in the box or drag the slider to change the radius value. As you increase the radius, sharpening becomes more obvious.

Remove
Sets the sharpening algorithm used to sharpen the image. Gaussian Blur is the method used by the Unsharp Mask filter. Lens Blur detects the edges and detail in an image, and provides finer sharpening of detail and reduced sharpening halos. Motion Blur attempts to reduce the effects of blur due to camera or subject movement. Select a blur option from the pop-up menu.

Angle
Sets the direction of motion for the Motion Blur option of the Remove control. Type a number in the box or drag the angle dial to change the angle percentage to the left (anticlockwise) or right (clockwise).

More Refined
Processes the file more slowly for more accurate blur removal.

   

Image After Default Adjust Sharpness Application



Third-party Filters
There are many third-party Sharpening Filters to choose from: I am particularly impressed with
PhotoWiz’s Commercial FocalBlade Plugin. (Install Plugins).



FocalBlade’s Dialogue Box



Elements 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 - Tool Options Palette positioned at the bottom of the workspace. Although the palettes have been redesigned the tools work in more or less the same way.

The Sharpen Tool
From the left-side Toolbar, activate the Sharpen Tool.



And set the attributes of your choice into the Tool Options Bar.



Then apply the Sharpen Tool‘s Brush to small photographic areas.

The Sharpen Tool is ideal for sharpening areas of images, rather than the whole image. Applying this Tool focuses soft edges, so increasing clarity. However, be careful, as over sharpening leaves a somewhat grainy look - as illustrated below. To avoid over sharpening, set a low Strength value in the Options Bar. 



Tip
It’s best to make the sharpening subtle and increase it as necessary by repeatedly applying the Sharpening Tool over an area, building up sharpness, slowly.

Over Sharpened



Now you are familiar with Elements’ Sharpening Filters and Tool, you’ll be able to get the very best from your digital photographs: spend a little time practising, and discover how Sharpening can dramatically improve your images’ clarity and focus.


Wendi E M Scarth. 
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